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the Biggest Loser
Think you have what it takes to become a contestant on The Biggest Loser? Well, it isn't as easy as one might think! Luckily, three past contestants share their secrets to making the cut.
SheKnows: What was the audition process like? What did you have to do? And, what was the most nerve-wracking part of the audition process?
“Be prepared to be real and authentic.„
Gina McDonald: The live audition process for me began with a trip to Atlanta, Georgia, on a Saturday with a few friends. When we got to the location around 7 a.m., there were already several hundred people in line. We took chairs, umbrellas, snacks and lots of water. It was very hot that day! While in line, you'll be given a number and a short application to complete. You may have already gone online to complete the long application, so bring a copy so that you can make answers consistent. After standing in line about six hours, it was finally my turn. I was taken into a room with 10 other people and given about 20 seconds to tell a casting agent why I wanted/needed to be on The Biggest Loser.
When it was my turn to answer the question, I decided to use humor. I made sure I kept eye contact with the casting agent and basically made fun of myself. I told him the obvious reason I needed to be on The Biggest Loser was that I was sick with diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea — but the not so obvious reasons were that I love to wear five-inch heels (as I throw my leg upon the table exposing my high-heeled shoe), and that I looked pretty ridiculous teetering around in the shoes. The other not-so-obvious reason was that I am a self-described cougar (little-known fact that my gorgeous husband is 15 years my junior), and that I needed to be able to keep up with him. As they say, I had him from "hello!"
Others told more compelling stories about their life struggles with weight and the desire to be healthy and fit for having children or extending life. Everybody has a different story. Humor worked for me, but the most important point is to be yourself!
The next part of the process was to wait... and wait... and wait! We were told that 30 people out of the approximately 1,000 people who auditioned would receive a callback for a follow-up interview within the next week. I got the call! Next, back to Atlanta for an in-person interview.
The in-person interview was conducted by two casting agents, Ashley and Ian. I was photographed and videoed while they asked a series of questions about my history with weight issues, family, education and work. This interview lasted about an hour, and I was given a list of things they wanted me to video about my life. It is important to know that I had already submitted a video, but it had not been reviewed yet. I was asked to video what an ordinary day was like, to have friends and family talk about me, and most of all, to show my weight and why I needed to lose it!
Now the waiting really begins. I spent about six weeks filling out more questionnaires, sending in pictures, talking to casting and finally was invited with about 60 other people to Los Angeles for the first round of casting. We were sequestered in a fancy hotel for about two weeks. During this time, we meet with producers and were given extremely thorough medical and psychological exams. At the end of the two weeks, we were sent home and told to wait for a call or email letting us know. This is where the real pressure and nerves hit me.
I could do nothing but sit by my phone and computer hoping for a call or email. I finally got the email, but it was inviting me back for another round of casting! Off to L.A. for Round 2! This round of casting was stressful because we were told that only 15 would be picked out of a live audience. We had no idea how many people were called back for Round 2. Lucky for me, my name was called, and I began the journey of a lifetime.
SK: What advice do you have for women who want to audition?
GM: My advice to women who want to audition for the show is to firstly, be yourself! You are important and have a story to tell. A lot of women who try out are struggling with self-doubt, low self-esteem and depression. This is your time to shine! Come out of your shell and be the person you know you are!
Secondly, if you want this opportunity, you have to work for it. It will not just land in your lap. Over 300,000 people will send in videos or audition; sell yourself. If you can't sell yourself, then no one else can. I often tell people that if I had worked as hard as I did in the audition process on losing weight, I would have never needed to be cast! The casting process is hard. It is time sensitive and very competitive.
SK: If cast, what are three things people should know about participating on the show?
GM: 1. This will be the hardest thing you will ever do in your life — physically, emotionally and mentally.
2. Be prepared to be real and authentic. You will never truly heal the inside and the outside unless you allow the process to work. And to do that, you have to expose your deep, dark emotions — fear, anger, worry, despair, self-doubt and many more.
3. This journey is and will be absolutely the best thing in your life, and it is so worth it!
Good luck in casting! Believe it can happen to you, and sell yourself big! (Pun intended!)
The Biggest Loser's Season 15 auditions will be held May 4 in Charleston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City and Salt Lake City, and May 11 in Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Philadelphia and Phoenix.
More on The Biggest Loser
Biggest Loser's Gina McDonald reflects on her journey
Biggest Loser's Gina McDonald meets Tim Gunn
Biggest Loser's McDonald faces her toughest week
Photo credit: Trae Patton/NBC