What's changed for Bartlett's "Biggest Loser"
Michael Ventrella couldn't hide his smile last week as he met with members of the Bartlett Women's Club. Ventrella won last year's season nine of NBC's "The Biggest Loser."
The trimmed-down Bartlett native returned home and is back living with his family. His mother, Maria Ventrella, also talked with the crowd about weight-loss tips and how her son's life has changed. While he's still grounded (he recognized me from past interviews and gave me a hug when I entered the room), things have changed. First of all, Michael was sporting a new haircut. He did it himself. "I've got no time to go to the salon," he told me. Another change is the Ventrellas have an assistant. Someone to hold Maria's purse and to help set up tables for autographs.
Michael Ventrella remains eager to make use of his celebrity. He plans on compiling a cookbook filled with healthy Italian eats. But he's got to wait until later this year. NBC doesn't want his book competing with their own "The Biggest Loser"-branded merchandise.
Winning the $250,000 prize money didn't instantly make him rich. There's taxes and loans to pay off. And while he pledges to keep fit, being off the show means he's no longer a slave to the scale. But he's retained his 38-inch waistline, making it easier for him to breathe and enjoy being back home. And he's kept his smile.