Only a day after his elimination from Biggest Loser, Dan talks about the release of his first single, joyous reunion with Bob and his many marriage proposals. He was the youngest person in the house, just barely having turned 21. Until last night’s elimination, he was a top contender for the Biggest Loser title and $250,000 prize. He didn’t walk away from the house lacking really- with a weight loss of more than 112 pounds, a new tattoo taking up his entire forearm and having found himself, he says he’s ready for the big things waiting him in his future. As spirited, young and funny as he appeared on the show, Dan’s personality shined through in our interview.
You and your mom had mentioned that you’re sort of a model for this generation of obese kids- growing up on video games, fast food and little activity. How do we change it?
You know, it’s so tough because it’s so easy to get caught up in what everyone is doing and flashing right in front of you. It’s so easy to stop on the way home and grab some fast food. Go home, sit down on the internet, watch tv, Tivo. It’s so accessible, fun and it’s right there at your fingertips. It’s hard when you’re young to be conscious of your health and exercise. When you’re growing up, that’s not your focus. It’s about being a kid, having a good time. It’s important for parents and adults to be a part of those kids lives. “Let’s get you in some sort of active sports program, let’s enroll in summer camp a couple days a week.” Let’s break the cycle of the sedentary electric lifestyle.
I grew up, my parents were so busy with my mom starting her youth foundation. It was so easy for me to be completely sedentary. My new goal when I go back home or work at the camp- I have to do whatever I can to share with those kids the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, explain to them how it is easy and fun to live healthy and it can be so beneficial to their health and their lives as they get older.
What was it like sharing this experience with your mom? How has it changed your relationship?
My mom and I have always been great friends. I am kind of a momma’s boy. I of course have plenty of friends. She wasn’t my only friend. She’s a great friend of mine. We both enabled each other in gaining weight. “Hey Mom, want to go out to dinner?” “Oh sure, we do need to talk about work,” we’d always justify it.
The thing that was an interesting dynamic that I never did foresee was that we enabled each other to turn this whole thing around. It became, let’s have dinner tonight but let’s have this healthy thing together. It was amazing because I thought it was possible that me and her would maybe bring each other down or remind each other of old habits. But that wasn’t the case. We both wanted to change so badly that we really helped push each other in a positive direction. Enabling each other for the best.
After the whole thing, we did bond so much and become so much closer. Because it’s such a unique experience.
When the guys eliminated your mom Jackie from the game you were obviously upset. When did that change for you, becoming part of the brotherhood of the blue team? Right after my mom was eliminated, I was like I’m on chopping block. I’m next to go. I need to do whatever it takes to keep myself in this game. I told these guys “I’m OK- I forgive you, it’s a game. I was still very hurt and I didn’t feel that way. I was just saying that to rebuild the bond. Over time though, I did come back around. After a little bit, just competing together, going to Las Vegas together, getting tattoos together- we really did truly, truly rebuild a bond. It happened so organically. It wasn’t this forced friendship. It was just going through this experience together. It did help build a strong bond/brotherhood among each other.
Roger mentioned in elimination last night that you grew up a lot on this show. Did your relationship with the guys help fuel that?
I love Roger. When I left there, Roger was one of the best friendships I made. Fantastic guy. Just being around them. Going through being a 21-year old, being overweight, trapped in
side my own insecurities, in my own body, to a matter of a few short months changing my life, entering this new world of being an adult, taking responsibility for my own actions, health and life. It was such a transformation period. Guys like Roger being there, being a friend, someone to talk to, point me in the right direction as I figure out my new life.
I owe so much of this to Bob, too. He’s got such a strong head on his shoulders. He made me stay focused. He’d say “Dan, you’re becoming a man, take responsibility.” These guys really helped me shape my direction and my focus going through dramatic changes in my life.
You can really see if you watch Episode 1, I’m coming to the ranch, showing up 310 pounds, with my mom, trying to figure this whole thing out, riding her shadow a little bit. By the last episode, my mom is gone, I’d lost 112 pounds on the show. I’m a new person, I had my image/makeover completely redone. I’m a completely different than who walked on that ranch. It’s amazing even for myself to watch.
How is your new rock star lifestyle in LA?
It’s been wild, going so well. Being out here there are two things to focus on. One- I still have to focus on exercise and weight loss because I’m still trying to win for this finale. I’m going to win biggest at home. The other is my music. I’ve been in the studio doing some recording. I just released my first single online. I’ve got two more coming out soon.
It’s really exciting because I spent so much of my life worried about the way I look, I was afraid to get on stage. I didn’t want to be that overweight guy who can sing, That’s over. That tag ‘overweight guy with great voice’ is gone.
Being on Biggest Loser I feel like I can do whatever I want. If I can lose half my body weight in just a few months- I can do anything.
Have you written any songs about Biggest Loser or your personal weight loss?
The song right now is Back to You. It’s a double entendre. On one hand it’s like love got away, gotta find way back to you. On the other, I let myself go, I slipped away. I was this overweight person that I wasn’t happy with. I gotta find my way back to that person- that healthy 21-year old person i have to find my way back to it. If you hear the song, it’s about my journey.
I’m 21-years old, I’m open to anything. I know there’s big things in my future, and I’m ready for it.
Any love interests? Your crush on Allison was very apparent?
It’s been quite interesting since I have left the ranch. The last time I was out on my own, I was 310 pounds. I left the show at 185. It’s a little different, I’m not going to lie, getting noticed a little more getting more attention. So many girls on MySpace asking “will you marry me, you’re the hottest guy!” Used to be the overweight guy who was the wingman to all the good looking friends. Taking a little adjusting. Getting used to it. Worries mom a little bit.
Have you been in touch with Bob since you left?
Once I moved out here to LA, I sent him a text message, said I’d love to have a cup of coffee. We did, sat down, had a cup of coffee. I went home, he was in australia, a few weeks went by. It was a joyous reunion. I got to tell him how much I appreciate him. The whole thing with the competition, challenges, weigh in over. It was just Bob and I, no cameras. I got to say “I appreciate you so much. You invested so much of your time in me, helping me change my life forever.” He’s become a friend for life.
Dan- thank you so much for visiting with us today. We wish you a lot of luck in your journey to become a rock star and look forward to seeing you on the finale, April 15.
Listen below to hear Dan’s prediction for the finale winners.
March 27th, 2008