Schapelle Corby's nine years inside Bali's notorious Kerobokan Prison can only be described as hell.
"It took eight months before I was even given a mattress to sleep on," Schapelle recalls in an exclusive chat with Woman's Day.
It's been 15 years since she was convicted of smuggling cannabiss to Indonesia in 2005, and all these years later, the 43-year-old reveals she has become something of an expert when it comes to dealing with anguish.
"I take each day as it comes. It's always in the back of my mind that I need to control my thoughts and I've learnt to control the negativity that can come into my head," she says.
So much so that the Brisbane local has joined TV's harshest reality show – SAS Australia.
The new series will see her appear alongside 16 celebrities who have volunteered to take part in the Special Forces selection course, which will challenge their mental and physical toughness and push them to their absolute limits.
"It's not fun but it's real, it's completely real! It's unscripted, it is a reality show, but reality is the operative word," Schapelle explains, insisting nothing about the program is manufactured.
"There are no lines to rehearse, no acting involved, it was very raw."
It's a demanding ask for a woman who spent years confined to a tiny prison cell, eating nutrient-deprived meals with very limited space to exercise, but as she has done for most of her life, Schapelle has defied the odds.
"I had seven weeks to train for this and I lost nine kilograms coming out of it!" she reveals.
"I just focused a lot on my eating and gave up alcohol," she adds, insisting her transformation can be put down to a routine of extensive training and a diet of "mainly big salads and boiled eggs".
"I also jogged daily – I did heaps of high-intensity interval cardio and resistance training, and had two personal trainers each week. With the trainers, it's really hard. It's really intense... I hated every second of it!" she laughs.
"You know, because it's so one on one and it's all on you, you can't just slack off and pretend to tie your shoe lace... he knows all those tricks so you can't hide."
"I found myself automatically trying to figure out, 'How can I get out of this?', but you just have to push through, I felt much better for it," explains Schapelle, who says she went on the show determined to prove herself.
"I wanted to be the best I could be, with full intention to go to the very end. The weight loss was just a bonus – the best thing was seeing my body become so much stronger. I feel more alive."
While many would assume being imprisoned would see Schapelle develop insatiable cravings for the food she once couldn't have, she maintains it was quite the opposite once she left jail.
"My weight gain was mainly from the intake of beer," she laughs.
"It's not so much the food – I definitely know what's good for me and what's not, but I did learn not to over-indulge. I know not to have the extra biscuit or eat a whole bowl of ice-cream."
Despite her impressive transformation, Schapelle admits she can still be self-conscious, and appearing on TV was certainly intimidating.
"I think I laughed myself to sleep one night because I was so concerned about how unattractive I would be in some of the shots. I could feel my double chin wiggling while I was running and my chubby cheeks were flailing in the wind… it was just so invasive!" she says of filming, admitting that these days she refuses to even answer the door without makeup.
"I have to have a little something on, I love makeup... I know what's flattering," she quips.
While Schapelle is fully aware that her place in the show won't sit well with everybody, she remains determined to make the most of the life she lost while in jail.
"Whenever I feel a negative vibe, I try and do something different," she says, noting that she does her best to let her "haters" and "trolls" not affect her.
Relishing in her newfound stability, Schapelle says these days she is focused on the things that make her happy, including her dog Lucille, her Balinese boyfriend Ben Panangian and her new venture making resin clocks, which are inspired by her love of the beach.
"I would say I'm more a creative than a businesswoman, it's an escape for me," she says.
"I do it as a source of fun, and I love working with the materials – each one I make is uniquely different. The resin changes, it seems to do its own thing..." It is this sentiment that Schapelle now lives by, too.
WATCH: A retrospect of Schapelle's fascinating journey
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Now To LoveJul 26, 2021