10 Years After Hairspray, Nikki Blonsky Reflects On Her Breakout Role

Drink driving and a life-threatening illness: The cast of Hairspray, 13 years on

10 Years After Hairspray, Nikki Blonsky Reflects On Her Breakout Role

Hairspray was one of the most popular films in 2007, thanks in part to its slew of catchy tunes and high-profile cast, including John Travolta, Zac Efron and Amanda Bynes.

The film, choreographed and directed by Adam Shankman, has stood the test of time as a family classic.

So, what are the cast up to now, 13 years after it premiered?

Here’s everyone from Nikki Blonsky, who played Tracy Turnblad, to Elijah Kelley, who played Seaweed.

Nikki Blonsky (Tracy Turnblad)

Image: Netflix/Getty.

Hairspray was Nikki Blonsky's breakout role, playing Tracy Turnblad in the iconic movie. She was working at an ice cream parlour when she was told the news that she got the coveted lead role.

«Everybody wanted a piece of me,» Blonsky told Out in 2017, reflecting on her Hairspray role. «Not to be funny about it, but I was literally The New Girl in Town. I think my downfall was that I was so naive and trusted everybody.

«I think Hollywood saw me as a sweet 17-year-old girl who had a dream: that was Tracy. We were both plus size, we both come from loving families, we both want to sing, dance and live our lives, but there's a lot more to me.»

Since Hairspray, she has starred in films including 2008's Queen Sized, 2011's Waiting For Forever and most recently, The Last Movie Star in 2017. None have been as successful as Hairspray.

Image: Netflix/Getty.

Zac Efron, who rose to fame thanks to High School Musical, has continued to make a name for himself in Hollywood. Throughout the years, the now 32-year-old actor has appeared in a plethora of notable and successful films, including 17 Again, Charlie St. Cloud, The Lucky One and Baywatch.

Most recently, Efron once again showcased his impressive singing skills in The Greatest Showman, alongside Hugh Jackman. He also played infamous serial killer Ted Bundy in Netflix's Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.

The actor has a documentary coming out in 2020 called Killing Zac Efron. Late last year, he was flown to Australia for urgent medical assistance after contracting an illness that threatened his life while filming said documentary. He has since made a full recovery.

John Travolta (Edna Turnblad)

Image: Netflix/Getty.

John Travolta, best known for his role as Danny in the hit musical Grease, is somewhat Hollywood royalty for his slew of successful projects.

Since Hairspray, the actor has appeared in films including 2013's Killing Season, 2016's I am Wrath and 2019's The Poison Rose alongside Morgan Freeman. He also played Robert Shapiro in The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story in 2016.

In 1991, Travolta married actress Kelly Preston. The couple, who are still married today, had three children together – Jett (who passed away in 2009), Ella Bleu and Benjamin.

Travolta is also a believer and an active leader in the Church of Scientology.

Amanda Bynes (Penny Pingleton)

Image: Netflix/Instagram.

From feature films to a handful of shows on Nickelodeon, Amanda Bynes essentially dominated the screens of teenagers around the world in the early 2000s.

Following her role in Hairspray, Bynes signed a two-film contract with Screen Gems. The deal included a supporting role in Easy A, as well as a starring role in another film, which was later cancelled.

Following the release of the 2010 film, which saw fellow co-star Emma Stone's career skyrocket, Amanda Bynes' own was essentially over.

In fact, she hasn't appeared in another feature film since.

At just 24 years old, Bynes' appearance in Easy A ultimately convinced her to retire from acting.

«I literally couldn’t stand my appearance in that movie and I didn’t my performance,» Bynes told Paper Magazine in 2018.

«I was absolutely convinced I needed to stop acting after seeing it.»

Bynes had a tumultuous few years in the public eye, especially in 2012 was marked by a series of arrests  – drink driving, two hit-and-runs and driving on a suspended licence.

In February 2020, Bynes, now 33 years old, announced her engagement. It’s believed the couple, who met while attending Alcoholics Anonymous, have been dating for a few months.

Brittany Snow (Amber Von Tussle)

Image: Netflix/Getty.

Prior to Hairspray, Brittany Snow was well known for her role in John Tucker Must Die. 

One year on from Hairspray, she had us shaking in our boots as Donna in the cult horror Prom Night, and then she became a household name on the back of her role as choir captain Chloe Beale in the Pitch Perfect trilogy.

Most recently, her name will also be familiar to anyone who watched the Netflix original Someone Great.

But under the surface, Snow was struggling with anorexia, depression and self-mutilation.

In 2012, after seeking help from her family, friends, and medical professionals throughout her twenties, Snow co-founded the Love is Louder movement to help students who are suffering from bullying, negative self-talk, discrimination, isolation and depression.

Elijah Kelley (Seaweed)

Image: Netflix/Getty.

Elijah Kelley, who's character Seaweed dated Penny Pingleton in Hairspray, has continued his acting career since the popular film.

He was most notably in The Butler in 2013, playing Charlie Gaines, and was also the voice of Sunny in the 2015 animated film Strange Magic. 

He hasn't been in a feature film sine 2015, but has had a few minor roles in television shows.

Feature image: Netflix/Instagram. 

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