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Thursday 1 March 2012

Woman's Day - Mel B: 'I've lost 15kg!' - interview

This week's cover of Woman's Day had me totally intrigued.

Not only because I am always [whether I admit it or not] drawn to a weight loss story.

But because a good friend and I were discussing this very thing last week - namely, 'body after baby' stories.

You know the ones: stars who have just borne their spawn get on that treadmill quicker than you could ask, "How's your newborn settling at home?"

This story is a little different - and dammit, I am kinda inspired.

Mel B - aka Scary Spice, and now an honourary Aussie, it seems, after her turn as a judge 'X Factor' Australia, and just signing on as 'Dancing With The Stars' Australia co-host - has lost 15kgs in 20 weeks with the help of Jenny Craig.

And she's all styled up, newly fringed, and look rather fine.

I spoke with deputy editor of Woman's Claire Isaac about why they chose Mel B as this week's cover girl.

"There are lots of reasons; her weight loss is phenomenal and she looks amazing. Also, she's just such a likeable person, and so fun and honest. When she first got to Australia, it was obvious she was loud and brash, and perhaps some weren't sure how to take her. But she has just been so embraced by the public and TV viewers, and now signing up with 'Dancing' she's become a fixture here. In fact, she's absolutely loving living here long-term.

"And also, you just know that she'll tell you the truth. A lot of the time you see weight loss stories on the cover, you think, 'well you know, you had a personal trainer, and you didn't eat any food, and you didn't struggle at all and you didn't want anyone to see you when you were bigger and hadn't lost the baby weight.'.

"And she hasn't done that at all. She has been really honest with her struggle, and the extra weight around her tummy... she's like a normal woman. So all these elements went towards making her the perfect cover choice.

"And also, she's funny, she looks beautiful, amazing, and really hot... and we wanted to show that off," adds Claire.

"Since I've been here at Woman's Day, it seems that everyone in the world has been on Jenny Craig. And obviously it works. And that's the thing: you pick up a copy of the magazine and you look at the photos and read about how they did it... and it makes you want to do it too.

"I'm sure the way she applies herself to the program is not the same way a busy mum may approach it - the environments around Mel B compared to the everyday mum are different. I'm sure she'd have someone whipping up healthy salads to go with meals, and encouraging her to exercise. Which is important for anyone.

"But at the end of the day, she's just doing what everyone else is doing. And I think that's kinda cool.

"With the before shot on the cover - yes, she looks bigger but she still looks amazing. She just got out there, at whatever size, looking comfortable in her skin," says Claire. And I can vouch for that. Mel B brushed right past me at the Kardashian event at Hugo's a few months ago, and although she was heavier, she still look stunning and confident. "It's just that now she looks - and feels - even better. She's never been really been afraid to get out there," adds Claire.

"It's funny, the whole concept of 'body after baby' has become such a 'thing'. But Mel B hasn't done that it in that way. She's been real about her journey and has done it slowly - about a kilo a week, essentially. Which is a healthy weight loss. So it's something that's workable and achievable for anyone. And she still looks like a healthy woman, and she 's not putting unnecessary pressure on anyone to try to look like that as well. She did what works for her. And that's really important."

I ask Claire how post-baby issues sell and resonate with the public.

"People want to read these stories. Most women aspire to getting back to what they were, at some point and to some degree, after they've had their baby.

"And anything that tells you how to do that will sell. Anything where you get to learn the secrets and tips is something that resonates with many women.

"But it's something you must be wanting to do. You know, I've read weight loss stories and I'm eating a chocolate bar while i am reading it!" laughs Claire. Oh, I'm hearing that...

"But it's very inspirational to see women succeed at what they've set out to achieve, if that's what they want to do."

Watch Mel B's new Jenny Craig TV ad here (whoever did her styling needs big kudos... she looks fantastic in those clothes).

The Woman's Day Mel B issue is on sale now, until Sunday.

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