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Ship Shape - An Interview with the Navy Wives of The Biggest Loser: Special Editionby Brian Towers -- 04/20/2006
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NBC recently broadcast a series of episodes of The Biggest Loser under the banner Biggest Loser: Special Edition. The last of these aired had a military theme, featuring four wives from two different branches of the services, and the Navy wives won the “battle” over the Marine wives.
However, the story seemed as much about the unique lives these ladies lead as it did about weight loss. Well, the women made contact with me after the show aired and after further communication, I learned there was more to their story than what we saw. Here, then, is an interview with the four Navy ladies that explores their adventure into the world of reality TV.
Before we get started, I need to report that in my last article, I included an incorrect weight chart. To set the record straight, here are the correct values for each Navy wife:
Ladies, I apologize for the errors. Now, let’s get on with the interview. We began with some general questions, and I asked about their time before the show.
Brian: We all know that you four formed a team because your husbands all worked on the same ship, but did you actually know each other beforehand?
Dari: I knew Jessica, and I had met Tami more recently. Tina was a stand-in for someone else, and I met her the day we found out we were going to the ranch.
Tina: Jessica was the mutual link. I met her a year before the show.
Jessica: I knew all the ladies. Dari and I had known each other for quite some time. I met Tina about ten months prior to the casting call. Tami was new to the command, so I only knew her for a couple of months.
Tami: Yes, my husband had just joined the ship in March.
Brian: Did you apply to get on the show as a team? How did that evolve?
Tami: I looked The Biggest Loser up on the Internet because I was disgusted with myself and was a fan of the first season. I kept telling my husband I needed to be on the show, and he kept telling me I wasn’t going to get on there until I at least tried. It took me a couple of months to do it though, but then they just happened to be coming to San Diego for a casting call. I called Jessica up and ask her if she was interested. I thought they would be interested in the whole Navy theme.
Dari: I was the only one available to make the casting call. I pitched us to the casting people, and they loved the idea or my enthusiasm. I say that because there was another group of Navy wives pitching their team, but they chose to have our team back to their hotel to interview us further.
Jessica: Tami and I had actually joined a local gym about a month or so before trying out for the show. That really opened my eyes as to how out of shape I was.
I was in the Army a long time ago and exercise just came easy to me. I was never overweight, quite to the contrary, but fifteen years and three children later I didn’t focus on [myself] any more and I started gaining weight. Like I said on the show, I lost “me” along the way. The Biggest Loser was the vehicle that helped me find myself again.
Brian: In the scene where you learn you are going to be on the show, you seem quite surprised. Are you really good actors, or were you tricked into thinking something else was going on?
Dari: I don’t think “tricked” was the right word to use here but they did tell us they needed more video footage for our pitch to the network. They told us they were sending a producer down to take the footage so it would look more professional. We were all so nervous, as we didn’t have any idea that they had actually chosen us at this point. So, the kitchen scene was absolutely real.
Tami: That was actually a totally surprise for me.
Jessica: I thought we were still in the casting interview process at this point. I thought we had an excellent chance of getting on the show, but was still unsure. I didn’t know that we were officially “in” until we got the call. When the phone rang, I thought it was going to be an NBC executive that would give us either a yes or no, but it was Bob! Our reactions are truly genuine.
Tina: It’s funny how they edited it, though. I recall the camera in my face every second - I think the camera guy had a crush on me or something. But once the show aired, it was very limited camera time for myself, Tami, and a couple of the other Marine wives.
Brian: It’s known that the actual weigh-ins happen behind the scenes and the big scale is really just a dramatic display device. How long do you have to wait to actually find out your results?
Jessica: We would do the weigh-in the day of the shoot, in the morning. We stood in a room with two or three more people, holding clipboards. There were lights, a video camera and those people there to log our weights. They had to do that to make it all official.
Dari: Yes, the weigh-in was done on a professional scale and monitored by no less than two people and videotaped. We didn’t find out the results until they show them up on the big screen. We tried like heck to figure it out by the way they were writing the numbers or by their reactions, but they were good and we had no idea.
Jessica: I tried like crazy to see what they were writing on the clipboards, but no luck. They wouldn’t smile, frown, or anything. They all had awesome poker faces. I would even kid around with them hoping I would get some kind of reaction that would maybe tip me off, but I couldn’t shake them.1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next-->
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