Tracy Turnblad
The 1988 and the 2007 Tracy


Tracy "Edna" Turnblad




Edna Turnblad
Wilbur Turnblad


Penny Pingleton
Seaweed J. Stubbs
Corny Collins
Little Inez Stubbs
Motormouth Maybelle
Mr. Pinky
The Corny Collins Show Members (Some)


Amber Von Tussle (formerly)
Velma Von Tussle
The Corny Collins Show Members (Some, formerly)
The Police (formerly)
Franklin Von Tussle (1988 only)


Link Larkin (Boyfriend)


Hairspray (1988 film)
Hairspray (2007 film)

Portrayed By:

Ricki Lake (1988)
Nikki Blonsky (2007)
Maddie Baillio (Hairspray Live!)

Originated By:

Marissa Jaret Winokur (Broadway and Hollywood Bowl)
Leanne Jones (London)

Tracy Edna Turnblad is a major protagonist in both the 1988 and 2007 films. She is the oversized optimistic, racially color-blind daughter of Edna Turnblad and Wilbur Turnblad.

Personal Life and Personality Edit

Tracy is a "pleasantly plump" girl, growing up in Baltimore, Maryland in the early 1960s. She is optimistic and lively, and not to mention blind to the racial segregation against blacks at the time. Her best friend is Penny Pingleton, a sheltered girl who lives at the mercy of her racist, religiously-devout mother, Prudence/Prudy Pingleton.

In the 2007 film, her dream is to take part in the Corny Collins Show, a racially-segregated teen dance show hosted by Corny Collins.She hears of an opening in the show's cast one day as she watches after school, and begs her mother to allow her to audition. Edna vehemently refuses, saying that no one will be auditioning for anything in her home. Tracy expresses her wish to be famous and asks why she can't even try. At that point, Wilbur returns home from his joke shop, "The Hardee Har Hut." Seeing Tracy close to tears, he asks what's been going on while he was away,.Tracy excitedly tells her father that she will be auditioning for a show the next day, but Enda refuses her again and Tracy runs off to her room to cry in private. Edna sadly tells Wilbur that she isn't trying to be mean to Tracy or limit her dreams, but she is afraid the managers at the station will hurt Tracy because she is large and therefore not considered attractive enough to be on screen despite her talent in dance. She begs Wilbur to talk to Tracy, knowing that she will be more willing to listen to him. The strategy backfires on Edna however, as Wilbur tells Tracy that she should dream big and fight for what she wants, essentially giving her his approval. Edna is cross, but resigned, and Tracy auditions at the station with Penny in the audience the following day. Edna proves to be right, however. Velma Von Tussle, the racist station manager at WYZT proves hard to win over. She dreams of returning to her former "glory days" as the famed "Miss Baltimore Crabs" and forces her daughter Amber (the show's lead dancer alongside stud Link Larkin) to live out her ambitions. Velma rejects Tracy on a surface level for being overweight and supporting racial integration, but her deeper motives lie in the fact that she fears Tracy will be a threat to Amber's status as the female lead in the show's cast.

Tracy had to cut class to make the audition, and her teacher catches her sneaking back in a state of total dejection. Tracy's actions land her in detention, where she meets the "Negro Day" dancers, and befriends Seaweed J. Stubbs, who tells her that she is "one of them." He teaches her several dance moves as a friendly initiation into his friends' inner circle, and Tracy finds herself wanting to come back to detention so as to see Seaweed and his friends more often. She realizes that she feels more accepted by them than any of her white classmates aside from Penny because they are different too, and able to look past her physical appearance to see her as nothing more than a friend on the inside.

While she is dancing with Seaweed in detention, Link spots her through the the door. When she exits, he makes a point of stopping her and letting her know that if Corny Collins saw her dancing with her new moves, he would cast her on the show as a regular dancer. He invites her to a record hop at which he will be singing and Corny himself will be hosting. Tracy shyly thanks him, and Link accidentally bumps Tracy as he walks away. He apologizes, calilng her "little darling" and saying he hopes he didn't "dent her 'do." Tracy is left compltetely smitten and goes through the rest of her school day in a daze.

