"I give 100 percent, whether it's singing or acting," says Jennifer Hudson. "I hope I never have to choose between the two." Fortunately, it's doubtful she'll ever have to: After a stint as an American Idol finalist in 2004, the Chicago native's biggest asset -- her canyon-size voice -- helped her leap onto the big screen. In her debut film role, as singer Effie White in 2006's Dreamgirls, she stole the spotlight from fellow double threats Beyoncé and Jamie Foxx and nabbed an Oscar for best supporting actress. Now, after three albums (including last year's JHUD), more big-screen gets (Sex and the City, The Secret Life of Bees), a new single with Iggy Azalea ("Trouble") and a recent appearance on hit Fox show Empire, Hudson, 33, ventures into new territory this fall: her Broadway debut, as Shug Avery in a revival of The Color Purple.
Nailed It On The First Try
"I had never even thought of acting, to be honest. It was actually my mom who was like, 'Jenny, I think you could act.' I'm like, 'Yeah, whatever, Mama.' Then I turned around and won an Academy Award on my first film. The only other acting experience that I had was [when I performed] on the Disney Wonder cruise ship."