Sherdena J's Blog Post
POSTED on Monday, October 1st, 2012 As I was growing up my mom always watched Wheel of Fortune and being I was usually right by her I began watching too. I have always enjoyed puzzles (as well as being good at them) and Wheel wasn't any different. When I found out about becoming a "Wheel Watcher" with a SPIN ID I immediately signed up and continued to watch Wheel every night at 7pm faithfully. Most of my friends teased me about being so addicted to Wheel but I didn't care. Earlier this year I received the email that changed my life. All I saw was "Wheel is coming to your area!" I was ecstatic! The email told me to send in a video about myself and stating why I love wheel and would be a good contestant. I begin thinking "What can I say or do to stand out?" I wrote down everything I wanted to say and practiced on my family. I came up with the great idea to have a Wheel of Fortune picture in the background of my video using a menu screen from our Wii (the game was a must have Christmas present when it came out). I sent in the video and waited. A couple of days later I received the email for my audition in Raleigh! The email said the audition should not be the only reason you drive wherever,' yea right I was going no matter what but of course I stopped at the Cheesecake Factory, too. The actual audition was a blast. The people hosting the audition were fun and energetic and my nervousness quickly went away. After the first round of the audition they came back and called out the names of those who would be staying for the second half of the audition. They called name after name after name and I began to think maybe I didn't make it. With only probably five names left "Sherdena Johnson!" "Whoo!" I acknowledged I was there and on the inside jumped for joy. When the second round was over they said if you've been chosen to be a contestant you will receive a letter in the mail within two weeks, after that well that means you can audition again! Two weeks approached and I went to the mailboxthere was no letter for me, my heart sunk a little. The very next day I went and got the mail not expecting anything and there it was my congratulations letter! I called my dad and screamed in the phone "I'm going to be on Wheel of Fortune, I got my letter today!" He congratulated me and I waited to tell my sister and mom in the car later. They were just as excited as I was. Now I just had to wait for a call informing me when I would need to fly out. Therefore I waited On the following Tuesday as I was on the 103rd floor of the Willis (Sears) Tower in Chicago on vacation I realized I had a missed call on my phone and a voicemail. I stepped into the quiet restroom to listen to the message and almost screamed when I heard who it was and what it was about. I called back, left a message and then kept a close watch on my phone as I continued looking at the view. When Wheel called back I stopped everything and spoke with them ignoring everyone else. I immediately began planning my trip to the west coast. Traveling to the west coast was an experience all in itself because I'd never been. Therefore, when we landed in California I was excited and my excitement only increased as I realized I would actually be in the Wheel of Fortune studio the next day. I went to bed with confidence and anticipation of the following day where one of my lifelong dreams would be coming true. I have to admit I may be 22 years old but I acted like I was six (6) the minute I got onto the Sony grounds. When we walked onto the actual stage that we see on TV all I could say was "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm actually here!" I apologized to fellow contestants because of my overwhelming obvious excitement. We practiced spinning the wheel and calling out letters. They told us the other contestants on our show and we picked which show; Lucky #1. We nicknamed ourselves "The Blue Crew" since all three of us had on different shades of blue. The whole experience was surreal and I will forever remember it as well as all the people I came in contact with. To know how well "The Blue Crew" started off "Fun & Fit Week," be sure to watch Wheel of Fortune Monday, October 1st, 2012, the beginning of my birthday month. POSTED on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 I woke up the morning of the taping excited. I knew I had the blessings of my family and the hopes of me bringing home the million. I quickly but carefully got dressed and went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, I didn't want to miss the shuttle. We arrived at the studio and I begin to feel the anxiety mixed with the adrenaline. All the contestants were sitting in the contestant room talking and trying to relax and getting to know each other a little. Then a woman walks in just to say hello and wish us good luck. It was Vanna White in casual lounge clothes. She was known to stop by and give encouraging words but I was not completely prepared. As she was about to leave, respectively I asked if I could have her autograph. I guess no one has ever asked her that before because she hesitated and responded, "I'm not sure if I'm supposed to but okay." Just like that I got Vanna's John Hancock'! Probably the first contestant to ever! Filming the show was spectacular; I wish it could've lasted longer. Our theme week being "Fun & Fit," they had the stage looking great! Treadmills and Stair climbers with the palm fans overhead, it really made you want to work out. I always wondered where the used letter board was and when I saw it's placement in relation to where I'd be standing- I didn't want anything to mess up my chances of winning so I had to put my glasses on. Glad I didn't accidently leave them at home or at the hotel. We practiced calling out letters and spinning the wheel. The wheel was heavy but there is a technique to getting a good spin and the contestant coordinators assisted us in learning this technique. Then the filming was about to start and even with all our practicing I had butterflies in my stomach as the music began and Pat and Vanna walked out The "Blue Crew" all did well, we were proud of ourselves to have all won a round and have over $10,000 in cash and prizes by the end of the show. Pat Sajak was a cool down to earth person and he had us laughing during the commercials. He really interacted with us. I was a little nervous doing our introductions and therefore forgot to mention my niece Nylah's name as well as my soon-to-be goddaughter Peyton's. After the introductions though, Pat said "Okay you all have gotten through the hard parttalking to me." I believe that put us all at ease a little. The contestant coordinators helped everything go smoothly and kept us looking great (the way they did my makeup was awesome by the way, I need them every day!) After the first round I told the round winner "Good job, now we need to spread the money around." After the second round with me being the only one without money due to losing a turn I told them "Alright, it's my turn to win a round." Everyone laughed and although I was being funny, deep down I hoped I did win the next round. Luckily it was the Prize Round!' Spinning the wheel with only a few letters left had me nervous. I kept looking and thinking "Oh my gosh what is that word? Come on Sherdena think, think. You're barely missing losing your turn and bankrupt." When it finally hit me, I almost jumped for joy. Now I will never forget "NOW THAT'S TRAVELING IN STYLE!" I couldn't believe I won the prize puzzle and I'm heading to St. Lucia! With all my excitement about the trip I still remembered to hug Pat! No way was I going to pass up that chance. I am so ready for my trip, although I still have no idea who I'll take with me. I love the fact that not only do I get the trip to St. Lucia but I also get some cash to spend! I always dreamed of being on Wheel of Fortune and winning awesome cash and prizes. I will never forget my experience on Wheel of Fortune and all the people that helped make it possible and fun. I might not remember every contestant's name on all the shows filmed that day but I will remember the joy and excitement I could tell we all felt that day. Being on Wheel of Fortune was definitely a dream come true and if it were possible I'd do it all over again. Forever I will be a Wheel Watcher and I can now also say an actual Wheel Contestant!