Flipping through the channels, sitting on the couch, enjoying your hot chocolate, you’re suddenly caught off guard. A familiar face flashes across the screen. She’s smiling, casually joking and laughing while hosting a marathon on one of America’s most popular television channels– MTV. And you wonder, what a girl who attended Woodland Regional High School just two years ago is doing in New York City hosting a Made marathon. Within minutes, you begin to find out why.
While the rest of us were just getting back to school, Woodland alumni, Brooke Dragon, was being MADE into a fitness model. But she wasn’t just being made into any ordinary fitness model.
Dragon was doing it with the help of the incredible fitness model, Tianna Ta and her very own MTV crew. For the next month, Dragon would have to face the biggest obstacle of her entire life– while the MTV crew recorded her every action.
MADE is a reality television show that casts teenagers who sets goals and then work to achieve them. Dragon auditioned for the show when she decided that she no longer wanted to be an outcast in her fitness obsessed family. And MTV was interested.
“I was told that i was chosen to be on the show because i had a really unique goal and that i was “natural in front of the camera,” said Dragon.
Dragon, whose mother is the zumba instructor at Live Love Dance Studio and whose father had been a body builder, felt displaced. She wasn’t overweight nor out of shape, but she was ready to be even stronger and she was ready to inspire others.
Dragon knew it would be tough, but she didn’t think it would be the hardest thing she would ever have to work for in her entire life.
“Before I started filming, I knew it was all about diet and exercise. I exercise daily, and I’m a zumba instructor, so i didn’t think the workouts were going to be tough,” stated Dragon. “I thought the biggest problem I would have, would be with my diet–boy was I wrong…”
With her diet consisting of mostly chicken, vegetables, and water it was a challenge. But the four hours at the gym with her trainer brought the challenge to a whole other level. An average person will spend about an hour or two at the gym and during this time they will do cardio and weightlift. Dragon, however, would weight-lift for about four hours. She was responsible for cardio on her own time.
“My biggest struggles were in the gym. I would look at the number on the rack or dumbbell of what she (Tianna Ta) wanted me to lift and all i thought to myself was “Brooke, you can’t lift that, you aren’t THAT strong,” stated Dragon. “And that mentality didn’t do me much good–it took me a couple of weeks to finally break my mentality but once I did, I was pushing through all my workouts without complaining or wanting to stop.”
Filming a television show, training to be a fitness model, and attending the University of Connecticut isn’t how most teenagers live their lives. Dragon admits that the intense month did start to take a toll on her academic career. With plenty of sleepless nights, grades began to drop for a week or two, but eventually she began to balance the hours at the gym and the hours of homework.
Despite being both physically and mentally tired, Dragon’s trainer still continued to push her beyond her limits. For the ones who watched the premiere of Dragon’s show, most were intimidated.
“I’ve never had a trainer before so I couldn’t understand why she was being SO mean to me, but in the long run, I realized it was because she was trying to toughen me up,” said Dragon. “Not only did I become more mentally strong in the gym, but I carried that mental toughness into other areas of my life.”
Being on the show has strengthened Dragon in all areas of her life and has also led her to endless opportunities. Just recently, she has decided to become a Team Athlete with Bodybuilding.com. By joining their team, Dragon will continue to train and will get real-world experience of what its like to live and work in the fitness world. This year, she will be taking a trip to one of the biggest fitness competitions, the Arnold Classic where she will be with her team advertising their products and meetings fans.
Along with all of this, Dragon is looking to tell her story. Not only does she now hold fitness training sessions at the Live Love Dance Studio in Prospect, she has just booked a photo-shoot with one of NYC’s top agents, Adam Silver. With these photo-shoots, she will begin to build her resume.
To say that the once Woodland student has grown from the experience is quite an understatement. She’s matured throughout the entire process and she’s dedicated her life to inspiring others to get healthy and stay healthy.
“I got close to 300 messages from people all asking me to help them or give them advice or to tell me that I inspired them and THAT felt amazing,” added Dragon. “That is all I want to do in life, help other people become healthy.”
Dragon’s family has been extremely supportive throughout her entire transformation. With the help of her parents, she balances her school work, her fitness life, and now her career all at the age of nineteen. Almost five months later, she still continues to train every day to become an even stronger athlete.
Once a Woodland alum, now an MTV Made fitness model. She’s inspired people everywhere and continues to train to prove to others that they can do it.
“This experience taught me that no matter how impossible something might look, there’s always a way to get there,” stated Dragon. “And its not magic. It’s through hard work and determination.”