Another day, another stunning digital cover cutie for our sister site, this time with some BIG GIRL ENERGY.
Amber Riley is HelloBeautiful’s November cover star and in the Brande Victorian penned feature she’s speaking on why “Big Girl Energy” is an eternal mood, why she doesn’t mess with the body-positive movement, and how she copes with anxiety and depression in a year which has brought an unprecedented amount of loss, including the death of her friend, Naya Rivera.
According to Amber, who’s adopted the moniker RILEY in conjunction with the release of her six-track debut EP “RILEY”, grieving is multifaceted and Naya’s death hit her especially hard because she was already mourning the death of writer Jas Waters.
Amidst the pain of missing the two, RILEY says she’s now focused on making sure Naya’s son Josey, and Naya’s mom are taken care of.
“I think grieving is a never-ending thing,” she says. “Many people often think that grieving is a destination. Some days I think of her and I laugh and some days I think of her and I cry. I also lost an incredible friend to suicide this year who is an incredible writer and I was looking forward to working with her, Jas Waters. So that was really difficult. She committed suicide and she died a couple of weeks before Naya so it was like a double blow. It was very, very hard to come to terms with, but we’re making sure that we look out for her son because she was an incredible mother and if anybody knows Naya, she loved Josey. She loved that boy and I’m looking after her mommy too.”
RILEY also told HelloBeauitful that music continues to be a big part of her healing process…
“We need feeling, we need heart, especially with everything that we are going through. … It was very interesting to me to see when coronavirus happened, everyone turned to the arts because we know that’s where you find healing and that’s where you find your peace.”
and she offered her thoughts on the body-positive movement. According to RILEY, she was “pushed into it” and she’s sick of stereotypes that are pushed upon fat black women. With that in mind, she released her track “Big Girl Energy” to buck the system.
“Big girls are not out here [desperate]” she says, detailing a line in the song that asks a man when he’s leaving. “I literally wrote that to talk my sh-t.”
“There may be some that have low self-esteem – for good reason— because this world tries to make it seem like fat women shouldn’t exist. Not fat men so much. They don’t get the same bullsh-t that we have to deal with.”
“I don’t really f-ck with the body-positive community. I was pushed into it when I was on ‘Glee,’ which was crazy because I was young. I hadn’t even decided who I was and what I wanted to be. I just was this size on national television.”
She also made it very clear that’s it actually offensive to her when she’s called “brave” and “inspiring” just for being herself. An example? When she posts thirst traps and people act as though she’s an anomaly for DARING to consider herself sexy.
“It’s unfortunate, as a Black woman, I put a picture up of me in a bathing suit and all I see is ‘Confidence! Oh my god, your confidence.’ No, my ass! I look good. I look the f-ck good. That’s why I posted it. I think I look amazing. It doesn’t have anything to do with confidence, but it’s sad that it is that way because the world makes us feel like we should– this is women in general– the world makes us feel like I’m here to please you or I need to be aesthetically pleasing to you in order to move in this world comfortably. And if you don’t want to have sex with me or if you don’t desire me sexually, then I should not consider myself sexy, or I am some kind of an anomaly because I do.”
Valid point there, RILEY. Also, yes. You DO look good, boo.
See more Amber Riley for HelloBeautiful HERE.