Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

Samantha's journey to slim down, while remaining sparkly!

Celebrity Endorsements – Yay or Nay?

on February 10, 2011

A few weeks back I blogged about joining WW and how excited I was to see Jennifer Hudson’s transformation. My friend Cecilia’s comment has stuck with me, and prompted this blog post.

She said: “To be honest, sometimes I feel really jaded about famous people losing weight. They can afford the top cooks and trainers. Of course they can lose so much weight between September 09 and April 10!

She had a fabulous point. It got me thinking about the celebrity endorsement and why it holds so much weight (pun intended!). Why do celebrity endorsements even work? Do people buy something because their favorite singer or actor use it? I don’t, but I know I am not the majority. On the flip-side, if a celebrity you HATE endorses something, are you less likely to purchase it?

*For the record- I did NOT joined WW b/c I saw Jennifer Hudson’s results. I was rejoining anyways, and was commenting on how good she looks as their new endorsee.

The first celebrity backing a weight-loss plan I can remember is of course Fergie, Duchess of York. She was always the pretty red-head with the nice accent on the WW commercials. However, a recent picture shows she’s gained some weight. She hasn’t been a spokeswoman for WW for a few years, and I wonder if her motivation to stay thin has dwindled?

I’ve never tried Jenny Craig (the idea of eating pre-packaged food grosses me out the door, sorry) –Β  but they have had a plethora of celebrity endorsements. In the late 90’s there was Monica Lewinsky – followed by Kirstie Alley (who I ABHOR) and then Valerie Bertinelli. Most recently they’ve had Sara Rue, Jason Alexander and Carrie Fisher.

Why do I hate Kirstie Alley so much? Have you ever watched “Fat Actress“? She’s pathetic. She encompasses everything I hate about fat stereo-types. She’s lazy, she whines non-stop and she loves fast food. I couldn’t even make it through one whole episode. She also can’t seem to keep her weight off. She has trainers, she has cooks and yet she can’t lose weight? It makes you wonder if she really wants it. If you REALLY want something, you won’t let anything deter you from succeeding. I distinctly remember her saying she had lost 75 pounds at one point and thinking “Bitch please, you don’t look 75 pounds thinner!” Apparently I’m not the only one who was suspicious of her weight-loss b/c in 2008 Jenny Craig dropped her like a hot potato.

I have no problems with Jason, Sara or Valerie – they lost reasonable amounts of weight, and if they followed the plan – good for them. It didn’t make me want to run out and try Jenny Craig, but that’s just my prerogative. I’m sure plenty of people joined based on the success they had.

However, Carrie Fisher makes my blood boil.

Have you seen her new commercial? The world is a hostile place for a fat person? There comes a point when you can’t stand not leaving the house anymore?! Shut up. Please just shut up. You sound ridiculous. At my heaviest I will admit, I didn’t love going out to socialize, and I didn’t feel comfortable in every situation – but I lived my life. I held down a full-time job, a social life etc. I didn’t lock myself in the house like a leper because I was fat. It infuriates me to think people around the globe will see this commercial and say “Oh if Carrie Fisher is fat and doesn’t have the house, maybe I shouldn’t either?!”. Sigh.

As a side rant – Carrie reports her weight to be 180 pounds. I’m almost double that….and I’ve lost 90 pounds! I would kill to be 180 pounds,Β  I wouldn’t lock myself in the house and boo-hoo about how mean society is.

So instead of wanting to try Jenny Craig, they’re latest choice in celebrity endorsement has caused me to hate them.

Now, take a different kind of celebrity endorsement – Oprah. Anything she touches turns to gold, she is truly America’s sweetheart. But, she has struggled with her weight publicly for as long as I can remember. She has tried a million diets, and a million exercise plans and had varying success. But, all along America has been there – loving her. She succeeds? Hell yeah! We knew you could. She fails? It’s ok – she’s human like we are! I don’t have strong feelings either way on Oprah, but I will say that I have never tried something just because she was doing it. I do find the “Oprah effect” interesting though.

So, are you more likely to try a diet or exercise regimen because a celebrity has endorsed it?




15 responses to “Celebrity Endorsements – Yay or Nay?

  1. Cecilia says:

    πŸ˜€ That’s me! hehehe…

    I saw that Carrie Fisher commercial…and I was really a bit shocked and pissed off! First of all, they don’t take into account that she CLEARLY has depression (which relates to her problems with alcohol, which they don’t mention at all). Secondly, I hate that a lot of the weight loss programs just turn into this pity party.

    I agree with you! Being fat doesn’t equate being depressed…and that picture of Sara Rue looks so unbelievably photoshopped! I think she looked better at the 40lbs after mark.

    Either way, I am definitely more convinced with Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig when I know someone personally who’s succeeded. I have friends who succeeded with WW, and I know a fellow Goddess who did great with Jenny Craig! And I have another friend who is a believer (and now teacher!) of Zumba after losing 50 lbs with it! I would rather find some positive and healthy examples in my own life rather than rely on anyone in my tv.

