A plus-size model who once earned up to £2,000 a day has found herself out of work after dropping three dress sizes.
Rebecca Exton-Russell, 37, was formally a size 18 and posed in campaigns for major brands including Marks & Spencer, QVC and Dove.
But the Derby-based model was secretly ‘repulsed’ by her body, so she checked into a military-style fitness camp and lost just over two stone in two months – going down from 14 stone to just below 12 stone.
Rebecca lost a further stone herself after she left No 1 Boot Camp in Norfolk – a reality TV star favourite – dropping to 11 stone, and slipping into size 12 outfits.
‘I really don’t mind losing all the work I once had at all because I am so much happier as a slimmer person,’ she says.
Indeed, getting the toned stomach she had always craved meant her work completely dried up. Rebecca was now was too slim to fit into any of the outfits her clients expected her to wear.
‘I realised that I had lost all this weight but I effectively made myself redundant from my job as a model,’ she said.
‘I didn’t mind because although I was always happy to smile for the cameras, I was desperately unhappy as a size 18.
‘I had very little self-esteem and had lost all my confidence. My body repulsed me. I knew that I needed to turn around my life and properly get in shape.
‘Now I have the body that I always wanted, I hope to get work as a slimmer model.’
For years Rebecca, who is single, was happy to cash in on her fuller figure by working as a plus-size model.
She did a number of high profile campaigns which could earn as much as £2,000 for a day’s shoot as a size 16 or size 18.
Rebecca appeared in promotions for High Street names like Ikea, Perfect Pizza and Butlins, who were keen to target customers of all sizes.
But despite her success as a model, Rebecca had been battling her weight for years, fluctuating between 13 and 14 stone.
She would often lose weight by following fad diets, but as quickly as she dropped the pounds they would pile back on, which was always good news for her modelling career.
In spite of this, Rebecca knew she would never be happy unless she got into shape once and for all, so she checked into No 1 Boot Camp.
Made In Chelsea stars Spencer Matthews and Binky Felstead both lost a stone in a week at the same camp, and Rebecca was at No 1 with James ‘Arg’ Argent from The Only Way Is Essex, who slimmed down after going through a spell in rehab.
‘James was a lovely guy who mucked in with the rest of us and had no airs or graces,’ she said.
‘It’s no surprise that he has lost so much weight because he was prepared to really knuckle down and get in shape.’
As for herself, Rebecca was stunned when she lost 10lb in her first week.
‘That was all the encouragement I needed,’ she remarked. ‘All the pain I was going through was worth it. The trainers were very strict but very supportive and motivating.’
Rebecca left the camp and knew immediately that she would never be able to return to her job as plus-size model.
‘I tried to carry on for a bit but it was never going to be work,’ she said.
‘All the dresses I was being asked to model were way too big for me. They were hanging off me and I knew that chapter in my life had come to end.’
Now Rebecca has set up her own jewellery and gift business, Rebecca Louise, which she runs online and in pop-up shops across the UK.
She is launching a new jewellery collection soon which is inscribed with the same self-belief quotes she feels helped her through her own tough times.
‘My weight still fluctuates a bit,’ Rebecca admits. ‘I like to allow myself treats and nights out from time to time, but when I put on three pounds, I know it’s time to stop and knuckle down.’
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