Below is Part 2 of our Money Hungry winners interview set. Like his partner Mark, Joe talks victory, giving the Grading Curves back their $10,000 entry fee and what he plans to do with his part of the $100,000 prize money.
Thank you very much.
I told Mark that you guys had dominated the challenges to such an extent that it actually wasn’t too big of a surprise that you won.
Pretty much. We had a slight advantage ‘cause we were one of the small teams on the show. It did feel like it was kind of to our advantage. But we were still overweight and out of shape.
What did you think about your portrayal on the show?
Portrayal? We were definitely the villains of the show. At the end, though, I think people got to see what kind of guys we really are. I think giving the money to the Grading Curves showed that we really are good guys and we do have hearts. I think a lot of what we did was a little played up but at the same token, it was competition. I think it brought out our competitive juices on both ends in both our personalities.
What exactly was the thought process behind giving $10,000 to the Grading Curves?
We felt going in that we were the villains of the show. First of all, we’re from New York. Typically, most Midwest and West Coast people don’t like the East Coast people. It’s just a fact. It’s been like that since the beginning of the time, so we felt that doing this would just show America that money isn’t everything. Going on the show was never about money for us. As we got closer to the jackpot, it then started to become about the money. We thought we were at a disadvantage, being one of the small teams. The larger teams, they could’ve really buried us the first few weeks that we were there. We weren’t even expecting to get that far and we felt like giving them that money would change people’s minds. We really felt that they had a bad run of luck there at the end, and it could’ve happened to anybody. And I know if I were sitting there, I would be hoping somebody did that for us.
Were you conscious about what people might think of you as you were filming the whole time or just at that point?
I knew how we were coming across. We weren’t really acting. These are the people that we are, especially the competitive type at a show and atmosphere. We really had our minds set on trying to really win it and putting on a good show for people back home. That’s what it was mainly about for me personally. And I know Mark would probably echo those thoughts.
You said going on the show wasn’t about the money. What was it about to you?
It was more about putting on a good show as far as the competition goes. We really wanted to show people we were very competitive people. And we really wanted to change our lives losing weight. It was just a lifestyle change for us. I mean, when are you gonna be able to leave your family and friends and say, “OK, let’s pick up and go to spend three months in another state, lose weight and dedicate that to your health”? When we went to that physical the first week that we were there, it was pretty nuts because they had us do stress tests. My cholesterol was high, I had high blood pressure. I was a couple of cheeseburgers away from possibly having a heart attack. So we just felt like it was gonna be an incredible experience for us and we just wanted to make it to where we were able to really transform our bodies. The money was really just the icing on the cake.
Even though the Regulators were the underdogs…
You know what? I feel the complete opposite. I felt we were the underdogs. They just had so much more weight to lose that last week. And you know what they say: your last 15-20 lbs. are the hardest weight. And that’s where we were at. We were at a point where we were peaking to get to our plateau weight. I believe the final decision came down to a challenge, we probably would’ve won. But they leveled the playing field, in the sense that it came down to weight loss the last week.
Yeah. Any thoughts on the Regulators at this point?
I think there was mutual respect between the two teams even though we had our differences. There was a little bit of fighting and we went back and forth, they didn’t like us, we didn’t like them. But listen, if I had to go into a foxhole after the show was over, I would definitely take those guys. Those are good guys, I got a lot of respect for them, and that’s basically it.
Have you lost weight since the show?
No, I basically been maintaining when I lost. Occasionally I’m going up 5 lbs., I’m dropping it. It’s been very hard since I got back actually.
I know you don’t have the money yet but what do you planning on doing with it?
Right now, maybe just trying to make smart investments. I’ll try to spend it wisely if I can. I really don’t wanna squander this jackpot. I know there was a lot of a talk with me and Mark going to Vegas, and that definitely portrayed us the wrong way. A lot of the stuff we did towards the end was based on trying to hopefully get the ratings up. Everybody loves to hate the villains, and I figured, you know what, we may as well play it up because hopefully that will draw the viewers in.
It seemed at times you were flirting with Kaitlin and/or Jackie. Is that an accurate perception?
Yeah, there was always some flirting going on with the show with Jackie and Kaitlin. It was all in good fun though. Nothing serious ever surfaced from it. The same thing went for Stephanie.
Mark told me the story of your friendship. Pretty remarkable that it started in the HOV lane.
I looked at him like he was a Cyclops when he told me about a TV reality show. And you know what? He led me through the whole process. Every time I said no, he said yes. I told him, “I wanna donate him a kidney even though he don’t need one.” I mean really, that’s the God-honest truth. I’m that kind of guy. I can honestly tell you that was hands down the greatest experience of my life. Losing the weight, coming back healthy, obviously I still have my battles everyday with eating – I’m a big eater, I’m an Italian guy. It was just an unbelievable experience.
Speaking of being Italian, what did you think of the whole Godfather-inspired music that they sometimes played during your interviews?
I thought it was great. Even the people back here, up here in New York, loved it. Sometimes they say, “Eh, that’s stereotypical stuff,” but people loved it. People absolutely went crazy over it. I think they couldn’t have edited the tape any better, honestly.
Tell me where your head was at when you had insulted people for being fat on a weight-loss show.
What do you mean, as far as abusing people about it?
Yeah. At one point in the finale you said to the Regulators, “Don’t break the furniture when you sit on it.”
I meant don’t break the furniture because in one episode, he started throwing furniture. That’s what I meant by don’t break the furniture ‘cause I thought he was gonna start throwing a tantrum, throwing furniture again. We came back into the house we started trash-talking, because now it was about 100 grand. It wasn’t about nothing else. This wasn’t about elimination challenges or politics…this was about us verus them, it was about the jackpot. It was about pride and who was actually gonna take the show down. Risking that kind of money, it’s a big deal. It’s the biggest gamble I ever made. And you know what? It’s the biggest reward I ever got. So to me, it was worth everything I’ve done, going along the way. I can honestly say that.
Absolutely not. No regrets. They say that going on TV you may get exploited, but you know what? I’m not embarrassed of who I am. I may have a temper and I may be a heavy-set guy and people may not like my language, but this is who I am. You either like it or you don’t. I think up here I have more fans than I do across the country. But like, I said doing what we did for the Grading Curves really shows what kind of guys we are. I think it takes true men to do something like that. I think we made the right move at the right time of the show. And I think we really capped it off beautifully, I really do.