10 years ago, Lisa won The Biggest Loser. Now she just wants her daughter back home.

In 2010, Lisa Hose was in the news for being the first woman to win The Biggest Loser in Australia. The WA woman lost 56kg – nearly half her bodyweight – and said she was doing it because she wanted to be “a better role model” to her two daughters, then aged 12 and 14.

Now Hose is turning to the media because her older daughter, Chelsea, is stuck in Peru due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hose is in tears as she tells her story to Mamamia.

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“It’s been an absolute nightmare and we are getting nowhere,” she says.

Chelsea and her friend Tayla left Australia at the beginning of March for a four-week trip to South America.

“Chelsea’s just finished her teaching degree,” Hose explains. “It was her celebration trip for finishing uni. They just thought they’d do this before they started settling down.”

She says at that time, South America was “not on the radar at all” when it came to coronavirus. Chelsea and Tayla had been in Brazil and were planning to spend just one night in Lima before flying on to Mexico.

“They got an email in the morning saying that their flight was being delayed, and then they got a phone call saying, ‘Your flight has been cancelled. The airport’s closing tonight.’ That was it.

“Had we had any foresight that Peru was going to shut its borders, we would have got them home.”

The hostel that Chelsea and Tayla were staying at closed down, but Hose managed to find the girls an Airbnb. Lima is currently in lockdown and a curfew is in place. They’ve been allowed out briefly on the streets, wearing masks, to buy food, but they’re not allowed to linger.

“Chelsea’s seen a few people that have stopped to sit on a bench. As soon as they sit the police or the guards or whatever are on to them: ‘Move on, move on, move, move.’”

At one point the girls heard that food was running short, and tourists would be turned away from shops. Later they were told it was “just rumours”.

Hose says it’s hard on them mentally.


“It’s getting harder by the day,” she says. “The girls should have been flying home today, so they’re a mess.”

She’s been upset by people blaming tourists like Chelsea for getting stranded overseas.

“[Prime Minister] Scott Morrison got on the news the other day and was telling people they should have listened to warnings and come home. But they didn’t get the opportunity to do that. I think that’s what annoying us most, that people are getting on the bandwagon of, ‘They should have come home. It’s their own fault.’ It’s not.”

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There was one opportunity. Hose heard that a tour company was trying to organise a flight to get Australians out of Peru. One-way tickets were $5000, but Hose hesitated when she heard the flight might not go ahead.

“We were like, ‘Do we spend $5000 to book a ticket that has then tied up our funds that we then can’t access if something real comes to fruition?’ So we didn’t book it.”

Seats on the flight quickly sold out. It has now arrived back in Australia. Chelsea and Tayla are among the Aussies still stuck in Peru.

“If we have known that it was going to go ahead, we would have booked that in a heartbeat,” Hose says. “But we just didn’t know.”

She’s hoping that the Australian government can get Chelsea and Tayla home by organising flights like the UK and other governments have.

“They’re saying, ‘We’re seeing these flights coming and going, and we know that not one of them is from Australia.’”

Hose says the two girls spend all day hanging out for the time when their families wake up in Australia.

“That’s when we get out of bed and start messaging and FaceTiming them. That’s pretty much all they’re doing.”

She says the hardest thing for her daughter is “just being so far away from home” and not knowing when she’ll be on Australian soil again.

“She said to me this morning, ‘Mum, there’s no end date. If we knew that there was a flight on a certain day, then that would give us something.’ Not knowing when this is going to end is soul-destroying for them at the moment.”

The current situation around COVID-19 might be making you feel scared or uncertain. It’s okay to feel this way, but it’s also important to learn how to manage feelings of anxiety during this time. To download the free PDF: Anxiety & Coronavirus – How to Manage Feelings of Anxiety click here.

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