Important celebrity-type notes, in case you’re desperately wondering “Who Are You Wearing?”
Day 1: Dress: Target; Cardigan: Ann Taylor Loft; Shoes: Nordstrom; Awesome Amethyst Necklace: FAB Custom Jewelry.
Day 2: Shirt: Nordstrom; Jeans: H&M; Shoes: Nordstrom; Necklace: Artisan-made, a gift from my sweet hubby that he bought me in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Now that you’ve watched the show, you know “who I was wearing,” and how I lost the $52,100. But how did I find true success? Let’s dive in….
How I Ended Up On A Game Show In the First Place
The truth is, I’d never thought about being on a game show. It wasn’t on my radar.
But when ABC called me to invite me to do a Skype interview to see if I would be a good fit for their Guinness World Records edition of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” it sounded like fun to me, so I said yes. They interviewed me on Monday and called me a few days later to book me. They couldn’t guarantee I’d appear on the show, but did offer me a thousand dollars just for showing up.
I try to live what I teach my clients: “Live a life of opportunity and adventure.” That statement, along with “Feel the fear and do the thing anyway,” and “Be kind to other people and do good wherever you can,” pretty much sums up my guiding philosophy in life. Since I married a man who shares in that philosophy, we packed our bags and headed off to Stamford, CT, where “Millionaire” is filmed.
(Side note: to keep this post from becoming too long (and I’m sure it will be too long anyway) I’m leaving out many fun details, like how both Leo and I had to take pictures of various outfits for the producers to choose from, the pages and pages of documents we had to sign, and the very short notice – we had to be there in two weeks!)
Upon arriving at the studio, Leo and I met some amazing people. We met Bob Bretall, who has the world’s largest comic book collection (Bob and his friend Rick, who is also delightful, host a cool podcast, Pop Cult Power Hour, and here’s Bob’s writeup of his experience on “Millionaire”), and if you ever have any comic book questions, Bob’s your guy. You’ll never meet nicer guys than Bob and Rick.
We also met the fastest talking woman, a guy who juggles ping pong balls with his mouth, Erin Lavoie, who chopped down an insane number of Christmas trees in two minutes (see that video here), a guy who’d eaten the most ghost chili peppers in a minute, a guy who carves amazing pumpkins amazingly quickly, a fellow Hoosier who has broken the most toilet seats over his head in a minute, and Ken Jennings, of Jeopardy fame. Everyone was fascinating and cool, and we had a great time talking with them in the green room and in rehearsal.
Goal #1: Get On The Show
We all knew there was a chance of not getting on the show. But I wanted to play because…really, to come all that way and not play would’ve been pretty disappointing. And while meeting other recordholders was fun, I knew I’d have even more fun if I played.
During rehearsal, I realized immediately that there were an awful lot of producers and executive-types watching us. So I knew it was time to “turn on the charm and energy.” And hooray! I ended up on the show.
In the first commercial break (which is really just a break- they add commercials later, but a nice man brought me a real glass with water and a straw and my producers came over to give me extra encouragement), Terry Crews leaned over to me and said, “Did you ever think when you broke a world record that you’d end up here?” I laughed and said, “I sure did not!” He said, “You never know! Opportunity brings more opportunity!” I told Terry that Leo says that to me all the time, and he said, “Leo must be a smart man.” (and indeed, Leo is a very smart man. Opportunity does bring more opportunity.)
Playing the game was so much fun. A lot of people have asked me if I was nervous. I was excited, but I speak all the time in front of lots of people. And people, I broke the world record for the longest webcast with a 36-hour video. As a result, being on camera doesn’t really bother me or make me nervous. So mostly I was just excited, because it was so much fun.
Goal #2: Make It To the Wardrobe Change
Each of us had a couple of producers assigned to us throughout our game play. My producers, Graciela and Michael, were lovely and super-encouraging. They told me, “Our goal is to make it to the wardrobe change.” A “wardrobe change” means you made it to a second episode, which means you’re playing well. And hooray! I made it to the wardrobe change and had all my lifelines intact.
Goal #3: ???
We had a big pause in taping the show after the wardrobe change because the union rules required that the staff go on their lunch break. So I had about an hour’s wait in between my tapings. I’ve thought about whether the wait affected into my game play in the second episode, and while I do think something was different when I went back on the set, I don’t think it was the wait…I think it was that once I’d made the wardrobe change, I didn’t have a goal once I got back on set (I mean, except for getting to the million dollar question, though I don’t think I ever articulated it to myself).
My strategy was always to keep my lifelines intact for as long as possible, saving them for the last four “big money” questions. The problem is, I’m normally not “halfway” on questions. I typically feel like I know it or I don’t. When I get questions wrong, I’m usually confident when I answer and surprised when I’m wrong. This is something that happened in my Skype interview and when Leo and I play Trivia Crack on my phone (which, incidentally, is how I prepared for the show, in addition to reading the 2015 edition of the Guinness World Records book).
I made it to the tenth question, which is the one right before the “big money,” with $53,100 in my bank. I used one lifeline on the ninth question, an “Oscar movie” question, because I really only watch movies with superheroes, aliens, and explosions (and also movies set in France, which doesn’t fit into any equation other than I just happen to love France).
When I happened on the tenth question, the “George Clooney question” I remembered the story when it was in the news because I remember thinking, “George Clooney, you big weirdo,” at the time, but in the game, I didn’t recall which dictator he was spying on. I could:
- Ask the Audience
- Ask my “Plus One,” which was my husband, Leo.
Leo and I had been playing trivia games on my phone for two weeks, and also being married people, we talk a lot. I have a pretty good idea of what Leo does and doesn’t know. And Leo, who is brilliant and super-knowledgeable about a great many things, does not spend a lot of his time thinking about American celebrities and what they’re doing with their money. I was pretty sure he didn’t know the answer to this one (it turned out later that I was right on that note, although looking back, I think he might have talked me into choosing the correct answer, if I had brought him up to help me).
I asked the audience. Now…the producers told us that the audience at this particular studio tends to be really good with questions about pop culture and sports. I figured this was sort of a pop culture question. Truth is, I was leaning toward the answer they chose anyway. And I can be stubborn, so even if I had brought my hubby up to help me, I might still have gone with the audience.