NBC reality show features two Carolina employees
Losing weight is hard enough, but imagine starring on national television while accomplishing weight loss and making lifestyle changes.
Jaquin Allen, a patient service representative in the department of Family and Preventative Medicine of the USC School of Medicine, was determined to lose weight for a more sentimental reason. A few weeks before Allen learned about auditions for NBC’s reality show “The Biggest Loser,” a friend and patient of Allen’s had passed away due to complications from obesity.
“It just came to a point where I really had to reevaluate what I was doing with my life. I work for the university, I have a three-year-old son, I’m a comedian and I sing and I have to make sure that I’m alive to experience all the things I want to do in my life,” he said.
For his wife and fellow USC staff member Larialmy Allen, national television was out of the question. But when casting calls for the reality show came through Columbia, her husband suggested they audition.
In its 11th season, “The Biggest Loser” features contestants struggling with obesity who submit themselves to an extended series of grueling workouts with a goal to lose more weight than their competitors.
“I told him no,” said Larialmy Allen, who works as a student services program coordinator at USC for the College of Education and School of Music in the Graduate School. “As overweight as I was, I didn’t want America to see me in a sports bra and spandex, because I didn’t even want to see myself in a sports bra and spandex.”
Although she was uninterested in being a contestant for the show, Allen’s wife attended the auditions to support her husband, who initially was partnered with a co-worker. After an immediate call back from the producers, he learned the show wasn’t interested in a co-worker partnership and instead asked if his wife would be interested.
“Knowing in the back of my mind that she wasn’t at the time I instantly told them yes she’s interested, let’s go ahead and make this happen,” said Allen. “We both want to go ahead and make the change.”
Before auditioning, the Allens had already created a work out regime of their own --— choosing healthier food options and working out at the Blatt P.E. which, at the time, satisfied their weight loss goals.
On the show, contestants are challenged to work through intense exercises, learn about healthy eating techniques and track their progress with a weigh-in at the end of the show. As a couple on the show, reaching their weight loss goals was more difficult than they anticipated.
“We leaned on each other so much when we first got there and our support for each other was kind of clouding our personal goals,” said Jaquin. “Once it got to a point where we saw that our numbers weren’t where we wanted them to be we came to realization that not only do I have to be here for my son or I have to be here for my wife, I have to be here for myself even more.”
The Allens’ journey began with newest Biggest Loser series that kicked off on Jan. 4. The show is scheduled to run through May 24, airing every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on NBC.