“Do As I Say, Not As I Do”: How Teen Mom Stars Are Profiting And Gaining Notoriety From Birth Control And Unplanned Pregnancies

As most of us know, Teen Mom isn’t the only thing that garners $ for the cast of the franchise. Most stars of the hit MTV series now have alternative ways of making bank. Some may have had small Etsy stores, or lent their names to a specific product. Cast members like Farrah Abraham have branched out into brick and mortar, while the likes of Jenelle Evans and Amber Portwood have jumped into the world of e-commerce retail.

Another moneymaker for these ladies is different forms of marketing on social media (i.e. #ad, #spons, etc.). One Instagram Ad, be it a new push-up bra, a teeth whitening gel, or even a hidden can of Campbell’s soup in the background can garner the person 3-4 figures. When you add up how many opportunities these ladies have outside of the show, a lucrative profit can be made with the right strategy.

But I’m not here to talk about old Sulia posts or the side hustle of selling stories to the tabloids. I’m here to talk about how the cast has been making profit off of something a lot of them aren’t using: birth control and other forms of unwanted pregnancy prevention.

“For everything you need need to know about sex, visit itsyoursexlife.com” makes an appearance near the end of every episode. With a title like the show has and the perma-PSA, you’d think that birth control and other forms of pregnancy prevention would play a more prominent part as the series has progressed. Not even because of the personal responsibility factor or the message that it sends to young, impressionable viewers. The main reason why I am baffled it has not had a larger impact in their lives is because they themselves have made considerable amounts of money from endorsing it in some way or another.

Maci Bookout

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

Take for example Maci Bookout. In 2017 she appears to be doing great with a loving husband, 3 adorable children, and an associate’s degree under her belt. However, in 2013 she joined the Candie’s Foundation in an initiative to educate folks on the consequences of unplanned teenage pregnancies. She was joined alongside Bristol Palin, who according to ABC News made a whopping $262,500 from the non-profit. To most folks that is not chump change.

Another occurrence around this time includes Kail Lowry tweeting “Be selfish! Stay in school, do things for yourself THEN have babies.” While Kail did manage to complete her Bachelor’s Degree from DSU, she walked across the stage pregnant with (the assumingly unplanned) child #3. That’s not to say that the baby was unwanted, but it’s definitely a change of tone compared to that 2013 tweet.

Throughout the years certain cast members have supplemented their income by doing speaking engagements and book tours across the country- one of the subjects being “Don’t get pregnant until you’re ready.” Who would have thought just a short time later that several of these folks would be in the exact situation that they were warning others against?

There’s no denying that the cast as a whole is more financially stable now than when they started. With that being said, even with a healthy bank account many of the ladies have admitted to recent pregnancies being unplanned. In the most recent season of Teen Mom 2, when confronted about whether birth control was used during the making of her baby with then-boyfriend Chris Lopez, Kail replied “He’s a big boy- he knows how to pull out!” For those who do not know, when not done correctly the pull-out method statistically results in 27 out of 100 women becoming pregnant (per www.birthcontrol.com).

Photo Courtesy of Instagram

And how can we forget the “Thanks, Birth Control” media campaign that included several of the Teen Mom cast? While it is unknown if they financially benefited from this, it was rather ironic seeing these people smiling happily in their BC-Friendly T-Shirts while they were continuing to have admitted accidental fertilizations.

If they want a baby, good for them! But as fans, many of us have to ask why many of these folks continue to gain fame, exposure, and even money from teaching people about planning their pregnancies? Like the old saying goes, it comes off as being very “Do As I Say, Not As I Do.”

-Edith Bundy

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  1. Aaric says:

    Farrah’s side income game is the strongest

  2. Edith Bundy says:

    I really hope everyone liked the article! I’m curious as to other ways Teen Mom fans feel like the stars of the show are manipulating their audience. (And don’t worry- I used the term “stars” as a technicality).

    • JerseyGirl says:

      Yes, thank you for the contribution!!!

    • Janel says:

      Those stupid Instagram ads. I hate them, they really irk my soul! I know good and well they don’t use those flat tummy teas, teeth whitening devices, Pegasus lash crap, or whatever else they push as being the “best”, “greatest” “fast results” “must-have”. Rant over.

