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Amber Riley Says “Glee ”Was Like 'Theater Bootcamp' and Will 'Always Be a Fond Memory' (Exclusive)

"That good ol' 'Glee' sleep training, you better know how to function on four hours," Riley joked to PEOPLE about starring in the hit Fox series

<p>Gilbert Flores/Billboard via Getty</p> Amber Riley at the 2024 Billboard Women in Music Awards in Inglewood, California, on March 6, 2024

Gilbert Flores/Billboard via Getty

Amber Riley at the 2024 Billboard Women in Music Awards in Inglewood, California, on March 6, 2024

Amber Riley is thankful for her time on Glee.

While speaking exclusively to PEOPLE during Wednesday's Billboard Women in Music Awards in Inglewood, California, the actress — who played Mercedes Jones in the hit series — said the show trained her in many ways for future projects.

Ahead of her upcoming role as Julie in the Atlanta-based Preacher's Wife musical, Riley, 38, suggested the "lack of sleep" she had while filming nearly 100 episodes of Glee from 2009 to 2015 means she can now function on limited rest.

"That good ol' Glee sleep training, you better know how to function on four hours," she joked, going on to reference the show's multi-talented cast having to sing, dance and act.

"It literally was like bootcamp. It was theater bootcamp — it was just on television," Riley said.

<p>Christopher Polk/Billboard via Getty</p> Amber Riley at the 2024 Billboard Women in Music Awards in Inglewood, California, on March 6, 2024

Christopher Polk/Billboard via Getty

Amber Riley at the 2024 Billboard Women in Music Awards in Inglewood, California, on March 6, 2024

Related: Matthew Morrison Says Glee Was Hard on His Mental Health: ‘So Stressed I Broke into the Craziest Psoriasis'

Riley told PEOPLE that to this day, "I always try to apply that same focus and professionalism that we had to have" in her career.

"You had to be professional, you had to be on time, you had to hit your mark, you had to know your lines. There's 17 of us, we have X amount of things that have to be done in a day," the star went on.

"Everyone has to be a team player. So I think that that's probably the biggest thing that I've taken into other jobs. It's like, play your part so the day can go through smoothly," Riley continued.

The actress singer also said that despite Glee being "in the rearview mirror" for her career-wise, she will forever look at the show in a positive light.

<p>FOX Image Collection via Getty</p> Naya Rivera and Amber Riley on Glee in 2010

FOX Image Collection via Getty

Naya Rivera and Amber Riley on Glee in 2010

Related: Glee Stars Chris Colfer and Amber Riley Reunite — See the Photo!

"I always try to take good things from whatever experience I have, and I always just try to move forward. I mean, it's been off television for such a long time, and it's in the rearview mirror for me, but it'll always be a fond memory," she told PEOPLE.

Riley continued, "It was the thing that catapulted my career. Nobody would know who Amber Riley was — well, I don't know that, but I'm just saying as of now, you guys wouldn't know who I am if it was not for Glee, you know what I'm saying?"

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"And it really was the reason that people got to hear my voice. So I will always be so thankful and so grateful for that," she said.

Tickets for The Preacher's Wife, which runs from May 11 to June 16 at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, are available now at alliancetheatre.org.

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Read the original article on People.