The Biggest Loser is headed back to Gilley’s in Dallas to find cast members for their 15th season. The only written requirement for hopefuls: “must have at least 80 pounds to lost.” But surely there’s something more specific these guys are looking for?
We spoke with The Biggest Loser’s amazing casting director Randy Bernstein, cofounder of the full service casting agency Casting Duo, to find out exactly what they’re looking for and (even better) what they’ve seen in the past.
I see that you own, Casting Duo, a full-service casting company where you found memorable reality stars like Christian Siriano (Project Runway) and Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi. How did you get into the casting business?
I sort of just fell into it. I used to work as a second assistant to a TV exec at Paramount Studios. One of the PAs we hired for Frasier or Cheers came in. We became friends and he said people were looking for casting recruiters. I didn’t even know that was a thing!
This was back in the day when dating shows were all the rage. I thought this wave of reality casting was just going to be a temporary thing, and it’s turned into an amazing career. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
What was the first show you ever cast?
Dismissed on MTV. My most favorite shows that we’ve ever done have been Top Chef and The Glee Project. The Biggest Loser has actually been incredible so far. Just the love and the motivation the people have to change their lives; being involved with that has been a very rewarding experience.
What has been your most memorable experience during a casting process?
One of the ones that comes to mind was actually during The Biggest Loser. A guy came in with three bags of McDonalds and ate the hamburgers throughout the entire interview. He said, “This is why I need help.” That memory is etched into my mind.
Another experience that stands out is seeing Christian Siriano (Project Runway) just sitting on the floor talking [during Project Runway casting]. He had this presence that we couldn’t turn our heads away from, and then to watch him become this superstar in the fashion industry… it’s pretty cool to watch.
What would you say is the number one quality you look for in potential cast members for The Biggest Loser?
Somebody that has a burning desire to change and aren’t just there because someone told them to be there. We can tell if you want to be there.
We also want to hear your story. Whether it’s that “I want to ride a rollercoaster” or “walk my daughter down the aisle” or “I don’t want to have to buy two seats on a plane.” Tell us why you’re motivated.
What would be the best advice you could give to those who hope to be cast at the Dallas auditions on Saturday, May 11?
Bring pictures of your family and the people that you are doing this for. Tell me about your support group and what you’re going to do when you lose the weight, but don’t rehearse it.
Be yourself. If there’s something that you want, make sure that you tell us. I hate when somebody leaves and we didn’t hear everything that they wanted us to hear. Come and tell us everything you want us to know. Talk from the heart and soul; really tell us why you’re ready to change and why now.
And don’t forget to get there a couple hours before they start. Also, bring snacks and water; it could be a long day.
The Biggest Loser casting call will be held Saturday, May 11 at Gilley’s (1355 S Lamar St. Dallas, TX 75215) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The cast of The Biggest Loser will receive a once in a lifetime opportunity to lose the weight and compete to win $250,000.
Caitlin Clark is the Arts & Entertainment and Style Writer and Social Media Director for YouPlusDallas. Follow her on Twitter at @caitlinclark
Tags: casting, casting call, casting director, casting duo, christian siriano, dismissed, Gilley's, padma lakshmi, project runway, randy bernstein, south side, the biggest loser, the glee project, top chef