A HUGE thank you to Wheel of Fortune, for which I used my winnings to create this website. My whirlwind story is below…
The First Audition
One of my friends watches the Wheel game show every night and wanted to audition. She asked me to go with her so I went to give her my support. The open auditions were at the MD state fairground in Timonium, MD. We were in a huge outdoor building that is used for the Festival of Trees during holiday season, and for animal shows at the state fair in the summer. There were about 1,000 people the day we were there, and there was a second whole day that had the same amount of people attend. They randomly pull your name “from a hat” and both of ours were picked at separate occasions! When you get picked, you go on stage with four other people, introduce yourself, and play a speed-round of the Wheel. During my introduction, I was asked to show off my “air-jump roping skills” since I said I grew up on a jump rope team, and I like to jump rope in my spare time. Not only did I make everyone cheer for me with my “skills” but I also won the speed round of Wheel! My friend did really well too! But unfortunately (or not) her journey would be living through me.
A month or so goes by, and I got an email telling me I made it to the next round of auditions! During this second round, I really didn’t do much but clap and smile the entire time. Keep in mind that enthusiasm always wins people over with television 😉 Mom and Dad helped me celebrate when I was finished at L.P. Steamers in Locust Point, Bmore, for delicious crab cakes!
Two weeks later, I was in Italy and had my dad check my mail. He called to tell me I was going to be a contestant… One thing you need to know about my dad is he always tells jokes. I couldn’t believe it when he sent me a photo of the congratulations letter!
L.A. for the First Time
A few months go by and my film date was set for November 8. It was to be Disney-Christmas theme, the most joyous time of the year at the Sony Studios set. In the very early morning, Vanna White came in to say hello to all of us, and she was just as sweet, stunning, and graceful in-person! Then all of us contestants got all prepped and ready with hair/makeup, we practiced spinning the wheel a few times (which was really tough!), and learned the rules from head to toe. I was busy chatting with all the other contestants that I didn’t take much notice that the crew was stalling… The executive producer, Harry Friedman, came into the contestant area and told us that Pat Sajak was in the hospital. Harry felt horrible; this was the only time they’ve had to cancel an episode in the 37-year history of the show. I spoke up and said, “Is Pat ok?!” Harry said he would be alright, we just had to keep it a secret since it hadn’t hit the news yet. He also said he would send us all back to the studios at another date. “Wheel” ended up paying for our flights to and from LA and our hotel stays, which normally does not happen. I was very grateful especially since that was not under their control. Also since they felt so bad, we were allowed to watch Vanna White film a few commercials. We ended up seeing them during Wheel’s Disney Christmas week on TV!
Since we were in LA and I had never been before, I did a day tour of LA and explored Disneyland, Santa Monica Pier, and Venice Beach with my mom and one of her best friends (my dad and aunt couldn’t make it). Shout out to Deb for being a trooper and coming all the way out to L.A. to support my mom and me!
Another few months rolled by and I saw a California phone number … it was from the crew telling me my new film date at the end of February 2020!
Second time to L.A.
Fast forward to February 27, I went through the whole getting prepped and ready phase at Sony Studios, and said hello again to Vanna White, my new BFF. Then there was no turning back, it was show time! Originally my episode was to be aired on April Fools Day, but due to the coronavirus, they shut down the studios and had to postpone my air date. In June, I got another phone call that I would be aired on September 2nd. I ended up winning one puzzle, “World Traveler,” which landed me with $2000! Pretty fitting puzzle, right?! In the photos with “Pat & Vanna” is Meg. She was there with me on November 8th, and we were randomly selected to be together again on February 27!
During that most recent trip to L.A., we saw Jimmy Kimmel Live, hiked to behind the Hollywood sign and explored Malibu, The Getty, and downtown L.A. We also had dinner at Musso & Frank in Hollywood with one of my long-time friends, Eddie, from jump rope who lives in L.A.
I HAD A BLAST on my journey to be a Wheel of Fortune contestant. I was so lucky to have been chosen right before the times of Covid-19… TWICE! After never being to California, going twice within a few months was more than a dream come true.
Thank you all for your support and kind words! This was the experience of a lifetime. If you ever have a chance to audition for something like this, I would absolutely recommend it! Just say “Yes, Man!”
Stay safe everyone! Love, Alison