Clare wins weight battle to take centre stage

PUBLISHED: 09:05 27 August 2016

Clare Hunter enjoyed centre stage in Gypsy.

Clare Hunter enjoyed centre stage in Gypsy.

Archant

“I have always been a curvy girl and have often found it difficult to keep my weight down,” says Clare Hunter.

“I love food, and I have a sweet tooth. Being busy a lot of the time, running between work, rehearsals and gigs means I’m not always eating the right things, and it was really getting me down.”

Many of us know that feeling only too well. It’s so easy to slip into bad eating habits, and the impact is obvious; it affects our health, of course, but it can also see our self-confidence go through the floor.

At such times, we can want to hide away; baring our flesh on stage would be the furthest thing from our mind.

Not so, however, for Clare, who used a theatrical role as Gypsy Rose Lee, arguably the best-known name in burlesque history, as inspiration in her weight loss battle – and for four nights in August, put her new-found confidence to the test with a stage striptease routine.

Clare, a 32-year-old teaching assistant at Weston’s Worlebury St Paul’s Primary School, took the lead role in Weston Operatic Society’s production of Gypsy at the Blakehay Theatre... and attributes her confidence in the role to Slimming World.

She said: “I’m a musical theatre nut, and proud of it. I’ve been performing from the age of three in dance and singing festivals, national competitions, musical theatre and pantomime productions across the South West.

“I spent seven years as a professional entertainer doing children’s touring theatre, and working as an entertainment manager in holiday resorts around the world.

“More recently I discovered a health issue that had been contributing to my struggle with weight loss. I had to get smarter with my eating habits, my attitude towards eating, and pair this up with regular exercise.

“So I decided to join Slimming World; I have been going since January. I learned a new attitude towards food and towards life.

“February saw me auditioning for Gypsy. By that point I had already made good progress with my weight loss, and without the support of my group, family and friends I never would’ve felt confident enough to go for it.

“Gypsy opened at the Blakehay on August 17, and I was taking to the stage, performing my striptease routine every performance.

“I’m still curvy, but I’m so much happier and far more confident to go for parts I wouldn’t have dared to before. Without the support of friends, family and Slimming World I never would’ve had this amazing opportunity to play such a fantastic character.

“It is not just a testament to the work the Slimming World consultants do every day to support us all in our struggle, but that you have to be happy with yourself, not try to be someone you’re not.”

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