Week by week, we watched as 33-year old Citira Corrigan (Australian and of Indonesian descent who currently resides in Singapore) and mother of three, took on challenge upon challenge on Fit for Fashion and bulldozed the competition, no problem. We speak to her about overcoming depression, winning a reality TV show inspiring us all to exercise our right to a healthier and happier life
By Audra Roslani
MC: How would you describe your experience on the show?
CC: The only thing I can compare it to, and I know it seems trite but they are the biggest part of my life, are my boys – being pregnant, giving birth and raising them. Other than those three experiences, this, I felt, was the same process – but it was me that I was doing that for. So other than having my three children, Fit for Fashion has been the most challenging, extraordinary, remarkable, cray-mazing experience in my life. It’s life altering.
I have definitely gotten my confidence back..and then some. I don’t think I’ve ever been this sure of myself in my whole entire life. I think there was a long period of time, where you fake it till you make it. As long as you can convince enough people on the outside that you’re ok, you can believe it yourself but you know. You always know at the end of the day, when it’s quiet and no one is around, you figure it out.
MC: What was it like the first few days you were there?
CC: I lived in a very small world before I went on the show- it was me and my home as a stay-at-home mom and all of a sudden, I’m staying in a luxury hotel, Tanjong Jara Resort, and I’m surrounded by strangers and a lot of them are younger and crazier than me, and being followed by cameras. So it was really intense and incredibly surreal. There was a day where I just stopped talking for 12 hours – I just couldn’t talk anymore, I was talked out. But once we started, it was like this is it. This is the challenge, this is the work out and like.. life – this is my routine now, make it your normal.
There was such an age disparity (and the relationships) especially between me and the other women on the show. Some of them still live with their parents but I am a parent, I’m doing this for other people. So they’re there and like “Oh, we’re in prison,” and “There’s not enough food,” and I’m like, “Loving this!” – People making my bed, doing my cooking and laundry. I could not be more grateful and they thought I was super weird! I think that was the most challenging bit- not adjusting to it because it was actually in some ways so much easier than my real world. People were helping me with this stuff that had overwhelmed me. The challenging thing for me was that I had to come out of mom-mode, and I didn’t have to do this stuff anymore. I didn’t have to look after these contestants.. I just had to look after me.
MC: How hard was it to leave your family during this time?
CC: It still stings when I think about it but I always knew it was going to be a big part of my battle, as for any parent. And it wasn’t just that you left them.. you didn’t know how long for and you didn’t know when you could speak to them . They’re my touchstone – these children, my husband. They were my safety for so long while I had been in a dark part of my life; they were the only people I would make contact with and the only people I would even let see me when I had become so overweight and so depressed. So it was really hard not to get to the end of the day and think I can’t see their faces or hear their voices, and to have to find a way through that.
In other ways, what was a revelation was..As much as they were my safety blanket, they were also holding me back. I was also using them as my excuse.
MC: What was the trigger or wake up call to join Fit for Fashion?
CC: It was literally the universe face-palming me, it was complete kismet. I had been going through this tough time and there were some girlfriends that were really trying to find me because I was in hermit mode, and they were constantly trying to reach out to me and get in touch with me. I was battling with my own fitness, I injured my back – I had fallen so far from grace and I couldn’t do for myself something I’d done for other women and other people. And I was ashamed of it and I didn’t want to face my friends, and some of them had been my clients. Could you imagine for me, seeing them go on coffee dates and I’m 10 kilos overweight, thinking “You used to pay me to do this for you?” There was incredible shame in that.
But there were a few girlfriends who were relentless, and one of them said “I know you’re going through some stuff, let’s go through it together because I’m going through some stuff.” And when she said that I said, “Yeah, I don’t want either of us to go through stuff alone.” So she said let’s get some girls together, and let’s talk about this stuff because I have this idea and I think you could really help me.
So we did these girls nights, and I would just cook home food, and it wasn’t even particularly healthy. It was just home cooking, comfort food. And these women came for this dinner and one of them said that she wrote for a television company. And at that time I didn’t think much of it, we joked and she loved my food. I get an email a few weeks later and she said, “I’ve been thinking about you, I don’t know what you’re doing but we’ve got this show and I think you should audition.” And that was it.
MC: What’s next then?
CC: A year from now, I’m back studying. I want to finish what I started – I wanted to write for film and TV, and I wanted to write screenplays.. I had so many stories in my head that it was all about connecting the people. That’s ultimately what film and TV is about, reaching out to people and this experience is a catalyst to getting me back in touch with that dream that I had, that passion. So I’ll be doing that and the prize money will definitely help with sending me back to school and I also want to find ways that I can give back, that I can help women in their journey not just in their fitness, but whatever dreams they have.
I have so many ideas and ways that I can go about that and I think I’m incredibly lucky and blessed to be in this position that gives me a little bit more influence and connections to take these ideas and be able to connect on a wide scale with women because I think that for me, was the most profound thing – that you’re not alone. When I felt like I was as a woman and not reaching out to other people. I want other women to know you’re not alone – I’m testament to that.
There’s also the other side to it, the fitness modelling. I’d love to do a fitness video. Louis Roe was a huge inspiration to me, because she’s a fantastic presenter and a genuinely incredible woman. I’d love to be in that similar strain of presenting and hosting, and having that platform where I can use my voice to reach out to other people and other women. The world is my oyster, check back with me in a year!
MC: What advice would you give other women who are not seeing the results even though they’re going to the gym and working out and want to give up?
CC: Firstly, you haven’t given up because once a week is better than nothing a week. Celebrate your win, give yourself some credit baby because you’re doing something. Second of all, what is your result? Sometimes, we get lost in even knowing what we want. Sometimes what we think we want is what someone else tells us we want. And the reason why we can’t connect with our journey is because that’s not really our aspiration. It’s something that someone else is projecting onto us; you should look like this, you should be eating that – but it may not be right for us.
I guess what we need to look at is, what do you want for you? What is in your very core to want?
Is it about looking a certain way, then there are ways to do that but if it’s about feeling a certain way, it’s not necessarily what you think you need to do because sometimes when it comes to fitness, aesthetics and performance or how we feel in our body are very different things. Looks and health can be deceiving, so you need to decide what it is you want because one will make you feel good but it’s for you to decide – so figure out what you want!
For more information on Citira, click here.