AMBER Davies admits she still has to pinch herself at the way her career has taken off.

Two years ago she was attending scores of auditions having recently completed her studies in musical theatre hoping the get her first big break.

Then came an invitation to appear on Love Island, the cult reality dating show. At 20 she became the series’ youngest winner along with partner Kem Cetinay.

She featured constantly in the tabloids and celebrity magazines but Amber was determined to be known as a musical theatre performer rather than a reality TV star.

This weekend she completes seven months in London’s West End where she has been starring alongside Louise Redknapp and Brian Conley in the hit musical 9 to 5 and next month will be bringing the show to Manchester as it embarks on its first UK tour.

“It has been an amazing seven months in London,” said Amber, now 22. “But I know for many people getting down to see a show is just too expensive so I’m just so happy I can take it round the country.

“When I got offered the job I couldn’t believe it and I still have to pinch myself even now. After all this was my first job.”

Amber is quick to put down the critics who question her right to be in the show.

“A lot of people have said that I’m only in the show to bring some publicity to the show or to put bums on seats. But I have worked my entire life to be on in the West End. You are going to get those people who just assume things about me but I love proving people wrong.

“I’d just say don’t pass judgement until you’ve watched the show - then you’re entitled to make your opinions.”

9 to 5 the Musical is based on the hit movie which starred Dolly Parton. Amber plays Judy, the role taken by Jane Fonda in the movie, one of three office workers who get revenge on their sexist boss.

The country music superstar has been heavily involved in bringing the show to the West End and in the subsequent tour acting as executive producer.

“It’s very much her baby,” said Amber. “If we wanted to change a line in the script it would have to go to her for approval, she has been so heavily involved.”

Amber first met Dolly Parton through the ITV2 series Amber and Dolly which saw her being flown to Hollywood to meet the music legend.

“I still can’t quite believe that Dolly Parton knows who I am,” laughed Amber. “Dolly Parton knows my name. I think she took me under her wing a little bit - she was just so caring and so nice.

“She was amazing. We all got a personal letter from her after the press night of the show saying she was so proud of us. Considering how successful she is, she is so down to earth.”

The end of the London run means that some of the cast will be leaving the show before it goes on tour.

“It’s going to be very emotional splitting up but we are taking a great bunch of people out on the road,” she said.

Among the cast staying with the show will be Louise Redknapp.

“She’s like my older sister,” said Amber. “We have so much fun together but when I need that real life advice she’s got it she’s experienced every part of this business.”

Amber also has her older sister Jade- a highly successful West End performer in her own right - to turn to.

“She was my role model, the one I looked up to when I was younger,” said Amber. “She made me realise that the West End is an achievable goal when she walked straight into Les Miserables.

With both sisters making careers in musical theatre, does Amber worry that sibling rivalry could spoil their relationship.

“We might look very similar but we are two very different performers,” she said. “There is no rivalry, we are like each other’s number one fans. Jade is more suited to shows like Phantom and Les Mis whereas I like to get the audience up on their feet with lighter, fun shows.

“There are so many shows I want to do - anything that’s just fun and gets the audience going. Nothing is more rewarding than watching people having fun.”

Given that theatre is where she wants to be, does Amber have any regrets about her time on Love Island?

“Love Island doesn’t define who I am,” she said. “It was choice I made in my life. I took a risk and it has paid off. I just went on Love Island and I happened to win it and now I can pursue my dreams at a different level which is unreal.

“When I got approached to go on the show, I just thought it was a once in a lifetime experience and couldn’t turn it down.

“I have no regrets. It really changed me as a human being. I have grown up a lot.

“I’m one of those people that thinks everything happens for a reason and that I was meant to go on Love Island. It was an amazing experience.

“I have a talent and I work hard and I’m happy I can go and show that to people around the country. Now I get to go out on tour with this great show and visit my favourite city Manchester. It’s a little bit of home for me really.”

9 to 5 the Musical, Palace Theatre, Manchester, Tuesday, September 17 to Saturday, September 21. Details from