Let's turn to TV and the movies now. You have made it to the semi-final
auditions of some reality TV shows like The Biggest Loser, and Monique's Fat
Chance. I've personally tried out for some reality shows myself, and once made
it to a pre-semi final. The experience for me felt a bit exploitive, but again,
that is what reality TV is about. Overall, how was your experience trying out
for these shows, and did you ever feel like the casting managers/producers were
exploitive of the "fat" issues?
Lara: All of my experiences with reality shows has been nothing short of wonderful. I was one of twelve women for season two of TBL, and as you know, they could only choose six. The following year, I really wasn't sure I was going to resubmit myself, and they called me! They told me that there was a new producer who'd seen my photos and tapes and wanted to meet me, so I re-interviewed all over again.
It's funny you mention exploitation - for the first one, there
was a guy and a girl, and the guy kept telling me that I'm beautiful, and he
didn't think I was "big enough". I've always been told that I don't
look my weight. I told him that I weighed more than some of the other women on
the first season when they started, and he still shook his head in disbelief. So,
to prove my point, I dropped trou' and lifted my shirt up to the bottom of my
bra! I jiggled my belly right there and said, "Do NOT tell me that I'm not
big enough!" He fell out of his chair laughing, and the poor girl - she
just couldn't believe what I'd done! She told me that I had a personality for
reality TV for sure, and that they were both going to recommend me. Apparently
For the Mo'Nique show, it was a little different. Tina and I both hopped a train at 3 am in order to get in line early for the auditions to open at11 am. We got to talking in line with all the women there with us for quite some time. I met some of the girls from CurvyChick and Venus Divas and even a couple of girls from the REAL Mag contest right there in line, and it was fantastic!
When we went in, we met with the producer and had about 60 seconds of
one-on-one time with him. Literally! He then called out numbers of people who
stayed, and mine was one of them! Tina actually wound up meeting up with
Mo'Nique in the lobby when she went down, and Mo' sent her back up, so she got
through to the 2nd round as well.
BISJ: That must have been a thrill for Tina to get sent back by
Lara: Absolutely! Mo'Nique spoke to all of us, and it really was an emotional moment. She talked about how hard she's worked to break through the fat barrier herself, and that she's doing this show to help us break through a little easier. She cried when she talked about how much it meant to her that we were all there to support the show. Soon, a room full of 300 women cried along with Mo’Nique. It was a beautiful thing!
For our safety, after interviewing, we had to be escorted by security directly into a taxi. There was a huge crowd of women who wanted to audition, but didn't make it in, and they were pounding on the windows of the hotel, throwing bottles, you name it. Tina and I walked out and comments were made about "white girls" and "they not fat" and all sorts of things. It really bothered me that these women had lost all respect for what the show is really about, simply because they showed up too late to get in the door. To think - all that was going on as we were upstairs bonding with Mo'Nique herself.
BISJ: So, you didn’t make the first season of FAT Chance, but like de ja vu, the show contacted you for the second season, and this is where the drama begins.