I was inspired to do this Throwback Thursday after The Daily Mail recently did one of those “Where Are They Now?” stories about a woman who became famous back in 2009 for giving birth to the first set of octuplets where all of the infants have survived in the United States. At the time the mainstream media was hyping this story as one of those “miracle birth” stories and how wonderful, inspirational, and miraculous it was for so many babies to be born from the same womb at once.

But that sense of awe and wonder quickly turned to disgust when the same mainstream media found out that the mother of those octuplets already had six other children and she was raising them as a single mother. Like those octuplets, she had her other children through in vitro fertilization and she used the same doctor for all 14 of her kids. In addition that mother also hadn’t worked in a few years and she was living on disability payments.

As for the father of those children, the mother claimed that she used the same sperm donor for all of them but this alleged father, known as either David Suleman or David Solomon, has never publicly revealed himself nor has he ever remotely done anything to help support those children. An old boyfriend named Denis Beaudoin claimed to be the children’s biological father on ABC’s Good Morning America and he was even willing to undergo a paternity test. Nadya Suleman denied that Beaudoin was the father.

So the mother, then known as Nadya Suleman, was soon dubbed “Octomom” in the media. While the mainstream media backed away from this story, the less reputable gossip publications and websites started to hound her and her kids.

I saw an interview that Nadya Suleman gave to NBC’s The Today Show soon after her octuplets were born and I felt there was something off about her. She kept on saying that she was going to return to grad school in the fall (she was a college student studying to become a therapist at the time all of her children were conceived) to resume her studies despite the fact that she was now the mother of 14 children—including 8 infants—under the age of 8. She also played up to the camera as she was showing off her 8 newborns in their incubators (they were all born premature). She subsequently did a series of videos for the gossip site RadarOnline and I saw her older children literally running wild around the house with little or no discipline at all. Those videos were shot while the octuplets were still in the hospital and all I saw was total chaos.

As a result I did this 9 inch x 12 inch (23 cm x 30 cm) painting in 2009 called The Scream of Nadya “Octomom” Suleman.

The Scream of Nadya Suleman

I did this painting before I even started this blog but I would write about it for the first time on September 4, 2011. I showed it in a few local art shows and I got a good response to that painting each time I displayed it. But I also was ambitious and I wanted more attention not only for this painting but also for myself as well. I was hoping for some career opportunities related to my art where I would actually make some money doing what I love the most.

So I had this idea where I would make a video of this painting and post it on YouTube. I felt that just having a video doing little more than displaying a static painting with no sounds wouldn’t be any good. So I decided to do a bunch of closeups of various elements in this painting along with various sound effects. I did a soundtrack mixing various royalty-free sound effects in GarageBand, I imported various still photos of that painting (including closeups) into iPhoto, and I put everything together into iMovie. I was in Phoenix visiting my then-husband’s mother and stepfather while I was working on this project. (We used to make such trips to Arizona at least once a year until my mother-in-law’s death in 2010 and my marital breakup in 2011.) I think I may have even uploaded it on to YouTube during my Arizona trip as well but I don’t remember exactly. But here is the video version.

Now I’m going to tell you a true story that I’ve never wrote about in this blog before. It’s a tale of reality shows and contracts and how I was almost famous. I waited until now to write a post about it because I was still under contract to this media company and I didn’t want to write anything that could potentially get me into any kind of legal trouble. Now that the contract has long since expired, I feel a bit freer to write openly about the aftermath of posting that video on YouTube.

Here’s some background. At one point Nadya Suleman (or her then-media representatives) were shopping around a potential reality TV show that would be similar to TLC’s hit reality show Jon & Kate Plus 8 (about a married couple who were raising a set of twins and a set of sextuplets). Most of the U.S. media were leery about doing a show like that because of the controversy surrounding Nadya Suleman and her 14 children. But then it was announced that Nadya Suleman had signed a contract with the British media company Eyeworks for a reality show about her and her large brood. What’s more there was a report that this reality show wouldn’t even be shown on American television and it was going to air only in Europe.

At that point I received a surprise personal message through my YouTube account from someone who was representing Eyeworks. This person said that the company was interested in using my video in their reality show and all I needed to do was provide my personal email address so they could send a contract for me to sign. I was really excited that a major British production company was interested in my video and I thought that it would be the start of something big for me as a byproduct. I responded with my email address and I promptly got a contract for me to sign.

I read it and I initially had concern about some of the provisions which were this: Eyeworks would have exclusive use to this video for five years and I would not be compensated for their use of my video. I wasn’t keen about not being paid for having my video shown but then I thought that this could be my one chance at having some major opportunities open up for me. I could put the fact that my video was aired on a television show on my resume. I could potentially have other people provide paid work for me based on seeing my video on television both in the U.S. and in Europe.

Ultimately I printed out the contract, signed it, scanned it into the computer, and emailed it back to Eyeworks. I filed the printed signed copy away. I recently found it among my records and here is what it looked like.

eyeworksoctomomcontract

Ultimately that potentially good opportunity that the contract represented came to nothing in the long run. The last time this Eyeworks-produced reality show was ever mentioned was in this New York Times article that was published on November 12, 2009. Since then there has been no more mention of that reality show airing anywhere in the world. In fact, there is no mention as to whether that reality show has ever finished filming its first season. What happened? The only clue I’ve found as to the ultimate fate of that reality series is this article that was posted on PerezHilton.com in 2009 where Nadya Suleman denied ever signing any contract to appear in a reality show.

In any case my one chance for possible glory pretty much went down the tubes along with the reality show. As I look back on this I now think that it’s for the best because I don’t even know if anything would even have come from Eyeworks having the rights to use my video had that reality show actually been aired on television. In fact, I don’t even know if my video would have even appeared on that show or if it would’ve been one of those things that ended up on the cutting room floor at the last minute because the director changed his/her mind about actually using it.

I’m not really too disappointed over my video’s outcome and I’ve basically moved on from that episode.

As for Nadya Suleman herself, she went on to appearing in this low-budget movie called 666 the Devil’s Child. She also went on to masturbating in a porn movie while also working as an adult entertainer dancing in men’s clubs. She subsequently got into all kinds of legal and financial trouble (including drug abuse), which is documented on her Wikipedia page.

She eventually faded from the public spotlight for a bit until she did her recent interview with The Daily Mail. According to that article, she now goes by the name Natalie Suleman, she claims to have “killed off” her “vile Octomom persona,” she has kicked her addiction to Xanax, she is a vegan and she has put her kids on that same diet, she now works as a counselor and a family therapist, and she no longer does any kind of sex work. Strangely the photos accompanying that story only has her and her octuplets and there are no photos of her six older children. I have no idea if that was Suleman’s doing or the photographer’s doing or if the older children didn’t want to be photographed at all or if it was a an instance where the photographer took photos of the other children but the editors at The Daily Mail opted not to publish them.

Natalie Suleman seemed very upbeat and positive in that story but, then again, she has a long history of contradicting herself, which is well-documented on this site. There is no independent way of verifying whether she is telling the truth about herself or her family at this point. I only hope that, for the sake of her 14 children, she really did tell the truth to The Daily Mail and she really has turned her life around to the point where she is a functioning responsible adult.

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