When Amber Riley began Season 17 of “Dancing with the Stars,” she couldn’t even imagine winning the mirrorball with her pro partner Derek Hough.
“When I first came into the competition, winning was not on my mind, to be honest,” Amber told Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson backstage after her win on Tuesday night. “I didn’t know how long I was gonna make it. And then, a lot of things started happening with my knees and my body, but I just pressed through to the end, and I endured. I’m really proud of myself. I really am.”
The “Glee” star inspired others by just getting out there on the dance floor, and seeing the Tweets from fans week after week meant a great deal.
“All the different Tweets that I [got] of how inspiring it was for people to see me do something like this, that wasn’t the initial reason that I did it. I did it for very selfish reasons — me just trying to be better myself,” she laughed. “And people being inspired by that, it’s absolutely amazing.”
When Shaun asked Amber why she believes people were inspired by her journey, Amber suggested it may have had something to do with seeing someone achieve something great.
“I try every day to be a really good person, and I did something that was really difficult,” she said. “Maybe people like to see people triumph because they make people feel like they can win.”
Amber’s win on Tuesday was actually Derek’s fifth win. Asked where he’ll put his trophy, he joked he’ll have to make room in his new home.
“I’m actually building a house at the moment. So maybe I’ll call the engineer and be like, ‘Add another shelf, man,” Derek laughed.