Taking Link up on his offer, Tracy attends the record hop, where she runs into Seaweed and his friends. She asks if he wants to show one of his dances, "Payton Place After Midnight," for Corny. He sadly tells her that he has to "dance with his crowd," much to Tracy's confusion. She protests that it is Seaweed's dance, but he tells her she is welcome to "borrow it for a second." Tracy gleefully hugs him, much to Amber's shock and disgust, to which Tracy gives a snide smirk. Her dream finally comes true when she is spotted by Corny Collins, her dance attracting all of the white males to the dance floor, much to Amber and several other girls' horror. She is chosen by Corny himself to fill the open spot on the show, despite Velma's objections, and those of the CEO of Ultra Clutch Hairspray, the show's biggest sponsor. Penny is gleeful with the news, and rushes to the Turnblad house to show Edna and Wilbur the show's new star. Both are happily shocked and proud.

Tracy quickly becomes the show's most popular dancer, even winning the approval of the CEO of Ultra Clutch because she has boosted his sales so much. Wilbur's shop begins specializing in Tracy-related products, and many of the show's dancers begin asking her for tips on her style. The biggest surprise of all comes when Mr. Pinky, the owner of a local shop, offers her the opportunity to be a spokesgirl. Tracy asks Edna to be her agent, and while she is hesitant at first, Tracy manages to convince her. She negotiates Tracy's contract with Mr. Pinky, and both receive a set of new clothes as part of the deal. The two go out for ice cream sundaes to celebate, and run into Ms. Von Tussle and Amber. Tracy intoduces the mothers, and Ms. Von Tussle takes several subtle jabs at Tracy and her mother. She is threatened by Tracy, who is slowly creeping up to take Amber's title of Miss Teenage Hairspray, which she has won for the past three years. Edna is hearbroken and wants to take the clothes back, but Tracy won't allow her to. She reassures her mother that the Von Tussels only dislike them because they are a challenge to their undisputed power, along with the fact that Tracy has been slowly winning the heart of Amber's boyfriend, Link Larkin, who has become very attracted to her.

One day in detention, Tracy introduces Penny to Seaweed, on whom Penny instantly develops a crush. The talented black dancer invites Tracy, Penny, and Link to a party his mother is hosting that night, and while Link is nervous about visiting Seaweed's side of town, Tracy and Penny are excited to be invited places by "colored people" and feel "hip" because of it. Seaweed tells them he is very happy to hear they feel that way, because not many people would say the same. The three accompany Seaweed on the bus to his home, and meet his younger sister Little Inez Subbs along the way. Little Inez is thrilled to meet Tracy, as she admires her and feels very proud that she made it onto the Corny Collins Show. She senses that if Tracy can make it, maybe she can do so as well someday. Tracy picks up on Inez' s feelings immediately and tells her that she is eagerly anticipating the younger girls' addition to the cast, as well as her brother's. Later, Tracy meets Seaweed's mother, "Motormouth" Maybelle Stubbs, the host of "Negro Day" on WYZT and the center of Seaweed's vibrant community. They enjoy the party until Tracy's mother arrives in hysterics because Tracy had forgotten to call her before going with Seaweed and the rest. (She had been tipped off by Amber under instuction from Velma, hoping to get Tracy in trouble and win Link back with an offer of advancement for his career. Tracy tells Edna here is no reason to worry, Seaweed and his friends are very kind and haven't let any harm come to her, Penny, or Link. Edna will have none of it, and is about to whisk her away to a waiting cab when Maybelle kindly invites her to stay and take something to eat from her spectacular buffet. Seeing the enormous spread before her, Edna can't resist and agrees to stay, along with her daughter. Maybelle is pleased and does her best to make Edna feel welcome, as she has already grown to like Tracy. Edna asks Maybelle what the party is for, at which point Maybelle is forced to reveal to all the partygoers that she wanted to celebrate the end of a wonderful tradition: Velma had called earlier to tell her "Negro Day" was being cancelled as punishment for Maybelle's decision to allow some of her dancers to perform the same song as Velma herself had picked. Inez is heartbroken: she is finally old enough to dance on the show, and has practiced constantly to ensure she would be good enough. She worries that she will never get to dance, her one shot taken from her. Tracy deeply empathizes with her, along with all the other talented dancers who have been deprived of something that was rightfully theirs. She reassures Inez that if she can't dance on her own show, she and her friends can join the regular cast with her and Link. Maybelle sadly tells her that it isn't quite that simple: blacks and whites have never truly had equal rights, and they have certainly never been together on TV before. Tracy gets an idea and suggests that "if they can't dance, maybe they should just march" meaning that the cast of "Negro Day" should stage a protest against the station. Maybelle and her children enthusiastically agree, and plans are made to protest on the following Friday. Edna begs Tracy not to join them: she thinks Maybelle and her family are very kind, but she worries about repercussions in the future for Tracy. Tracy ignores her, and asks Link if he wants to go with them. Link sadly refuses, saying that he can't risk his career when he has been offered such a big chance. He says the "adventure" Tracy is proposing is "a little too big for him." Tracy misinterprets this to mean that he isn't interested in continuing in a relationship with her because she is too large to be desirable. She leaves the party with Edna in tears, while Link tries and fails miserably to explain himself.

