Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."
That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…
As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.
This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.
Vanna White on The Price Is Right (June 20, 1980) www.youtube.com
Vanna was clearly not skilled at guessing prices. In fact, she was pretty terrible at it. But as it turned out, she didn't need to know how much things cost since she ended up basically winning the lottery with her job at "Wheel of Fortune."
Vanna White has made a 40-year career out of wearing dresses, smiling and clapping. That's it. She only works four days a month—not four days a week, four days a month—doing what is arguably the world's easiest and least necessary job. And she earns $10 million a year doing it.
Sometimes this world we humans have created just makes no sense.
Not that I blame Vanna White. If someone offered to pay me $10 million a year to look fabulous in a gown and heels and touch letters and clap for four days a month, I'd do it in a heartbeat. (The clapping is a bigger part of the job than you might think. She actually holds a Guinness World Record for clapping. Seriously.)
I'm sure she's very nice. And she has a charitable yarn line, so that's neat. It's great that she's still going strong and looking amazing at age 64.
I just can't get over how much she makes for how little she does at a superfluous job. I'm not sure who even watches "Wheel of Fortune" these days, but clearly someone does because that's the only way to possibly justify Vanna White's existence in the working world. (Sorry, "working" world.) Are "Wheel of Fortune" viewers all people older than me? They must be because until recently I didn't even know these game shows were still running on network television.
Congrats on being the luckiest human on the planet, Vanna, despite your not making it past the first round of "The Price is Right" in your 20s. May all of our fates be met with such fortune.
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