AJ McLean says he recently made many positive changes in his life, which he credits to becoming more involved in drag.
The Backstreet Boys member opened up to People about marking one year of sobriety and getting cosmetic surgery. He credits competing on VH1's RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race as Poppy Love for sparking the change.
"I am a completely different person, and it really all started [with] this show," he says. "This was by far the most liberating thing I thing I've ever done."
The Dancing with the Stars alum says doing drag "changed" him by improving his confidence and self-love.
"Hands down the biggest thing I took away from this amazing experience was to love the body that you're in," says AJ. "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."
AJ says he decided to commit to sobriety last September after struggling "with drugs and alcohol issues for 25 years." The singer admits, "It's still a daily struggle still but it allowed me to finally dive into me." He saluted the cast, saying they "kept me on track."
AJ also reveals he has opted for FaceTite, a cosmetic procedure that helps remove sagging skin on the lower half of the face. "Look, I have no shame in saying this: I went and got lipo on my neck," he remarks, adding he's always been "insecure" about his neck lines.
Overall, AJ says he feels "like a new human," adding he was also inspired to exercise more and change his diet. He lost 35 pounds and says he's now in the best shape of his life.