June 11, 2008 · Updated 1:25 PM
Three weeks ago Silverdales Christina Ozuna looked in the mirror and finally liked her reflection.
This week millions of television viewers saw Ozunas tearful reaction on The Swan, a reality TV show that seeks to transform self-proclaimed ugly ducklings into beautiful, confident women.
Each episode features two women who compete for one spot in a beauty pageant held at the end of the season. The winner of that pageant is named the Swan.
Each woman undergoes several plastic surgery procedures and must adhere to a strict diet and workout routine. They also live in a world without mirrors and must be away from their loved ones for three months.
The surgery was the easiest part of it. It was the other stuff, being away from my family, that was difficult Ozuna said.
Ozuna underwent surgery on her nose, a brow lift, lip enhancement, breast enlargement, liposuction and reconstructive dental work. Her mousy hair became bombshell blonde.
She agreed to go on the show because she wanted to be able to show her 8-year-old daughter what good self esteem is.
I couldnt show her what good self-esteem was, Ozuna said. Before going on the show the 30-year-old housewife lost 35 pounds.
Even though I had lost the weight, I still had more to pick apart, Ozuna said. Pregnancy had taken its toll on her body, so when she looked in the mirror she felt disgusted.
She doesnt believe for a minute that her breast enhancements, for instance, would be a quick fix for her self-esteem. During her months way from home she had time to concentrate on herself and build her confidence.
In addition to changing her appearance, being on the show changed her perception of reality TV.
You have to really want it, she said of the end result. Theres no way to explain how it feels.
Ozunas episode aired Monday and she was portrayed as a contestant who didnt want to play by the rules. Her post-surgery pain and irritability came across as protest.
What the show called cheating on her 1,700-calorie-a-day diet, she claimed was a few bites of mac and cheese so she could take her medication. She hadnt eaten for three days.
If I could look at myself and be happy with myself, it was worth it, Ozuna said.
Although Ozuna wont go to the pageant, she still has one more reveal. Her husband, who is currently deployed on a submarine, has yet to see her or the show. The couple last spoke in September. He returns within the next couple of weeks.