So many of you have shown such SERIOUS SUPPORT in my decision to try-out for the show Biggest Loser. I feel like a Rock STAR!!!
Soon as I heard that they were starting to look for applicants for Season 8, I KNEW I had to do this. It MADE complete sense, I am finally at a point (for only a short while) that something like this can take place in my life--largely due to the kids activities and ages at this point, and me NOT being pregnant or NURSING! I began video taping and filling out my application. BUT as time went on the word got out that they were doing casting calls in Phoenix. I thought that casting calls may be a quicker way to get my "foot in the door". OF COURSE, I did not want to do this alone...so I convinced my sister and her hubby to do it with me.
We cleared the calendar for this past weekend (3/7), and ask Dan's parents if we could hang with them. I was missing some GREAT events this weekend. BUT I also realized that my weight had to become a priority--starting now.
We headed down to Phoenix late Friday evening after Dan had gotten of of work. It had been a LONG day for me as our van had to be in Prescott and I needed to travel there and back two days in a row-- and run the "other errands" there where they had stores. I was hardly home for most of the day on Friday.ONE of the errands I ran in Prescott was to find a red t-shirt so that my friend Denise Steinert could embroider "HURT ME PLEASE!" across the front of it for casting calls.
I woke up a zillion times Friday evening thinking that I had slept through my alarm. They ask that we only line up 3 hours prior to casting call time (10am). HOWEVER my instincts told me that in a city of 4 million people that there would be people there earlier than that. I could not get good sleep so I was up at 4am and in the shower by 4:30am. I started waking up my sister and hubby at 5:15 and waited in the car for them where we left at 5:40. There was very little traffic and not too long of a line. We were in line at about 6am. I found out people at the front of the line had been standing there since the day before at 2pm!
There was only one "stampede" at about 7:00am when we could finally line up at the arena grounds, as opposed to across the street. I am sure a few people snuck in during that time--BUT overall I was pleased with who we ended up being around, as we spent the MAJORITY of the day with them, and were in the same group when we FINALLY got called in.
We stood in line about 6.5 hours before we were seen, and I was #191. There was still a line wrapping around the outside of the arena when I left, and there was ALLOT of waiting time inside left for them. They were trying to see the first 500.
It was CRAZY!! I have never met so many crazy fat people (remember I am including myself in the terminology of fat in this post). Channel 12 news station was there and focused on the "nutty" ones at the front of the line. I mean, really, I have energy and I was excited to be there BUT some people WANTED to be on TV at all cost, at the expense of their dignity in some cases. Some were just screaming and bouncing around-I was happy with that. Of course this enthusiasm began to wear down as the day went on.
It actually was sad to me to see so many people plagued with obesity. It was there at so many levels. I was NOT shocked at sizes, it was just overwhelming to see the numbers-- and I realize how much it consumes my life, and I was one of the "smaller" ones. I also realized that probably most of them wanted to be on the show as bad as I wanted too. Waiting in line for some of them was beyond painful because of their size.
I had envisioned sitting in my sports chair finishing off my x-mas thank-you's I have never sent out, reading a magazine or 2 and having a morning of it! BUT I ended up standing almost the whole time and resenting any extra heavy things I had to lug around. There was too much energy to just sit, and it seemed once you got settled, something changed and it changed quickly.
Not only were contestants trying out, but also they are casting for trainers on the show. We had two trainers with us for the firs couple of hours. Kelli (one of the trainers) had driven all the way from Denver for this. It was cold for a majority of the time...so I had to keep moving to stay warm. Kelli also helped me stay warm by teaching me how to do "burpees" (jumping, push up type things) and today (Sunday) I am absolutely feeling it. I can barely raise my arms above my head! Thanks Kelli!
We kept hearing rumors about how they were going to run things and we had a "pink-shirted" lady by us that had tried out before-and she KNEW IT ALL! She was quite the entertainment listening to all her "insights". She was super aggressive and I think had someone offend her every half hour for her entire life-because we heard ALL about it. Her partner trying out with her was a Tarot card reader and we had some fun getting good "readings" in our behalf while waiting too. In fact, Tarot (is what we will call her) was quite accurate with some of the things she said (just ask my brother and sister)-- INTERESTING! Tarots cards told me something BIG would manifest soon and it would be a very good thing, and help with the healing of my body. I was sure she was talking about casting calls! As you can see we were far from bored--I could go on about some of the outfits I saw too--DUE DATE Season 8, Beat Anorexia, bikinis, tight clothes.....
We also were able to meet up and visit with four of the current contestants that are appearing on the show (Felipe, Sione, Dane and Blaine- for those of you who follow)--as they were all from Mesa (even though the competition is done , the show is airing right now). They looked PHENOMENAL-absolutely different. It was interesting to think that they were average people just a few months ago, and now people were taking pictures, screaming, getting signatures and swarming them. Ironically all four were of our same faith (LDS) so I had been wondering how they worked Sundays out on the ranch and was able to ask them some of those things!
