Biggest Loser casting tips (season 16)

Biggest Loser is well into casting for season 16!  The latest information will be posted on the Biggest Loser casting website.  Basically, this post is a collection of tips I’ve written based on my experience making the cast of season three, as well as some links to casting advice I don’t think you should miss:

  • NBC has posted casting information and the application here.  They have all the casting news and information on a special blog just for Biggest Loser casting, which you can find here.
  • Pete Thomas, the season 2 $100,000 winner has some of the best casting call advice out there, which you can find at his website, Lose It Fast, Lose It Forever.
  • Holland, a casting director for Biggest Loser sent me a bunch of great advice on how to be casted, you can find it here.  She updated them October, 2009.
  • I’ve been posting these casting tips for the last few seasons and they always seem to end up with thousands of comments; just about every season has contestants that were hanging out on here, reading and giving each other thoughts and advice.  You can find the most recent one here.
  • If you’re dealing with disappointment about not being cast, then check out my post on Biggest Loser casting disappointment.

One of the questions I hear a lot is about money … how do contestants afford to be away from home and work for months at a time? I don’t know what it is now, but when I was a contestant there was a $500 a week stipend for cast members on the ranch. When you received the check you could cash it and spend it, send it home, save it, whatever. All airplane tickets, hotel accommodations, etc., for the contestants and potential cast members are taken care of by NBC, and during the casting process it self there was a $50 per diem to cover food costs.

Another question is timing; typically a season lasts for about 8-9 months. About four of this is spent in filming; if you last all the way until the final three or four, you could be away from home for as much as four months or so. Once the ranch filming wraps and the last few contestants are sent home, however, there is still another four or five months that all the contestants have to continue losing weight until the finale. In addition, potential cast members are flown out to California a couple weeks before filming begins for the final round of casting, medical checkups, psychological evals, etc. NBC brings out more people than what they need and the cast is not finalized until filming literally begins. People have been cut at the last minute and replacements flown in with hardly any time to spare. Nothing is in stone until it’s on camera!

When will you hear from Biggest Loser about your video? There is no way of knowing. I heard back a few weeks after I sent it in, but even after that it’s a big waiting game. If you get a phone number or email from a casting direction, definitely drop them a line/call every couple weeks to find out if you’re still in the running or what’s going on. Schedules and plans change almost every day, so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. If you don’t hear back within a month I would think your video didn’t make the cut. That doesn’t mean you can’t send in another or visit a casting call – it’s just up to you!

Finally, here’s my video application tips! This is by no means a recipe for success; it’s based on my video application and the conversations I had with casting directors out in LA in between things. I was pretty curious about the whole process so I was pumping them for info even after filming began. I’m such a nerd!

  • They’ve usually decided if they’re interested in you within the first 30-60 seconds of your video, so front load it with your best stuff. Make it interesting! Start off with something funny or exciting!
  • Keep in mind, if you’re going to be cast, your video is going to be watched hundreds of times by producers, executives, casting directors, etc. If it bores you or your friends the second or third time watching it … put some more time into it!
  • Special effects? Don’t bother! We’ve all got video editing software with all sorts of bells and whistles on our home computers, but fancy transitions are not going to sell you to people who do video editing for a living. In fact, it can distract from who you are. I’m a video editing nerd and I didn’t use any special effects other than putting my name and contact info on as a subtitle at the beginning.
  • Don’t bother talking about why you need to lose weight. When I first started filming my audition video I started describing all of my health reasons for losing weight – but when I was watching it back, I realized … they don’t need to hear it! One look at me was all they needed to know I needed to lose weight! Show them why you need to lose it; I said I needed to lose weight for my kids, and then I followed it with a minute or two of the best footage I could find of me with wrestling with my three boys. We probably filmed half an hour of that insanity and I grabbed the cutest, loudest, and funniest few moments for the audition video. Your physical need to lose weight is not nearly as interesting as who or what your losing the weight for.
  • Live loud! Reality TV is over the top, dramatic, and filled with loud personalities. They need to see that on your video! I wanted them to know that even though I was morbidly obese I was up to the challenge of the crazy competitions and workouts – so I threw on a bunch of clips from my different youth group activities; me getting slimed, snowtubing, playing paintball, screaming at events, being on stage, running around … you get the idea. Other contestants did things appropriate to their lives; Tim from Oregon had himself spinning out on his Harley, Tim from Delaware recruited his elementary school class to do things with him, Heather Hanson filmed herself running around in a sports bra all day doing her household chores and errands. The less talking and more action you can have, the better (in my opinion)!
  • If you have footage or photos of yourself thin, include those at some point on the video. If you can show them what your after will be, then do it!

