Friday, January 11, 2013
I know I’m far from being Australia’s Next Top Model. I’m no Beauty, no Geek or a potential Farmers Wife. I don’t have the Xfactor nor do I Think I Can Dance. I’m not a Master Chef or anyone’s Idol, but I do believe I could be the next Biggest Loser.
This realisation all started on September 20th 2011 with a random phone-call. I thought it was a telemarketer, trying to sell me something that “promised to change my life”. We’d been inundated with these kind calls and one kept asking for our bank account details. I answered the phone in a surly sort of tone and prepared myself to hurl abuse down the receiver. This time it wasn’t a telemarketer, but what casting agent KDV was offering, was most definitely a life changing opportunity. She’d read my application and was calling with an audition for The Biggest Loser (TBL).
Earlier that year I was contacted by my friend Erin, we’d met on a Scottish Christmas bus tour a couple of years ago and with the help of such stupendous advances in the world of modern technology (and by this I mean facebook) we’d managed to stay in contact from time to time. In her message Erin told me she was looking for a fourth person to be a member of her “family” in the next season of TBL. When she told me that she’d been close to making it through previous auditions, a flicker of hope sparked somewhere deep inside me, I got to thinking maybe this time I might really have a chance. I had applied for TBL in previous years but never heard anything beyond submitting the application, here though was someone who had. Without hesitation I downloaded the application, completed it and pressed send.
My housemate Jenni stared at me quizzically while I spoke with KDV and though I’d told nobody that I had applied for the show I couldn’t think of a cover story fast enough and confessed to her what the call was about. We sat there for a couple of hours talking, both of us in astonishment, her because I’d applied and me because I’d made it through to the next round. We discussed in detail what it would mean if I got on the show, what I’d have to do. Was I, a girl who went to extreme lengths to keep my weight and issues secret really prepared to stand up in bike shorts and a crop top and expose myself to an entire nation? If it meant finally achieving my goal weight then …YES! As we delved deeper I ran intermittently to the bathroom. I felt sick and excited all at once, it seemed like the weight loss process had already begun with several nervous poo’s :)
Two days later and I was a bundle of nerves on the train. I’d packed numerous outfits and planned to stay with a friend in Melbourne for the night. Exiting the train with sweaty palms and a churning stomach I made my way to a disabled toilet at DFO. I prayed that any good karma I had accumulated wasn’t about to be flushed down the loo by so selfishly occupying a disabled toilet.
I tried to get ready slowly and calmly and more importantly without letting any of my stuff touch the dubious situation that was otherwise known as the floor. With my make up done, I put on the bright floral dress. It was strapless so I’d have to wear a cardi and it wasn’t very fitted so I felt it accentuated how large I was, but hey wasn’t that the point? I decided that the colours would reflect my “bright” and fun personality and at the very least might assist in standing out from the presumed crowd that would be there. All hot and bothered, I began grunting my way into a pair of Bridget Jones style, sucky-in undies when I suddenly paused for a second and recalled where I was headed. On this one occasion it might pay not to try and appear smaller.
Having spent far too long a time in a public toilet than I was comfortable with, I gingerly made my way out of the toilet and down the street to the audition. I passed a couple of large people sitting out front and sized them up, wondering if they were there competing for a spot and then I realized how early I was. I set off around the block and found a spot to sit down and paint my nails (or various parts of my fingers as it turned out) with my shaking hands.
With no more insecure adjustments to my appearance left to make, I eventually mustered the courage to go back. I met a lovely girl Terri in the foyer; we chattered nervously and discovered that coincidently we came from the same town. Others began to arrive and soon my stomach started churning so much it may as well have got up and walked out for me. I stood up from the couch to do one of several nervous wees (yep that’s right I was still going, only now that’s all I had left to give), when the button from my dress flew off and skipped across the floor. “Typical” I first thought. I’m so fat my dress can’t even stay done up for the audition. I decided instead of getting upset I’d take it as a good omen – clearly I was meant to be there… needed to be there.
