'Shedding for the Wedding': Sara Rue's before and after inspires altar-bound couples
"I remember when I was shooting my big reveal commercial, there was a life-size cut out of me from my first commercial," she tells Zap2it. The commercial can be seen below.
"My makeup artist took a shot of me standing next to it with her iPhone, and when I went home that night she emailed it to me, and I was like, 'Oh my god.' I said to my fiance, 'That wasn't life size, was it? Were they exaggerating?' He said, 'Nope. That was you.'"
During filming of "Shedding for the Wedding," Rue says she saw herself not as a fitness or lifestyle coach, but as a cheerleader for the contestants -- couples are competing in a weight-loss challenge with their final prize being their dream wedding.
Rue can relate to the unique struggle of losing weight in front of a national audience. "I think [the scrutiny] makes it harder at first, because it's so invasive. I remember when I first started Jenny Craig I was like, 'What did I sign up for?' You don't know if it's going to work, you don't know if you're going to be able to stick to it," she says.
Later, after she'd begun to see initial results, her reaction to the public probe became more positive. "Something just clicks and it becomes a responsibility that you like having. I liked feeling like maybe I was inspiring someone to take control of their life or to change something they're not comfortable with. If I have a part in changing someone's life, how amazingly cool is that?"
While on the show, the contestants had the added pressure of ever-present cameras, but none of the positive public feedback that fueled Rue's weight-loss journey, so she felt particularly sympathetic for them.
"It was hard because they were in a vacuum. We were shooting the show, but it wasn't on air yet, so it wasn't like they were getting the public response, like 'Oh, keep it up, you're inspiring me.' They'll get it now, though, and I think that'll be really good. That'll help them keep the weight off, because it's a two-prong thing, you have to lose the weight, and then you have to keep the weight off."
While Rue's own upcoming wedding did serve as a motivating factor in her own weight loss, there's a bigger picture to keep in mind, she says. "Wedding dresses are tough. They're not that flattering," she laughs. "But in the end, a better motivator is that you're starting a life with somebody. I for one didn't want to start a life with somebody feeling sad or feeling like I was hiding. I wanted to be able to be really present. I hope that's what the contestants will realize."
Currently, the contestants are at home, learning to lose weight and keep it off on their own, without their trainers, the cameras, or their personal perky cheerleader. Rue hasn't seen their final transformations, but she's looking forward to the final weigh-in more than anyone.
"I'm so excited," she practically squeals. "The producers told me that there are a few really incredible transformations. I'm really excited for them, because you have to want it really bad to go on national television and to sign up for this. It's hard, you know? But I think it's something to really celebrate, because it's incredibly brave."
Catch the "Shedding for the Wedding" premiere Wednesday, Feb. 23 after "America's Next Top Model" at 9 p.m. EST on "The CW."