Last week, I asked Louisville.com readers who were planning to attend The Biggest Loser casting call at the Kentucky International Convention Center on Aug. 13 to contact me. Of the three who did, two made it to the casting call, auditioned, and went home with a missed chance to join Bob, Jillian and a slew of other contestants to compete for the chance of a lifetime, which no doubt trumps the $250,000 prize.
Cousins Christi and Samantha showed up to Saturday's casting call as a team. They were numbers 82 and 83 in the line of up to 450 people, and auditioned with Holland "Master Caster" Striplin, who's been The Biggest Loser's casting director for half the series. Despite what they thought to be a great audition, they didn't get a callback, but they had fun along the way. Both have become friends with others struggling with weight problems on Striplin's Facebook page, strangers they met up with Friday night before auditions, and Saturday night after auditions, to celebrate together.
Samantha, a volunteer firefighter for the last 7 years, says, "I want to change my life! I know that I need to do it for me and for my family, because they deserve better. My husband deserves a wife he can be proud of, and my children need a mom to play with them and teach them to be healthy." She's pre-diabetic, but wants to change her ways before she loses control of her blood sugar, and while she hasn't been officially tested, her husband suspects she suffers from sleep apnea. "Sometimes he sits beside me and watches me sleep because he's so worried."
Fueling Samantha's goals, her 36-year-old brother died unexpectedly of a heart attack just last year. "I worry all the time that I'm just going to die like that. I want to get healthy and beat the odds." She'll be 36 next year.
Christi, who works with at-risk teen boys, sees being on The Biggest Loser as "an opportunity to have an impact on other people's lives and help them make their lives better. I think it would be a super motivational tool for the kids to look at me on the show and know that things can change quickly if they are willing to work hard and not give up." Christi attended the filming of Episode 1, Season 10 this last May, and she says it's a day that changed her life. "I had a mini-workout with Jillian, and she kicked my butt in just a little bit of time." But, being at the filming caused Christi to discover something very important about herself. "The only thing stopping me from getting healthy and realizing my dreams is me." She's since lost 30 pounds and says she will not quit this time. Her new normal includes diet and exercise every day.
Both women are fortunate to have family support as they continue on their weight loss journeys. "My husband has gone with me on the spur of the moment, packed up the kids, and has taken me anywhere I needed to go to audition, or be part of a Biggest Loser event. They all support my weight loss ambitions, and my husband will watch the kids so I can go out and exercise," said Samantha.
Samantha is still vying for a spot on Season 11's cast, and will be submitting a video entry, even though she's already auditioned. When asked what they'd do with the $250,000 prize, Samantha wants to build a gym and inspire people to change their lives. Christi has dreams of paying off student loans and continuing her education, either by going to law school, or completing a doctorate degree in Education.
This is the introduction of Christi and Samantha as I follow them along their journey to change their lives together, along with the fall season of The Biggest Loser. They are our Louisville.com "Lou"sers! Join me in supporting these two very motivated, dynamic women beat obesity, get healthy, and do it all while navigating daily life, with nothing more than your comments, and let Christi and Samantha inspire you. Join us, and you, too, can be a Louisville.com "Lou"ser!
If you attended the casting call, let me know how it went. Or, did you get a callback? Be sure to let me know. Shoot me a message at email@example.com, and you could be part of our next Louisville.com "Lou"ser update.
Photo: Christi and Samantha posing with Season 8's Coach Mo, Louisville's originial Loser, courtesy of Samantha.