New Canaan housewife wins $15K on 'Millionaire"™
Smith said she had visited the site of the ship in the question that stumped her
Published 1:03 am, Thursday, March 4, 2010
New Canaanite Lisa Smith, 46, harnessed her housewife status into a prize-winning appearance on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" last Friday.
Smith shared the hot seat with women from the cast of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" in a special promotional episode for the Bravo series "The Real Housewives" -- and walked away with $15,000 of loot.
Smith became a candidate for the show after receiving a recruitment e-mail from `Millionaire' soliciting contestant applications for housewives. At first, she thought it was spam, but on a whim she entered and auditioned.
Smith said the audition process included standardized testing. Using pencil and a Scantron answer sheet, Smith said she was tested on topics ranging from geography to pop culture. A few weeks after her audition, she was notified that she had been cast on the show.
"I had never been on a game show before and I didn't know how nerve-racking it would be," Smith said. "They call it the hot seat and now I see why they call it that. I was extremely nervous; I don't think I showed it, but I felt it inside."
The question that led to her defeat was the name of the ship that sank in Ireland near the start of World War I. The $25,000 answer was the Lusitania. Stumped, Smith walked away with $15,000 on the ninth question.
"It's actually something that normally I would know because I've been to the site in Ireland where the ship is sunk," she said. "But I was just so nervous that I couldn't come up with the name. I wish I could go back and re-do that question, but I guess that's what everyone must say."
The episode, which was filmed in Manhattan in November, aired last Friday.
"I've sort of been under a gag order," Smith said. "Until it aired, I wasn't allowed to tell anyone how much money I made or how many lifelines I used. They wanted it to be a surprise so that people would watch it. I was sworn to secrecy."
She added, "It was a lot of fun to watch and it was fun to do, but at the same time, I'm still beating myself up over not answering the last question right."