Wheel of Fortune runs some great contests and sweepstakes for viewers, and this latest endeavor was a lot of fun. In the Vanna for a Day contest, viewers were encouraged to submit videos of themselves to demonstrate why they should get to be Vanna White for a day. The winner got to fly out to Hollywood with a guest, enjoy luxury accomodations, and experience what it would be like to have Vanna's job. This of course includes wardrobe, makeup, and hair stylists.
The winner of the contest was Katie Cantrell, who graces the Wheel of Fortune stage on March 24th 2011. She's completed her visit to the studio, enjoyed the pampering, and is now back at home and ready to see herself on the show! Katie was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us about her experience.
Question: What prompted you to throw your hat in the ring for this contest?
Katie Cantrell: I first saw the contest mentioned on television and my immediate reaction was that this was too good to be true! It's every little girl's dream to be Vanna White! I decided to just send in a video and get creative with it. I couldn't not do it!
Q: Once you were selected as a finalist, did you try to rally people to vote for you?
Katie: I did, yeah. I started a group on Facebook and it honestly took off by itself. I was really surprised at how fast it grew, and people were posting saying that they were voting every day. It just grew into this massive thing.
I started out just inviting people I knew to the group, and then they started inviting friends and eventually friends of friends were voting for me. My hometown paper was also nice enough to write up a story about me, so I think that helped too.
Q: What was going through your mind when Vanna White called and told you that you'd won? I've heard the call, which was posted on the Wheel of Fortune website, and it sounded a little surreal!
Katie: Oh I haven't listened to it yet, I don't think I can listen to it! I couldn't believe it! I wanted to be super-excited and loud because that's how I was feeling, but I was in my class building at school when the call came through, so I couldn't shout or anything. I had been excused from class to wait for the call. It was incredible.
Q: You got the full star treatment with makeup, hair, and wardrobe. What was your favorite experience during all of this?
Katie: I was getting my hair and makeup done, and Vanna came in for a touch-up. It was so cool, we just got to sit and chat and have girl time. It was unreal though, just sitting and talking and getting my hair done with Vanna White!
Q: Did you have much time to rehearse before your show was recorded?
Katie: Yes, we did a rehearsal with the contestants, which proved to be a much bigger job than I had thought it would be. Vanna's job is much tougher than it seems!
Q: So when it came time to tape the show, were you nervous or did it start to come naturally?
Katie: There's really not much time to think about anything other than where to stand, where to look, and that kind of thing. I was so busy making sure that I was doing it right that I didn't have time to be nervous. Before and after was completely surreal though.
Q: We know that Vanna doesn't get to keep her gowns, but did you get to keep yours?
Katie: I did! I was so happy - I didn't know I'd get to keep it, so I was so excited when they told me.
Q: And now you just need to find an occasion to wear it again, right?
Katie: Right! I have no idea when or where I'll wear it, but maybe once I'm finished school. There's not much call for a gown like that in college.
Q: We've heard time and again that the entire staff at Wheel of Fortune is extremely nice and friendly. Was that your experience as well?
Katie: Oh yes! I cannot say enough good things about those people. They really became friends, they were all so sweet and understanding.
Q: And of course we have to ask, what's Pat Sajak like?
Katie: Pat is great. He's funny on TV, but he's even funnier in real life. I love him, he was so great and welcoming.
Q: Are you planning a viewing party when your episode airs tomorrow night?
Katie: For sure. I'm in school, so a bunch of my friends are getting together and we're all going to watch it together.
Congratulations Katie, I'm looking forward to seeing you on the show!
Katie: Thanks so much!