They say that revenge is a dish best served cold, but Angela Stone prefers to serve hers with a new killer bod and a fight-back attitude.
The Real Housewives of Auckland star has dropped a whopping 10kg and is ready to take on the haters who publicly tore her down.
During an exclusive shoot with Woman's Day, showing off her fabulous new figure, she cheers, "I am fighting fit and I'm feeling incredible. This is my year!"
Flashback to late 2016 and Angela, 46, admits that life was tough. She'd been ripped to shreds by her co-stars on the hit Bravo show and her social media was growling with trolls. Add to that a very public and heartbreaking split from her boyfriend of three years, Kirk Hope, a financier from Wellington. She confesses it all nearly "broke me".
"I have never experienced anything like that in my life," she tells. "I was really hurt. I've had to really get through it all."
The Christchurch model and stylist admits that when she joined the New Zealand version of the incredibly addictive Housewives series, she knew it wasn't going to be hand-holding friendliness between the women.
But she was shocked by the level of viciousness from her co-stars, especially as it was predominantly aimed at her.
"The producers try to prepare you," she explains. "You see a psychologist and they make sure that you are able to deal with it. I'll admit that they did take a responsibility. But as they continued to tell us throughout the journey, nothing can prepare you for it."
There was also a sudden focus on her body, triggered when her rival co-star Michelle Blanchard asked if she was a "plus-size model".
"I had always felt good about my body," confesses the mum-of-three. "But it knocked me. Housewives was really rough for me. I've never encountered a group of women who just want to attack. To my face, they were very different. When I watched it back, I was horrified. It got to the point where I just thought, 'This is insane!'"
The comment triggered a social-media backlash, but instead of Michelle and her comments receiving the brunt, the keyboard warriors turned on Angela.
"Some people don't realise how cruel they are and just because your profile rises, people think they know you and can justifiably take a swipe at you to make themselves feel better," she fumes. "It needs to stop. It's pure bullying and it's dangerous, really."
But the biggest blow came when she was targeted by a high-profile man at a glamorous Auckland event in early 2017.
"For a woman to attack another woman about their body is very low," she says.
"But then to be out at an event and a man I know to send a waiter over to me to ask if I wanted fish and chips because I was the biggest person in the room, was quite disgusting. People were horrified. I was horrified."
She remains tight-lipped on who the man is, but admits he's a household name in NZ.
It was the final straw for Angela, who hid herself away to heal her battered self-worth.
"I felt like I had a broken heart," she tells. "Well, I did have a broken heart. And I had to cry and get over it. I wanted to heal my heart and look after myself.
"I thought, 'I am going to do something severe and I am going to get ready for the next chapter of my life. I am not going to look back.' I had to stand up and get strong."
The first step was drinking four litres of water and herbal fat-burning tea every day.
"The more you drink, the more you shrink," she laughs.
Then Angela turned to the Dr Cohen's Diet, where bloods are taken and a specialist creates an eating plan. It took just nine weeks to lose 10kg.
"The diet is about eating for your blood type and I eat more fruit than I have done in 20 years, and lots of fresh salads," she explains.
"The biggest thing for me was also changing portion sizes. But you have to be dedicated."
Angela is so dedicated, in fact, that she now starts every day with a 5km run and, in her downtime, she relaxes with meditation, Pilates and the odd glass of pinot noir.
"I'm 46 and I am in the best shape of my entire life," she beams. "I've had three children, raised five and I am going to get back on the international modelling circuit because I can."
Not only has she just been named the new face of Cecile's cereal, but she's also launching Silverfox Mgmt into the Kiwi market. The Australian modelling agency works with 30-year-plus women, with high-profile models like Yvonne Tozzi and Jacky O'Shaughnessy.
And the model-turned-businesswoman, who started her own model agency in Christchurch 25 years ago, also reveals she has a new beau.
"I have been dating this lovely man who I have known for a very long time," she tells.
"He's so supportive and it's so lovely to feel that closeness again. But we're not ready to talk about it publicly yet."
Does she harbour ill feelings for her co-stars and haters? Simply, she says, she is grateful to them.
"I have the ultimate revenge body. Out of all that negativity, it has made me rise and I will never look back. I'm the one doing the laughing now."
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