  2. D.James says:

    I dont like celebrity endorsements and cecilia hit the nail on the head they have UNLIMITED resources. also depending on WHAT they endorse ill think less of the celebrity too

  3. Sharon says:

    Celebrity endorsements. Not sure who it works for. I feel like it would work for younger people who are still trying to figure out who they are and want to be. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of celebrities (I hate the collective sense of entitlement) but I will say that with the weight loss, they have it a little tougher.

    Granted, a LOT of them could afford trainers and chefs and whatnot but seriously, does that really work in the long run? A good example (as you put Samantha) is Oprah. She’s one of the richest people in the world and yet hasn’t been able to keep it off for the long term and I’m sure it has to do with time and commitment to her job and other things. There are a LOT of celebrities who can’t keep it off for a very long time and for models, that’s the only thing they need to do to stay in the business.

    I’m not the biggest Carrie Fisher fan but in this case, I’m going to defend her a little bit because she has added pressure on top of her. Her most famous scene that people play over and over again is the one in the two piece bikini with Jabba the Hut in Star Wars. There is no way she’s going to get back into that shape. I don’t know about you, but I would hate if that was the comparison I kept getting. The woman was like, in her 20s there and yet, she gets criticized it over and over again.

    Also, I give her a break on the whole “not wanting to go out of the house thing”. I go through that all the time. I’ve skipped out a few parties because I felt “too fat to party”. A lot of times I go out because I know it would be stupid to say “I’m too fat to go out” but I do it anyway and put on a happy face. And she does too. She has a book (so book appearances) and she’s on Broadway for her one-woman show. So she’s probably being hyperbolic.

    As for Jenny Craig…there’s a spokesperson’s rule in the contract that says you cannot deviate more than 5 pounds, so that’s why she got fired. She lost 75 pounds initially but she couldn’t keep it off.

    And whatever people choose, WW, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, P90X….there’s no one answer for everyone. You have to choose what feels right for you. I have hard time with WW because it’s always a sliding scale with me, which doesn’t work for me (and only me) for the long term.

    With that said, I like this post! It had a lot of questions and statements that made me think and I like when things make me think.

  4. Moko Jono says:

    actually though, Carrie Fisher’s viewpoint ties in to my experience, my own internalization of the external realities and yes hostilities. AND then, when I do venture out, what happens now? Well, for one, I am at a dance workshop and get FB tagged in an extremely unflattering photo, while I am there, and then later, I can always look forward to unflattering photos all over the event website on FB. Just waiting for the kind taggers to see those and tag me there.

    In spite of being very much on the Aspergers end of the spectrum, I am acutely aware of the signals, spoken and unspoken, and a lot disdain and even of open hostility from certain types of people (narcissists?) that is entirely a result of their viewpoint of the heavyset people in the world. I am treated differently and I wish I could breeze through life oblivious to it, but I am not. So retreating to my safe world and doing my own thing works for me. Carrie Fisher likely feels she wants to be in the public eye about it, and to obtain a weight she is comfortable with to be comfortable in the public eye.

    Me, I just wish I could enjoy life the way it was before everyone felt the need to commemorate every frame of some experience into their internet experience.

    • Moko Jono!
      I completely, 100% relate. I hate being tagged on FB in pics where I look like hell – and I’m not expecting to be photographed. The whole thing makes me super self-conscious.
      That being said – I was infuriated by Carrie b/c she weighs 180 (allegedly). I didn’t think she had earned the right to say she was so fat she was banished to her house! But, everyone is different.

      • Tiana says:

        I made it so that only 3 or 4 REALLY close people can see tagged photos of me for the exact same reason. Gotta love privacy settings!!!

      • Moko Jono says:

        along those lines, my dear, were the days when I told some of my mostly normal weight or even slimmer family, who gave me such a hard time for being 10-15 lbs overweight “I bet you wish I was still only 10 or 15 lbs overweight, like back in the day, when you used to look at me every day, and tell me “if you lost just 5 lbs, you would be so much happier, and feel so much better about yourself”. While being a shorty mames every 5 lbs seem like 15, that was really harsh. πŸ˜€ So I can only imagine what Carrie gets for feedback, being in The Business where perfection has brought such advances in plastic and cosmetic surgery, extreme diets of heroine, cocaine and cigarettes and lost weekends… along with all the pills one needs to manage one’s feelings about the whole bloody buggery mess. πŸ˜€

  5. Jennie V says:

    I was perusing Google images today, looking for “Before and After” weight loss photos and was really surprised by my own reaction to it all. I know by now that these celebrities have it WAAAY easier than us “regular folk” with their chefs and trainers, but I still found that I was inspired by their transformations. Not by the products they were pushing but by the physical change in their bodies.
    I, actually, find more inspiration and motivation when I see real people’s stories. For example, I can’t get enough of BL and “I Used to Be Fat”…Bottom line: If a celebrity’s selling, I’m not buying…But I’ll still look at the picutres online!

  6. Louisa says:

    Amen sister! Maybe she really doesn;t like herself…………not the way people look at her or treat her……………………..Dr Phil…………we have a celebrity for you!

