This Week's Contestant
Wheel of Fortune is the one show I can say I've been watching for the entirety of my life. From living at home with my family to moving away to college with my roommates, Wheel of Fortune has always made its way onto my television set. Being a contestant on the show was always on my bucket list, but never seemed a reality for me. Everyone's first question to me is always how I managed to become a contestant on Wheel, and I have to say it happened out of nowhere.
A few years ago, they were having open try-outs at a casino close to my hometown from the Wheel Mobile and my mom called me and asked me to go with her. I remember I had a final for school the next day, but I knew this opportunity was rare in Seattle so I packed up my note-cards to study and was on my way. Apparently, everyone else in Seattle had the same bucket list I did since there were hundreds of people there to audition. While there, I had to fill out a piece of paper with my information on it and sit in an auditorium where they called only 25 people total to come up to the stage and play practice games of Wheel of Fortune. Long story short, I never made it up the stage. So I went on my way home, took my final the next day (which I think I did well on...) and eventually even graduated college.
One morning almost 2 years later, I woke up and had an email with the title, "WOF AUDITIONS." It was an invitation to a private audition a hotel in downtown Seattle the following week. I'm assuming that they got my email information from attending the Wheel Mobile and I just happened to be randomly selected. Luckily I had the day off work, so I thought "why not?" I had no idea what to expect from this audition so I don't recall being nervous, just more curious about how this process is done. At the hotel about 60 of us were escorted to a large room with a giant screen up front and a chair set out around the room for each of us. During the first round, the contestant coordinators put a puzzle up on the screen and would randomly call out our names to guess letters and attempt to solve the puzzle. Basically, they were looking for contestants that could speak in a loud clear voice and knew how to play the game well. I would like to take this moment to thank my dad for blessing me with the ability of speaking too loud around others without ever realizing I'm doing it - it really helped me out to get on this show.
After everyone got their turn, we had to take a written test which had about 15 partially completed puzzles where you had 5 minutes to fill in as many puzzles as you could complete. At this point I thought this audition was made for me! Being in school my whole life I got pretty good at taking tests and what better test to take then one that requires filling in puzzles. We were then given a break where the contestant coordinators chose about 15 of us to stay for round 2, where the rest had to go home. During this round, they picked 3 of us at a time to go to the front of the room, play a few puzzles and at the end we had to say something about ourselves in front of the whole group. After everyone got their turn, the contestant coordinators told us that if we are chosen for the show we should hear something within the next 2 weeks. I thought everyone did a great job so I didn't get my hopes up about even getting on the show.
Later that evening, I was at Fred Meyer grocery shopping with my friend, when I looked at my phone and had a missed called from Los Angeles. I couldn't believe that I would hear from them that fast. I called them back and they asked me if I could be on the show the following week! I already had a Vegas trip planned that Sunday to Wednesday, but luckily the filming was all day Thursday. So, of course I said yes and I'm pretty sure my friend and I were screaming in the middle of a grocery store. Like I said before, becoming a contestant on Wheel of Fortune was completely random. This experience all happened to me within 1 week!!
After my Vegas trip, my friends and I flew to Los Angeles instead of back home to Seattle. I had to be at Sony Studios at 7 then next morning, and I knew I should have stayed in and rested for my big day, but I spent my afternoon shopping for an outfit to wear on the show (which is much harder than it seems) and met up with friends who lived in the area. Let's just say I did NOT want to wake up the next morning -- but it was well worth it.
When I got to the studio, all of us contestants sat in a room where the contestant coordinators had us fill out paperwork, get our make-up done and then we got to go out to the studio and practice spinning the big wheel. All I have to say is thank goodness they let us practice. That wheel is much heavier than it looks I'm pretty sure the first time I spun the wheel I barely made it move 5 spaces.
After seeing how small the studio actually is and how helpful and encouraging the staff was, it was hard to be nervous. I was excited to finally get the chance to play my favorite game show. Be sure to watch me spin the wheel on Monday, January 30th!!