Remember, enjoy the conversation here and know that I will never compromise your anonymity – not to NBC, 3Ball, Casting Directors or anyone. You can post anonymously, or you can leave your names and contact information … just remember that NBC likes to be the one announcing their cast for the show, so if you start identifying yourself publicly as a finalist, you’ll probably find yourself eliminated from the casting process. Be aware that casting directors do check in at my blog to see what people are saying, get a feel for what questions are going on out there, and sometimes to give us updates. Good luck to everyone … and let me know if you make the show! I get a kick out of hearing about the different contestants that have hung out on my blog before making the show! ;)

187 thoughts on “Biggest Loser casting tips (season 16)

  1. Alison probably has a really busy schedule, and if they start to film in July, I don’t doubt they start wardrobe stuff now. How exciting 🙂

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  2. So how many of you very quiet peeps made the cut?

    Taken from Biggest Loser Casting’s facebook page (4 hrs ago)

    “Final Update for BL16 Casting: All finalists have been contacted and notified for Season 16. We want to THANK each and every person that took the time and had the courage to attend a casting call, send a video, tweet us, fb us, email us, etc. We realize that this will not be welcomed news for many of you, but please know the decisions were very tough and it was very hard to narrow it down to the select few. We wish we could select everyone. We hope you will join us in supporting and congratulating those who did make it to finals and We hope that whether you are a finalist or not you decide to take the steps necessary to become healthier. Thank you ALL for being such great fans and hopefuls!!! It is because of YOU that The Biggest Loser is so successful! Please feel free to continue to use this page to get support from other hopefuls struggling – it is a great resource! Good luck finalists!!! Lastly, thank you to our amazing casting team for all of their hard work and dedication this season! A job very well done!”

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  3. I didn’t and I’m pretty sad about it! I was part of a family and they made us feel pretty good about it. I thought for sure we would at least make it to the finals. I wonder if the family concept has been abandoned and it’s just athletes now?

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  4. I am not a finalist, however, it has been a long time since I have gotten as far as I did this season.

    I do feel like a lot of the “odd-ness” of this season has to do with deciding on a direction,so it will be interesting to see what happens when it all airs !!!

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  5. As upset as I may have seemed earlier, I really am excited for all those who made it as a finalist! I get butterflies for you 🙂 g

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  6. I was notified a few weeks ago that I was cut from casting but had made it near the last 100. I think they only emailed that to those of us who were call backs from the casting calls. Was still a cool experience.

