After 10 years, Farmington Hills woman lands on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published October 1, 2019

 Julie Trubiano appeared on the Sept. 16 episode of “Wheel of Fortune.”

Julie Trubiano appeared on the Sept. 16 episode of “Wheel of Fortune.”

Photo provided by “Wheel of Fortune”

 Julie Trubiano poses for a selfie with Wheel Mobile host Marty Lublin at the Detroit Wheel Mobile event in May.

Julie Trubiano poses for a selfie with Wheel Mobile host Marty Lublin at the Detroit Wheel Mobile event in May.

Photo provided by Julie Trubiano


FARMINGTON HILLS  — Julie Trubiano, 49, of Farmington Hills, is a lifelong Wheel Watcher.

She used to watch “Wheel of Fortune” with her grandmother as a kid, and she continues to watch it with her boyfriend and friends today, and she plays the game on her phone and her Xbox.

Trubiano knew from an early age that she wanted to be on the show. In some ways, she felt it was her destiny.

At her fourth Wheel Mobile event in Detroit in May — over the last 10 years, she had made three other attempts, none of them successful — Trubiano went in with high hopes.

“Just the thought of even having a chance to get on the show was a huge driving force for me to continue trying,” she said. “I always felt like I was meant to be on the show. If I was going to be on a game show, it was going to be ‘Wheel of Fortune.’”

Wheel Mobile events are promotional, show-like competitions held in a Winnebago where people can sign up for a chance to be chosen for an audition for the show.

Trubiano was called up to participate during the second round, and she was invited to a second audition after that. Following the audition, she was told to wait two weeks to hear back from the production company.

Two weeks passed, and she heard nothing.

“That’s fine. I’m OK. I can try again. I’ve got the rest of my life,” she said. But three weeks later, the life-changing email popped into her inbox. She said she nearly fainted.

“I was shopping at the time, and I started shaking because I thought, ‘Is this real?’ I tried to get a hold of a couple people and nobody was answering, so I just told some random lady that was shopping, because I had to tell somebody,” Trubiano said.

On Sept. 16, Trubiano appeared on the show during its Spa Getaway week. She ended up in third place, taking home $12,400 in cash.

For a contestant like Trubiano to get an invitation to appear on the show is a big deal, said “Wheel of Fortune” Contestant Producer Shannon Bobillo. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who show up to Wheel Mobile events for a chance to be chosen, and that doesn’t even include all of the other online submissions.

During the audition process, there are usually 80-100 people vying for a few spots.

Bobillo said there are some specific things that producers are looking for in a contestant.

“We obviously want good game players for the show,” she said. “We’re looking for people who can stay focused under pressure, keep the game moving along, and play with a nice, natural energy and a big voice.”

She said that being a frequent show viewer can also help a prospective contestant’s odds.

Before being on the show, Trubiano had high hopes for what she would do if she won the $1 million grand prize. She wanted to start or invest in a project to support children with mental illness, a topic she said is dear to her heart.

Despite not taking home as much as she had hoped, she still plans to find a way to use some of her earnings to benefit an organization or project in that vein, though she said she has some more research to do before making a final decision.

Trubiano graduated from Anchor Bay High School in New Baltimore and earned associate’s degrees in English and general education from Macomb Community College, as well as a secondary education degree from Wayne State University. She works as a reseller on Ebay and enjoys volunteering and donating to animal charities, local churches, and anyone else in need.

Another portion of her earnings will be used for “boring stuff” like bills, she said, and for treating her boyfriend and herself to a trip to Disney World.

The biggest lesson that Trubiano learned from her experience is to continue to take chances and shoot for your dreams.

“Never give up on anything that your heart desires, or that is important to you,” she said. “Even if other people may think it’s silly or are negative about it, you have to fight through all of that, because it’ll be worth it.”