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Glee's Amber Riley Feels "Sexy" In Her Body

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Sara Jaye Weiss/Startraks

Amber Riley, who plays powerhouse songstress Mercedes Jones in Glee, tells PEOPLE she feels “sexy” in her body, despite battling criticism and her fluctuating size. “I was very skinny when I was little, and I got made fun of for being really skinny, so then I started to eat,” Riley says. “Then I got fat,” she laughs. “Then I got made fun of for being fat.” The 23 year-old has since accepted she has curves like Beyoncé, whose body she covets, and has chosen to drown out what other people think. “If they don’t like me when I’m skinny, and they don’t like me when I’m fat, I may as well find where I’m comfortable,” she says. “So I’m all for working out and eating good, but this is where my body settled, and I’m very happy with the way I am.” In addition to the dance numbers the actress performs on the show, she also exercises in her free time, running 30-45 minutes a day and dancing to the DVD Hip Hop Abs with Shaun T at night. And when it’s time to indulge, she’s not immune to the temptation of fast food: ”Pizza is my favorite food. Pepperoni from Papa John’s.” — Aileen Wong