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'The Biggest Loser' is casting--do you have what it takes?

August 19, 2011|By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • Jaquin Allen, a contestant on "The Biggest Loser," shows what it takes to lose weight.
Jaquin Allen, a contestant on "The Biggest Loser," shows what… (Bret Hartman / NBC )

Overweight Southern Californians, grab your comfortable shoes and leave your self-consciousness at home: NBC's "The Biggest Loser" is casting for Season 13.

The show is looking for hefty men and women at least 18 years old who are willing to lose an enormous amount of weight through blood, sweat, tears, and a touch of embarrassment that only reality TV can provide. They'll be coming to the Citadel Outlets in Los Angeles on Aug. 27.

Besides charisma and an extra helping of personality, there's something else casting directors are looking for from contestants: "You've got to be ready to make a change," says supervising casting director Brandon Nickens, who's overseeing the 13-city contestant search. "A lot of people come up with excuses, but you've got to be ready to get selfish." By that he means making health a priority.

"We're also looking for survivors, not victims," Nickens added. While it may seem fun to hang out with trainer Bob Harper, "This is no walk in the park. These people are working out for several hours a day to lose weight."

Although in recent years contestants on the show have gotten larger, Nickens says he and his team are also considering people who have about 85 pounds to lose--or maybe even less. While a 150-pound weight loss is dramatic, he says, viewers can also relate to people who have less to lose.

On the practical side, Nickens suggests that those willing to stand in line should dress comfortably, eat a good breakfast before setting out, and bring water and snacks (we're guessing the healthful kind would be best). The crew will be looking for individuals as well as teams to compete on the show.

And lest you think that "The Biggest Loser" crew can't empathize with overweight and obese contestants-to-be, Nickens begs to differ. "Our casting team of 12 people has lost over a couple of hundred pounds in the last five or six seasons from what we've learned on the show," he says. "I think all of us can relate to the fact that diets don't work, but lifestyle changes do."

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