For the record, Vanna White is incredibly beautiful, even without makeup.
Audra Robson knows this firsthand, as she saw the longtime game show hostess wandering by shortly before taping began for Wheel of Fortune last January.
The journey Robson took to get to that Los Angeles sound stage is an interesting one, and the Bellingham bartender and karaoke hostess will be on hand Fri., June 15 at the Cabin Tavern to share her story with the viewing public—who can hang out with both the small-screen version and the real-life version of Robson when the prime-time episode airs.
A short accounting of the made-for-television tale goes something like this: Ever since she started working at the Cabin four years ago, Robson has been “obliterating the competition” when regulars sat down to watch Pat Sajak and Vanna help contestants solve puzzles, turn letters and win big money (one patron even accused her of watching the show early so as to get one up on those playing along).
Then, late last year, Robson saw a commercial for Wheel of Fortune open auditions at the Emerald Queen Casino in Fife. She, along with more than 2,000 others, showed up and put their names in a random drawing. Robson’s name was the fourth one called, and after a couple days of interviews, she was one of the 70 who were picked to go on to the next round. Games were played and won, and, eventually, right before Christmas, she got the news that she’d be soon be meeting Pat, Vanna, and the rest of the crew.
“I was not prepared,” Robson says. “I was going on tour with my band Rhombus in January, and there was only one week I couldn’t do it. It was for the day after our tour was over.”
Nevertheless, she borrowed money for a plane ticket, pulled herself together and got to Los Angeles in time to play guessing games on national television.
Once there, she endured many hours of casting directors explaining rules and scenarios and generally getting the contestants excited about winning a bunch of money. They knew in advance they weren’t supposed to bring gifts for Vanna and Pat or take any pictures, so all that remained was to finally play the game.
“I don’t want to give away too much, but it was a roller coaster ride,” Robson says of the game she played—one of six taped that day. She’ll allow that she won a nominal amount of scratch—enough to take her and a handful of friends on a trip to Disneyland once she eventually gets the payoff—but wants the rest to be a surprise (at least for the people she hasn’t already blabbed to).
What she will share is that the wheel on the Wheel of Fortune is much smaller than it looks on television, but also much heavier, and that, although viewers will never get to see her feet, she was wearing boots from Bellingham’s Mi Shoes for the taping.
Another thing she realized in La-La Land is that she has a voice “that’s loud, and full of inflection.” This has led to radio commercial gigs for the karaoke hostess and actress, and a realization that she may one day be able to further cash in on her big personality.
Meanwhile, she’s looking forward to watching herself win money on television, and hopes Bellingham turns out for the party.
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