    • rosie says:

      I loooove this post. Love this kind of most analytical posts about this bunch of losers. Thankyou! Looking foward for more

  3. Monkey says:

    I’ve always thought that the girls having “oops” babies just proves that the show’s message isn’t working. Teen pregnancy is on the decline, but that’s because birth control is more readily available, not because we’re all afraid to become the next Jenelle.

  4. Lazuli says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. I understand that they are no longer teens and they are able to financially support their children, but the child was either unplanned (Maci, Amber, Jenelle, Kailyn) or after only being in a relationship for a few months (Leah and Jenelle). The only three to plan their pregnancies (Catelynn, Kailyn, Chelsea) were not married at the time the baby was conceived. I know marriage is not a necessity, I’m just using it as an example. And Catelynn’s was especially awkward because Tyler couldn’t commit to her in marriage, but he was fine with a child.

    It doesn’t show responsibility, it shows these girls being ignorant and reckless. It doesn’t help that they have money to back up their misjudgement. It makes me wonder if they would have been as frivolous if they didn’t have MTV money; if they actually had to financially struggle like normal teen moms. I want to say I highly doubt it, but I’m really not sure. Poor decision got them on TV in the first place!

    • Pages says:

      I see countless young women that have baby after baby whether they can care for them or not.The children go to other family members and foster care.

  5. JerseyGirl says:

    thank you for the article!

  6. -A says:

    Thank you for the article. Hope to have more in the future.

  7. Natasha Gruppo says:

    Loved the article! Thank you!

  8. chelseas annoying baby voice says:

    I ❤this article; very well written

    ‘you’d think that birth control and other forms of pregnancy prevention would play a more prominent part as the series has progressed’.

    This. Right on the money.

    • LittleBelle says:

      I totally agree. I think that was the “idea” originally when MTV wanted to have a real life show about the hardships faced by teen parents. “16 and Pregnant” kind of did this by showing teenagers and their delusions about the “prefect life and prefect family” and then the actual realities crashing in on them about being a teen mom.

      I think the 1st few seasons of TMOG showed this and had more of a documentary feel to it over pure reality trash TV. Then TM2 happened and the 6 figure salaries soon came in to play. That stopped any “documentary” aspect to the show and it became drama drama reality TV. With all the money thrown at them, why worry about the realities of being an actual teen parent. Money will buy a home and food. Who needs to struggle through school or jobs if MTV is paying for anything you could every have dreamed for.

      Birth control has become a MTV sound bite that a lot of us watchers just laugh at. Most real teen moms need to worry about having a 2nd child while struggling to work and finish school. Not these girls and a bunch of teens got pregnant hoping to join the MTV cash cow. Too bad for these teens and their new reality as MTV stopped the Teen Mom train after TM3’s ratings crashed and burned.

      I think if MTV had continued the idea of 16 and Pregnant plus a year the idea of pregnancy prevention in teens would have had a bigger impact. You can’t show the current TM girls and make a 15 year old girl worry about teen pregnancy. After growing up with TM on TV for years, they believe this is how the “real” world of teen pregnancy works because that’s all they’ve even seen.

      • chelseas annoying baby voice says:

        ‘Who needs to struggle through school or jobs if MTV is paying for anything you could every have dreamed for.’

        Exactly right! 👏👏👏

  9. Grace says:

    Love the article!
    For me, if these women want more babies, just come out and say it. Quit making excuses like pulling out (Kail), not ‘trying’ but not being on birth control (Kail, Amber, Maci, Jenelle), antibiotics, pretending you can’t get pregnant. It’s annoying. Just come out and say you want more

  10. chelseas annoying baby voice says:

    The cynic in me says that these girls keep getting pregnant for the continuation of the show. As previously mentioned MTV pays for everything so the girls feel that they must keep their storyline as interesting as possible. Like I am sorry but… There is no way Jenelle keeps popping out kids because she loves them so much.

    Plus there is the ‘new boyfriend must have our own baby’ notion all of the girls seem to want strive for except Cate I guess.

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