IT'S been six years since Amber Davies rose to fame after winning the third series of Love Island alongside ex-boyfriend Kem Cetinay.
Since then, the 27-year-old, who is set to star on this year's Dancing on Ice, has transformed from reality star to leading lady, ditching awkward chats around the fire pit for show stopping performances on stage.
But while many critics raised eyebrows when it was announced the Welsh beauty was going to make her West End debut in Dolly Parton-inspired show 9-5, Amber revealed how she was determined to "prove people wrong" with her performance.
She's certainly done just that – and has since gone on to star in the likes of Back To The Future, and has most recently bagged herself the star role in the UK tour of Pretty Woman.
From rubbing shoulders with Kim Kardashian to getting the seal of approval from country music icon Dolly Parton, Amber Davies, who is worth an estimated £1.7million, could just be the most successful Love Island contestant of all time…
Post-Love Island deals
Just like many other former Love Island stars, Amber was in hot demand after winning the ITV2 show and landed a £500k deal to be the face of fashion brand Motel Rocks.
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She also earned £50k from collabs with Boux Avenue, and was paid six figures for modelling Bluebella underwear.
But Amber, who initially turned down a part in a West End production of Hairspray to chance finding love in the spotlight, quickly returned to her acting roots following her stint on the reality show.
Dolly Parton's approval
When it was announced that the Love Island champion was making her West End debut as office girl Judy Bernly in the London West End show, co-written by country legend Dolly Parton, critics were understandably dubious.
'"I only graduated in 2016, so I'm very fresh out of college. But I am trained and I have every right to be here," Amber said, speaking to Evening Standard.
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"I'm waiting and ready to prove people wrong. I know they're gonna come in with a bit of, 'Let's see how Amber from Love Island will sing,' and I just can't wait — I want everyone to be pleasantly surprised."
The much-anticipated lead up to her West End debut was documented in ITV's Amber and Dolly: 9 to 5, which saw her fly to Nashville to meet and interview Dolly Parton.
It then followed her journey from auditions to rehearsals to opening night in the West End.
Viewers were left gobsmacked by the Welsh beauty's talent as she was filmed rehearsing for the stage show after landing the star role.
Many rushed to Twitter to praise Amber's vocal range, with one writing: "Wow @Amber_Davies7 that voice!! Gave me shivers…so talented."
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Another enthused: "Okay so @Amber_Davies7 has the most incredible singing voice".
A third penned: "@Amber_Davies7 is amazingly talented!"
Dolly had no idea of Amber's reality TV fame when she cast her after seeing her audition tape.
The iconic 73-year-old country singer hailed Amber as “precious and beautiful”.
Speaking on Lorraine earlier this week, Amber, who starred alongside Bonnie Langford, Louise Redknapp and Brian Conley at the Savoy Theatre, said: "I always feel like Love Island doesn’t define me as a person and I’ve trained to sing since I was six, and have always wanted to be on the West End stage.
"That ambition has now been met, and with it a life-changing meeting with country icon Dolly Parton."
Following in the footsteps of Rachel Stevens and Denise Van Outen, Amber, who has trained as a singer from the age of six, dazzled as she performed for the Cabaret All Stars show at Proud Embankment for three months.
Appearing alongside acrobats, fire breathers and burlesque beauties, the former Love Island star was supported by Winter Love Island champions Paige Turley and Finn Tapp, and Loose Women star Linda Robson.
She stunned in a see-through bodysuit as she belted out Jennifer Hudson's One Night Only and ended the show in a plunging red dress as she danced under a shower of water to It's Raining Men.
Taking to Instagram, Amber, who previously starred as Squad Captain, Campbell in Bring It On the musical, before all performances were cancelled due to Covid-enforced cancellations, penned: "Can't believe I've officially opened… I flipping love my job."
The Loose Women host wrote on Instagram: "Wonderful evening @proudcabaret. Such a fun show. Amber was amazing."
Rubbing shoulders with Kim Kardashian
If you've watched the latest season of The Kardashians, you may have done a double-take.
That's because Love Island star turned musical theatre legend Amber can be seen posing with reality star Kim Kardashian, who took her son Saint and some pals to watch Back To The Future: The Musical during a visit to London in March.
The US stars headed backstage with the cameras in tow – and met the cast, including Amber, who played Marty McFly's mum Linda Baines, and her boyfriend Ben Joyce, who plays Marty in the stage adaptation of the hit 1985 film.
Their meeting has since aired on Disney+, with Kim saying in a voiceover: "Next up, Back To The Future: The Musical.
"My day has been exhausting but the boys are having a good time.
"The cast is so sweet and so much fun and everyone is making these funny TikTok dances and it's just a really cool experience."
Taking to Instagram, Amber was delighted with the meet and greet and wrote: "An interval I won't be forgetting anytime soon. Mum I made it."
However, later she reflected on the fact she was wearing her character's frumpy skirt and cardigan, complete with a white shirt and brunette wig, for the big moment.
Sharing a snap, she joked: "Bags under my eyes and a padded suit.
"It's the fact that Kim Kardashian saw me dressed like this."
Lead role in Pretty Woman
With her stage career going from strength to strength, the Welsh favourite, whose sister Jade has recently been cast as Elphaba in Wicked, is currently playing the lead role of Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman.
The show is based on the 1990's classic love story, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
Amber is starring alongside Oliver Savile as Edward, and Strictly Come Dancing winner Ore Oduba, who is playing Happy Man/ Mr Thompson and Natalie Paris as Kit De Luca.
The tour kicked off at Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham on October 17, before visiting Bristol, Glasgow, Woking, Leicester and Sheffield, and several other locations.
It features original music and lyrics by Grammy Award-winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance.
Donning a replica of the famous plunging gown and white opera gloves, it's little surprise fans have been going wild for Amber's spellbinding performance.
"I just saw pretty woman in Birmingham. You were amazing," enthused one.
A second praised: "She's more than a woman – she's a super star."
From the stage to the ice
She's already made a name for herself in the musical theatre world, but Amber has recently revealed she's got a cool new job…and will betaking to the rink in this year's Dancing on Ice.
A show insider said: "Amber would be a real coup for the show – she's an amazing performer, so she's bound to be a natural on the ice and sure to be one to watch.
"After Love Island, she had to work really hard to be taken seriously on the stage and she proved any doubters wrong. Amber is a perfectionist, and used to putting in long hours rehearsing for the stage, so she'd definitely have her eye on the prize."
Appearing on the ITV's Lorraine last month, Amber, who will be taking four weeks off her 12-month tour with Pretty Woman to compete in the show, said: "Today is the first day it feels real.
"I can't really ice skate, my secondary school went ice skating and I didn't go.
"I'm 27 and I'm still asking for permission from my parents."
The Love Island star, who will be joining the likes of ex-Corrie actor Ryan Thomas and former boxer Ricky Hatton, admitted she's feeling the "nerves" ahead of the show.
"I would definitely say that I'm an adrenaline junkie but I do get more nervous as I get older and I hope that I can contain them, I don't want the Adrenalin to get the better of me," she said.
"I can count on one hand how many times I've ice skated."
But she's in safe hands after revealing she's been paired with former Armenian national champion and Winter Olympian Simon Senecal.
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Sharing the news om Instagram, she enthused: MY @dancingonice PRO IS…….. the incredible @simsenecal – a newbie on the Pro Skater team.
"I feel so grateful that we get to do our first Dancing on Ice experience TOGETHER! I promise I’ll work the hardest I possibly can for you 🤍⛸️ TEAM #SIMBER BABY!!!!"
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