Fit for Fashion 2 winner Jackie Zapata found back her confidence

After following the entire season of Fit for Fashion 2, the winner is finally revealed. It’s not surprising that Jackie Zapata won, as she emerged as a favourite early in the show and then consistently put up strong showings to win six (of 10) fitness challenges.

Jackie was down in Singapore after she was crowned the winner and I managed to catch up with her to find out more about her journey.

Let’s see what drove this powerhouse to clinch the title…


Jackie Zapata was lacking motivation in her life and needed something to get her back into action. The 32-year-old Filipino-American had dislocated her elbow while doing a box jump, causing her to stop working out.

“I thrive on fitness, doing lots of obstacle course racing, so getting injured was bad as it took away my identity. I needed something to help me regain my confidence,” said Jackie who works in corporate finance on Wall Street.

She added, “The timing for Fit for Fashion 2 was perfect. I just turned 32, I was getting older and slower in metabolism, I gained weight due to my drop in activity levels due to injury and my body image was suffering.

“I was in a situation where I was stressed, I didn’t have the passion for anything and I wanted change yet didn’t know where to start. I needed time for a proper rehab but it was hard with all those late night hours crunching numbers.”


Deciding to take a leave of absence from work, Jackie then put away her phone and flew down from New York to Bintan to commit to the show for 10 weeks, after being encouraged by her partner Rusty Thompson, a former contestant on Fit for Fashion season 1.

Over that period, Jackie was locked away at Bintan Lagoon Resort with the rest of the participants without access to internet or her phone.

Jackie emerged as a strong contender in the show, often winning challenges (a total of 6 physical challenges) and proving that she is a force to be reckoned with. Take the last episode for example – Jackie was running in third place behind Sam and Kyle, but at the final task, she pulled through to beat the boys to win the challenge.


“The entire experience was intense and stressful; waking up every day and not knowing what lay ahead. I stumbled with the fashion challenges and I’m not a strong swimmer, but I faced my fear and worked on my weaknesses. From Week 5, I started to enjoy putting myself out there. I enjoyed feeling absolutely exhausted by the end of the workout,” she said.

“Everyone thought of me as the explosive powerhouse, but I wanted to show that I also had the mental strength, that there was a more composed side to me.”

From a BioScore of +5 (ie. her fitness age is five years older than her actual age), Jackie brought it down to a -2 by the end.


“Over time you start to believe in yourself more and you build confidence and momentum. I realised I can overcome my weaknesses and I took more risks. My hard work was building to something and that positive feeling kept me fuelled through the weeks.”

Winning the grand prize of US$100,000, Jackie is planning on taking a small vacation to treat herself, take her parents for a vacation, pay off her student loan and donate some to charity.

“I am still on cloud nine,” she grinned, “I’m ecstatic but there’s a sense of calm. When I heard my name, it felt like everything I was working towards finally came true. I can now exhale and relax, and revel in what I have achieved. I finally proved to myself that I am better than before.


“I am at my fittest and most alive I’ve ever felt in my life; not just in my body but also in my attitude and mental strength. I know I can do anything – I can hang on a pole for four hours, I can win a swimming challenge even though I’m weak in the water (notice I always needed a life jacket?). I am in the best shape physically and mentally and it makes you want to keep going. Fitness is addictive.”

*This is brought to you by Fitness First.