Adams attended Douglas County High School. She was not academically inclined, but was interested in the creative arts and sang in the school choir. Although she competed in track and gymnastics, she harbored ambitions of becoming a ballerina and trained as an apprentice at the local David Taylor Dance Company. She disliked high school and kept mostly to herself. After graduation, she moved to Atlanta with her mother. She did not go to college, which disappointed her parents, and she later regretted not pursuing higher education. At 18, Adams realized she was not gifted enough to be a professional ballerina, and found musical theater "much better suited to [her] personality". One of her first stage roles was in a community theater production of Annie, which she did on a volunteer basis. To support herself, she worked as a greeter at a Gap store. She also worked as a waitress at Hooters, where she had to wear tight gym outfits and deal with misbehaving customers. She left the job soon after she saved enough to buy a used car.
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