For Washington residents Carol Cox and Shernita Spriggs, the day's audition turned into an impromptu reunion.
The two women were gang members as teenagers and often fought each other. Life's hard knocks periodically threw them together as the years went on: as single mothers. As victims of homelessness, once, in a D.C. shelter.
Now, though, Spriggs and Cox shared something else: a coveted red wristband, indicating their confidence and life stories were good enough to get them invited to the second round of cuts.
They two women hugged each other and screamed. Spriggs could not stop crying.
"I was always in fights because of how I looked. I was always called Miss Piggy," Spriggs, 30, says. "One day I looked at Miss Piggy and I said, `Miss Piggy is fat and fabulous!' Miss Piggy had diamonds! So I said, `I can be called Miss Piggy because Miss Piggy is on point.'
"I was always big," she went on. "And [Cox] was always big. We [were] two fabulous big girls in the same neighborhood, and we did not like each other. But I'm comfortable with myself now. So when I saw her today, I was so happy. Because I knew that we had proved to people that women can get along."
Mo'Nique and the F.A.T. Chance producers have three more cities to search for contestants. They started in Miami; they'll leave today for Seattle, Los Angeles and New York.
Only 10 will make it. And only one will win.
But before she left the podium, Mo'Nique told the women in the crowd to hug themselves and then to hug the woman next to them.
Each of the women are fat girls, she told them, and that makes them all beautiful, valuable, worthy. Winners.