Edna and Tracy arrive home late. Tracy is still feeling hurt and wants to go to bed early. Edna agrees, but secretly goes to change clothes, hoping to get some private time for just Wilbur and her to be together. She goes down to the jokeshop to surprise him, but finds Velma inside trying to seduce Wilbur. (She is purposely hurting Tracy's family in an effort to get Tracy off the Corny Collins Show and give the spotlight back to Amber.) Velma is in Wilbur's arms as he stands shocked and unsure of what to do, but Velma makes remarks that lead Enda to believe that Wilbur had been intimate with her for some time. She is completely devastated by Wilbur's "betrayal:" she changes the locks on the doors so Wilbur can't come in the house, and refuses to allow Tracy back on the Corny Collins Show. Tracy goes to see her father in the middle of the night to make sure he is all right and try to convince him to come back to Edna. Wilbur tells her that Edna is the only woman he has ever loved, and he never meant to hurt her with Velma: to be honest, he didn't like her, but couldn't think of a way to fend her off. Tracy is pleased to hear that Wilbur wants to fix things, but she can't understand why Velma would stoop so low. Her father tries to comfort her, but she says the experiences of the past few days have helped her to come out of her "bubble" and see the injustices around her. She thinks that people like her, the ones who are different, can't simply sit and wait for fairness to come. They will have to "get up off their father's laps and fight for it." Wilbur tells her he is proud of her and encourages her to act on what she thinks is right, Older people like him and Edna don't see much outside of their own lives, but Tracy's dreams are bigger than anything they had, and they could use a lesson from her in pursuing them. Tracy thanks him and asks him to come back to the house, but he laments that there's nothing he can do since Edna changed the locks. Tracy slyly smiles and offers him the spare key she took from the house before coming down to the jokeshop. Wilbur manages to come back with Tracy and fix things with Edna, much to the delight of both of them.

