As a child, Brandi fell in love with beauty pageants after watching them on television with her mother. A born performer, she took ballet plus tap lessons and competed in pageants for years. By the time she was 12, Brandi weighed more than 250 pounds, and comment cards from pageant judges told her over and over that she was too heavy to compete. Crushed by the criticism, Brandi quit competing and continued to put on weight throughout high school and well into her 20s. After reaching 329 pounds, she wrote a letter to trainer and transformation specialist Chris Powell asking him for help.