When Fiona Falkiner entered the public eye in 2005 as a contestant on the reality weight-loss show The Biggest Loser, she admits she suffered from "a very negative self-image" and thought that losing weight would be the key to transforming her life.
I thought it’d be easy, with the whole nation watching and under the sharp eye of the trainers, I was guaranteed to succeed. And I did. It was tough but, three months later, I left the house 30 kilos lighter and wearing a size 12, instead of 20," she recalls.
However despite being thinner, Fiona admits that she was still just as insecure as she had ever been, "It didn't take me long to realise being confident had nothing to do with my size," she says.
Two years later, Fiona stepped back from the spotlight to focus on her career and stopped focusing on what everyone else wanted her to be.
"Eventually I got to a healthy, comfortable size 16. I stopped caring what other people thought and everything else fell into place."
With her newfound confidence, Fiona decided it was time to follow her passion and she enrolled in a make-up course before deciding to give modelling a go.
In 2009 she signed up to modelling agency Bella, and before long she was modelling full time.
"As I posed for the camera, I had to pinch myself. But I didn’t owe my success to my dress size. I’d learnt to love myself.”
As her modelling career took off, she started sharing the story of her journey to acceptance, showing women that life’s too short to spend it hating yourself.
“I started receiving messages from women all over the world. Some of the most important ones I’ve been sent are from the mums of young girls. You’re someone I can point to and tell my daughter ‘that is a healthy, happy body,’ one wrote. It’s so rewarding to know I’m helping build self-esteem in women old and young.
“Today I’m confident and so proud of who I am. It’s hard to believe there was a time when I hated my body and how it made me feel. The old me would’ve been too scared to take risks and afraid of change but with my new attitude, I moved to the UK last year. It’s the best thing I’ve done. I was signed to a modelling agency in London and I’m now the face of a top plus-size range called Yours Clothing. None of it would’ve happened if I hadn’t started loving myself.”
That’s Fiona has joined that's life!’s Realvolution, to inspire women to let go of their insecurities and start celebrating everything that makes them amazing!
“Do it for yourself, no one else. Together, we can show the world that being real is perfect,” says Fiona.
As told to Smita Mistry