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.
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).
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.”