Christian Showalter was 13 and her younger sister, Hannah Parrett, was about 11 when they met Subway man Jared Fogle. This was more than a decade ago, when Fogle was still a celebrated spokesperson for the company – he’d become famous for eating the sandwich chain’s food – he’d famously lost 245 pounds – and he was everywhere: commercials, talk shows on the late night and even pitching his own foundation to fight childhood obesity.
The sisters, who grew up in a small Indiana town, remember being in awe of their association with a celebrity. It happened because their stepfather at the time, Russell Taylor, ran the Jared Foundation. It would later emerge that Taylor also secretly videotaped Hannah, Christian, and their friends during this time, through cameras hidden in the bedrooms and bathrooms of their home, and compiled the collected footage for Fogle, who was ultimately convicted to more than 15 years in prison, after pleading guilty to charges of sex with minors and receiving child pornography. Taylor, along with Hannah and Christians’ mother, now known as Angela Baldwin, were convicted of their role in the scheme and related crimes, and were sentenced last year to 27 and 33 years behind bars respectively.
Now the sisters take center stage in a new ID documentary series, Jared from Subway: catching a monster, who shared their horrific experience, for which, of course, they had to rethink everything. They tell Yahoo Entertainment it was something they felt compelled to do.
“I think the main reason we took part in this documentary was not just to have a voice, but maybe to be the voice of other people who don’t have it yet,” Showalter says. “And to remind them that you do have it. You just haven’t made contact with that inner voice that you really need. And I think we’ve lived for so many years…more than seven years, in the dark. truth and if anything being told not to speak it and once we knew this was going to come out we knew we had to be a part of it we had to tell our truth we owed it to our inner — we are survivors, but our inner victims. We owed it to those girls who went through that to pursue it and tell what happened to them.”
Watch an exclusive clip of Jared from Subway: catching a monster:
Parrett says she’s in a much better place than when the story broke.
“For a long time there,” says Parrett, “I think it brought up a lot of negative feelings every time. I’d see something on the Internet, or even just be in a small town, you know, people talking. People know Going to school and just being in public and hearing people talk about it openly like it wasn’t your life…I feel like that brought up a lot of negative feelings in me But now when I see those things it reminds me just how far I am from that. I don’t start thinking about all the negative things and all the drama. I see those things and it just reminds me how far I’ve come.”
“It becomes less of a trigger and more of a reminder of what we went through,” she says. “Instead of sending us into an emotional spiral, it kind of reassures us, ‘Hey, you survived this and you can continue to survive.'”
Not that it’s been easy. For one thing, the women have lost contact with their mother, who they acknowledge played a key role in their abuse and who they now call simply Angela.
“They’re all equally responsible: Jared, Russell and Angela, but when I look at the reasons why they’re responsible, it’s all for different reasons,” Showalter explains. “Jared, I think, is responsible for initiating it and for wanting the pornography and wanting to prey on not just me and my sister, but our friends and other young girls and young boys. But when it comes to Russell, I think he has to take the responsibility of being the actual person who set up the cameras, actually got the footage And Jared has to take the responsibility of accepting the footage and getting out on the footage They all have to look the blamed for it, but there are so many different reasons why they should be held accountable.”
The story is bleak, but the women work towards a happier ending.
“I say it all the time, I love life now,” says Parrett. “And I just think it’s not necessarily about, you know, the things that happen. It’s about what we do with it. And for me, participating — I have groups and meetings in my area and things like that and talking to other people – and just sharing my story, that helps a lot of people. And that helps me. And I’m thankful for that. I mean, sure, I hate that these things happened, but I love what I’m doing something. And that means the most to me.”
The sisters plan to watch the three-part series on TV. One of the things they look forward to most is hearing the perspective of another woman featured in the documentary, a former Florida radio host named Rochelle Herman. She had befriended Fogle during the height of his fame, when he regularly interacted with children. After it became clear to her that he had a sexual interest in them, she tried to put an end to it, brought the situation to the attention of the FBI and even worked with them to document evidence. They never really spoke to her.
Parrett jokes that she might suddenly have to get up and grab a snack when she’s on screen.
“When you’re in front of the camera, you’re basically criticizing every little move,” she reminds anyone who’s ever participated in a Zoom meeting. “But I’m excited. I’m really excited.”
All three parts of Jared from Subway: catching a monster premieres back-to-back on Monday, March 6 at 9 p.m. on ID and will be available to stream on Discovery+ the same day.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, help is available. RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24/7 for survivors with free, anonymous help. 800.656.HOPE (4673) and online.rainn.org.