Talent Recap

‘American Idol’ Winner Fantasia Barrino Says She’s Ready For a Second Chance at Fame

Fantasia Barrino Q85: A Musical Celebration For Quincy JonesGetty Images

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Nearly two decades after catapulting to fame as the winner of American Idol, Fantasia Barrino feels she’s finally getting the career do-over she deserves. She expressed in an interview her thoughts saying that it “feels like Idol all over again.”

Fantasia Barrino Will Star In a Movie Musical

Nineteen years after winning American Idol, Barrino feels she is getting a long-awaited second chance at fame. Her upcoming role reprising Celie in the movie musical adaptation of The Color Purple, the iconic part that marked her Broadway run, captures the themes of Barrino’s real-life resilience. Just like the story’s heroine, she has emerged from darkness to claim her joy.

By age 26, the demands of early fame had overwhelmed the young singer, culminating in a suicide attempt that left her hospitalized. However, guided by faith, reinforced through visions of angels, Barrino slowly rebuilt her life.

Now 39, with new team support and a loving husband, she has processed painful experiences from abuse to family betrayals. Barrino described an inner change that allows her to fully blossom.

“I’m in a better state of mind. I’m ready for Hollywood now. I was not ready for Hollywood when I was 19.” She said.

Having walked Celie’s difficult path herself, Barrino feels a special connection to the character. “My life is so much like Celie’s,” she explains, citing abusive relationships and “getting my ass whooped.” The movie’s climactic reunion scene between Celie and her sister Nettie struck an emotional chord for both Barrino and her costar Ciara.

Hard-Won Wisdom Fuels Fantasia’s Second Act

As she revels in the glow of a career resurgence, Barrino wants to empower aspiring artists to avoid her mistakes. Surrounding herself with positive loved ones has helped anchor Barrino through life’s turbulence.

She singles out legendary singer Patti LaBelle as a mentor who delivers “raw” wisdom to help her navigate show business demands. Now Barrino feels fully prepared to seize her long-awaited second chance, on her own terms.

While the 39-year-old still visualizes the wide-eyed 19-year-old who won American Idol, she carries newly minted confidence from overcoming private struggles under public scrutiny. She reminisced that going to American Idol was her “first time riding a plane and going to Hollywood,” but for Barrino, the next flight to Tinseltown stands to be the most rewarding yet.

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