Daily Herald - Suburban Chicago's source for news This copy is for personal, non-commercial use. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution you can: 1) Use the "Reprint" button found on the top and bottom of every article, 2) Visit reprints.theygsgroup.com/dailyherald.asp for samples and additional information or 3) Order a reprint of this article now.
Article updated: 3/26/2013 6:48 PM

'Biggest Loser' winner happy to be home in Wheeling

By Jessica Cilella

To say life has been a whirlwind recently for Danni Allen is an understatement.

More than week after winning "The Biggest Loser," the 26-year-old from Wheeling said her routine finally is somewhat returning to normal. She arrived back at her apartment Friday and has spent some much-needed time with friends and family in between media interviews and, of course, working out.

"I'm excited to be back in Chicago," she said. "I feel like I've got some sense of normalcy (being back) with the people who supported me."

Allen said she had about three minutes to spend with her family in California after the NBC weight-loss show's finale Monday night before she was sent off on a red-eye flight to New York.

She said she landed about 20 minutes before she had to go live on the "Today" show and then spent the rest of her visit doing radio interviews and visiting other TV shows, including "Access Hollywood" and her personal favorite, "The Wendy Williams Show."

"She is so much fun," Allen said, adding that Williams gave her a pink track jacket with a message promoting her show on the back. "She said she was making me her human billboard."

By Wednesday night Allen was back on a flight to Los Angeles, where she was a guest on multiple radio shows and spent hours on the phone doing more interviews.

After landing in Chicago Friday night, one of the first things Allen did was attend an 8 a.m. spin class Saturday.

"It's trying to fit (working out) into the schedule now," she said, adding with a laugh that she was changing into workout clothes in her car as she spoke.

Since returning, Allen has seen marquees at local high schools and other locations around Wheeling and her hometown of Mundelein displaying congratulatory messages.

"It was such a nice homecoming to see all that," she said. "I am loving my hometown and my community."

Saturday was Allen's six-month anniversary of finding out she would be on the NBC reality show. She celebrated by going to Woodfield Mall with her mom and sister.

"You can only wear athletic wear so much," she said, adding that they tried on lots of spring dresses.

Besides splurging on a Michael Kors watch, Allen said her purchases came from casual stores, including JCPenney, H&M and DSW Shoe Warehouse. She was excited to see all her clothes ranged from a size 2 to 6.

"Just because the $250,000 is coming my way does not mean I'm going to spend where I don't need to be," she said, adding that she is hoping to use some of the money to pay it forward.

Allen said she is toying with the idea of starting a business that could incorporate the sale of natural, organic and gluten-free foods with an area for fitness, providing a one-stop shop for Chicago-area residents who are aiming for a healthy lifestyle.

"This is a lifestyle that is not hard by any means," she said, adding that she hopes to become a strong business woman and role model for people trying to lose weight. "Once you feel the effects, it's undescribable."

While she continues brainstorming business ideas, Allen has returned to her job at Camping World in Lincolnshire, where she will be taking on the role of corporate nutritional liaison. She said the position will allow her a chance to spread her knowledge about nutrition and fitness to her co-workers.

Allen said she will start training May 1 to run the Chicago Marathon with the NBC 5 team. She also is considering running for multiple charities later in the year, and she hopes to raise $121,000 -- $1,000 for every pound she lost -- for whichever charities she chooses.

During the last week of June, Allen will stay at the new Biggest Loser resort in Itasca, where she will work out with guests and share her story. She also has received multiple advertising offers, but she's being careful in selecting who she'll work with.

"I'm never going to endorse anything I don't believe in," she said.

While she now has the attitude that the sky is the limit, Allen said despite rumors, one thing she will not be doing is starring on any dating shows.

"I think I may take a hiatus on reality television for a little bit," she said.

Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.