Big Money

Written by: 
Jordan Ottaway

Camille Hall ('08, '10 M.A.) (Photo by Carol Kaelson Photographer)Growing up watching the popular game show Wheel of Fortune, Camille Hall's (̓08,'10, M.A.) dream of spinning the iconic wheel became a reality. After her final spin in March, Hall left Los Angeles with $67,538 and a trip to Jamaica.

Her dream began when she heard the Wheelmobile, Wheel of Fortune's contestant search, was coming to San Antonio, and she  jumped at the chance to audition for her favorite show. She was elated when she heard her name called to come on stage to play a version of the speed round of Wheel.

Hall's wishes of getting a callback came true in late February when she was asked to return to San Antonio, where she played multiple mock rounds of Wheel of Fortune. With three slots available for the next week's taping, Hall soon found herself preparing to travel to Los Angeles.

"I had never been to L.A. before, so I didn't know if it was going to be the posh L.A. attitude," Hall says. "But everyone was kind and encouraging, so it kind of defied the stereotype."

Hall, who earned a bachelor's and master's degree in communication studies at UNT, is currently working toward her Ph.D. in communication studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Outside of the classroom, Hall was a member of UNT's Christian sorority, Sigma Phi Lambda.

The night before the big taping, Hall downloaded the Wheel of Fortune application on her phone to help her prepare for the big day. She also had a friend text her two days before taping telling her not to underestimate buying vowels.

"Some don't want to spend the money to buy vowels," she says. "But it will actually help you make a better guess on consonants."

Camille Hall ('08, '10 M.A.) with Pat Sajak (Photo by Carol Kaelson Photographer)Buying vowels helped Hall win the game with $16,000 in cash along with her trip to Jamaica, advancing her into the bonus round. Hall's friend advised her to pick the letters "v" and "b" because few contestants think to pick those two letters so she decided to take his advice. The letter "b" helped Hall guess the puzzle, "highest bidder," winning her an additional $45,000 cash prize.

After the show, contestants have the chance to talk with host Pat Sajak, and she says that he was extremely encouraging to her. When she mentioned that she wasn't sure whether to have a watch party or not, she says, "Pat responded, '"You did all right. You should have a watch party."'

Hall plans to use some of her winnings to take a trip to Spain with her sister Cabrielle, visiting either Madrid or Barcelona. She also is planning to take her trip to Jamaica within the year.

"Spain is a dream trip," Hall says. "I've been out of the country many times, but never on a leisurely vacation to the beach."

Was she expecting to have this much success on the show?

"Not in a million years," she says.