A suburban woman made her reality TV debut on Sunday night as part of Season 14 of NBC's weight loss show "The Biggest Loser."
Danni Allen, 26 of Wheeling, is a contestant on the show, whose latest season begins this week.
Allen grew up in Mundelein and graduated from Mundelein High School in 2005, before recently moving to Wheeling, said her sister Nikki. Danni graduated from Clemson University with a degree in architecture and a minor in business administration and has been working as an advertising account coordinator in Lincolnshire.
Allen is still filming the show and her family can't reveal how far she makes it in the reality competition, but they said they are proud of her progress and excited for everyone to see her transformation.
According to her NBC biography, Allen's starting weight for the show was 258 pounds.
"I really want to start truly living my life. I'm tired of staying in on a Friday night because I feel like I don't look good," she said in the bio.
"I know what a toll it takes on your life and if I can help others, mentally and physically, it would make this journey mean even more," she said.
Allen is one of 15 adult contestants who will work out with trainers, learn to eat healthy and compete in challenges each week. This season the show added the twist of having three young contestants to tackle the issue of childhood obesity.
Danni left for filming in California at the end of September and has only been able to keep in touch with family through snail mail and occasional text messages.
"She is such a strong-willed person, so it's great to see her pushing herself and going outside her comfort zone," Nikki said.
Nikki said her sister's motto is, "I can't be a better me for others until I'm a better me for myself," a message she expects to see her sister spread while on the show.
Allen also has a passion for singing, but told NBC that she declines most offers to sing because she is self-conscious about her weight.
Nikki said weight has been a struggle for both her and her sister for many years, but seeing Danni commit to getting healthy has inspired her to get in shape as well.
Part Two of "The Biggest Loser" Season 14 premiere airs at 7 tonight on NBC.