  7. Tiana says:

    Best weight loss show (in my opinion) is Ruby. I love her so much! She is so honest and open and genuine and likable… she’s such an inspiration. And I love that it’s just REAL. It’s not a gimmicky competition or a game. It’s her life.

    Regarding Oprah, it’s kind of the same thing. She has a lot of integrity. She’s one of few talk show hosts who never fell into the daily trashy paternity test show pitfall. “So, Sarah’s back for the fourth time, and she’s hoping that this test will finally give her the answer she’s been looking for… ‘Who’s the father of baby Max?’ And Sarah, Joseph is NOT the father of baby Max…” I’m probably not going to come running when Oprah endorses something, but I do like her and I can see why she’s so well respected.

  8. Julie Anita says:

    Hi there! I somehow never noticed your blog posts on Facebook before (I’m Julie from Sara’s ATS class). I love your writing style and I’ll definitely be sticking around to read more!

    I have to defend Carrie here, too (although your friend above makes a very good and important point about the influence of her addictions on her weight and self-esteem). I know that to someone who’s been above, say, 200 for years, 180 sounds like not much, just like someone I know at 160 trying to lose 20 pounds is, to me, “girl, you look amazing, why even bother???” But I think a few factors to consider here are these:

    1) She’s been in the public eye for years, and had people openly discussing, critiquing, obsessing over and insulting her body in ways most of us have never experienced. Even women so fat that people have “shocked” responses to it don’t get to the level of national ownership of one’s body that a celebrity experiences.

    2) She wasn’t always a fat person who had time, in a sense, to become accustomed to being fat (I wish there was a better way I could think to say that) and accept herself. She had a long time where she was thin and considered attractive, and it’s not like she needs to flip through a photo album sitting on a pile of boxes in her attic to remember what she looked like. She played an iconic role and it’s still pervasive throughout our culture, even 35 years later. Hell, there are Princess Leia pez dispensers! I know this because I found one in my house yesterday, haha…

    3) We idolize and hate celebrities. We get to know more about them than we know about people we see all the time, sometimes. Their lives (and follies) become full public knowledge. I often find myself “hating” certain celebrities (of the young, stupid, not particularly talented, always-getting-DUIs variety) and “loving” others (of the “real, someone I’d hang out with, someone’s who’s worked through things and come out the other side” variety). And Carrie Fisher goes in the second group for me. She’s “real” in the sense that you can feel like she’s really being honest with you about herself, which makes me feel comfortable, like she’d “get” me if we had a conversation about our body image issues.

    And the last reason there, #3, is why I think celebrity endorsements can work. We see someone who we find friendly and relatable, and they have something that’s not perfect about them (“A celebrity, not perfect?! No way! She’s just like ME, then!”), and we want them to succeed, and they say they want US to succeed, and then it’s “Valerie Bertinelli lost 40 pounds, and I’ve lost 30! I bet I could do 40, too!” and you’re so happy for them when they look good, etc. because you were already invested in the conversation about their bodies when the first magazine spread “CARRIE FISHER GAINS 10 POUNDS; BECOMES A BIG FATTY” hits the checkout aisle at the grocery store.

    I also like that she’s older. I bet that will boost confidence for a lot of older women, something to counter the “if you don’t lose 40 pounds before you turn 30 your metabolism will slow and you’ll never lose it and you’ll diiiiiiieeeee” message that keeps beautiful and thin women like my mother eating tomato slices for lunch and going to exercise class five hundred times a week.

    Phew, that was long! Sorry! πŸ™‚

  9. Sandy says:

    I’m so glad you have this blog, because I feel like it’s a safe place where I can talk about fat without having to be super-sensitive to the fat acceptance movement, etc., whatever. That said… I like Kirstie Alley. I’m generally a lazy person, I like fast food, and I whine. I don’t whine about food, because I have issues with “coming off fat” (a subject for another time), but I guess my point is that we all got here from different points. I think it’s awesome that you truly love good food, but vegetables are a huge effort for me. You’re also super-active, and right now, I’m really looking to get back into sports in a non-competitive league. But I struggle with fast food, and always will. I’ll go months without eating it, then lose my shit over McD’s cheeseburgers with extra pickles and extra onions. I know it’s shitty food, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious to me.

    Also, celeb endorsements? By and large, these people gain their weight back, just like everyone else. The only person I don’t see that happening for is Valerie Bertinelli, because she’s naturally thin. Some people were made to be bigger. Also, agree with above commenter about Sarah Rue looking PSed, and add Jason Alexander to the list. Danielle Fishel (who I LOVE – have you seen The Dish on Style?) did an endorsement, and ended up saying that it’s just not a realistic way to live. None of it really is, with the possible exception of WW. She looks great to me now, even though she has probably 20 extra pounds on.

    • I completely respect you and your honesty Miz Sandy! I know I judge and bitch a lot….but as you said – this is a safe place to do so!

      I’m still going to have to agree to disagree on Kiristie though…haha!

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