The next morning, an elated Edna comes to reassure Tracy that things are all right between her and Wilbur, but is horrified to find that Tracy has left the house without telling them where she planned to go. She calls for Wilbur in a panic, hoping he will know where to start looking for her. Being a proactive supporter of racial integration, Tracy had gone out to join Seaweed and Maybelle in their protest demanding equal rights for black Americans. Maybelle warns her that she will never be allowed to dance on the Corny Collins Show again as a consequence of her actions as a white supporter of the protest. Tracy says that she knows this, but if she can't dance with Seaweed and Little Inez beside her, she doesn't want to dance for Corny Collins at all. She and the other protesters begin their peaceful march through the city. A short time later, Edna finds Tracy among Maybelle's supporters. She is relieved to find her, but upset that she left without permission, She tires to convince Tracy to leave the protest by saying Maybelle has plenty of help already, but Tracy will not be moved and promises to stay with Maybelle. Before the argument can escalate further, the protesters find themselves on a direct path to confrontation with a wall of white policemen and cameras from various news networks. Edna is afraid off the cameras, but Tracy tells her there's nothing to do but to keep marching. (Some of the cameras belong to WYZT, as someone has called Velma to inform her of what is going on, and she has demanded that WYZT cover the events in hopes of destroying Tracy once and for all.) Maybelle and the rest all stop in front of the police, who tell her that she and her "little friends" should just head home. Tracy becomes angry and tells the officer not to be rude, but Maybelle warns Tracy to remain calm and hold her temper; she has everything under control. She respectfully but firmly questions the officer as to why the group cannot pass by, they have committed no acts of violence and therefore have the right to continue. The officer turns away from Maybelle in disgust, and Tracy taps him with her picket sign to get his attention and remind him that Maybelle is speaking to him. The officer becomes very angry and begins telling his partners to arrest all the protesters. In the chaos, Edna and Tracy are separated, and Tracy runs away to Penny's for shelter, as she knows the police will want to punish her for "breaking the law" (the media has quickly dramatized the story without checking their sources, so it has spiraled further and further out of control until reporters begin telling their viewers that Tracy has attacked the officer with a knife,) and that her parents' home will be the first place they will search for her. She trusts Penny to protect her in her unused basement, and Penny quickly agrees to help. Things go awry a little while later when Prudy finds Penny hiding "a fugitive." She tells Tracy the police are coming for her and ties Penny up to prevent her from helping Tracy escape. Penny yells for Tracy to go, and she quickly slips out the window.

Back at the Trunblad house, Edna and Wilbur are anxiously waiting to hear news of their daughter. Wilbur tells Edna that he is proud of her and Tracy, but apologizes that they may be "eating beans for the next 10 years" because he had bailed all of Maybelle's protesters out of jail simply because he knew "it was the right thing to do, and Tracy would want me to." Edna tells him that "knights in armor don't come any shinier" than he does, when a knock at their door startles them. Edna instantly runs to answer it, hoping for information about Tracy. She is surprised to find Link waiting outside. He tells Edna that he can't stop worrying about Tracy and wondering if she is safe. He is angry at himself that he hadn't been there to protect "his girl" when he should have been where she needed him. He says he cannot sleep or eat, to which Edna offers to fix Link some pork out of worry that "if he gets any skinnier, he'll starve to death." She invites him in to sit with the Turnblads while they wait.

Meanwhile, Seaweed has managed to sneak into Penny's room. After being bailed out of jail, he had hurried to Penny's house, knowing she would be there, and most likely Tracy as well. Penny is shocked that he would do this for her, but he simply says he is there to rescue his "fair maiden" and kisses her. Penny nearly cries with happiness, and admits she had worried their races would keep her and Seaweed apart, but he promises that won't happen. The rope tied around Penny though; is another matter entirely. He teases her, asking if Prudy was in the navy. Once Penny is freed, she and Seaweed climb out the back window where one of his friends is waiting with a car. Tracy emerges from her hiding spot nearby, and agrees to ride in the trunk to prevent getting caught. Penny hides too, on Seaweed's lap under a blanket so that the police will not suspect. Finally, everyone arrives at the record store above Seaweed's house to rest, but not before Maybelle and Inez find them. All are afraid she will turn Tracy in, but instead she scolds Seaweed for forgetting his manners and not helping Tracy sooner after everything she has done to help them. Tracy says she finds the offer of help extremely generous, but she doesn't want to risk the safety of anyone in the family. Maybelle tells her not to be silly, and changes the subject, asking Seaweed why he brought Penny along. He admits that the two are in love, much to Tracy and Inez's delight, and while Maybelle is happy of them and approves of Penny, she warns them that they will have a lot of trouble from the ranks of racist whites in Baltimore. Penny reminds her that she has already gotten plenty of practice living with her mother. Tracy asks to call her parents and let them know she is safe. Tracy, Wilbur, Edna, and Link work together to make a plan so that Tracy can appear at the Miss Teenage Hairspray pageant to demand integration of the Corny Collins Show.