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  7. I guess I will go through our experience with minimal details. Those of you that know me outside of this page can probably fill in some blanks on your own.
    We were contacted and asked to send in video of us and of any family members. Getting our family members that are blood related to do anything for anyone other then themselves is like pulling teeth, but we figured okay.
    About a week later we got two different VIP’s one for north and one for south for the same day. If I was on the fence up to that point, I had to make a decision. I decided to try out again. As luck would have it, the 4 people all bailed when I mentioned a road trip for the day.
    Casting told us to bring their info and pictures to the call and see what happens.
    We had a great time at casting and were very well received. They did make it clear they were looking for athletes and family groups. We were told we were like a sitcom couple. It was a good day. We drove home knowing it would have been better had our family gone, but we gave it our best shot.
    I have to admit I was pissed. I know this sounds crazy, but I think I am a pretty darn good candidate for the show. I still have plenty of weight to lose. Blood relatives are my issue. If we could have put a surrogate family together I think things would have been different.
    The story doesn’t end there though. We have been through this a few times so by Wednesday night after the casting call we knew they would be finished with callback interviews, packing up and heading to the next venue.
    At about 2am my wife, who never has her phone on her, got an email from our casting director, telling us we were the only couple that he/she were contacting and that though they were primarily wanted families and athletes he wanted to throw us in the mix. Not our families, us. We messaged back and forth and he sent us the after the callback interview instructions.
    On our way to Disney the next Wednesday we were working on getting everything in. We even got an extension since we would have to wait to get there to send everything at once.
    Needless to say, I am very disappointed.
    I never sent the first video we were asked for. Frankly, I didn’t think we had to since we had gotten the passes and then the email and such. I am wondering today if that would have made a difference.
    I will never know, but am determined to continue the journey. If I am still big enough to audition again, who knows.
    This process was different. I always get ticked about being passed by, it diminishes and then when the show airs I feel it all over again, but I am happy for those that were chosen as long as they aren’t ungrateful jerks and waste the opportunity.

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  8. My casting directors specifically told me what things I needed to do after my interview for my videos. Not how to do it just what things to film, like me with CPAP, etc.. That way the rest of the casting directors could see me not jsut them and its pretty much the main thing for the executive producers. I had fun doing mine. I’d do it again. Hopefully I wont have too though. I started at the gym a few weeks ago, down close to 20lbs now.

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  9. I was nixed from the first announcement, just hanging on to a thread of the word “individuals.” I went to a casting call just in case. I gained weight after the CC, then have already lost some of that. Just riding that roller coaster still.

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  10. I just ate an entire bag of gummi worms while replaying the phone call with the CD in my head. How was I supposed to know he was from casting?!!! BLAH!

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  11. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL THE DAD’S OUT THERE, AS WELL AS ALL THE SINGLE MOM’S WHO ARE FILLING BOTH PAIRS OF SHOES.

    MAY YOU ALL HAVE A BLESSED DAY!

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  12. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL THE DAD’S OUT THERE, AS WELL AS ALL THE SINGLE MOM’S WHO ARE FILLING BOTH PAIRS OF SHOES.

    MAY YOU ALL HAVE A BLESSED DAY!

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  13. Happy Father’s Day to all of the dad’s out there, as well as all the single Mom’s, who, for whatever reason, are filling both pairs of shoes.

    May you all have a Blessed Day!

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  14. Well…I had written and wished all the Dads and the Moms who are both Mom and Dads a wonderful Father’s Day yesterday morning, but it is still “awaiting moderation”.

    I’m hoping that’s a sign that Matt had a most fabulous Father’s Day!

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  15. The CD’s always are great about what specifics they want you to film. They always have great CDs. I guess we will see in September which way the networks went with things. I don’t envy the decisions that have to be made.

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  16. @Balzak @ Tempted @Tank and everyone else who applied:

    Sorry guys, I personally know the disappointment you’re experiencing now. It sucks. And Balzak’s right, it will hurt again when the show begins. I don’t care how sincere the BL people are, it’s Hollywood and it’s show business.

    I read through the last couple of pages and not much has changed in how they oversell their end and make you feel like you are a “Shoe in” as I was told. But the decision makers change their minds way to often for CD’s to be as optimistic as they are, and the CD’s know this. Why they continue to do this season after season is void of any logic. It’s as if they think some 3-400 + lb person they call to tell they’ve made it and they’re a Finalist, is gonna say “Nah, I think I’ll go to the gym.” It’s needless and borderline cruel.

    After watching Episodes on HBO, Hollywood and this BL process makes a lot more sense. Very plastic, insincere, and careless with an already emotionally sensitive group of people… but the beat goes on.

