This week it was announced that Jennifer Hudson will be launching a new clothing line for women with curves. Though Jennifer won an Oscar in 2007, it was her dramatic 80 pound weight loss and resulting Weight Watchers contract that really brought her career to a whole new level in the last few years. And then we are just counting down the days until Jessica Simpson loses weight with her $3 million Weight Watchers contract as a result of her much publicized pregnancy weight gain. Valerie Bertinelli is also sitting pretty with her Jenny Craig contract and who can keep track of how many times Janet Jackson (NutriSystem) gains and then loses weight and gets a commercial out of it. We can’t help but think with the average salary paid to celebrity endorsers for weight loss programs ranging from $500,000 to $3 million, is gaining weight when you are a celebrity and then landing a major business deal to lose it the new career savior?
The literal business of weight loss is a very lucrative industry and now B-list celebrities can use it as a major leveraging platform to get them to A-list exposure levels. The annual revenue of the U.S. weight loss industry, including diet books, diet drugs and weight loss surgeries is $20 billion and celebrities want a piece of that pie. With 108 million people on diets in the U.S. every year it is nice to see a celebrity going through the same thing (well except they get paid millions for it.)
Jessica Simpson hasn’t done a movie or produced an album in years, but her fashion career has blown up. And now her $3 million contract will make her star power even larger (excuse the pun. )Valerie Bertinelli’s emotional Jenny Craig campaign (if you don’t start to tear up everytime she does then you are dead inside) put her back on the map after a pretty long absence from showbiz. The weight loss and her sweet personality got her a role on Hot in Cleveland.
This is not to say that Jessica and Jennifer and Mariah Carey (Jenny Craig) weren’t going to have plenty of money and celebrity without these campaigns but this is helping them build their brand as personalities. Jennifer Hudson has also written a book and now has the upcoming clothing line. Janet Jackson has identified herself as an “emotional eater” with serious body-image issues in her best selling tell-all book True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself. Many women can relate to that. Simpson has already done a great job with her fashion line of appealing and relating to middle America and convincing everyone she is still just a Texas girl. Now she will show an even more human side facing a struggle that many women do as well. “Her talent, resilience and positive outlook already make her a great role model,” the company said. “And by deciding to trade in yo-yo dieting for a healthier lifestyle, we know she will inspire many women to join her.” We can expect Jessica’s book in the near future I’m sure.
But the money doesn’t hurt either. These celebrity endorsers make an average of $33,000 per pound lost. If someone was paying me $33,000 per pound, I’d give Calista Flockhart a skinny run for her money. This also makes us think, why aren’t other celebrities trying to get in on this? Not that they should be going out of their way to gain weight but shouldn’t Hilary Duff’s agents tried to get her a campaign? She could be publicly losing weight and talking about it instead of getting flack for “holding her friend’s” cigarette this week and getting paid a bundle.