Seeing her on stage with the confetti falling around her after narrowly clinching the $250,000 top prize with her 121lb weight loss, she showed all of us that hard work and dedication really can pay off.
And now the 26-year-old advertising account coordinator from Wheeling, Illinois is excited to start a whole new chapter in her life that she couldn't even dream of a short while ago.
We got to speak to Danni backstage after the finale where she revealed what she was going to do with the cash, advice to others who want to shed the weight and how she plans to keep it off. And check back later this week for the kick off of OK!'s 12 Week Countdown to Summer campaign to get you in the best shape ever for bikini season!
OK!: How are you feeling after your incredible win?
Danni Allen: I’m on cloud nine right now. I’m so excited and my heart is racing so much. I sound like a blabbering idiot.
OK!: You look amazing, do you look in the mirror now and not recognize yourself?
DA: I have to do double takes a lot. The brain has not caught up with the new person that I am and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, that’s me’. And I’m just so excited to be this new person. I’m so excited to live it. It’s so corny, every time I look down, I’m like ooh that’s a muscle, I can feel it. I’m like, I have muscles now and I love it and I’m going to embrace it because it makes me feel healthy. It’s not about the physical really, it’s like I feel so good I have so much energy all the time. I just love being this now.
OK!: What’s the best part of being you right now?
DA: I think the best part is that I feel like I can dream and take on any challenge now. I’m no longer the practical thinker, why not me. Why can’t you just do it, just try it! What’s going to happen if you don’t try, you’re going to fail if you don’t try.
OK!: What are your plans for the future?
DA: Honestly, I do feel like I can do anything, I don’t know if it’s one thing or a million things, I do know my dream was to be a singer and not famous or whatever but I do want to try. Let’s go try that. I do want to get into the fitness world again and join up with Jillian Michaels. if I could work with her that would be a dream come true as well.
OK!: What advice do you have for others just starting their own weight loss journey?
DA: The first thing I would say is that you have to get started. Make a plan. But I think the best thing I did when I went home was to turn my home into a safe zone, go through those cupboards, it doesn’t take a lot of energy, find those things that you know are bad and get rid of them. Make yourself that safe zone because at least you know there, nothing bad can get you.
OK!: What is the biggest thing that you’ve learned through this whole process?
DA: I think the biggest thing I learned is that there are no excuses. I’m closing the chapter on the book of excuses. Anyone can do it. If I can do it, you can and I promise you, I was the worst person, down in the dumps because I came up with every excuse as to why I couldn’t do it. No. Anyone can do it. Just start. And I’m here for you so find me on Twitter, do whatever you can. I want to help, it’s time to pay it forward. Let’s change America.
OK!: What are you going to do with the $250,000 prize money?
DA: I can’t imagine the fact that I actually have $250,000. So I’m kind of shaking about that but I did promise Jeff, him and I said that regardless of who wins, we’re going to take each other on vacation so I’m going to keep up with that. And bring Jackson too, we’re going to have a finalist party. Let’s go on vacation and enjoy the new people that we are.
OK!: And a new wardrobe?
DA: Oh I promised Francelina! Francelina and I are going shopping so she knows she has a shopping date with me. The best thing is now I can wear the clothes, the clothes aren’t wearing me. I can choose what I want to wear and find the new me, new style, and next year it will be a new style because I’m going to keep this lifestyle up. It’s easier said than done but I’m going to do it.
OK!: What does your diet consist of now, what are you eating?
DA: My diet is still very organic. The one thing I’m sticking to is that I want to keep it organic, keep it clean. And you know if I have carbs I have them in the morning so I have the whole day to burn them off but well rounded food. Don’t limit yourself to just certain things, you need to try new food, that’s part of life. We’re a culture surrounded by food, try new food but try the good food and then you’ll find yourself in a whole new diet world.
Are you inspired by Danni's win? Let us know below or tweet us @OKMagazine!