How ‘Drag Race’ made Backstreet Boy AJ McLean really feel like ‘a completely different person’

Nowadays, Backstreet Boy AJ McLean is certainly feeling “Larger Than Life.”

And the 44-year-old boy-bander has “RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race” to thank for it.

“I am a completely different person, and it really all started with this show,” McLean instructed Individuals forward of competing within the Friday finale of the VH1 actuality spinoff from the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” juggernaut.

Along with remodeling into Poppy Love on “Celebrity Drag Race,” McLean has undergone a significant makeover of his personal this 12 months. He’s misplaced over 30 kilos, had cosmetic surgery to tighten up his jawline — and, most significantly, celebrated a 12 months of sobriety on Monday.

The star credit “Celebrity Drag Race” for serving to him to — within the immortal phrases of Mom Ru — “love myself.”

AJ McLean will compete in Friday’s finale of “RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race” as Poppy Love.

“Hands down the biggest thing I took away from this amazing experience was to love the body that you’re in,” mentioned McLean. “That’s something I’ve long struggled with, and this proved to be the catalyst for me to really look inwards and do the emotional work to embody the person I am and really just love myself. Because as Ru says, how can I love anybody else if I don’t love myself?”

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McLean’s expertise on “Celebrity Drag Race” even satisfied him to get liposuction to tighten up some free pores and skin round his neck that had lengthy bothered him. He seen how a lot firmer his pores and skin regarded when it was taped as much as get into drag.

Backstreet Boys in the '90s.
AJ McLean (heart) discovered fame with the Backstreet Boys within the ’90s.
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“I got to see what I looked like with a jawline, and Ru told me how beautiful I looked, and I got so emotional,” he mentioned. “It really struck me.”

After the process, McLean now looks like a brand new man. “I look 10 years younger … I just feel like a new human,” he mentioned. “Now I can say for the first time, I love my profile.”

The singer has additionally dropped from about 175 kilos to about 140 since February — little question, with some assist from all that synchronized hoofing on tour with the Backstreet Boys this summer time.

AJ McLean
AJ McLean has gone from his boy band heyday with the Backstreet Boys to “RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race.”

“I started working out five days a week, and then mixing it with healthy eating — literally, grain-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free foods,” he instructed Individuals. “It’s the most sinfully boring diet you’ve ever done, but I see the results and I feel freaking fantastic.”

And McLean has gotten some particular help in staying sober throughout his stint on “Celebrity Drag Race.” “When I walked on set, I was so at ease because there’s a massive sober community there,” he mentioned. “I even had a couple of meetings while I was in rehearsals, which was phenomenal. I felt like I was home.”

Though McLean mentioned that “Celebrity Drag Race” is “by far the most liberating thing I think I’ve ever done,” he added that “I’m no stranger to drag … I grew up in musical theater, wearing makeup, painting my nails — all that is nothing new to me. But doing drag like this — it just changed me.”

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