While fans of Hairspray star Nikki Blonsky may have been surprised to see her on Huge with no makeup, scraggly hair, and a cynical and sarcastic personality, the 21-year-old says she's "never felt more pretty in a role." Blonsky spoke to TVGuide.com about how she brings Will to life, and how Will's feelings for Ian (Ari Stidham) and keeping a secret for Amber (Hayley Hasselhoff) will affect them in Monday's season finale.
TVGuide.com: How has Will changed from the beginning of her summer?
Blonsky: Will has changed by letting people in. Becca, Alistair, Ian — she has a little group of friends, which is new for her, and she's letting people in for the first time, which is something she's never really done before. She's still guarded, but not as much as we saw her in the beginning.
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TVGuide.com: Is Will ever going to tell Ian how she feels?
Nikki Blonsky: It's funny because everybody's so used to seeing Will tell everybody how she feels about everything, and this is the one thing she can't disclose because it's so new for her.
TVGuide.com: How will keeping Amber's secret about her hook-up with George affect their relationship?
Blonsky: If anything, it will bring them together. Amber knows about Will's stash [of food] so she knows about her secret, but Will knows about Amber's secret, which is even bigger — that she's hooking up with an adult [who's] a counselor. Will knows that he can get fired for it and that Amber could get thrown out, so Will's kind of saving both of their behinds by not saying anything. She gave her a heads-up: "You know I know what's going on and just be careful about it." She didn't tell her to stop, she didn't give her a whole speech. She just said be careful, and I think that's the only thing you can do when your friend, or even people you don't really like that much, are in those situations. It's just the humanly thing to do — to give them the best advice you can.
TVGuide.com: Does Will actually dislike Amber or does she just want to not like her?
Blonsky: I think everything Amber stands for, Will is completely against. Will sees Amber as a weak person because she lets Chloe and all the guys manipulate the way Amber feels about herself, which is not acceptable to Will. Will doesn't let anybody make her feel any way about herself — she just goes to the beat of her own drum.
TVGuide.com: What can you tease about Monday's finale?
Blonsky: People tuning in who have known me from previous projects will be a little surprised. I'm going to be singing again — just not the way they saw me in Hairspray, which is going to be a treat. It's totally different.
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TVGuide.com: Is there a character on the show you personally identify with the most?
Blonsky: I have to say there are certain characteristics in Will that I definitely relate to because I've always gone to the beat of my own drum, always done my own thing, and I wasn't really worried what other people thought about me. The family situation I do not relate to with Will at all. I'm very close with my family, but when it comes to personality and being who you are, she's the one I relate to the most.
TVGuide.com: What kind of feedback have you gotten from the show?
Blonsky: Just a lot of kids thanking me for playing this character and portraying this image of non-perfection. I really am pretty bare in this show — no makeup, blue hair. You really can't go more far out than that. They're seeing that a Hollywood actress doesn't need to have hair and makeup to feel pretty. I felt so beautiful playing this character that was so bare and raw, and I actually never felt more pretty in a role. I think kids are seeing that I'm a real person and I'm playing this character that's going through issues that they're going through. I'm bringing their issues to life, and I think it's starting conversations with them and their parents and families. Whether you're a boy or a girl, I think there is somebody for everybody and I'm honored to be part of such a groundbreaking show because I don't even think you can script a reality show that's more real than this.
Huge airs Mondays at 9/8c on ABC Family.