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Brandi Mallory Was 'Full of Life' Before Sudden Death at Age 40, Says Friend: 'She Lit Up a Room' (Exclusive)

The former 'Extreme Weight Loss' contestant, who was found dead in her car on Nov. 9, was "an eternal optimist," says fellow makeup artist Eva Jane

<p>Brandi Mallory/Instagram</p> Brandi Mallory

Brandi Mallory/Instagram

Brandi Mallory

The sudden death of former Extreme Weight Loss star Brandi Mallory, who was found unresponsive in her car on Nov. 9, shook her fans around the world. Her loss has been especially hard for the makeup artist community in Atlanta, where she is remembered as being full of joy.

"I was just so impressed with her as a person because she was so positive, just an eternal optimist," says her friend, fellow makeup artist Eva Jane.

"I don't want to speak in clichés, like she lit up the room — but she did. She didn't complain or find fault in anyone or anything," Jane says of Mallory, who died at 40. "She was full of life, always looking for a way to make the atmosphere and environment around her so much better, and to encourage everybody around her. She had a very big personality. She was electric."

Jane first met Mallory through a mutual friend when Mallory, a dance instructor at the time, wanted to learn more about makeup artistry. Her funeral was somber, but also had levity, says Jane, creator of the Makeup Bullet.

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"It was very much a celebration of her life," Jane says, adding that in addition to tears there moments of laughter as friends shared personal stories about Mallory and remembered the joy she spread.

"She truly was, 'What you see is what you get,'" says Jane. "She was pure. With some people, it's all about PR and marketing designed to show someone in their best light, but she was genuinely herself. When someone like Brandi passes, it really does make it harder to grasp and understand. You think, 'Why would someone so amazing be called to go home?'"

Related: Brandi Mallory Laid to Rest Near Atlanta: Extreme Weight Loss Star Was 'Beyond Loved'

On Nov. 9, Brandi Mallory died in a Chipotle parking lot after grabbing dinner in Atlanta, according to a police report obtained by PEOPLE.

The Atlanta Police Department reported that Mallory was last seen on Nov. 8 in surveillance footage as she drove to a local Chipotle around 5:53 p.m. She entered the restaurant and returned to her vehicle with her food, but never got out of the car.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office previously confirmed her death to PEOPLE but the autopsy report is still pending.

In a 2018 YouTube interview with local Atlanta journalist Kirby Carroll, Mallory shared how she ended up on the reality show Extreme Weight Loss.

In the interview, Mallory revealed that it was the death of one of her sorority sisters at the age of 29 that inspired her to lose weight.

Related: Brandi Mallory Was a 'Bright, Shining Light,' Remembers Extreme Weight Loss Trainer Chris Powell (Exclusive)

"I was literally waking up every day like... this may be my last day waking up, like, I don't know what's going to happen for me," she said. "When it's playing on your mind that I might need to do something about my weight, because I'm afraid I might die too, then you might need to pay attention to something like that."

Jane adds of Mallory's funeral, "We knew each other professionally, so it was a privilege to meet the friends and family she had touched, and all the people who admired her." She adds, "It might be hard for some people to believe she was that genuine and pure of heart and spirit, but she was."

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