Brooklyn native competes in Wheel of Fortune
She’d like to solve the puzzle.
A Brooklyn native competed in one of the most popular television game shows in history, “Wheel of Fortune.”
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Amanda Gordon, 31, from Flatbush was featured in an episode on Monday, Jan. 31 as part of the show’s “Celebrating the Local Flavor of The Big Apple” event.
Although she came in second place, the journey to get on the show was heartfelt and emotional.
Gordon has watched the show since she was a child, with her parents and brother.
“I remember my father calling me into the living room, to randomly solve puzzles,” she recalled. “He taught me everything there is to know about the game from the best letters to choose, and when it would be considered risky to keep going.”
In 2011, her father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He passed away in 2020. Despite a decline in his cognitive skills after the diagnosis, he was always able to still solve puzzles.
“It was familiar to him and it always felt good to see how brilliant he still was,” she said.
Gordon had been emailed to audition to be a contestant on the show several times and decided to finally go ahead and give it a try in 2019. She was selected for a taping in 2020, but it didn’t happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Then she got called in November 2021 saying they were doing a special about New York and asked if she was interested in being a contestant. The episode was taped the following month.
“I was able to tell my dad I’ve been selected to play,” she said. “I didn’t get to do my original taping date due to the pandemic. I wish he would’ve gotten the chance to see me spin the wheel live. I know he’s watching me smiling regardless.”
She was excited to be able to complete a lifelong dream.
“My parents were super-proud of me,” she said. “Everyone always believed I had what it took to be a contestant from my solving skills. I posted on my social media account and the amount of support I got from people was beautifully overwhelming.”
Gordon described the experience as “beautiful,” and getting to meet legendary hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White was special for her.
“They were very supportive and lifted each contestant’s spirits,” she recalled. “Pat had a comforting nature, and Vanna exuded great energy. I could finally ask for a letter, and Pat will be answering me. I was filled with a bunch of emotions.”
One of the highlights of the experience was having her mom and brother fly to California with her to support and cheer her on.
Gordon, of Jamaican parentage, was proud to represent her Brooklyn roots.
“My area is now also known as Little Caribbean,” she said. “It’s an honor to be where I’m from. I’ve grown up following my parents’ culture. My neighborhood as well as my borough is known for the largest and most diverse Caribbean communities. It meant and will always be the world to me to represent my borough.”
She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Before the pandemic, she worked as a paraprofessional. When she lost her job due to the pandemic, she decided to fulfill her dreams in entrepreneurship. With a passion for food and clothing, she is a caterer and fashion designer.
She said that during the game, she was nervous, cold and hit bankrupt twice,
“It happens,” she said. “However, with that outpouring of love and support I received from family and friends, I will always remain a winner. The number one prizes for me are the moments captured throughout my journey and all the people in it right by my side.”
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