XL-Factor: Woman who had music dreams dashed after being told she was too big reveals stunning weight loss
An Adele-shaped singer shed 159lbs (11.4stone) after being rejected from her dream music schools because of her large size.
Aubrey Johansen, 25, weighed 350lbs (25stone) when she was invited to audition at the top four schools in the U.S. for vocal performance.
Sadly the aspiring star claims the prestigious schools all told her she needed to shift up to 200lbs before they would be able to cast her in anything.
Desperate to get healthy, the young woman underwent a gastric bypass that completely transformed her in just over a year to a slender size 8 (US 10).
Now, despite her dream being put on hold, the stunning slimmer blogs her weight loss journey to over 43,000 fans on Instagram: aubreystrawb_rny.
Aubrey, from Cleveland, Ohio, USA, said: “I spent my idea life morbidly obese according to doctors’ standard.
“I’ve always been the fat friend.
“I graduated at 23-years-old and was invited to audition at these prestigious schools – I was the only one in my class.
“They all said ‘we love your voice, but you’re too big and we can’t cast you.’
“It’s hard with society values – big girl won’t get the lead roles.
“I was devastated. I didn’t think I would be able to lose the weight.
“I was done with making music.”
Growing up, Aubrey always struggled with her weight and her worried mum frequently enrolled her on a various diet programs to help her slim down.
Nothing stuck and when she graduated from university, doctors warned she only had another 15 years to live.
Aubrey, who now works as personal chef, made the brave decision to undergo a gastric bypass in October 2014.
She added: “A lot of research went it into it. I cried a lot about it.
“But doctors gave me 15 years to live – it was such an eye opener and my life changed immediately.
“It’s very lonely being on a liquid diet. Food had been the one thing I could count one and so when that was taken away from me, it was hard.
“The first week I regretted it – I couldn’t even eat my feelings.”
But as a professional chef, Audrey used her skills to whip up healthy meals and took up running.
She said: “Soon I was running miles, it was amazing.
“The thinner and healthier I got, the more confident I became.
“I feel like a completely different person to who I was before.
“I’ve thought about going back into music, but it feels like an entirely different life.”
However, the dramatic weight loss has left Aubrey with a pile of excess skin, which she is hoping to have removed in the future.
She added: “You have the vision in your mind of how you will look.
“You think you’re going to be fit and gorgeous, not like a melted stick of butter.
“It’s terrible because you don’t feel attractive.
“Some days I feel I was more beautiful before, so it’s a real mental battle.
“It affects going to the beach in a bikini, even taking my clothes off in front of my girlfriend.
“I just don’t feel proud.”
Another downside Aubrey admitted was losing friends along the way, who felt threatened by her new svelte physique.
She said: “Before I had never been a threat, I wasn’t going to steal people’s boyfriends.
“But then I turned into something that was desirable and started to get more attention. I lost some friends.”
However, Aubrey praises her girlfriend, Alyssa Brosious, who has stuck by her side throughout her journey.
She added: “Alyssa is a collegiate athlete, so I always felt I was holding her back but now I can give her a run for her money.
“I have more energy and I feel more positive. I am so glad she has been with me the whole way.”