Sarah S's Blog Post
3rd times a charm! Growing up in Michigan my family and I loved playing games and watching Wheel of Fortune. When asked who I wanted to be when I grew up I was known to say “Vanna White”. In college I visited a Wheelmobile event close to my hometown in Detroit, Michigan. When I wasn't selected to join the contestants on stage I knew that my chances of making the show were slim. Many years past but my dream to spin the wheel was still in sight. After college I moved to the NY/NJ area and auditioned again in Brooklyn. I was thrilled to make it past the dreaded timed test and was asked to stay and play more games with the contestant coordinators. I was one of the lucky 8 people who were asked to talk a little more about themselves. Here's my chance I thought! The coordinators mentioned that if we were selected we would receive a letter in the mail within two weeks. Trust me when I say I checked the mail every day but the letter never came. A few more years past, while cleaning out my office drawer I came across the pencil they handed out at the audition and in that exact moment I sent in an audition video. Shortly after I was asked to audition, this time in NYC. I felt good about how I played in the group game but was cut after the timed test. Heading back to NJ after the audition I thought that maybe it wasn't meant to be. I checked my mailbox every day; 12 days flew by without any letter. 13 days, 14 days, and then the 15th day approached. I was in my driveway when my favorite postman came with a pile of mail. I told him that I was hoping for a very special letter. Peeking through the bottom I saw a Wheel on the address label. I gave him the biggest hug. I held in my screams as it was my son's naptime and I couldn't wake him as I to share the news to EVERYONE!
You have up to 18 months to appear on Wheel but within 2 weeks I was asked to be on the show! A HUGE thank you to my husband for watching our little guy so my mom, Nancy, who is a #1 Wheel Watcher fan and I could make that once in a lifetime trip!
The FUN truly began the moment we stepped onto the contestant shuttle. Lots of smiling faces, nervous chatter and stories of everyone’s journey from around the country to experience their lifelong dream. From the moment you enter Sony Studios you are treated like a celebrity. The hair and makeup artists are amazing. They know how to make an overtired working mom feel like a million bucks. The coordinators are so incredibly supportive. Despite what some people might think...they actually want you to win and win BIG! They give you all the tips you need to succeed! The most important tip they emphasize is to stay positive and one spin can change everything!
Many people ask about Pat and Vanna. To Vanna's credit she surprised all of the contestants in the morning training by sneaking up to the Wheel with no makeup on and pretending to be a contestant. She was just as stunning as you see her every night and she gave us all well wishes. Pat is incredibly witty. He creates all of his dialog on the spot and that's what makes the show fun to watch.
Six shows tape each day and we eagerly waited to see what show we would appear on. The first 5 shows were airing in October but if you drew the 6th show you'd have to wait until December. Our group had the privilege of testing our patience and nerves as we drew the 6th show! It was truly exciting to be able to see how everyone you met throughout the day faired. There were BIG winners and several people told us after their shows not to be greedy. Finally our time arrived and there I was standing under the bright lights. My two fellow contestants and I fist bumped, the music cued and just like that I was in a dream. But this was a dream where Pat and Vanna appeared and this was REALLY happening! It was everything I had hoped and much more. Throughout the day I learned that that wheel is truly a workout (the Wheel weighs 2,400 lbs), the crew was so incredible, the used letter board is tougher to see than you think (so don't get too mad when used letters are called out). Most importantly I learned with a positive attitude you can make your Wheel of Fortune dream come true!
My only regret was my short introduction with Pat at the beginning of the show. I wanted to say so much, but also just wanted to start spinning. Here was my “perfect non nervous” introduction, “I am blessed to be a designer at a golf apparel company where ALL of the proceeds are donated to charity. I'm a HUGE Michigan State Spartan fan and alum! Go Coach Izzo and Coach Dantonio! Hello to my family, all of the Donnelly's and my nieces and nephews: Maddie, Brady, Tyler, Dillon and Riley. I enjoy eating all of the amazingly creative meals my husband makes. And a very special shout out to my 2-year-old son Luke, who is already a super Wheel Watcher. He plays the iPad app, watches the show, and thinks mom is Vanna White. Watch out wheel he might be coming your way in another 20 years ;)”
Thanks to everyone at Wheel of Fortune. It was truly a “once in a lifetime” day to remember!
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