'Huge' cancellation: Nikki Blonsky talks about the surprise demise of her ABC Family show -- and the importance of plus-size TV
Image Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic.comLast week’s cancellation of Huge left its dedicated fans reeling and prompted an online outcry of support for ABC Family’s charming teens-at-fat-camp drama. We chatted with star Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray) — who, as angsty troublemaker Will, gave a particularly fearless performance, up to and including a striptease down to her bathing suit — about why the world needs more Huge.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What did this show mean to you?
NIKKI BLONSKY: I was really proud to be playing such a ballsy character like Will, who is not afraid of who she is. That’s what kids need to see instead of the typical stuff that’s on TV. I’m really proud to have the fans that we had, and I’m just honored that they watched the show and that after hearing the horrible news that it’s been canceled, they’re fighting for it with petitions and rallies. I can’t thank them enough.
How did you take the cancellation news?
It definitely caught me off guard. We were so thrilled with the reviews we got. We were so thrilled with how the media and the public were receiving it. When I got nominated after two episodes for a Teen Choice award, we thought, Oh my God, people are loving the show. We thought it was a show that was really helping kids. I still get fan mail and Tweets every day from kids saying that they’re not afraid to go to the beach in a bathing suit now or express themselves through their hair color or whatever it is they want to do. We had a show that was so different. We were the first plus-size cast, I think, ever, in Hollywood history. I just think it’s kind of sad that TV stations are a little scared of having such a different show with such different people.
Why do you think it’s so important to have a cast that looks different from the model-skinny-and-pretty mold?
It’s so important to see variety on TV, because that’s what America is all about. It’s like if a restaurant always served apple pie. At first it could be very appealing, but after a while it’s going to get boring. When you have all these different-looking people who are talented, why not give them the same opportunity to show that? I know when I turn on a TV show and there’s a bunch of really, really pretty people who are not my size, it can be somewhat depressing and upsetting. I can’t relate.
What will you remember most from your time on the show?
My favorite part of working on Huge was working with Paul Dooley [who played camp cook Salty]. He was just the best. Our scenes, he just always brought out the best in me, and we would just always have the best time together. We did Hairspray together, and when I found out Paul was going to be playing Salty, I freaked out. Honestly, I’ve just learned so much from watching him work, because he is such a legend. He really just made me feel at home. Ironically, I was always butting heads with Gina Torres’ character, but she was my other favorite. I’m so happy that at least that’s how the show ended, with me and Gina sitting, looking at the stars, because she literally is an angel in my life. So for me to share the last moment of Huge with the person I adored the most next to Paul, that meant a lot to me.
How hard do you think it will be to find another role like this?
It’s an interesting, tricky little business I’m in. It’s crazy. One day you’re at awards shows and people are loving your TV show, and the next minute you’re sitting at your parents’ house going, “Why did this happen and how did I get here?” I have to say I’ve been very fortunate in my career to have played really wonderful young ladies between Tracy Turnblad and Will Rader, who are complete opposites. There aren’t a lot of well-written roles for women of a curvier stature in my age bracket. But if anybody in Hollywood has any guts, they’ll write a new character for a new TV show. I think the business should focus a little more on talent and a little less on looks.