"I'm really comfortable in my own skin," said Sparks in the June 1 issue of People. "I learned that I'm not ever going to be a size 2. I would look so weird as a size 2. Somebody would blow and I would fall right over. It just wouldn't be healthy."
Sparks wasn't always so sure about her appearance, as the Glendale, AZ-native was reportedly 5-feet, 10-inches and a size 12 by the time she reached junior high school. To mask her size, she said she tried everything from hunching to wearing oversized clothing.
"I stood out everywhere," Sparks told People. "I'd look at my friends who were just naturally tiny, and maybe they weren't even a size 2, but they were smaller than me and that was good enough. I was like, 'Oh, why can't I look like that?'"
While dieting may have seemed like the simple solution, Sparks said it just wasn't for her.
"I like food too much to do it," she told People. "I would try, like, 'Hey I'm going to diet and I'll be a size 8 by the end of the summer,' but it never worked out."
Frequently searching in vain to find cloths that both fit and flattered her figure, Sparks said she and her mom stumbled across a newly launched plus-size store called Torrid at a local mall.
"It was like angels - 'ahhhhhhhh!' - shining down on it because it's sizes 12 and up," explained Sparks to People. "They have clothes for girls who aren't an average size so they can totally feel cute and flirty and still keep up with the latest trends."
Prior to auditioning for Idol's sixth-season in Seattle, WA last summer, Sparks actually landed a modeling gig with Torrid.
"I think it really helped boost her self-esteem and made her realize she's beautiful as she is," Sparks' grandmother, Pam Weidmann, told People.
That confidence must have carried over to the Idol audition, as Sparks eventually became one of the sixth season's semifinalists. Once the show's stylists started making suggestions on what Sparks should don for each performance episode and results show, she said she began to be even more accepting of her body as is.
"I liked to wear sleeves because they would cover up my arms," she told People about how she dressed prior to Idol. "[When Idol stylists would make suggestions] I'd go, 'This dress is way too beautiful. If I add sleeves it will ruin it.' So I just got over it."
Still taller than most of her fellow Idol 6 finalists -- as well as the show's host, Ryan Seacrest -- Sparks newly found self confidence is evident to those who know her best.
"It was huge to see her confidence level grow... She's standing taller now," her mom Jodi told People.
(Photo credit Fox)
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