Michelle Aguilar talks about her 'The Biggest Loser: Families' win
By John Bracchitta, 12/18/2008
Michelle Aguilar didn't want to count her chickens before they hatched, but she had a good feeling.
As the third and last finalist to weigh in on The Biggest Loser: Families' scale during Tuesday's season finale of the NBC reality weight-loss show, The 26-year-old assistant director from Ft. Worth, TX was aware that she needed to lose more than 100 pounds to win the competition.
However, Aguilar told Reality TV World in a media conference call the day after her victory that she was optimistic that she had shed more than enough weight to win.
"I know that my scale at home told me [that] I had enough, but The Biggest Loser scale's a little bit different and I didn't know how accurate mine would be," Aguilar told Reality TV World." I was trying to hold back, and yet still be very excited. [But] I knew I was going to be very close to winning the whole thing."
Aguilar did lose enough weight to claim the show's $250,000 grand prize, dropping 132 pounds for a 45.45% weight-loss percentage after starting the competition at 242 pounds. While she told Reality TV World that she had been confident that her physical strength would keep her in the running to win, Aguilar said that it was mastering the mental aspects of her workout routine that had been her bigger concern since she left TheBiggest Loser ranch to workout at home.
"I obviously knew I was strong enough and had improved a lot in myself already. It was whether or not I thought I was strong enough," Aguilar told Reality TV World. "Staying in the mental capacity of saying 'You're strong enough and you're worth it' is a lot harder than even doing the physical workout, and when you're in [the gym] for four-to-six hours a day and you see hundreds of people come and go you're like 'Why can't I be like them, why can't I just do an hour and leave?' It really easy to kinda of flip out of that mind set."
"When you're on the ranch and you're surrounded by people doing the same thing you're doing it's a little bit easier, and you can stay a little bit more competitive if you're watching your competition," she added. "Mentally when you come home, for me, was probably the toughest part of the show."
Aguilar said that one thing she had gone out of her way to make "a big deal about" was her decision to wear her Black team shirt to the final weigh-in instead of her original Pink team shirt that she had worn in the show's earlier rounds. She told reporters that her decision to stick with the black shirt was due to the significance that team gameplay had taken on throughout a majority of the second half of The Biggest Loser: Families and her desire to do her Black team proud.
"When we went into blue and black shirts the game completely changed. Just... their demeanor changed. Once Bob's team had blue shirts on they [became] different people," Aguilar told reporters. "I don't feel I changed who I was when I put the black shirt on, but I felt like I began to represent more than just myself... I was like 'Okay, this means a lot to me."
"Getting to the end and being the only person of the [Black team] remaining, I wanted to make sure I represented that well, and I wanted to be a part of that [Black team alumni]," she added.
When it came to her Blue team opponents, Aguilar said that she had felt like she was "going a little bit crazy" as she observed the gameplay tactics used by Blue team members Vicky Vilcan, a 37-year-old anesthetist from Houma, LA, and Heba Salama, a 30-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative from Raleigh, NC.
"[I was like] 'Is it just me? Am I the only one who thinks they're a little bit crazy,'" Aguilar told reporters. "Then as soon as the show started airing I realized 'No, I'm not crazy" because they were that way [I remembered them] to be. I wasn't so much shocked as I was just relieved to know I wasn't crazy."
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Aguilar also cited her background in television production to say that she felt Vicky had been portrayed accurately on the show.
"I actually come from a television background as an assistant director and an assistant producer, and one thing I've learned is that you can't make that kind of stuff up," Aguilar told Reality TV World.
However, she added that Vicky's naivety regarding how television shows were created likely did not help her -- especially when it came to her less than flattering confessional interviews.
"I think because Vicky was such a fan of the show going into it... I think she [felt that] everybody probably played the way she played [on the show] and that they just didn't show it. So to hear her coming out of interviews on the show and saying things like 'Oh they're never gonna use my interview' in my mind I'm thinking as a producer 'That's exactly what I'm gonna use,'" Aguilar told Reality TV World. "I think it was just a little bit of her being naive and not knowing exactly how the TV world works [too]."
Aguilar also said that, while it ended up working in their favor nonetheless, that she had not been surprised by America's overwhelming vote to send Ed Brantley, a 31-year-old chef from Raleigh, NC, into the Final 3 instead of his wife Heba.
"When we were on the ranch and they had come back in from doing their confessionals where they were asking America to vote for either [Ed] or Heba, they came in and [Heba said] 'Oh, we told America to vote for me.' A 'don't worry about it' kinda thing," Aguilar told reporters. "I just kinda said to myself 'Well that's probably a bad idea, I think that may backfire.' Nobody in America likes to be told what to do."
Having achieved her goal of losing her excess weight, Aguilar told reporters that after seeing the long and hard road that she had taken to lose the weight that she would not allow herself to go ever go back to the way she used to be. She later told Reality TV World that she didn't have plans to lose any more weight on purpose, but rather wanted to focus on getting her body more toned instead.
"Right now I'd like to not just maintain where I'm at, but I'd like to get stronger. I think my body right now is in really good shape and I'd like to tone up, I'd like to lean out," Aguilar told Reality TV World. As a girl, everything still kind of jiggles a little bit, and I'd like it to be a little bit firmer. Whether that means I gain a few pounds or lose a few pounds is irrelevant."