A contestant trying to win it all by losing the most, one NMU graduate has received the chance of a lifetime to live a healthier tomorrow.
Cassandra Sturos, 25, is one of six contestants (including her grandmother, Nancy) on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.”
In this season, all of the contestants are from Michigan.
“Each week has been this epiphany of, ‘Oh my gosh you’re stronger than you’ve ever been,’” Sturos said.
Sturos proved she was taking the competition seriously with a second place finish in the debut challenge when one team was sent home before any of the 20 contestants had a chance to enter the “Biggest Loser Campus.”
“The Biggest Loser” is a contest won by competing in fitness challenges to promote weight loss and healthy habits.
They are in their 13th season.
Sturos said what makes “The Biggest Loser” different from other shows is each week contestants are fighting to not only stay on the show, but also to acheive their goals of losing more and more weight.
“I’ve been doing diets my whole life, practically,” Sturos said. “Losing weight is no joke. It’s very difficult.”
Sturos said weight is something she has always struggled with, especially during college.
She said her nervousness was typically the cause of her timid approach to exercising on a regular basis.
Sturos suggests overcoming one fear at a time for those on campus battling with weight loss.
“I remember I tried fencing and being so scared,” Sturos said. “Trying it out and doing it, it was such an accomplishment. Even today, taking that fencing class at NMU is one of my biggest accomplishments.”
Sturos said her determination for losing weight started after becoming interested in living in New York City to fulfill her writing dreams. However, her weight was causing a lack of confidence to achieve her goal.
“I’m excited for both of them,” said Savannah Sturos, sister of Cassandra and granddaughter of Nancy. “It’s just an inspiration for my whole entire family. When you set your mind to something, good things can happen.”
Savannah said she got a chance to see her sister earlier this season because of a break in the show.
“She already looked really good, like a new person,” Savannah said. “We were all dumbfounded when she first walked into the door.”
While at NMU, Cassandra lived on campus in Gant Hall and was news editor at “The North Wind.”
Sturos said she fell in love with the landscape throughout the Marquette area.
Sturos graduated with a bachelors degree in English writing in 2009.
“She has inspired me,” said Emily Schmitz, Sturos’ former roommate. “Not just me, but everyone. People come up to me and are like, ‘I got a gym membership because of Cassandra.’”
Schmitz said she has always believed in Sturos, but seeing her compete each week has really shown that Sturos has finally started believing in herself.
“She’s not there trying to be that strategist,” Schmitz said. “She holds herself with so much integrity, and you don’t see that with a lot of those contestants.”
Contestants are casted either by visiting casting calls throughout the United States or video-submissions.
NBC publicist Jill Carmen said casting directors of “The Biggest Loser” typically look for those with compelling stories and great personalities.
A series of interviews, videos and finally a trip to Los Angeles to meet with producers determines who will be on the show.
“The Biggest Loser” is hosted by “Days of Our Lives” actress Alison Sweeney, and features Hollywood trainers Bob Harper and Dolvett Quince.
The winning contestant of this season will win $250,000.
“The Biggest Loser” airs at 8 p.m. on NBC Tuesdays.