This time last year, Rachel Love-Fraser was a dumpy newlywed working at a Washington construction company. And today? She's The Swan, the ultraglamorous winner of Fox's formerly plain Jane beauty pageant. Has success — and a buxom bod that underwent more plastic surgery than an entire Hooters waitstaff — gone to her pretty red head? To find out, TV Guide Online rang up the hot chick before she took flight for home.
TV Guide Online: So, how sorry is your husband now that he was so unsupportive of you during your extreme makeover?
Rachel Love-Fraser: Oh, he really wasn't that unsupportive. It was just hard for him to have me gone for so long. I mean, four months... you can imagine! You get kind of edgy. We did have some difficulties a couple of times [during the program], but he was definitely supportive. It's just unfortunate that only that one side of his personality got shown. We're having a blast now, though!
TVGO: I'll bet. Were you shocked to see a tape after the pageant and find out that your crown had a big bird on it?
Rachel: [Laughs] No, I knew it had a swan on it. I thought it was cute.
TVGO: Obviously, you will have to install a spotlight in your den to properly display it.
Rachel: I haven't been home yet, so I'm not sure how I'll display it. But I definitely will. It's beautiful.
TVGO: What do you know about the "obligations" that host Amanda Byram said went along with the Swan title? Do you have to wear the tiara to the grocery store?
Rachel: [Laughs] No, definitely not! The only duty I know of is that I'll probably be appearing on the second season to crown the next Swan.
Rachel: No! You're wonderful! And I think that in doing interviews, there's a good message that I can get out there about the program. So much attention has gotten paid to the physical aspects of my transformation, but it was so much more than that. Thanks to all the therapy and life-coaching, I came out of it a completely different person.
TVGO: I have to say, you do sound happy.
Rachel: I am! Some people believe that's actually why I won — because I somehow exuded all that confidence and happiness that I had gained. At the pageant, I was just having fun. I didn't care how I looked.
TVGO: Nonetheless, you looked good. Your catwalk strut was straight off of America's Next Top Model. You were a natural!
Rachel: [Laughs] You think so? Thanks! We actually had a week-plus of learning how to walk. We worked with the same choreographer who works with the American Idols. But I guess the long legs and the hips were working for me. I always had them, I just had to get all the fat off!
TVGO: How did it feel to know that when you stepped on that stage in a swimsuit, regular ol' ordinary you was suddenly a sex symbol?
Rachel: Well, it was a little odd. But I wasn't going out there as a sex symbol, I was going out as an everyday woman who isn't perfect, who still has flaws, but who feels so comfortable with herself that she was gonna work it for all it was worth!
TVGO: That being the case, were you tempted to better your chances of winning by having a, um, wardrobe malfunction during the lingerie segment?
Rachel: [Laughs] Oh no! I wasn't interested in flashing any more skin than I already was! But I was tempted to run offstage and jump on my husband!
TVGO: I'm sure the feeling was mutual.
Rachel: Yeah, it definitely was. In fact, the producers told all the husbands when that part was coming up and warned them all [playfully], "Now, you guys stay in your seats!"