Amber Patrice Riley (born February 15, 1986) is an American actress, singer-songwriter, and philanthropist, best known for her portrayal of Mercedes Jones on the Fox television series Glee. She is also known for winning season 17 of Dancing with the Stars.
Amber Riley was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Tiny (née Hightower) and Elwin Riley. Riley auditioned for American Idol when she was 17 years old, during the show’s second season, but was turned down by the producers. She graduated from La Mirada High School in La Mirada, California in 2004.