The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

March 19, 2014

ProgressOh! — Local resident named finalist in national makeover contest

Brittany Powell, 26, has always loved herself — regardless. But then came the moment that she knew it was time for a change.

Now — 45 pounds and nearly five dress sizes later —the Athens woman is hoping the community can help make a dream come true.

Powell is one of six finalists in the nationwide ProgressOh! Makeover Contest. She needs votes to send her to Los Angeles for a head-to-toe makeover and more. If she is one of the remaining three finalists with the most votes, she will receive the makeover, a trip for two to Los Angeles including roundtrip airfare and accommodations for four days and three nights, a $1,000 gift card and two tickets to a taping of E! “Fashion Police.”

Powell was selected out of close to 4,000 entries. She entered the contest by telling America why she deserves a makeover by sharing her “Oh!” moment — that moment when you feel confident, empowered and happy.

Powell’s change started about a year ago after she was asked to be in a beach wedding. She had a month before it was time to shop for dresses. “I decided to try a strict diet for that month,” she said. “If it worked, I would keep at it and if I didn’t lose any weight I would go back to pizza and cheeseburgers.”

After the first month, she lost 17 pounds just by eating healthy. That encouraged her to keep the weight loss up and join the gym. In March, she joined Athens-Limestone Wellness Center and started working out six days a week along with dieting. “After three months, I had lost a total of 30 pounds,” she said. “No diet supplements or special voodoo, just healthy eating and exercise and it worked.”

She decided to enter the Progresso Soup contest on a whim. To enter, she had to write a 400-word essay saying why she deserved a makeover and submit a photo. “I figured why not give it a shot,” she said.

People have used Facebook  to contact Powell or stopped her in the gym to tell her that she’s an inspiration and motivation.

“Never in a million years would I have thought someone would say those words to me,” she said. “I let them know that if I can do it, anyone can do it. All you need is some dedication and hard work and you can achieve anything you put your mind to.”

When she got that call  from General Mills informing her that she had been selected as one of the six finalists in the contest, she was shocked.

“Today, I’ve lost almost 50 pounds,” Powell said. “That’s enough of a reward, but a makeover would just be icing on the cake. Ahh cake!”

Powell is a lifelong resident of Athens. She is a 2006 graduate of West Limestone High School and attended Calhoun Community College and the University of North Alabama where she received a degree in human environmental sciences. She is employed by Certified Appraisal Services in Athens and Spirited Art in Huntsville.

To vote for Brittany Powell, go to the website  www.progresso.com/progressoh. Then, click on the “click here to vote” link. Scroll to the bottom of the next page and she is the last finalist on the page. Click the “vote for me” link and enter an email address. Fans can vote one a day per email address until April 10.

Winners will be announced on the website April 15.

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