Radio host Jay-Jay Harvey says losing weight on Dancing with the Stars is helping improve her self-esteem and recover from her battle with depression.

Harvey, who lost 12 kilograms during her time on the show, tells this week's edition of New Idea she has always struggled with low self-esteem and hates looking in the mirror.

"I've always been one of those people who has been insecure," she told NI.

"I don't rate myself as a hot person. I'm average."

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Harvey said her weight gain over the years came from a combination of fertility drugs, anti-depressants, slow metabolism and eating the wrong things.

Her insecurities reached a tipping point earlier in the year.

"At the beginning of the year I was at my worst," she said. "We were in Mexico and I had to get into togs. I felt so gross and depressed and sort of just hit breaking point."

Despite not making it to the finals, Jay-Jay won praise for her outrageous routines on Dancing With the Stars which included dressing up like a saucy schoolteacher and a cheerleader.

But the outspoken DJ said she had learned how to hide her troubles in public despite her long history with depression and body image issues.

"In some ways I'm an actress because on the days I do feel terrible I know how to put it on. I don't want to bring the party down with my problems.

"You have to put on a brave face even when you're feeling horrible."

She told New Idea that she hoped that sharing her struggles publicly would empower others coping with depression.

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"I have so much to be grateful for. I always say you have to look at all your positives. If you know what makes you happy, try to make that happen," she said.

"Despite everything I've been through, I always try to move forward and don't dwell on the past."

* Read the full story in the latest edition of New Idea.
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- nzherald.co.nz