This Week's Contestant
POSTED on 5-28
Strangely enough, my journey to becoming an actual Wheel of Fortune contestant came from two fortuitous events that happened to inspire me to sign up as a potential contestant: first, I had recently moved to Los Angeles from Boston to start grad school, and I was a poor student. I wanted money...a lot of money. Second, I had a hilarious conversation at a party with my friend Farley, where I learned that he'd been on Wheel of Fortune. Boom: inspiration. How to get money fast as a starving grad student? Game show. Done (hey Farley if you're reading this...thanks for the idea, buddy). A few days later, at 3 AM during a momentary rest from working on my Master's theses, I signed up to be notified about auditions for Wheel of Fortune.
Fast-forward four years. I'd moved from LA back to Boston, landed a great job, gotten married, and then moved to Austin, Texas. To be honest, I had completely forgotten about that delirious night when I took a late-night study break to sign up for Wheel of Fortune auditions. And then one magical day an email shows up in my inbox with the fated subject line: WHEEL OF FORTUNE CONTESTANT AUDITION IN NEW YORK.
Despite the fact that I live in Austin, TX, and they explicitly discourage potential contestants from traveling for auditions, I booked a ticket to the northeast to make sure I was in NYC on the day of that audition. I figured that if I didn't get on the show I'd eat the cost and at least get a great visit with east-coast friends out of it...but a little part of me had a feeling I'd make it on the show. Honestly-I'm outgoing, obsessive about word puzzles, and I'm a little whacky-what better traits could there be for a Wheel of Fortune contestant?
My epic trip to New York feels like a whirlwind. I found my way to the hotel in Times Square where the auditions were being held a couple of hours early and sat in the lobby like a creepster trying to ID other people who might be heading to the audition. That girl? The couple holding hands and looking nervous? The auditions themselves are a complete blur. I sat in my seat grinning like a lunatic, having the time of my life solving puzzles with the other folks I auditioned with. I even won a Wheel of Fortune tote bag during one of the practice puzzles. Score!
The next thing I knew, I'd made it through the auditions to the very end. Many people had already been sent home disappointed. The contestant coordinators thanked us for our time, and told us we'd hear within two weeks if we'd been chosen to be on the show. At that point, I was cautiously optimistic-I was proud to have made it through to the final stage, and I felt pretty great about my audition performance.
They tell us that normally that would be the end, but it just so happens they have two opening on shows the NEXT WEEK. I swear my heart jumped out of my chest, but I didn't dare hope that they would choose me.
But. They. Did. I literally jumped out of my seat. 24 hours later, I had booked my ticket to LA for the taping, and had started my prep process-lots of Wheel of Fortune on my iPhone app, several crosswords a day, and many, many hours of Hang Man. I still can't quite believe all of this actually happened.
Want to see how I did? Tune in on Friday, June 1st, to see how the Wheel treated me!