Two Queens women are trying to sing their way to the top, proving that pop stardom comes in all sizes.
Astoria resident Tina Jensen and Kenya Morris, of St. Albans, are members of The Glamazons, a group of four sexy and voluptuous songstresses.
Formed in 2001, The Glamazons started performing in New York City clubs, but found national fame in the second season of “America’s Got Talent” in 2007, when they made it to the top eight.
Now, the original members are no longer performing with the group. Current members Jensen, Morris, Emma Craig and Megan Allen have been together for about one and a half years and will be releasing their first original single “Movie Star” on Tuesday.
“It’s a feel-good celebratory song,” Jensen said.
The 29-year-old always knew she wanted to be a performer growing up, but imagined herself in musical theater rather than singing pop songs.
At 18, she left Minnesota for New York City, where she studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and moved to western Queens seven years ago.
Though professionally she pursued musical theater in New York, starring off-Broadway, at home she would always sing pop songs.
“Growing up it was theater because I felt accepted in the theater,” she said. “I never thought I could be a pop star because I wasn’t a size zero.”
Jensen would also sing pop songs at competitions in New York City clubs. Around two years ago, it was at one of those clubs that she heard about a competition to be in The Glamazons. After six weeks of vying for a spot, she made it into the group.
Morris, 20, was in the same competition as Jensen, though she didn’t win.
The New Jersey native discovered The Glamazons through Twitter, where she connected with Meryl Sherwood, the group’s founder. Sherwood, who still works with The Glamazons, saw a YouTube video of Morris singing and encouraged her to enter the competition.
Later, Morris filled in during a Glamazons show and was then added as a permanent member in May 2013. The timing was perfect, Morris said, since she had recently moved to Queens to be closer to her grandfather.
“This is what every boy and every girl dreams of,” she said about their single coming out.
Singing was the easy part for Morris, who has been showing off her vocal talent since she was a young child. But she never had any formal dance training before The Glamazons.
“I was slow picking up the pace of everything but now I’m on the ball,” she said.
Jensen grew up taking dance lessons. Her biggest hurdle was showcasing her body through The Glamazon’s sexy moves.
“I’m finally able to embrace who I am and celebrate it,” she said.
The Glamazons have always been about more than just the music. They are also about body positivity and self-acceptance.
Growing up, Morris would look at popular singers and think, “Can I really do this because I don’t see as much of me in the limelight?”
“I want the audience to feel inspired,” said Morris, who works as a plus-size model. “I want them to know that you can be any shape or size.”
But their message goes beyond body issues.
“It’s not just about your size. It’s about anyone who has been told no before,” Jensen said.
The Glamazons’ new single “Movie Star” will be available on iTunes on Oct. 14. The group also expects to release a music video for the song on Nov. 1. It will be available on their website, on YouTube and potentially as a free release on iTunes.
Next, they have plans for an EP.
Jensen, who, in addition to her theater work, is also a plus-size model, hopes The Glamazons can be her full-time gig one day.
“We may be broke and have to live in the street in Queens,” she said. “But we are going to keep performing with the group and spreading our message until we can no longer do it.”