    On a separate note, I’m down 60+lbs and 3lbs away from dipping below 300 for the first time in 7 years. I have not gone off this Paleo since January 13th.

    I’m telling you guys, cut out the processed sugar, foods, dairy, gluten, and legumes. Get rid of the addiction first. Eat whatever and whenever you feel hungry. Personally, guacamole(Use to dress any meat or cold cut), Lara bars and Agave(And Maple Syrup) saved me.

    After a few months, start trying to curb your bad eating times. In the beginning it sucks really bad as you get off “The Drugs”. But soon your ability to be around your kryptonite foods(You all know what I’m talking about) without going gluttonously crazy, subsides. Get all the crap out of your house before you start. Anyone in your house that doesnt like(Thin or fat) can go out and eat. This is a lifestyle change NOT a diet. More thin people do this than fat people; that should tell you everything you want to know. Make sure you lift weights at least twice a week. Good luck.

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  17. @BFG-You are always amazing. Awesome job. I let my job get in the way of my progress for awhile so I am back to the beginning.
    So many people take what the CDs say at face value. As we both know well, it is show business. It doesn’t make it piss you off any less.
    Jillian has left for Season 16, she was not happy about being made the bad guy with the whole caffeine things last season or being made to look like a bad guy all the time. I haven’t “loved” the seasons when we had other trainers in the past when she was gone. Also, Kris Jenner is talking to the network about putting Rob on there.

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  18. @ PI- You’ve always got the scoop 🙂

    @ BFG- Paleo is a great way to go….. excellent job, my friend!

    When it comes to BL I simply don’t get overwhelmed with disappointment. It is a long-shot at best. Still a dream of mine, but it is clear to me I will never actually make the show. Somehow I think I am addicted to the ups and downs of applying 🙂

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  19. Whoopee! Today is National Chocolate Day. Now that is something to celebrate.

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  20. Ironically, there are still 3 of my posts from June 15th, awaiting moderation.

    The weirder (new word) thing is, there is no reason any of them should have been held up. No bad language, no links (web addresses) and each have only 2 sentences.

    BTW, the reason there are 3 is because I kept resending the same post over and over trying to get the system to accept it.

    And finally, for all who are wondering what they said; they were time sensitive and are of no importance now.

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  21. “The Real Reason Jillian Michaels Left Biggest Loser
    Jul 19, 2014 11:00 AM ET
    by Sadie Gennis

    Jillian Michaels has opened up to People about her decision to leave Biggest Loser after ten years of helping people to get in shape.

    “I don’t want fans to think I feel like I’m too big for the show or that I’m seeking greener pastures,” she explained. “I’m so grateful to the show and so sad to leave.”

    However, Michaels said “there were some fundamental differences [withThe Biggest Loser producers] that have existed for a while.”

    One of those differences is how the series has portrayed Michaels in recent seasons. “In the beginning of the show, it was tough love. You saw the tough, and you saw the love,” she said. The trainer noticed this shift, when the show began rarely showing her being helpful, instead zeroing in on her harsher moments. “You saw none of the relationships, none of the bonds that I build with my clients.”

    Michaels soon noticed how the show’s editing techniques began affecting her daily life with girlfriend Heidi Rhoades, son Phoenix, 2, and daughter Lukensia, 4. “Millions of people have this warped negative perception of me,” Michaels said. Someone had even told her daughter at camp, “I know who your mom is — she’s a cheater. I saw it on TV,” referencing Michaels’ allowing her team to take caffeine pills on the most recent season.

    Michaels also noted the startling and controversial weight loss by last season’s winner Rachel Frederickson, who appeared unhealthily thing at the finale. “I had to take a hard look at my work. I came to the conclusion that moving forward, I need to be able to have an impact on the outcome of what I do.” ”

    http://www.tvguide.com/News/Why-Jillian-Michaels-Left-Biggest-Loser-1084650.aspx

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  22. Well…they’ve brought CANADA into the mix for the upcoming season!

