SHE'S been endorsed by Dolly Parton, performed in the West and End and is now the leading lady in cult cheerleading classic Bring It On.
But Amber Davies, 25, has had to fight to be accepted on the theatre stage in the four years since she won Love Island, overcoming jibes about her reality TV background and questions about her talent.
In an exclusive interview with The Sun, Amber said: "When I did my first professional theatre contract there was a lot of ‘don’t cast her, she’s only going on it because she’s been on Love Island’, and I always said come and watch the show first and then if you think that it was ridiculous them casting me it's a free country you can have your opinion.
"I have started to build a reputation for myself. I am trained. I do work hard and I deserve to be here. I deserve the role.
"The creatives of these shows wouldn’t give me the part if I wasn’t capable. I just trust myself and I trust in my talent, and I think people are starting to learn I’m not just someone from Love Island."
Amber more than held her own when she was cast alongside Louise Redknapp, Brian Conley and Bonnie Langford in 9 to 5: The Musical at The Savoy Theatre.
Reviewers praised the slick production and the vibrant and committed performances from its cast.
And Amber, who played Judy Bernly, credits her co-star turned close pal Louise for helping her adapt to life as a top level performer.
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"You build such a strong connection," she said. "I think with Louise I was so fresh in the industry, she was amazing, she gave me such fabulous advice and I’ll always be grateful for that."
Support also came from her Love Island bestie Olivia Attwood, who sent her a good luck message on opening night.
She said: "Our friendship is so strong. The foundation of what we went through together is like once in a lifetime. That bond will never be broken.
The foundation of what we went through together is like once in a lifetime. That bond will never be broken.
"She’s like my older sister. She wouldn’t have anyone talk bad about me and vice versa. She messaged me on opening night. We’re so supportive of one another. I really value that friendship."
Her latest role sees her play high school cheerleading squad captain Campbell opposite gymnast and Strictly star Louis Smith.
Billed as "a high-flying, energy-fuelled journey which tackles friendship, jealousy, betrayal and forgiveness", the show begins its run at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall tomorrow before a UK tour next year.
Daredevil Amber has thrown herself into the high octane choreography and relished learning some cheer moves.
Co-star Smith's athleticism has helped settle any nerves, and she's been left in awe watching him work.
She said: "He’s so brilliant. We’re in safe hands with him. When the flyers go up then we know we’ll always be caught. Every time he does these flips and tricks, I’m still blown away. It’s so amazing to see he’s got so much skill, he’s so talented.
"The reason why I so wanted to play Campbell was because I wanted to learn how to cheer and go up in the air. I’m such an adrenaline junkie that I thought it was so fitting for me. There’s a couple of lifts in the show, the more you do them the more comfortable you get and it’s kind of like second memory. I still get a little butterfly in my stomach when I go up for a lift.
"There are a couple of surprises. I won't spoil the show, this is a lovely storyline and every emotion gets touched."
Amber would love to see the Lin-Manuel Miranda scored show in the West End once its tour concludes, calling it 'her baby', and harbours dreams of starring on Broadway too.
But foremost in her mind at the minute is a relaxing Christmas with her family and New Year celebrations with boyfriend Nick Kyriacou, who she recently reunited with for a third time.
She said: "Me and Nick both had Covid last year at Christmas so we were forced to celebrate Christmas together [laughs], however, this year we are gonna spend Christmas with our own families and New Year we’re going to do together, and then I’m sure when we move in together we will no doubt be hosting next year."
And Amber has already given thought to where she'd like to raise their kids when the time comes.
She explained: "We’re not house hunting, it’s a next year thing. We are trying to get the ball rolling. I’ve just bought a house in Essex. He’s based in Surrey, so I love that part of London. I love it so much.
"If I was to bring up kids I’ve always said Surrey would be my place. I think it’ll be me moving that way rather than him coming to Essex. His family’s in that area and they’re like my family."
The show opens at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, London on Wednesday 8 December 2021, following performances at Peterborough New Theatre and ahead of a UK tour in 2022. Tickets available at
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