Flab to Fabulous: It’s About MATH

Consider this an Open Letter to any would-be Flab to Fabulous Pageant contestants. I’ve become aware that there are extremely well-intentioned folks who want to enter the competition in the hopes of donating their prize money to the WLSFA. Very well-intentioned, indeed. But does the MATH work out? I was a licensed Series 3 broker for five years and today I develop website-based marketing campaigns for futures traders. I was working this morning and I got to thinking about return on investment. How good of an investment is the Flab to Fabulous pageant? LET’S CRUNCH!!!

Let’s say three very nice, very cool people who have lost gobs of weight enter the pageant. Their cost? $97 x 3. They’re in for $291. It’s my understanding that these clever folks are trying to spread out the odds so they’re each in one of the four categories. They’ll be competing separately in their own categories and never against each other. OK, good plan!

At the Entry phase, they each have a shot at winning $200. Let’s be very generous and say our contestants are SO fabulous, that they ALL win! Our gang has raked in $600 collectively and they’re up $309!

The next phase is Preliminary. Now they’re eligible to win $300 each. Because they’re so fabulous let’s say this time two of them are winners. Those are some very generous odds. Our group would collect another $600 and be up a whoppin’ $909!!

Every contestant who makes it to the Semi-Finals will get $500. WOW. I think our group is so mind-blowingly fabulous, I believe they will ALL make it to this round, earning for the gang, an impressive $1500. They would now have an amazing $2409!!

Official pageant rules require that each Semi-Finalist is responsible for a minimum payment to the pageant of $3200, either out of your own pocket or collected from sponsors. Our hopefuls will each have to pay for:

  1. Production of pageant week
  2. Official State Crown
  3. Official State Sash
  4. Official Flab to Fabulous Program Magazine
  5. Opening Number and Competition Wardrobe
  6. Contestant Handbook and paperwork
  7. Welcome reception
  8. Awards banquet
  9. Personal Best Seminars

You can see this list of required expenses on this web page. Oh man. Our gang’s $2409 in winnings are wiped out by these expenses. In fact, they’ll be in the hole for $9200!! Minus the winnings, that’s $7191 they’ll have to come up with! PLUS they’ll need a triple occupancy hotel room at the Hyatt; at $124/night, that’s another $868 for the week. Delta is based out of Hartsfield so you get good deals. Let’s estimate airfare for three people from some random city….how about Portland OR? We know the Hyatt says the Fabulous Foundation has reserved event rooms for August, but let’s use the dates that have been posted on the website. Our Fab Trio would arrive the evening of May 25 and depart the morning of June 3. The lowest airfare the Delta website comes up with for three people is around $1000.

So far, our folks are investing $9059 but they will also need their evening wear ensembles and food for three people for a week. Let’s add another $500 each for these expenses and round the whole package off at $10,500. Ouch.

OH OH. Time out, just one itty bitty minute. Semi-Finalists have the option to buy an all-inclusive package from the pageant with airfare, hotel room, and a week’s food for $6600. If our gang went for this, that would be $19,800. Yow. That’s nearly ten grand MORE our group would spend collectively for airfare, hotel, and food! What is it, first class plane seats, the Presidential suite, and caviar for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Let’s not buy the inclusive package from the pageant. Why is it so much more money? Yeah, let’s take a pass on that.

It’s pageant day! And our Fab Trio are serious contenders in each of their categories! Let’s look at what they have a chance to win! Find this Grand Prize list on this web page:

  • National Fabulous Tiara or Crown
  • 2 – Fabulous sashes
  • National winner’s trophy
  • Make over
  • Modeling Contract
  • National Magazine (name & photo )
  • Personal appearances
  • One year supply of vitamins
  • One year gym membership
  • Fabulous sponsors goodie bag
  • Picture and story on our website

OK, hold the phone. Is something missing? There’s no cash prize in this list. Where’s the cash prize so our Fab Trio can have the thrill of their lives presenting some giant check to the WLSFA?? But they’re putting TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS into this!!!! They want to be the Prize Patrol and take a photograph holding a giant six foot check with “Pay to the order of the WLSFA” on it!!! WHAT THE HELL???!!!!!

Last year’s winner was Penny Rudd. Doesn’t she look lovely on this web page? What did she win? How much cash did she rake in? She posted to the Flab to Fabulous Facebook page this morning. Perhaps she could post about her wonderful prize package, the modeling opportunities she’s receiving, and the personal appearances she’s making during, this, her year as the reigning Ms. Fabulous. I’d also love to see photos of the glittering pageant from last year when she was crowned!

Wow. One of our Fab Trio could be living the year of excitement that Penny Rudd is enjoying right now! Oh wait. I just had a terrible thought. There’s no guarantee any of our Fab Folks would win the grand prize anyway! Oh geez, that’s RIGHT! There are going to be up to 50 other contestants in each category! And they could be just as equally fabulous! Maybe even MORE so!! This is like placing a $10,000 BET!!!

Alright. There are best and worst-case scenarios here. They could each place a $97 bet that they might win one or more of the pre-pageant cash prizes and then chose NOT to enter the semi-finalists phase. Or they could buy lotto tickets perhaps. A bet’s a bet. If they don’t win any preliminary money and they go for the semi-finals, they’d each have to shell out a minimum $3200 plus airfare, hotel, wardrobe, food, expenses, all for the chance to win…what? A modeling contract? A tiara? A makeover?

If you have a different perspective on this, BY ALL MEANS PLEASE, make sense of this for me because I don’t see the MATH any other way than this.


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    • Jen on January 15, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    But it’s a sure bet your life will never be the same! And that is priceless.

    1. haha, that is true, Jen! I was telling someone just this morning, I love a mystery and I love research. I also love Internet sleuthing and there have been elements of all. But the real aim here has been to determine if this event was truly legitimate and worth the financial investment that would be required to participate. I can’t imagine why anyone would get involved with this. Just the issue with the uncertain dates should concern anyone and now that a “2012 Winner” has officially been revealed, we can all see that there’s no evidence of a pageant last year and no evidence that the winner has made public appearances or been profiled in the media as “Ms Fabulous” at all.

      Something that bothers me A LOT is that the event is not promoted as a fund raiser for these scholarships. And there are only two weeks a year to apply for them apparently. I wonder what the Georgia Attorney General would think of that? Hmmmmmm.

    • Marlen Mori-Gibson on January 15, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    I don’t understand the compulsion to be involved in stuff like this, but it occurs to me that I never, ever thought I had a chance to win. I can see how a person who has had success at weight loss would be tempted to participate. I like how you illustrate the financial risk involved with said participation. Seems like there is also a big emotional risk that one might not anticipate without seeing the numbers you have shared here.

    1. You raise a very good point, Marlen, one that makes perfect sense to me as someone who works in the markets. People can’t help but be emotional about MONEY!! A phenomenon that’s always fascinated me is how people make HUGE profits when they play with a demo trading platform. They think they’re ready to jump in with real money and they’re sure they’re going to be RICH! But it never fails. BAM! They start trading with real money and those amazing profits just don’t seem to be there! When it’s real money, they get emotional and their results are ALWAYS different!

      In this case, folks may psych themselves up for the reality that they could lose the pageant but maybe they think it will be a super fun experience. OK, great. BUT they will all have several thousand dollars wrapped up in it. Unless somebody’s crazy wealthy, folks won’t be able to separate themselves from feeling emotional about the money they spent to lose a pageant. And could the winner have “buyer’s remorse” if the prize package doesn’t turn out to be all that impressive? A very real possibility!

      Great to see you on the blog, Marlen! Please comment again soon!!!

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