    Apparently, there were not enough applicants from the Good Ole USofA.

    20 Contestants and what a surprise…every last one of them are current or former athletes / sports figures!

    I, for one, want to give a special thanks to NBC, BL and the BL Casting Team for completely wasting so many peoples time and more so, for the less fortunate, our money in having us apply for something that would never have been.

    I personally look forward to seeing / hearing just how many viewers are turned off by the theme of “Sports”, like myself, whereas they would never be caught watching ANY sports on TV or otherwise.

    MEET THE CONTESTANTS (if you want)!!!

    http://www.nbc.com/the-biggest-loser/contestants/season-16

    Please understand, I am NOT a sore loser and I do wish the contestants well and also hope that they all have great success in their weight loss journeys. It wouldn’t have mattered who was chosen (in place of me). I would have been happy for their good fortune. It’s just, I believe from the beginning, they knew they were casting Athletes / sports figures.

    Good Luck to all.

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  23. From The Biggest Loser’s facebook page

    New contestants. New trainers. New challenges.

    Meet our Season 16 contestants before the Biggest Loser: Glory Days premieres Thursday, September 11. http://bit.ly/BL_16

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  24. Holy Crap! I can totally see who my competition was! Same age, biography, hair color, etc. I had to do a double take on the picture! I think they found my twin! Seriously scary.

    I just wonder…. why not me? 🙂

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  25. Not telling….

    Did you notice the ages of most of these contestants? Seems like there are a lot more 30-40-somethings. Could they be targeting a different crowd?

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  26. @ Parental- I’ve “kept myself of their radar” for many years! And I keep trying to work on it on my own, too…..failing miserably, but I keep trying 🙂

    With school starting, and the summer winds changing to fall…. I’m attempting to change as well. I’ve spent the summer trying to lose weight with no success. Now to choose my new approach!

    Anyone have suggestions? My most successful times were with Paleo eating and crossfit. Can’t afford it! Crossfit is over $120/month, and paleo eating bumps my grocery bill up higher than my budget can handle. What to do….. what to do…….

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  27. I have been absent for a while, but now I remmeber why I used to love this web site. Thanks, I will try and check back more often. How frequently you update your site?

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  28. My wife and I had a family team, but we’re put through the process as a couple. We were told it was a long shot and that they were really looking for athletic types. We had a great time, but agree that the sports theme doesn’t do it for me. I played hockey, etc. But our “glory days” were performing on stage, singing and dancing. I guess they don’t think that is worthy of those glory days.lol it is all good. Hoping to keep you all in the loop as there are other things in the works for us.
    On another note, did anyone apply for the new weight loss show, weight for love, or been contacted?

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  29. @ Balzak- I would totally apply if my other half had enough to lose. Not even close!

    I for one am enjoying the first few weeks of BL. Could care less that they are athletes 🙂 Soooooo wish I were with this cast. I think I would have fit right in!

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  30. @ Balzak, I applied and went for my on camera interview for “weight for love”. After the interview they wanted me and my husband to send in a video and lots of pictures. Than about a week ago they asked for some more pictures so???? I am hoping we are contacted, and the show is a go! I think video submissions are due by Oct 3rd, so not sure when we will find out. They want to start filming in Dec……anyone have any knowledge of what will happen next for a new show like this? Anyone else hear anything or been contacted??

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  31. That is great news! Keep us posted! There is that one out there and another network is looking into a couples show. Anyone have any feedback on that?
    Life has been a little crazy as of late, but I am embracing the chaos!

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  32. All is been quiet on here for quite awhile. Anyone want to “weigh” in on the new season? On the upcoming NBC weightloss show? Here’s hoping all are doing well. Life has been crazy, but it keeps us on our toes.

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  33. I for one have really enjoyed this season! I find myself a little annoyed, however, with the people they are choosing to highlight more than others! I feel like certain people are getting a lot of face time that I simply don’t find as interesting. I can only assume it sets us up for what is to come later in the season? Or producers find their story more interesting? Hard to say. Overall, I think it has been a great season!

