For Dot-Marie Jones, the Creative Arts Emmy nomination for her portrayal of coach Shannon Beiste on Fox's "Glee" just might have been sent from heaven.
"This is my 20th year in acting and it's finally that golden nugget that you dream about — that you never know if you'll find," Jones said, tearing up. The Emmy nominations were announced on her late father's birthday while she was on a flight to Australia, and she said she remembers thinking: "Dad: Come on, let this be a lucky day, you know?"
Co-star Max Adler broke the news to Jones by congratulating her with a message on Twitter.
"I couldn't even talk," Jones recalled. "I just looked at it. ... I couldn't even say anything."
This sort of open emotion may not be what one expects from the 47-year-old Jones, who was an athlete in school and competed in the 1988 Olympic games, finishing sixth in the shot put competition. Jones credits friend Shirley Eson of "American Gladiators" for getting her into acting, which led to roles in a number of productions for "Glee" producer Ryan Murphy, whose team created the part of Beiste for Jones.
At first glance, the role seemed to be a subtle spin on nasty cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, played by Emmy nominee and host Jane Lynch. But by the sixth episode of season two, it was revealed that one reason for Beiste's bitterness was that she'd never been kissed, a situation resolved at episode's end by Glee-club coach Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison).
Jones was not above kissing and telling.
"(Morrison) was just so like gentle and it was just for me and he is everybody's heartthrob, to fall into that — and just so gentle and sweet and soft and supple," she said. "And it was just like this 'Mmmmm!' a kiss, but yet it was so. ... What made it so big is how underplayed it was. Dude, does that make sense? And it was like it was just this sweet, sweet moment that was so huge. It was this little moment that was giant."
Speaking of, the 6-foot-3-inch, 260-pound Jones said it was challenging to find attire for Saturday's Creative Arts Emmys red carpet. The awards will be presented at the Nokia Theatre.
One designer sent an email asking if Jones would like to come into the showroom, but then discovered her size. "Next email, 'Oh, god, we're really. ... Oh, well, our showroom only has size zero to six.' I'm like, 'Are you kidding me?'"
Friend Lynch came to the rescue, referring Jones to her personal designer.
Now with a Emmy nomination and recognizable worldwide thanks to "Glee," Jones said her professional goals haven't changed. "I just want to work and keep working and doing what I love, because I know in my heart of hearts that I am supposed to be doing this."
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