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How Magda outsmarted Jenny Craig

As Magda Szubanski launches her latest attempt to shed the kilograms, we go inside the weight-loss industry, revealing the millions Magda and other celebrities have made by convincing the rest of us to slim down too.

Magda Szubanski. Photography by Damian Bennett. Styling by Stav Hortis.
A former senior Jenny Craig employee tells the April issue of The Australian Women's Weekly that Magda was paid a total of $850,000 for her last wander down the Jenny Craig weight loss road. She also received bonuses for every milestone she met, ensuring she wouldn't receive the full payment until she'd lost all the weight she promised to lose.
This time, reports suggest she will pocket a cool $1.25 million – a figure Jenny Craig's Director of Marketing Jacinta Whitehead insists is "actually much lower than that" – but no weight loss benchmarks have been built into her contract "because this time it's not about reaching a particular goal," Whitehead says.
Big fees and bonuses for progressive weight-loss are not uncommon among Jenny Craig’s celebrity ambassadors, it seems.
The Weekly has obtained the contracts of Barry Humphries (aka Dame Edna Everage) and former Spice Girl, Mel B – two of the company's most recent high-profile spokespeople.
Under the terms of his contract, Barry’s base fee of $200,000 increased to a possible $286,000 if he met all agreed weight-loss targets and shed 20kg. Significantly, he stood to earn substantially less if he missed his targets.
He also received $20 for every person who signed up to Jenny Craig during the period he fronted the company's ad campaign, as well as all meals throughout the period of the contract, plus "up to the value of $1500 per calendar month towards engaging a mutually agreed personal trainer or food preparation assistant".
For her part, Mel B’s base fee of US$200,000 had the potential to increase to US$225,000 if she lost all
16 kilos she signed up to shed. She also stood to earn US$40 for each person that signed up while she was spruiking it, plus she received all meals and US$1500 a month for a personal trainer or "food preparation assistant".
In a statement to The Weekly, Jenny Craig's Director of Marketing, Jacinta Whitehead, said, "Jenny Craig works with identities who are committed to reaching their health and weight – loss potential and make positive life changes. Each contract is negotiated on a case-by-case situation in consultation with the individual ambassador, the details of which are confidential.
"Contracts aside, the truth remains that Jenny Craig ambassadors have to be committed to reach their own goals. By following the Jenny Craig meal plans, attending weekly consultations with personal consultants and exercising, many celebrities have achieved great success with Jenny Craig."
Even so, it seems Magda has outsmarted the crew at "Jenny". Not having any weight goals leaves her with a get-out-of-jail-free card that allows her to stop when she's had enough. And the ace up her sleeve – the bargaining leverage – was the incredible success she brought the company in the past.
Yet she is aware that the money may draw fire for her.
"Yes, there is bound to be some cynicism around that, but the bottom line is that it either works or it doesn't," Magda says.
"It doesn’t matter whether I'm being paid or not. If the program works, then it works. It doesn't matter

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