This Week's Contestant
|Theme:||Mom's Week NYC|
|Hometown:||Harrington Park, NJ|
POSTED on Monday, May 6th, 2013
It was a cold, rainy Saturday night this past fall... kids running around, puppy barking, dishes from dinner drying on the countertop and me, just settling in at my computer to wind down after the long day to check my email. Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling... "Wheel's looking for contestants in the New York City Area!" appears the title of an email in my inbox. Naturally, I opened it up immediately! "Wow", I thought... "I could actually apply right here, right now from my own family room by submitting a video?" I figured it was time to rally my troops (AKA my wickedly imaginative children) and come up with a creative way to convey in a minute why I'd make the perfect contestant for Wheel of Fortune. Prep, film, edit, film, re-edit... By the time we finished the sixty second spot, I knew we had a homerun. Submit!
And then we waited....
About a month later I received the much anticipated, but not guaranteed, follow up email "Wheel of Fortune Contestant Audition"... an invitation to audition live for a chance to actually be on the show! OK, now without the crutch of my inventive kids I needed to solely rely on my own appeal and solid puzzle solving skills to make an impression on the Contestant Coordinators. I prepared for that, but what I didn't realize I should prepare was my voice! Yes, my voice I learned had to be L O U D and articulate, and energetic, and quick to answer... Within 10 minutes of this audition among hundreds of other hopefuls, I got the general idea! And I made it through hours of puzzle playing and group omissions until the last lot of us were congratulated that we made it this far. We were told "You're not there just yet! Wait by your mailbox for a formal memo confirming that you've been selected."
And then I waited...
As you guessed, the letter came, but its timing was magical! Just days before the holiday, I was able to surprise my family with the good news on Christmas morning by slipping the letter in my husband Rick's stocking. We were elated! I had to start getting geared up for the big day when Wheel comes to New York and I was slated to be part of the production in March. Best part, I learned I was participating on "Mom's Week". Dream come true!
And then I waited, but now... I also PREPARED!
When my taping date arrived, I had dotted the "i"'s and crossed the "t"'s regarding all the paperwork sent to me. From dress code regulations, to identification requirements, to learning the entryways and corridors of Madison Square Garden, I was fully and implicitly organized. I had been feverishly watching the show nightly and playing my Wheel of Fortune app to polish my skills. I was good to go; my only fear now was that I'd end up saying something foolish on the air and end up a YouTube joke in a hot minute. But that anxiety was narrowed by my enthusiasm to get out there and have fun!
We contestants were all in a holding room, carefully guarded surprisingly. 17 moms from the New York metro area, the Contestant Coordinators, 3 fabulous make-up artists, and others with the production company on deck doing what it is they do. Though I've never done anything like this before, I felt absolutely at ease and didn't feel an ounce of tension in the room. After a couple hours of prepping and some light paperwork, we proceeded to the theater where the entire set of Wheel seemed to be transferred from California. It was just amazing to see it live and even more exciting to know I'd be up there as a contestant in a few hours! We had a chance to practice spinning the heavier than expected wheel, and again I got to refine my vocal skills... L O U D and articulate.
I'd drawn to be in the last group, so I waited...
Before I knew it, we were ready to kick off the first of five shows! The theater seats filled up, the lights came on, and the fantastic Jim Thornton worked the crowd like the pro that he is. And then... to see Pat and Vanna appear from behind the letter board, past the New York skyline backdrop, WOW! Here we go! Because of my position in the last group, I had the great advantage of watching all the others play their game. I was pleased to know we'd be watching all the tapings. I was so eager to root all my fellow contestants on; we'd become like a bit of a sorority with this shared experience.
Finally, the wait was over... it was my turn... I'd been preparing for this for months, for years really without even knowing it, just by being an avid Wheel Watcher. And to represent "Mom's week" made me so proud, considering my kids Maddie and Nina helped me get here. Off my audience seat and on to the stage! A quick make-up refresh, a steady microphone placement and last and a long sip of water... you know, to refresh my voice.
Watch me spin on Friday, May 10th!