Later on, Seaweed, Wilbur and other "Negro Day" dancers help smuggle Tracy into the Miss Teenage Hairspray pageant by hiding her inside a large hollow hairspray canister on display outside. The police officers sent to the station's headquarters for security reasons receive a false tip from Edna, which turns out to just be Wilbur in a Tracy wig. The officers find that they have locked themselves out and must use the hairspray can as a battering ram to re-enter the building. When Velma asks what took them so long, one says that "the hairspray battering ram was heavy." Velma is baffled: the cans cannot be heavy because they are hollow. A slit in the side of the canister reveals that the officers had actually carried Tracy directly into the station headquarters. Furious, Velma hurries to ensure Amber's victory by switching the tallies to make it look like the public had voted for her. Just before the winner is announced, Tracy gate-crashes the show, her hair straightened and wearing a checkerboard dress without a petticoat underneath to symbolize racial integration and her separation from her "conformity to the man".

She then proceeds to humiliate Amber, and subsequently paves the way for Little Inez to win the pageant, thus realizing her hopes of integrating the Corny Collins Show, and quite possibly pushing the movement for racial integration in the rest of the country.

In the finale, Link, who has come to terms with his love for Tracy, and her share a kiss, cementing their new relationship. Penny and Seaweed have confirmed their relationship as well, and both are given the chance to dance on the show as a team. (Needless to say, Prudy nearly has a heart attack when she hears Penny proclaiming that she is a "Checkerboard Chick" before she kisses Seaweed on live television.) Edna overcomes her insecurity and joins in the dancing despite the cameras, much to Wilbur's delight. Velma's interference is discovered, and she is promptly fired, with Maybelle hired as her replacement. In the end, Amber is somewhat reformed, and (after getting intrigued by a handsome black dancer whom later tap that ass dances with in the finale) tries to convince her mother to accept the fact that she lost. She can still dance on the show if Corny will have her, and she at least knows Link is happy, so its not the end of the world. (In truth, Amber seems happier too, freed from her mother's impossible expectations and lies.) Little Inez is promoted to lead dancer in honor of her pageant victory. Tracy has not only been given her dream, but helped Inez find hers too.o

Songs (2007 film) Edit

  • Good Morning Baltimore (performed by Tracy)
  • Run and Tell That (performed by Seaweed and Inez)
  • I Know Where I've Been (performed by Maybelle and protesters)
  • You're Timeless to Me (performed by Edna and Wilbur)
  • Miss Baltimore Crabs (performed by Velma)
  • It Takes Two (performed by Link)
  • The Nicest Kids in Town (performed by Corny and Corny Collins Show cast)
  • Big, Blonde, and Beautiful (performed by Edna and Maybelle, reprise performed by Edna and Velma)
  • Hairspray (performed by Corny Collins)
  • Ladies' Choice (performed by Link)
  • I Can Hear The Bells (performed by Tracy)
  • Welcome to the '60s (performed by Tracy and Edna)
  • Without Love (performed by Tracy, Penny, Seaweed, Link, and others)
  • New Girl in Town (performed by Amber, Tammy, and Brenda 1st version, the Dynamites 2nd version)
  • You Can't Stop the Beat (performed by the entire main cast)
  • So Far to Go (performed by the entire main cast)
  • Mama I'm a Big Girl Now (performed by Tracy, Penny, and Amber)

Actresses Edit

Tracy was played by actress Ricki Lake in the 1988 film, whilst in the 2007 remake, she was played by Nikki Blonsky. The 2007 film was actually Blonsky's debut as a professional actress. Lake also made a cameo appearance in the 2007 film. With Hairspray Live! in 2016, she was played by Maddie Baillio.

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