Eleven-year-old Hannah Doughty is living proof that entering a contest can yield great results.
A few months back, Doughty was watching television when a contest to win the opportunity to be a guest panelist on the Nickelodeon show "Figure it Out" was advertised.
Of course, being the acting enthusiast that she is, she decided that being on one of her favorite shows would be the opportunity of a lifetime.
Hannah Doughy is pictured in the green room before her appearance on Nickelodeon's 'Figure It Out.'
"I sent in the form because I've always wanted to be on television," said Doughty, a Chautauqua Lake Central School student. "I decided to enter the contest. Of course, I wasn't expecting to win, but after I entered, (Nickelodeon) kept sending my mother emails saying things along the lines of, 'You are a potential winner,' and 'You are a finalist for the grand prize.' Finally, we received an email saying, 'You have won the grand prize.' I honestly couldn't believe it even though I had the email right in front of me."
"Hannah kept asking me, 'did you hear anything back from Nickelodeon yet?'" said Tracy Doughty, Hannah's mother. "Of course, I knew that she really shouldn't get her hopes up, since I imagined that millions of kids entered the contest, but she was so persistent. After a while, we did start getting emails. Even when we got an email saying that Hannah was a finalist, I really didn't want her to get her hopes up, but then the email saying she had won came in. The way she acted just astounded me."
"It was almost like she was expecting to win the whole time and truly believed she would win the whole time. I guess sometimes, with enough will, you can make your dreams come true."
As part of the prize package, Doughty and her entire family was flown out to Universal Studios in Los Angeles for the filming of "Figure it Out," which will air Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
"It was really hard because (Nickolodeon) asked that we didn't tell anyone we won until the week we flew out to Los Angeles," said Doughty. "Finally, a few days before we left, I told everyone I knew. Everyone was so excited for me."
Doughty's exciting weekend began on a Friday at 3 a.m. Instead of attending Chautauqua Lake Middle School that day, a driver, paid for by Nickolodeon, arrived at Doughty's house and drove her and her family to Buffalo, where they would catch their first flight. Doughty flew from Buffalo to Detroit, then from Detroit to Los Angeles.
Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Doughty had to set up a trust fund where a portion of her salary for being on the show would be deposited, as per California state law.
"Hannah was paid $100 for being on the show," said Tracy. "We had to put $15 in the trust fund, where it will stay until Hannah is an adult. What was left after taxes went to her."
Finally, after all the formalities of the contest was taken care of, Doughty arrived at Universal Studios, where she was prepared for her appearance on the show.
"When we arrived at the studio, we had to wait in a greenroom for quite some time," said Doughty. "They took us around the studio a little, too, and I got to see where 'I Love Lucy' was filmed. Finally, they took us into hair and makeup. I wasn't able to meet the cast until after hair and makeup, but eventually I got to meet (Noah Munck) from iCarly. It was so exciting."
Additionally, Doughty got to meet Ciara Bravo, James Maslow and Carlos Pena, all of whom are stars on various Nickolodeon shows.
Finally, the time came for Doughty to begin filming her episode. Because Doughty's episode has not yet aired, she was not able to give many details about the actual filming of the episode; however she did share her enthusiasm for being on-set for a nationally televised show.
"It was incredible," said Doughty. "Clues were flying everywhere, everything went really fast-paced, and the kids who were on the show as contestants had some really amazing talents."
For those who do not know, the premise of "Figure it Out" is this: a contestant will come on the show with some sort of special talent. Panelists will ask the contestant questions over the course of the show to try to figure out what that talent is. Occasionally, panelists will be given special clues to help them figure out what the contestant's talent is. The more rounds the contestant can get through without the panelists figuring out their talent, the more prizes they win. If they make it through the whole show without the panelists figuring out their talent, the contestant wins the grand prize.
And for those who know about the show, the answer to your question is: yes, Doughty did get slimed.
"The slime was really cold," said Doughty. "You hear the beeping and you know it's coming, but you still don't really expect what it is going to be like. Some of it got in my mouth it tasted like baking powder. It sort of scared me, but it was really amazing. I was really hoping I would get slimed."
Following the filming of the show, Doughty had the opportunity to visit destinations such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where she spent some time with Lucille Ball's star.
"The whole experience was great," said Doughty. "If you really want to do something, take a chance on entering a contest. You can't win unless you enter, and someone is always going to win. There's always that chance it can be you."
Now that Doughty is back in the area, she is performing in the Lucille Ball Little Theatre's production of "The Little Mermaid," where she plays several characters in the production's ensemble.