Saturday's casting call in New York City was a major success—820 contestants tried out! When NeverSayDiet editors got to the NBC Experience store, the crowd was already down two blocks and was so full of energy despite the frigid weather. Even past contestants the Germanakos twins (Season 4), Jenn Widder (Season 5) and Stacey (Season 6) came out to support the new Biggest Losers... and for a little fun.
We got to sit in on the casting and chat with casting directors, Tad Frank and Jacqueline Topacio, to see the behind-the-scenes action on what goes down before the season starts. And, we may share some casting secrets with you if you're good. The excitement that every contestant had for the show and their passion and desire to be healthy was contagious—wish all of them could be on the next season.
Here's what you've been waiting for... all you need to know to be the next Biggest Loser.
Top 10 things you should know about a casting call
1. Honesty—you have to go in telling the truth about your weight and why you really want and need to be on the show. Your story matters and they want to hear it! The casting directors make sure you know that it's a no judgment zone. They themselves have gone through weight-loss struggles in their own lives.*There is NO minimum weight.
2. You will have major competition. Mostly everyone stole our hearts with their stories. However, while not everyone will get a call-back, those that do not will still be in the running. Secret tip: send in your videos and tell them why you are the next Biggest Loser! Most contestants got on the show through personal videos, not through the casting calls. Did you know Joelle tried out for the show five seasons ago and she made it on Season 7?
3. FYI for parents. Make sure you already know who will be taking care of your kids while you're gone for three months on the show. They'll ask and you better have a caretaker ready.
4. Pictures! If you were ever skinny or smaller than you are currently, they want to see it!
5. Get ready for the long haul. It's 16 weeks from the time they start filming until the live season finale. But, it's 12 weeks without contact with anyone but those on the show.
6. Money. If you get chosen to be on the show, you will get a stipend to pay your bills, rent, etc.
7. First impressions are important. With all the personalities and stories in the room, make yourself memorable. Believe us, there were so many singers, heartfelt stories and comedians, we didn't know what to do with ourselves. We've never a laughed and teared up so much before.
8. Be there to support others and get support from others. They're not looking for the drama. It really is about weight loss. If the next cast is anything like the people we've met, it should be another awesome season.
9. You can't be shy. You'll be in a room with about 30 other people who also have stories to tell. And, you've only got about 45 seconds to tell it!
10. Have fun. Go in with the genuine intention to get healthy and have fun with it. They can tell who wants it more. They're casting for both singles and couples, so everyone is welcome. Even trainers... it shall be an interesting upcoming season!
We are commonly asked if the casting directors try to cast for racial diversity and we've got an answer for you. Tad responded with, "We like to have our cast reflect the racial diversity that exists in America." As for the drama from last season, Tad said, "The drama presented itself. It was not intentional or planned." Ahem, Vicki. You heard it here first. Stay tuned for pictures from the big day, our highlights and to see what the past contestants have been up to.