Why We Turned Down $40,000 to be on TV
the background of why we turned down $40,000 to be on TV:
a casting assistant found a photo of mine on instagram of me and my husband (i know…crazy! it only feeds my addiction to the ‘gram) and reached out about a reality tv opportunity. the show is about different couples at different places in their lives and relationships. some of the couples have lost their spark, some of the couples might be headed for divorce or some couples (like us) might have had a recent change to their relationship (like starting a business together).
we were really excited because hellllllo, the allure of being on TV sounds super fun! not to mention it would potentially be held in a tropical location (the beach is my other love) the money was great, and the exposure would be awesome (i was considering making all my bags and sweatshirts say ‘the new wifestyle’)!
we had a few different skype interviews with various people to share our story, talk about our relationship and who we are as individuals.
we picked out the perfect shirts that wouldn’t be distracting and look good on webcam, my hair was down and curly, my normal mascara/eyeliner make-up routine in check and my husband was freshly shaved. i felt great, he felt great and we were giddy with excitement!
those interviews went awesome – they loved our story, our little banter back and forth and how they could tell we really cared for each other. scoooore!
after the third virtual interview, the woman we were working with said we were among the top couples to be selected but she wanted us to interview with the BIG producer of the show. he was someone of high status but she said he was a great guy and we could really seal the deal with him. these were her next words to me:
her: so chelsea, i love how you’re more natural looking and don’t get me wrong, your style is great BUT for your next interview with the big guy, do you think you could look a little ‘sexier?’
me:. ummm? what do you mean?
her: i just mean like, straighten your hair, put on some more make-up. nothing too crazy, but like foundation and blush and heavier eyeliner. i mean you look great natural but i just want you guys to really impress him! so maybe like…just more “glammed” up. does that make sense? oh and do you have contacts?
(she probably meant something closer like the photo below…where i spent $100 to get 2lbs of airbrushed make-up on my skin and fake eyelashes for a wedding 3 years ago. that’s as glammed up as i get. it’s not very often nor does it feel like me.)
me: well, i’m actually really happy with my hair and i don’t straighten it anymore because my hair is naturally curly so i’m going to leave it this way. no, i don’t have contacts because i wear glasses. in terms of the make-up, maybe if you said something like “look how you look when you get all gussied up like you would for a hot date night” that would come off a little better than what you’re saying to me. (yes, i actually helped her with her language so that she could better tell me how to look different and ‘prettier.’ ew.)
her: oh yeah totally! that’s such a great way to put it! okay talk to you guys soon you are are SO GREAT byeeee!
my husband was actually the first one to get really upset after we were done with the interview. he was quite frankly pissed at her for even suggesting i alter anything about the way i look. he was ready to call the whole thing off right there.
i (stupidly) fought for it. i said that it didn’t bother me as much if i thought about looking ‘prettier like on a date,’ (because hellllo, $40k was more than i ever made in a whole year!) i convinced him that we should follow it through and have the next meeting.
so we did the next interview. i kept my hair curly but added blush and pink lipgloss because that’s about as fancy i get. it went great again! they would be in touch in the next 3 days to tell us how to proceed.
a day later i started thinking about what this might mean for us as a couple and me as a woman. if they didn’t like my more ‘natural’ look during the interview process, i could only imagine the pounds of makeup they would force me to wear on the show. not to mention that my hair is regarded as less desirable than straight hair so they would burn the curls out of my hair with a straightener.
as we were talking with our close friends alison and matt about this, they brought up the great point that it’s TV…meaning they can edit it how ever they see fit because they are after dramatic, reality TV.
what if we were having an argument or conversation but they decided to splice it differently and totally misconstrue what we were saying and now all of america thinks we are having huge marital conflicts because i’m pregnant with another man’s baby and he’s been lying this whole time about his height! oh, and now everyone thinks i have naturally straight hair.
my husband and i had some more conversations around this and decided to make a pro/con list. the biggest pro was that with this money, we would have to worry a lot less about our income for the year and focus on growing our businesses without that panic of where next month’s rent is coming from. heck, we could even put a huge down payment on a house or travel to some amazing places!
the biggest con was the lack of control we have over how we are portrayed to the viewers watching.
as you already know from the title of this article, the cons won out and we pulled ourselves from the show.
the money no longer seemed worth having to change myself physically because that would ultimately change me internally. it wasn’t worth adding stress and strain to our relationship or letting editors have their way with our reputation or relationship.
our relationship, my confidence and our marriage is not worth the money they put on it. i am however, grateful for this experience because it reminded me that i like my appearance just as it is (if you love wearing make-up and you feel good in it, more power to you!)
i also appreciated that my husband was appalled that anyone would ask me to change my looks and we connected more deeply on just how much we value our marriage, which has no price tag attached to it.