I used to cry when I did photoshoots with sexy fashion models... I thought one day I'm going to look like them; EXCLUSIVE: TYCOON POSES IN HER OWN LINGERIE AFTER SHE LOSES SIX STONES.
LINGERIE tycoon Michelle Mone can be justifiably proud of her latest Ultimo model - herself.
After shedding more than six stones in weight, the businesswoman shows off her trim new figure in her latest advertising campaign.
Michelle decided to take herself in hand after years of working with glamorous Ultimo models, including Kelly Brook, Rachel Hunter and Jennifer Ellison, left her feeling fat and frumpy.
The mum-of-three slimmed down to a size 10.
But she faced opposition from her business advisers, her husband and her children when she told them she wanted to appear in her own ads.
Michelle, 38, however, was determined to go through with it, in the hope her story will inspire other women who are unhappy about their weight.
She said: "I hope I don't regret what I've done.
"I hope I have made a change in the way women feel about themselves. If I have done that, then it has been worth it."
Before losing weight, Michelle weighed 17st 4lb and had to squeeze into size 22 clothes.
She admits she was "addicted to food" and used to hide cakes and crisps from her family so she could binge-eat in secret.
She said: "I used to cry when I did shoots with Rachel Hunter on the beach in Miami and Sarah Harding on the beach in LA because I was so insecure.
"I would be wearing baggy trousers with elastic waistbands. Rachel Hunter was a year older than me.
"I thought, 'One day I am going to feel like that'."
Michelle said she was miserable for 10 years because of her weight.
After trimming down to 11st, the businesswoman is now a size 10. But she is aware that modelling her new range is a gamble.
She added: "It took a lot to pluck up the courage and do this. I know it will shock the business world.
"A female head of a company, even in America, has never stripped off before.
"All my advisers around me were saying this was unacceptable, that I would lose all my credibility for being a serious businesswoman.
"I have gone against them, even my own family. My kids are obviously embarrassed and my husband Michael is totally against it because he thinks it's inappropriate. I don't feel proud about saying that.
"But I am not doing it to shock. This is the last chapter of being so miserable and depressed about my body. Now I just want to close it."
Michelle lost weight through exercise, eating less and taking slimming aids.
And she trained with Celtic for six weeks during the preparation for her appearance on ITV reality show 71 Degrees North, in which celebrities compete against each other in gruelling Arctic challenges.
She said: "As the weight was beginning to come off, I was gaining a lot more confidence but I needed to tone up the loose flab.
"I set myself a challenge earlier this year to get fit. I have never accepted any other reality shows but when 71 Degrees North came through I said yes because, for me, it was the last piece of the jigsaw."
Being an overweight mum to Rebecca, 18, Declan, 14, and Bethany, 11, had its problems.
It also put Michelle's relationship with husband Michael under an enormous amount of pressure.
Michelle, who now does sit-ups on the floor of her office at MJM International in East Kilbride, said: "Why should you and other people around you be miserable because you are not happy with your body?
"That's what went on in my life. For 10 years, I was miserable and it affected every part of my life.
"For 10 years, we had ruined holidays. I would never go on the beach with the kids. I felt sorry for them because I didn't do all the active things I do with them now. I also felt so sorry for Michael having to go through all that.
"I didn't really see myself as obese. I can now. You can't even see my eyes because they were so sunken into my fat face.
"I became obsessed. I was like an alcoholic but not addicted to alcohol, addicted to food.
"I would hide cakes, biscuits, crisps and cans of Irn-Bru in the linen cupboard or under the bed. I had a real problem with it.
"My husband used to find my stash and shout at me."
Years of posing with some of the world's most beautiful women - including Ultimo models Hunter, Brook, Penny Lancaster and Melinda Messenger - left Michelle feeling increasingly ashamed of her ballooning figure.
Three years ago, her father, who has been in a wheelchair since he was 38, wrote her a touching letter in the hope that she'd finally do something about her weight.
It was his words that kickstarted her weight loss.
Michelle describes the letter as a "wake-up call".
Six months later, she began taking herbal pills called Trimsecrets, which, she said, curbed her appetite. She also decided to get fit.
And after receiving more than 15,000 letters and emails from women suggesting that Michelle should model her own collection, she decided to do it when she reached her target weight.
Being the first businesswoman to strip off to model her products, Michelle knows she could face a backlash. And husband Michael, who runs MJM International with her, made it clear he thought it was a bad idea.
But she doesn't regret her decision to pose in pretty bras and knickers for her new range.
Michelle said: "I am a mum of three so I know I am never going to have a body like Kelly Brook.
"But I am the most confident I have ever been with my body, so why not stand up for real women and encourage them?
"I am not doing this shoot to turn on men.
"I have done it to show that my life was there and now it's here and you can do it too.
"I didn't have to do it. I have just done a TV show, the business is going well and I have turned down tons of shows.
"I am doing this for myself. This is my last chapter. I want newspapers and magazines to start looking at real women instead of the Kate Mosses of this world."
For Michelle, who left school in Glasgow at the age of 15, her weight loss is more proof of her determination to succeed.
And to other women out there struggling with their weight, she has some words of advice: "You can turn your life around if you work hard on the things you want to improve.
"It doesn't matter where you are from or how much you have got.
"If you want it bad enough, you can get it."
Ultimo is available from Debenhams and www.ultimo.co.uk
Michelle wants to find 24 "real" women for a lingerie shoot with Ultimo. To be in with a chance to appear in the shoot, email your details and a picture to: firstname.lastname@example.org
ANIMAL MAGIC: Bra tycoon in front of the camera BRA-VO: Michelle now and, centre, with Ellison, before her weight loss