NBC's 'Strong' Competitors Definitely Live Up To That Title
There's no shortage of reality competition TV shows, but NBC's new series Strong breaks the mold by giving its contestants challenges that will strengthen both their bodies and minds. Rather than placing the main focus on weight loss, the challenges will focus on improving the physical and mental health of the competitors as they work towards their fitness goals. Hosted by pro volleyball player and fitness expert Gabrielle Reece, Strong pairs competitors into teams of two who will work with 10 of the best male fitness trainers in the country. One team will be eliminated each week and the winners will receive a cash prize of $500,000. Before tuning into the premiere, let's get to know a little bit about each of the competitors on NBC's Strong.
The women come from a wide range of backgrounds, but they have one thing in common — they're highly motivated, successful individuals who enjoy physical activity and are seeking structure and guidance as they work to meet their fitness goals. Several of them have dealt with weight-related bullying in the past and are still dealing with self-esteem issues as a result. Many are eager to set a great example for their family members and prove that it's never too late to improve your physical and mental well-being.
Courtesy of their NBC biographies, let's take a look at their stories, their reasons for joining Strong, and a few fun facts about the 10 competitors.
1. Nicole Bentley
Bentley is a 25-year-old cocktail server who recently moved to Los Angeles for a new start. She has experience in pageants, dancing, cheerleading and CrossFit, but hasn't been as active lately and is eager to get back into shape. Her main inspiration is her mother, a cancer survivor, and Bentley strives to be a great role model for her younger sister. Bentley's Instagram account shows that she's a proud dog mama and she recently became a manager at Gloveworx, the boxing studio founded by Strong trainer Leyon Azubuike.
2. Mahogany Brown Roberts
A marketing consultant from Nashville, Roberts is a mother of two. She's determined to get into shape for both personal and selfless reasons — she has a family member who is suffering from a kidney disease and Roberts hopes to donate one of her kidneys. At this time, she doesn't meet the physical health standards to undergo the operation, but she is hopeful that this competition will get her into shape and potentially help save the life of a loved one. Check out her Instagram account for some seriously adorable photos of Roberts' two young kids and motivational quotes.
3. Devon Cassidy
Cassidy, a 24-year-old from Massachusetts, is going through a quarter-life crisis as she works over 50 hours a week while dealing with high stress and low self-esteem. She's always struggled with maintaining a healthy lifestyle and has been very honest about her need to adjust her negative mindset and not take any shortcuts when it comes to getting into shape. Cassidy's social media accounts show that her family is thrilled about her participation on Strong and she has a great sense of humor.
4. Victoria Castillo
A wedding photographer from Santa Ana, California, Castillo grew up in a rough neighborhood and turned to ballet as her self-described "safe haven." Over the past several years, she's dealt with a number of painful events, including estrangement from her family, the loss of a father figure, and coming to grips with childhood traumas. Castillo has put on weight due to the stress and is having a tough time getting back into shape on her own, so she's eager to have the guidance of a Strong trainer.
Check out Castillo's official website to see some of her amazing photography. She co-owns Victoria Chrystal Photography with her husband, Victor, and is passionate about her work. Castillo describes shoes and fancy chocolate as her "ultimate obsessions," so she's definitely a contestant many of us can relate to.
5. Giovanna Cicerchia
Cicerchia is a stay-at-home mom raising three children in New Jersey. Despite her hectic schedule, she finds time to work out, but she feels as though she's hit a plateau in her path to a healthy lifestyle. She's determined to get back on track and give 150 percent during her time on Strong.
Cicerchia recently explained to The New York Daily News why the show is the perfect fit for her: “It’s so different because it’s not just about losing weight... As you get older, you get wiser and realize that you’re not going to be a size 2 and wear that little black dress. It’s about getting stronger.”
6. Claudia "CC" Collazo
Collazo is an executive assistant and the mother of two teenage daughters in New Jersey. In the past, she's competed in triathlons and played women's tackle football, but she has struggled physically since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia seven years ago. Collazo refuses to let the disease hold her back and hopes to be an inspiration to others who are dealing with this chronic illness. She's also a consultant for Rodan + Fields, so to say that Collazo hasn't let her illness stop her from living her life would be an understatement.
Her motto is to focus on "getting better one day at a time." Although Strong is a competition show, Collazo's Twitter feed is full of supportive posts about her fellow competitors, so it looks like she made some lifelong friends during the experience.
7. Brittany Harrell-Miller
An eighth-grade algebra teacher from Kansas, Harrell-Miller loves power tumbling, trampoline, and cheerleading. Her son was born when she was 17, so she raised him while completing her college degree and participating in athletics. She hopes the fitness training on Strong will lead to a healthier life for herself, her son, and her partner.
In a recent interview with The Leavenworth Times, Harrell-Miller spoke about her passion for her job and says she hopes her participation on Strong will send an important message to her students: "I want this show to prove to these kids that if you just keep fighting no matter what life throws at you, you can always succeed."
8. Jasmine Loveless
Loveless, a bookkeeper from West Hollywood, struggled with her weight as a child and was bullied by her peers. As a result, she has continued to struggle with self-esteem issues as an adult. Loveless is motivated and enjoys working out, so Strong is the ideal place for her to reach her fitness goals. Her Instagram account shows that she's passionate about traveling and recently went on a trip to Morocco.
9. Jill May
A mother of four, May's top priority is her family — but she recognizes that Strong is a great opportunity to focus on becoming her "best self." Her goal is to get back into shape and set a positive example for her children and other busy moms. May's Instagram shows that she's proud of her children's athletic accomplishments and she enjoys cooking healthy meals for her entire family.
10. Sarah Miller
Miller is a Chicago-based writer who was bullied in high school for being overweight. When she relocated to New York City, she had unhealthy relationships with older, wealthier men and felt pressured to be "thin" for all the wrong reasons. As she approaches her 30th birthday, Miller is ready to get in shape for herself and embark on a new, healthy path in life.
According to her official website, Miller recently completed her first book, a memoir entitled Dependently Wealthy about her experience dating an 80-year-old billionaire in NYC. Today, her priorities are becoming financially independent and managing her anxiety.
Each of these impressive women has a compelling backstory and I'm already rooting for all of them to succeed on Strong.
Images: NBC (11)