The Swan helped these former "ugly ducklings" spread their wings. Here, find out how they've taken off since getting their dramatic makeovers on the Fox reality series (whose second season begins Oct. 25 at 8 pm/ET).

Former Ugly Duckling: Kelly Alemi
Surgeries included: Breast augmentation, liposuction, lip enhancement

Gone are the years of self-loathing that brought 28-year-old former flight attendant Kelly Alemi to The Swan's doorstep. (She was a Wild Card recipient who made it to the semifinals.) These days, the new and improved Maryland native — who endured nine-and-a-half hours of extensive surgical procedures — is relishing her recent engagement to longtime boyfriend Bob and looking forward to recapping each new episode of The Swan 2 for her local Fox affiliate.

Three words that best describe me now are... "Confident, funny and self-respect, which I didn't have before."

The worst part of the Swan experience? "Seeing my episode air on TV. They made me look like a crybaby. I'm a practical joker. I like entertaining people. Your average viewer doesn't understand creative editing."

Best part? "I always wanted [big breasts]. The other night all the Swans went out for drinks and some guy picked up the check. We were like, 'Thank god for [breasts].'"

People would be surprised to know... "That I go out of the house in sweatpants, flip-flops and no makeup. You don't have to be plastered with war paint to know that you're beautiful."

Former Ugly Duckling: Tawnya Cooke
Surgeries Included: Liposuction, abdominoplasty, lip augmentation

At 40, Tawnya Cooke was the oldest Swan. (She lost to Cindy Ingle in competition.) Perhaps thanks to the wisdom that comes with age, she had the gumption to tell her plastic surgeon she'd decided not to go through with all the procedures he'd planned — and stand her ground as he tried to talk her into it. "People stop me on the street and applaud me for having stood up for myself," says the Colorado native, "which makes me feel a lot better about my decision."

Advice for future Swans: "Don't be scared to question the doctors [just because you consider them to be authority figures.] This is a life-changing event, and you need to feel comfortable about it. Also, don't be afraid to go in and really talk in the therapy sessions — that was the big cleansing part for me.

Post-Swan, I've: "Signed on with a talent agent, which I never would have done pre-Swan because I have a lot more confidence now. I'm reading for some episodic television shows and commercials and [really enjoying it]."

Are people supportive? "I was told that one lady at work said, 'I'd really be embarrassed to be on The Swan because that would mean I was really ugly to begin with.' Then, believe it or not, two weeks ago, she came up and asked if I could pull some strings and get her on [the next show]!"

For more post-Swan updates, read the current issue of TV Guide magazine, on sale now.