On Tuesday July 15, 2014, ABC network aired the Extreme Weight Loss episode of a dynamic freelance makeup artist from Atlanta, Georgia, who always had dreams of competing in beauty pageants, but was crushed when judges began to discriminate against her because of her weight. This young woman is Brandi Mallory, an alumna of Clark Atlanta University and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated.
At the age of 29 and weight of 329 pounds, Mallory was living in fear of something happening to herself and felt like she needed to make a change. Mallory didn’t necessarily know where to start, but she reached out to outside help and tried out for EWL.“It all started with me wanting to make a change for health reasons,” says Mallory.
Once Mallory got in touch with EWL, she underwent a process that included applications, casting calls, a background check, and more. “It’s longer waiting to find out if you make the show than the actually work that it takes to try to be on the show,” says Mallory.
In case you missed the episode and have never seen EWL, the entire process is a documentation of a year in the shoes of the contestant. There are three phases (90 days each) where at the end, the contestant weighs in and is expected to meet their goals that are set by their trainer. However, at the beginning of the process, the contestant spends the first three months with trainer and transformation specialist, Chris Powell and his wife Heidi Powell. After those 90 days are up, the contestant weighs in and then travels back to their hometown to do the work without the Powell’s being there everyday.
In Mallory’s episode, she missed her goal at every phrase, but didn’t let it stop her shine. According to ABC, Mallory became Chris Powell’s first client to complete The Half Ironman Triathlon, which is a total of 70.3 miles in the forms of swimming, biking and running, all under eight hours. Mallory also had the opportunity to meet and train with Miss America 2014, Nina Davuluri, and by her final weigh-in superseded her confidence by shedding 153 pounds in 365 days.
Mallory explains that the most difficult part about being on EWL was mentally dealing with not meeting her goals. “I’m a very competitive person and so I wanted to make sure that going into it I gave it everything that I had, and because I was doing that and then I wasn’t hitting my goals, I was frustrated and you get tired mentally. I think the triathlon kind of spoke for my journey… barely making it, but never giving up, and at the end I was triumphant,” says Mallory.
Now after transforming her body, she now has more self-assurance and has seen significant changes in her career and life in general.
“I’d say the biggest change is in my confidence level of doing makeup with how I feel. I don’t sweat like it used to, my back doesn’t hurt the way it used to with standing up and doing makeup, and I’m just a lot more confident in my craft because I’m a lot more confident in myself,” says Mallory.
At 329 pounds, Mallory found it difficult to find clothes that fit and matched her quirky style. She shopped at any and everywhere that she could find something. When she was in high school, she wore Lane Bryant and Avenue, but as she grew older she developed her own sense of style and realized that the clothes at those stores made her look a little older compared to what she wanted to look like.
Now, at 176 pounds, Mallory has switched it up a bit. “I think the biggest difference now is that my mind and my body can actually match up, and that was the goal that I’ve wanted for so long because I have a difference sense of style,” says Mallory. “I don’t even go into major name brand stores because they would even have the plus size section and there wouldn’t be a great deal to chose from. I just like going to boutiques and trying things on.”
With this boost of self-esteem and new healthy body, Mallory has set tons of goals for herself. She plans on creating her own blog called ‘Beauty Mark,’ which will focus on health and beauty. “Since I’m a makeup artist, you’ll find beauty tips on there, you’ll find makeup tips on there, products, but you’re also going to get the inspirational and motivational aspect. You’ll see my everyday struggle continuing this weight loss thing. It’s going to be all about transformation and the beauty of transformation,” says Mallory.
She also plans on continuing to put herself out there as a makeup artist and booking different jobs and continuing to grow in her craft. Health wise, Mallory wants to test her ability and compete in more runs in Atlanta to keep herself moving. Ultimately, she sets out to complete a full Ironman.
We applaud Brandi Mallory for her courage, persistence and inspirational story!
Check out a clip of Brandi Mallory and Miss America 2014 here.