If you’ve been watching Wheel of Fortune lately, and it seems like a lot of folks from Wisconsin are venturing out to Los Angeles for warmth and winnings, you’re not mistaken!
Several contestants from our Steinhafels/CBS 58 Wheelmobile event last October have already met Pat and Vanna, and had some success on the Wheel. We’ll hear more from them in a future blog post. However, today let’s meet Alexandria from Wisconsin Rapids. Her big episode is set to air this coming Thursday, January 18 (check your local listings). We are so excited to see if Alexandria can hit it big on the Wheel!
Alexandria can’t tell us how she did, but she did take a few minutes to talk with us about this once in a lifetime experience – that all started at the Wheelmobile auditions at our Steinhafels Superstore in Oak Creek. Hundreds came out to audition, but only a handful made it to callbacks, and even fewer to the big show. Here’s a look at the process through the eyes of an actual contestant!
Steinhafels: Tell us briefly about yourself – where were you born and raised, and are you a big Wheel of Fortune fan?
Alexandria: I was born and raised in Wisconsin Rapids. I am a Marketing Manager at a veterinary clinic, and a huge Wheel of Fortune fan! Growing up my family loved watching and playing along while the Wheel was on every night.
S: Are you excited to see your episode this Thursday (1/18)? Do you have a viewing party planned?
A: I am super excited to watch my episode air! I told my sister that I hope I didn’t make a fool of myself, and she said probably no more than usual. We’re going to have a viewing party at Layla’s Pub in Wisconsin Rapids. It’ll be great to finally be able to share my entire experience with everyone!
S: What made you come out to the auditions at Steinhafels Oak Creek?
A: I didn’t actually know the Wheelmobile was coming to Steinhafels Oak Creek until a couple days beforehand! My sister saw that it would be there on the news, and once she told me I knew I had to go. My parents decided they wanted to see the Wheelmobile too, so we all headed to Oak Creek on Friday!
S: What did you think of the audition process?
A: I had no idea what to expect once we arrived at Steinhafels Oak Creek, but was amazed with the audition process. There was so much energy in the room and everyone was so excited to be there! Once we put our names in the bingo drum it was left up to chance. Almost halfway through the first audition set they called my dad’s name and I couldn’t have been more excited. Two rounds after that, they called my name! I was so shocked, I couldn’t believe it. What were the chances that out of all the Wheel fans there, both of us would get called on stage?! From there, it was like playing a mini game of Wheel of Fortune. I only called one letter and didn’t solve the puzzle, but it was so much fun. We had an amazing time and talked about it the entire ride home.
S: Did you think you would make it on the show?
A: I had no idea! I just tried to be myself and make logical choices when it came to calling letters, and the rest was out of my hands.
S: They had a finalist event here in Milwaukee after the auditions, correct? How did you do at that?
A: I received an email asking me to come to the finalist audition a few days after the Wheelmobile was at Steinhafels Oak Creek. That audition was definitely harder than the one at Steinhafels Oak Creek! I thought that I did pretty good and that maybe, if I was lucky, I would get to be a contestant on the Wheel of Fortune.
S: When did you find out you got on the big show? What was your reaction?
A: A week after the final audition in Milwaukee I received a call asking if I was available to come out to tape the show two weeks later! I was completely shocked and couldn’t wrap my head around what just happened. At that moment, I realized I was going to be an actual contestant on the Wheel of Fortune!
S: It’s a pretty quick turnaround. Was there any doubt you would go, or did you just say ‘yes’ and make it happen?
A: Once I got the call I immediately said yes. Being on the Wheel of Fortune is a once in a lifetime opportunity and there was no way I was passing that up. That meant two weeks to get everything in order and then head out to California!
S: What was the show-taping process like, including Pat and Vanna – what were they like?
A: I arrived at the studio the morning of the taping and was awestruck. I knew the whole day was going to be a blur and that I just needed to take everything in. Once all the contestants arrived and we were finished with hair and makeup it was time to see our biggest competition of the day – the wheel. Words can’t even describe walking out onto the set for the first time! It was magical. While we were out there, Vanna showed up! She congratulated us all for making it to the big show and wished us all luck – can you say star struck! Vanna, Pat, and everyone at the studio were incredibly nice. They wanted you to be the best wheel player you could be, and were there to cheer you on through the entire process.
S: Did you have fun in LA? Any memorable moment you want to share?
A: Going to LA was such a great experience, but even more so because I was able to share it with my mom. We went around her birthday so we used that as a ruse for our trip. Neither of us had ever been there and we dove in head first. We spent time in Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills; and were able to see and do so many things! Taping the Wheel of Fortune was definitely my favorite part, but we also had a special 50th birthday dinner for my mom. We made some new friends, had some cocktails, and she was surprised with a sparkler topped slice of cheesecake complete with a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday.’
S: I know you can’t tell us how you did, but are you happy you did it?
A: Being on the Wheel of Fortune is a once in a lifetime experience, so that alone was absolutely priceless. I know that I did my best, and that’s something I can be happy with!
No matter the outcome on Thursday, you’re a star to us Alexandria!
Stay tuned to the Steinhafels Blog for more profiles about Wheel contestants, and keep an eye out on social media – we’ll try to post before local contestants appear on the show.