Vanna White Play boy: Except for Vanna White, hardly many people can say they’ve kept the same job for nearly three decades and still enjoy it.
In September, the 60-year-old letter-turner and co-host of “Wheel of Fortune” will commemorate the show’s 35th season.
She talked to Fox News about what it was like to audition for the role of host of “Wheel,” the thousands of gowns she’s worn, and the important lesson she learned after appearing in Playboy.
Fox News: What is the key to the show’s long-term success?
Vanna White (Vanna): I’ve been asked that same question for nearly 35 years and I still don’t know the answer! I truly don’t think so. It’s simply one of those situations when everything comes together once in a while… it’s just a half hour of family fun with no bad news… it’s a break.
Age Is Just A Number, Vanna White says of turning 60.
Fox News: Could you tell us about the audition process?
White: In 1982, I attended a recording of one of Merv Griffin’s shows, “Dance Fever.” One of the dancers was Janet Jones, who is now Janet Gretzky. Merv’s right-hand man was introduced to me by her… “Call me on October 5th and if we haven’t made a decision, you can come in and audition,” he continued as he handed me his card.
So I called him at 10 a.m. on October 5th. “Come on in and audition,” he says. I was most likely the last person they saw. They whittled it down to me and one other girl, who happened to be a personal friend of mine and is now a published author.
It was one of the happiest days of my life when I found out I had it the day before Thanksgiving in 1982. I was sitting in my flat when my phone rang unexpectedly. I’m pretty sure I screamed out loud.
NBC News: In previous interviews, you’ve stated that you regret posing for Playboy. Do you still have that feeling?
White: Now, here’s the deal. I was too humiliated to approach my father for rent money when I initially arrived to Hollywood. I was young and determined to succeed on my own.
So, I did these lingerie photographs, and I thought to myself, “I shouldn’t be doing this, but I’m not going to ask my father for money, so I’m just going to do it!” from the minute I said I would.
Hugh Hefner bought those photographs after I won “Wheel of Fortune” and gained some notoriety. He’s the one who put me on the magazine’s cover. It wasn’t for Playboy’s sake that I did it.
I didn’t want them to be on there, but they were. I was grateful to have such a strong team behind me. “I’m very sorry, this is what occurred,” I recall saying on “Johnny Carson.” This is a lesson that still holds true today: Never force yourself to do anything you don’t want to do.
Pay attention to your gut instincts and act on them. “I made a mistake, I’m sorry, and I just hope I don’t lose my job as a result of it,” I added. Thankfully, I didn’t. You know, I could have. It was a fantastic lesson, but what can I say? I made a mistake that I should not have made.
Fox News: Isn’t it true that you’ve worn almost 6,000 different outfits?
White: You are correct! There are almost 6,500 outfits in all. There will never be another one like it. I don’t even get to keep them. They have to be returned to the designer, but I have a lot of fun wearing them. I’ve gone over all of the major trends, including the huge shoulder pads. I’ve done everything you can think of. My favourite dresses are the ones that are easy to wear.
Many of them are skintight and refuse to budge. I’m walking in five-inch heels for 30 minutes and feel like I’m wearing a corset. It has a nice appearance, but it can be somewhat uncomfortable. It’s still something I do since it’s part of my profession. However, if I had the option, I would choose stretchy gowns. And I’m a big fan of the cocktail length.
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Fox News: Would you refer to Pat [Sajak] as your professional husband?
White: Without a doubt.
Fox News: What are some of the advantages of having a coworker?
White: It’s not every day that we see each other! We tape four days a month on average… So we get together, inquire how the last few weeks have been, say hello, finish our two days of work, and go on with our lives. It’s also rather nice.
Vanna White, when did you understand you’d made it big? Fox News: When did you realise you’d made it big, Vanna White?
White: There’s one instance that stands out in my mind. I recall being on the cover of Newsweek while standing in line at the grocery store. “Wow, I guess I made it!” I said as I looked at the cover [while waiting in line].
For me, that was the turning point. The other was when I received my Hollywood Walk of Fame star. When I initially got to Los Angeles, I used to go for walks down the Hollywood Walk of Fame and tell myself, “One day, I’ll get my own star.”
Fox News: Do you think you’ll ever retire?
White: I’m sure I will one day, but I’m having so much fun at my job right now. I have no desire to retire. I intend to keep doing it for as long as I am able.
Vanna White Regrets Playboy Posing
Fox News: When did you understand that one of your objectives was to aid underprivileged children?
When I had my own children, White said. My mother died of cancer when I was a child. She was 44 years old at the time, and it was 1980. Before I got “Wheel of Fortune,” that is. So, after I had my own children, I decided to start my own yarn company in order to give back.
I visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis and witnessed these cancer-stricken children… That struck a chord with me since I have two healthy children, but there were so many others who were in need.
In addition, this hospital conducts a significant amount of research to assist. I decided to contribute half of the earnings from my yarn line to St. Jude when I first launched it. I’ve had a lot of good fortune in my life, so giving back was important to me. This is how I go about it.