‘Traveling Vanna’ has roots in Port Angeles

BLYN — Heidi McAllister was the new girl at Port Angeles High School when she ran onto the field with the rest of the cheerleading squad in the early 1990s and did a face plant.

“I literally fell on my face in front of the whole school,” said the 31-year-old actor on Saturday, in between rounds of “Wheel of Fortune” at 7 Cedars Casino.

But like any actor worth her salt, she picked herself up and stuck it out.

McAllister, Port Angeles class of 1992, has done all right since.

She is the traveling hostess for “Wheel of Fortune,” doing the job on the road that made Vanna White famous.

And this weekend, McAllister — along with the rest of the Wheelmobile crew — was on the North Olympic Peninsula searching for contestants.

“It’s so special to be here,” she said.

“Being a Washington girl, I love to see the local flavor and color.”

She’s been with the traveling version of the show since March. About two weeks of the month are spent on the road in five-day chunks.

During that time, she has grown close to co-workers and fans.

“It’s really endearing and sweet to see how excited people are,” she said.

“You have to really be in the moment,” she said, noting that it doesn’t look difficult to write the letters.

Yes, in the road version of “Wheel,” the letters are written in the squares instead of being tapped and illuminated by White on TV.

“Everyone is staring at you,” McAllister said

Her co-workers had high praise for her as well.

“We’ve had some good ones, and she’s up there,” said David Strathearn, promotions and publicity project manager for “Wheel of Fortune.”

“She’s fabulous,” said Lisa Dee, executive director marketing and promotions for the show.

“She’s so glamorous and friendly.”

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