Celebrity News

Jessie Matthews: ‘I feel like the real me’

Jessie Matthews has always been the big girl with the big voice and the even bigger personality.


Jessie Matthews has always been the big girl with the big voice and the even bigger personality.

In fact, “Big” was a label she was comfortable with – one that she even embraced.

Jessie’s still the girl with the voice, but after losing 50kg – dropping from 152kg to just above 100kg – Jessie’s personality shines even more brightly, and she feels like a brand new woman.

“For the first time in a long time, I feel like the real me,” Jessie (34) says of her dramatic weight-loss. “It’s the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I’ve done it. And I did it for me.”

‘I think I used food as a treat when I was growing up,’ says Jessie. Photo Michelle Hyslop

But it hasn’t been a smooth journey – there have been tears, tantrums and what Jessie’s fiancée Sue calls “meltdowns”, but the Hamilton singer, who wowed the judges on

The X Factor NZ show with her mashup of Amazing Grace and the All Saints’ hit Never Ever, says it’s for herself and her music.

“I didn’t lose the weight for my mum or my dad, or even Sue. I figured that I needed to love myself, and it needed to come from me.”

Having tried to break into the music business for years, Jessie realised that she wasn’t being taken seriously because of her weight, so she decided to do something about it.

“Being bigger never really bothered me, it bothered other people who wanted me to succeed. But I reached that point where I wanted to do it for myself, so I asked my doctor to recommend me to a weight-loss clinic in Hamilton.”

From there, she dropped kilos the old-fashioned way – diet and exercise, kick-started by six weeks on a programme that replaces food with specially designed shakes.

“I’ve tried every bloody diet under the sun,” she says with a wry smile.

“Diets do not work. You have to change your thinking. And you have to put in the work.”

Four years later, both Jessie and Sue are still following their strict programme, which sees them up at 5am to get down to the gym, six days a week.

The transformation isn’t quite complete – Jessie fluctuates between 102 and 104kg at the moment, and dreams of seeing the scales in double figures for the first time since she was 12.

“When the day comes that I see 99.9kg, I think I’ll just break down and cry!”

Although her goal is to weigh under 100kg, Jessie refuses to put pressure on herself. ‘It’s not about the numbers. It’s about me looking and feeling good.’ PhotoMichelle Hyslop.

Jessie admits her feelings got the better of her on The X Factor stage, where she received a standing ovation.

“I dressed like me and acted like me – I didn’t do anything that I thought the judges wanted. Being on that stage at that weight just felt so good.

“I was never sad or bullied for my weight at all,” she adds. “But if I did something awesome, I would then go to Burger King and celebrate.”

With her goal in sight, Jessie wants to inspire other women. “I like eating the bad stuff as much as anyone else. But you have got to love yourself enough to push through it.”

Whether or not she makes it to the hit TV3 programme’s live shows, Jessie is looking forward to showing off her new body at her wedding to Sue in October.

“It’s been an amazing year so far,” she says.

“And you know what? I’m incredibly proud of myself.”

Jessie has appeared on both Stars In Their Eyes and Maorioke in her quest to break into the music business. PhotoMichelle Hyslop.


• Get creative. You don’t need a gym or personal trainer. YouTube has exercise tutorials, or Google how to use your own body weight for training.

• Get inspiration from wherever you can. I also look up inspirational quotes online! My favourite is: “The scale is just a number.”

• Surround yourself with positive people.

• Do not be afraid to ask

for help!

Find out more about Jesse’s meal plan exclusively here.

Related stories

Get The Australian Woman’s Weekly NZ home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.