When we FINALLY got in, it was quite a little bit of a let down. They had 15 of us sit at a table with one casting director (who was SUPER YOUNG). We placed our applications in front of us-picture facing out. We had to state our name, occupation, AND amt. of weight we needed to lose. Then she told us that they are looking for personality and some other traits but mostly PERSONALITY. After all it is a reality show and they have to entertain for 2 hours.She went on to say that she was going to throw out a question and we had to have an open discussion about it-talking over, and interrupting one another, as well as expressing our disagreeances. Luckily "pink shirt girl" was NOT in this group, as I am sure she dominated her group with some "choice vocabulary". It ended up being 3 questions, all dealing with weight and we had about 6 minutes to talk. I got my "air time" and actually felt good about what I was able to say. I would have LOVED to go into detail with what I said, but this discussion certainly was not set up for details. I did interrupt without trying to be rude. Overall, I felt confident and good about what I said and how much I said.
Then it was done! All that waiting for about 15 minutes.
A shout out to "our GIRLS" for that day-- Lucy and Joanne- they were our kindred spirits,we could have been happy being put on the show with them. There are some great people with great stories too!Ironically Lucy had a friend that was there with her for support. The support got "booted" through an exit when we went through some glass doors. However, Lucy's support friend was able to watch through the outside windows into the interview room, and see how animated some of the discussions were and confident we looked-- BUT mostly she and a few other supporters had gotten good at seeing where the director placed applications after we left the room. According to their "philosophy" there were 3 piles. A big one on the floor, a medium one in a folder and a small one in a folder. My application went in the small file and my sisters/hubby went in the medium folder.
After that information (although I realize we could never be sure what those piles meant and could have mistaken what was seen with where our personal applications went)-- and how I felt after our group discussion. I was pretty sure I was coming back for call-backs. They had told us that call-backs would be called that evening and the next morning for a personal interview (what I REALLY wanted-then they could really see the real me and real answers!). I felt bad for the Colorado and Tuscon travelers who had to take off right after, and may have missed call backs. However when others asked for more information about when and where the call-back interviews would be the director was pretty sketchy. She did not seem sure or organized in that thought. The whole casting call experience seemed pretty un-organized and sketchy. They gave VERY little info. about casting calls besides when to be there, and to bring a picture. They only had 3 staff members. There was very little info. given while there, and very little for after. The director also encouraged us to get more of that one-on-one time, and to still send in a DVD (since they hire people to watch the videos all day she told us) as she was not the "end all".
I ended up NOT getting a call back. I am not even sure they did call backs. There was so much to get through that day. There was not allot of clarity where they would be the next, and are catching flights back to LA. I think they might be taking some of the applications back to look at. OR maybe they did get some interviewing in. It ended very open-ended, meaning that there is still a possibility.
I realize I may sound bitter because I did not get a call-back. I am really OK with the results. I also felt these feeling about unorganized open-endedness of the whole process, even when I was confident in the return. I guess it was not what I expected and am learning with these types of things to not have expectations. I guess I may have felt a little 'let down" by what I had sacrificed to come, and bringing my whole family down to PHX with me. I guess if I had realized that the casting calls were so low-key for the staff, uninformative, and no closure- and that I would end up still sending in a video. I would have stayed home and worked on that.
HOWEVER--I would have NEVER known all this... unless I did go.
It was one of those experiences of a lifetime.
I felt good about what did happen. I feel confident that if it is to be, it WILL be. However, it is hard not to feel like you got cut from the "fat team" too. It was hard to watch as this meant so much to people. Sometimes it felt like it was a popularity contest among the large for some. It was sad, yet hopeful at the same time. There are strong, good, large people out there, and people are wanting to do something about it!!!!!
I also began to worry about being a mother and doing this. The contestants I talked to from this season, told us that they could have been on the ranch for 5 months if they made it all the way through. The season before it was 3 months, and the season before that was 4 months. You were not allowed to call home or write either. The 3 months would be hard, and 5 months seems neglectful. I wonder if I would be neglecting the very people I am trying to be healthier for. I wonder if that is too high of a cost. 5 months out of Dacie's life when she changes so quickly.
I guess I really don't have to worry about all this now , so I won't.
Dan was super supportive and optimistic. He kept the cell phone by him because he was certain I would get a call. He tells me if it were him he would still do it for the 5 months. He also tells me if it does not work, we will do our own version. BUT that statement was made before the reality of the cost of a trainer and gym set in --and the amount of time I would need to spend in the gym and with the trainer to make it happen. For me it seems this show may be the only feasible way with a family to care and pay for to get it done.
Hope your weekends were eventful and a bit more informative !!!!