Amber Riley knows the "Dancing with the Stars" rehearsal and performance schedule are rigorous, so the "Glee" star is grateful she made the decision to embrace a healthier lifestyle earlier this year.
"This year, I completely changed my eating habits because of health issues that I had previously," the actress and singer told Access Hollywood following the "DWTS" cast announcement in New York City on Wednesday. "But I guess it was preparation for this. Maybe God knew I was going to do ['DWTS'] and then had me change my eating habits and work out more!"
The main motivating force for Amber - who is paired with four-time mirror ball champ Derek Hough on the ABC reality dancing competition - to get healthy came from her young "Glee" fans.
"I really do want to put my money where my mouth is. I'm supposed to be like a role model, I want to take care of my insides as well as my outside," the 27-year-old said. "So, this was encouraging for me to get my body moving and just get healthy.
"I feel strong. I really do. It's been an experience, a great one," she added.
Though Amber routinely performs on "Glee," she's feeling the nerves about tackling the dance floor.
"I'm very nervous!" she said. "But it's an exciting nervous, because I'm doing this because it's fun. I love dancing. It's a different kind of expression."
And her partner, Derek, can definitely see how her hard work has helped prepare her for the show.
"She's inspiring me as far as her attitude and her performance already, so now I just to make sure that I give her choreography that's going extenuate that," the "Dancing" champ told Access .
"Dancing with the Stars" Season 17 premieres on September 16 at 8/7c on ABC.
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- Derek Hough
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- Access Hollywood