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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU Juniors Jaisan Avery and Kayla Spears paint together during Curlchella hosted by SMU Fro, Dallas Texas, Wednesday April 17, 2024 (©2024/Mikaila Neverson/SMU).
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Mikaila Neverson, News Editor • April 23, 2024
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SMU professor wins ‘Wheel of Fortune’

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Photo credit: Facebook

On Oct. 10 on primetime television, Wheel of Fortune aired at its typical time that has marked its existence for the past 34 years. The winner of that episode was Rachel Hall, SMU Spanish professor.

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Photo by Rachel Hall

Hall’s journey to the game show started in 2012, when she first auditioned for the show that year in Atlanta. She was turned down then and again in April 2016. Hall had given up hope when she was called by the team for another audition, but didn’t receive the letter within the estimated time.

Turns out the letter ended up in her neighbor’s mailbox. On June 15, Hall was informed that she would be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune.

The episode was taped on July 29. “The entire day seemed . . . like a huge blur!” Hall said. “From the producers to the makeup and hair crew, everyone was incredible.”

Despite the over four hour preparation, the actual play time was a mere 25 minutes.

“I definitely had to mentally prepare myself before playing . . . I put in hours of preparation,” Hall said, who played the Wheel of Fortune mobile game and Wii game prior to the filming.

Hall also attributes her background in language and linguistics to her $21,237 win total and to her ability to solve a puzzle of a 16-letter phrase with only 2 letters. This solve is now featured on Wheel of Fortune’s “Most Amazing Solves.”

“I am 29, and the show is now celebrating its 34th anniversary this year, so I literally grew up watching [the show],” Hall said. “It’s how I learned my letters.”

Yet Hall notes a dark tinge to her overall experience. Like any laymen who reaches the spotlight, criticism often strikes. “I got Facebook messages . . . from people I don’t know who said they saw me on the show and a lot of people criticized me for not giving the other players a chance,” she said. “They said that I had been fed the answers. I was not prepared to read comments like that.”

Yet within her internal support system, Hall received nothing but praise. “It was amazing [the kind of support I had] from people who just wanted to watch me play the game, regardless of the outcome,” she said.

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