    I don’t know a thing about the other show….. I qualify by my significant other does not!

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  34. 3 months and nothing! Anybody still out there or is this blog done and over???

    Interesting fact: Just realized I never removed my BL video from vimeo. Thought maybe it was time to do that! But guess what? It has been viewed many times since last June. What does that mean? And I am starting to think maybe I need to keep it up….. just in case they want to view it some more?

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  35. Sad to see this forum has died. I always loved the comraderie and insight! I went to an Extreme Weight Loss casting call today. Anyone else??

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  36. @BLAZER- I don’t follow things enough to know “rumors”. But it wouldn’t suprise me. Not sure what the ratings were like for them this year, but they went to a 1 hour forum, and in all honesty I rarely watched it. I typically went back to ON DEMAND and watched it after the fact.

    @CHUNKY MONKEY- I was planning on it! We were in the middle of a blizzard, and roads were shut down. Couldn’t even see the house across the street! That spoiled my travel plans. Looks like callbacks were done early. I am wondering how the turn-out was. How was your experience?

    Anyone have thoughts on my views? I got viewed in June right as they were ending casting. But, got viewed 4 times in July! Then I have several more views….. some in Sept, Oct, Nov, and even as late as early Dec!! Was it for a different show? And when is it safe to take it down?

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  37. Hey Board! Its been awhile!

    Well I got down about 90lbs on Paleo, but have plateaued the last 3 months in the 85-90lb weight loss range. I started January 13, 2014 and have still not gone off in over a year. I’m pretty sure I’ve flatlined because I stoped working out 3 days a week. Originally it was because of a knee injury in early December, but now I know I’m just using that as an excuse. Once again, I need someone to come in an kick my ass in gear. But I feel like it will change soon and I’ll get going.

    The good part is that I actually lost about half the weight I needed to, flatlined, and have not started to gain back; and absolute first for me! I also went through the Holidays without weight gain; another first.

    I am totally convinced this is the only way to go; but I’m not going to “Preach” unless someone asks me questions. I just want to say, Half your addiction to food is NOT your fault, it’s the addictive BS these Corps are puting into the food; the other half is you and your crappy eating habbits. But you must get rid of the first, before you start the second. I’ll still have a ton of work on the second(“Night Guy”), if you vets remember.

    My wife and I have found all kinds of great Paleo recipes that even include cake and cookies. Most that have known me the last few years, know that area was my Kryptonite.

    What got me to think about this forum was I actually got a call last week from a EWL CD. We talked for a bit and she said she remembered me from BL, looked up my file, and decided I might be a fit for the EWL show. The problem is, I lost too much weight and no longer fit into the “Need to lose 50%” requirement (I’m 280lbs now). I guess that could be considered another milestone for me.

    Anyway, just wanted to check in and say hi…

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  38. Tempted-the casting call was great! They sent me a front of the line pass so it went quick! There were only about 75 total people there (I was there in the last hour). I got a callback and did my on-camera and it went well! Two steps down, 20 more to go! Haha!

    BFG- so happy to see you have lost so much weight. Very impressive! Keep it up!

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  39. @ BFG- Congrats on your success!

    @ Chunky Monkey- Congrats on your success, too 🙂 I am a little jealous! Submitted a video…… just realized, however, that I did not give them the password. Checked the video and it was loaded! How is that possible? No one has the password. Trying not to obsess, but how is that possible when it is password protected?

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  40. So weird tempted! Send them the link and password again to make sure they see it! I feel like this season is the best chance I have ever had. Probably the best chance for you too! Good luck!!

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  41. @ChunkyMonkey- I know, right? Vimeo claims it was probably loaded but couldn’t possibly be watched without a password. They also claim it is most likely scraper bot hitting random videos. I have my doubts. It is just too coincidental.

    I feel strong about my chances considering it appears my BL video was watched 14 times since BL casting ended. No one has the password except casting!

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