After three months of keeping my lips tight, the secret is finally out! Last October, I won on The Price is Right (“TPIR”)… and I won big. It was a crazy day, and at times, rather discouraging, but I am so excited to finally be able to share this experience with everyone. Keeping this a secret for so long was so hard!
When my dad passed away, my mom and I hated, absolutely hated, being home. There were too many reminders of his absence that it was heartbreaking to be in his place without him. So, we decided to take a little giveaway to Los Angeles and got priority tickets to a filming of The Price is Right. We brought my cousin’s wife Amy with us as she has been a constant support to us always, but especially these last few months.
Now, I do well in school, but I lack so much of the common knowledge you need to do well on TPIR. Because of this, I always joked that it would be just my luck to get on the show and be its stupidest contestant in history. In the back of my mind, I just knew this was going to happen.
The day of filming finally arrived. We were supposed to check in around 9:30, but we arrived half an hour early. Everyone received numbers, and this was the order we stayed in for the entire day. They checked IDs and took everyone’s picture, followed by some paperwork. Have you ever been on a game show before, have you ever won on a game show before, etc. I laughed at the idea of actually winning something.
As your line keeps moving, you approach a green screen where they take everyone’s individual and group picture. These are for sale later on for $20/each. For this, they give you a scenario to react to, so I think it is a screen test of sorts. They told us “Pretend you just won $10,000!” and “You’re going to Hawaii!” Here is how our pictures turned out:
After this, everyone lines back up for more waiting. This time, in anticipation for the interview. A producer goes down the line of everyone, set up in groups of about 30, and asks a question. You barely have half a second to catch his attention with your response before he moves on to the next person. My grandma went to the show a few months before us, so I knew this was important before I went.
“Danielle!” he exclaimed, throwing his hands up.
“What’s up?!” I responded, mimicking his motion.
The rest is a blur, but I remember telling him I’m majoring in Communication with a minor in The Price is Right. He liked that! I was proud. He continued to talk to me noticeably longer than anyone else, so I left the interview taking that as a good sign.
Next, there is a quick security checkpoint where you have to turn in your cell phones. Everyone, staying in order, goes to a new set of benches where there is a snack bar and TV monitors playing unaired episodes. This was a fun time to mingle with everyone else and share stories. When you don’t have your phone, you actually have to look up and socialize with real human beings. Shocking, I know!
We were in this portion of waiting for probably an hour and a half. The show was next, and I started to get really nervous that I would be chosen. When they finally shuffled us into the studio in numerical order, my stomach began doing flips. The audience pages directed us to our seats, and I began dancing to the awesome music playing. My sweet family I was with wasn’t feeling the rhythm as much, but that didn’t stop me from showcasing my moves. Pretty quickly from here, the show began.
The entire audience was so loud it was virtually impossible to hear what was being said. One name was called that we couldn’t hear, but I did see a man on the stage with a cue card saying who it was. All of a sudden, the lady next to him pointed toward our section. Oh gosh, she was pointing at me! A cue card was revealed, and I hugged my mom and Amy then ran off giving generous high fives to everyone in the aisle.
As soon as it dawned upon me that I was not only in front of an audience but also on camera for national television, my adrenaline spiked. I kept looking back at my mom in disbelief that any of this was happening! As they brought out the first prize to bid on, the sad reality set in that I don’t know prices. . . Prices of anything! Why would I go on TPIR when I don’t know prices? That’s beyond me, but it was fun.
The first bid came and went with me losing. So did the second. And the third. Cue “halftime.” Half my chances flew out the door. I needed to put my game face on, quickly. After the fourth bid, I was the last of the original people to be left on Contestant’s Row. When I watch the show at home, I am always embarrassed for this person. I never thought I would be a contestant at all, let alone that contestant.
Then, the fifth bid: three pairs of red bottoms. Let me repeat: three pairs of CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTINS. I quickly realized the reason why I did not win any of the other bids was because I was destined to win the red bottoms. I remember looking back at my mom and Amy, giving them a nod of confidence on this one. I was last to bid, and therefore had the best chance. Well, apparently not. I bid $2,201 (yes, I did overbid someone by $1 — check that off the bucket list!). Okay, one more chance.
For the sixth and final bid, they brought out two outdoor fire heaters. Great, I had less of a clue about this than any of the others! “$800” I yelled. A completely arbitrary amount to blow out for my last chance of getting on stage to play for more. Drew Carey read the amount off his paper, and I was without a response. Somehow, he signaled to me that I was the closest bid, and I truly blacked out at this point. I lost my shoe whilst running on stage and made awkward small talk while I didn’t realize the cameras were filming. I played the game “Now . . . or Then” where six items were displayed with a price. I had to say if that was the price now (2017) or then (1997) for three connecting items. I got the first three items right, so I won!
What did I win? I had no idea. The audience was too loud when my prizes were being announced, and where I was standing on stage was too awkward of a position to get a good look. I ran over and sat in a massage chair situated next to a hot tub. I didn’t know if I won one of those, both, or what the deal was.
Because I was the last contestant, next it was time to spin the wheel. I told myself while on Contestants’ Row that if I spun under 75, I would spin again. Go big or go home, right? I was second to spin, and the first contestant went over. My odds were pretty good. I spun a 65, and despite the audience urging me to keep that, I spun again. I went over, so the next contestant won by default. She went on to win the Showcase which she was by far the most deserving of winning. Such a sweet lady!
After the show, the winners got shuffled out of the studio to fill out paperwork for taxes and collecting our winnings. At this point, I was still overwhelmed by the whole experience and confused about what I had won. We got a paper detailing our winnings and their retail value. I was excited to finally understand that I had won:
- Two (2) outdoor fire heaters
- Beechcomber 380 Leep hot tub
- Ogawa Smart 3D massage chair
- Samsung Smart tablet
- 16 month candle box subscription
A security guard brought me out to help find my mom after this. My adrenaline stayed peaked the rest of the day, in complete disbelief that any of this had happened. I wanted so badly to call my dad and let him know. This was the first major event to happen without him. It was weird, to say the least. I knew that this was only the first of many of these experiences to happen. I embraced the feeling, and knew he was close in my heart, cheering me on to finally get on stage the entire time.