Viewers chose to give Amanda Arlauskas a chance to change her life during last season’s Biggest Loser finale. Now again wearing the formidable Pink Shirt, the 20-year-old nursing student and patient-care technician will be giving InTouchWeekly.com readers all the exclusive behind-the-scenes dish every week! In the 10th episode of season 8, Amanda lost the most weight since she’s been on the ranch — but also lost her best friend, Rebecca, who was sent home. Still, she didn’t look that upset to see her go. “Unfortunately, at that time, we had a few issues. Not terrible, but we had been so close for so long, so we were starting to get in each other’s hair a lot,” Amanda admits to In Touch. “At the time, I don’t think I showed a lot of emotion about her leaving. When I think about it now, I hate that, but I was in a weird place in my head, and we both just needed our space. So I was upset, but I had felt for so long that I was in Rebecca’s shadow. I thought, ‘This is my game now.’”
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You lost nine pounds this week — did you expect to do that well?
Falling below the yellow line last week was a wake-up call. Everyone gave me an opportunity to stay, and Shay went home. I wanted to prove that I deserve to be here. I worked super-hard, but it was tough because we had so much going on. I went to the gym late at night and got up earlier than everyone else, and it was just “workout, workout, workout.” I wasn’t expecting nine pounds, but it was nice to show everyone that they made the right choice by keeping me.
Did you suspect it might be makeover week?
We actually thought it might be when it was the eight of us left, so we had an idea it was coming up and we were all just thrilled. We were super-excited for it.
Were you excited to see Tim Gunn?
Oh, yeah. I’m a big fan and Tabatha [Coffey] too. It’s weird because they’re just normal people, too. But when you meet them you’re still kind of starstruck. It was a good time.
They didn’t show much of your consultation with Tim. How did that go?
He wanted to know my style, and I told him I still wasn’t really comfortable being in a dress. That’s why I wore pants. But we made the mutual decision to put me in blue. I loved the shirt he picked out for me. I felt good that night.
Not a huge change to your hair, though.
I did cut 7 inches off my hair. I had always wanted shorter hair, but I had a chubby face. It was a big change for me and I loved it short.
Does the outfit even fit anymore?
No, it’s way too big. The pants were a 14 and I’ve definitely gone down. The shirt was a medium but it’s also too big. I’m kind of sad. I loved that shirt.
What was it like having to give a speech about your journey in front of hundreds of people?
At first, I was a little scared and nervous, but I was like, “There’s no way you can really go wrong, because you’re just telling your story.” When I walked out on that stage and got a standing ovation, it gave me the motivation. People were nodding their heads, so I knew I was getting through to people. When I finished, I felt more confident than I ever have.
Could you see yourself doing that on a regular basis?
Yeah. When you see people relating to you, it makes it worth it. I would love to do speaking engagements when I’m done with this.
What about the challenge? Liz was pretty vocal about being terrified, but were you cool with it?
I wasn’t! Driving up, they blindfolded us, because they didn’t want to ruin the reaction to seeing it. All at the same time, they took the blindfolds off. My heart jumped into my throat. I’m a competitor and I like challenges, but when I saw how high the wires going across that canyon were, I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I started to cry when I first got onto the little seat. I was really scared, but one it started and the adrenaline kicked in, I completely forgot that I was 200 feet in the air. It was so much fun.
Did you expect Rebecca to go below the yellow line?
I didn’t expect it, but once I saw her fall below the yellow line, I knew she was going home. I knew I would never vote for her but that the others would. I think Rebecca knew too, but I told her to fight. I was close to Liz too, so I told her the same thing. It was rough and I think Rebecca knew she was going home too. She’s a threat. You saw how good she looks now. She’s a hard-working girl.
Are you still talking?
Yeah, she’s the person I’ve kept in contact with the most. We’re both living busy lives, but we do make time and text each other. I know she’s doing great. After watching her on The Jay Leno Show last night, she just looked fantastic. I texted her, “You have the At-Home prize in the bag.” And she was like, “You know it — I got this!”
The finale is coming soon. What are your plans gearing up for the last few weeks?
I can’t believe it! It’s the most physically exhausting process. I’m in Michigan, staying with Shellay from season six. I got here about a week ago. I had met Amy and Shellay on Facebook when I was a fan. I stayed in contact with them and when they found out I made the show, they were a huge support system. They would send me cards on the ranch all the time. It was a Biggest Loser family, and Shellay said, “If you want to come to Michigan, you are free to stay here for as long as you want to help you focus.” So I’m spending this last month here, just training. At home, I have a family, friends and a new boyfriend, and I was letting life get to me. I said “Wake up, Amanda. This isn’t over.” So I came here a week ago and I’m feeling good.
And you’ll be spending Thanksgiving with them?
I’m excited. Shellay has already planned a lovely dinner. We’re doing a turkey, mashed cauliflower, squashes and tons of vegetables, and Amy is making a really healthy dessert called “Pumpkin Mush.” I haven’t tried it, but the calories are really low and I’m excited. It’s hard to approach the holidays after losing so much weight. I want to be able to enjoy the holidays, but with healthy food.