After what seemed like an eternity, 5 of us were led up to a room to have our photo taken, headshot, full body and profile. We were introduced to 3 producers and one by one the cameraman filmed us as they asked us questions about our lives, fears, dreams, dating history etc. I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest as Terri passed me the microphone and the producers eyes fixated on mine. She had a story…. An interesting story and with a unique spin…. “Sh*t I didn’t have a story!” The producers perused my application, one commenting on my retro look and likeness to Amy Winehouse. I was so nervous I could hear myself stumbling on words and rambling without thinking. I made a joke… it wasn’t funny, I blushed and fumbled along. It felt like I’d been out of my body when I handed on the microphone. I hoped that whatever was next, when they spoke to us one on one I’d do better, I’d be more calm… a little witty…. perhaps even entertaining.
I half listened to the people that spoke after me, relating in some way to each of their stories. I kicked myself for information they gave that I’d forgotten. But it was ok because one guy had a girlfriend, they wanted singles…so he couldn’t go through, one girl looked half the size of me…she didn’t “need” to go through, another girl had two knee reconstructions…surely she wouldn’t go through. Suddenly everyone got up and they were thanking us for coming in, panic set in as I realized that was it, those short few minutes was all I had to show my personality and let my desire for this opportunity shine. I couldn’t help feeling an overwhelming sense of disappointment in myself, a feeling I had become accustomed to these days. I walked out handing over a compilation of photos I had put together that showed myself gorging on a variety of foods. I mumbled a quick explanation to KDV about someone suggesting I bring photos and reluctantly walked out knowing deep down I hadn’t been me, more importantly I hadn’t been anyone worthy of being seen on tv.
Terri had waited for me in the foyer; we exchanged facebook details and walked to the corner together both in disbelief that it was over. We spoke throw away lines like “What were the chances?” and “I didn’t think I’d get this far”, both secretly hiding small hopes from each other. I wandered up to the station and caught the metro to Liz’s house. She made me dinner and introduced me to her new fella. I tried to politely engage in conversation but couldn’t stop thinking about the audition. I was happy for her as she gushed about her new romance and recent weight loss, but I couldn’t concentrate, I found myself overwhelmed by disappointment and self loathing. This was my turn and I blew it.
Later that night I wrote KDV an email expressing my regret and went to bed…but did not sleep. The next morning the reply “Thank you Aimee, I hope you got some sleep” waited for me in my inbox. After much analysis over the response I decided it was a good thing, even if it was a “thank you but you still didn’t make it you pestering loon”, she’d at least been kind enough to reply. I walked to the train and tried not to go over it all again, tried not to hope too much. Now all I had to do was wait 2 weeks to hear if I’d made the final 40.
2 weeks you’ve gotta be kidding me!!
I agonized over those 2 weeks, not only about whether I’d made it through to the next stage but about what I’m going to do if I haven’t? My self talk swung between positive and negative predictions, preparing myself for bitter disappointment and at the same time visualizing life in the house and beyond. I even window shopped for what I would pick for my dream outfit.
Then, just when I thought I’d experienced the longest 2 weeks of my life, an email appeared informing me that the casting process had been extended and we had to weight (pun intended) another week.
Thankfully my friend Erin was also lucky enough to get an audition. I say thankfully because I would have felt terrible if she hadn’t. After all it was her who encouraged me to apply again. But when she told me that she’d made it to the final 40 and was undergoing medicals and psych tests…I knew I hadn’t made it. They wouldn’t take both of us, we know each other and not only that but Erin’s audition was after mine so I should have heard by then if I was through. She was confident that she did well...I was not. I don’t know why but I couldn’t give up the idea of getting in completely, I still needed to wait and hear for sure. Always the eternal optimist I guess.
I had never refreshed my email so often than during those 3 weeks, it became a ridiculous ritual each day. Then Dum Dum Duuuuuuuuum, there it was in my inbox, that menacing, flagged email that seemed to be mocking me with its bold font. I knew straight away, I would have been called, Erin was called. It was like P.E. at school all over again, kids are picking teams and they aren’t calling out your name…..
The subject read: The Biggest Loser Thank You. I opened it and my heart sank, The tribe has spoken, You’ve been eliminated from the race, You’re Fired, You’re not The One. If you have not been given a rose, please take this moment to say your goodbyes…. Hang up your apron, Snuff out your torch, Please leave the farm. Unfortunately you are not the Biggest Loser.