Monroe woman appears on ‘Millionaire’

Feb. 18, 2014 @ 05:23 PM

If someone had asked Velma Killman a year ago if she thought she would ever appear on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” her final answer would have been no. 

However, an episode of the popular game show featuring Killman appeared last week. Killman went home with $1,000. She said in an interview that she considered it a free trip to New York City. 

Killman, 54, said she is just an average person with a set routine. One day she saw that the show was having an in-person audition in Charlotte and she said “why not?” 

It was her half-day off and at first she was reluctant to go, but finally she went and was the second person in line. She waited for a very long time before the process began. 

“I was just amazed,” Killman said. She said she was amazed by the amount of people and the variety of people. 

After a written test, Killman had an interview with a producer and then an on-camera interview. They called her about a week before Halloween and told her to come up to New York City to compete on the show. 

“I’d never been to New York, so just the experience of being in New York was awesome,” Killman said. 

She said everybody was very accommodating and the energy was “amazing.”

“Everybody was awesome,” she said. She said she waited and spoke with the other contestants like they were old friends. One of them is even a Facebook friend now.

Before taping, the contestants got to go onto the set to see what they would be doing and practice. 

“It was electrifying” just walking onto the stage, Killman said. 

When the show aired, it was hosted by Regis Philbin. It is now hosted by comedian and actor Cedric the Entertainer. 

Killman said he was “a really, really nice gentleman.”

“He was a total gentleman the whole time,” she said. “(He was) funny and just calmed me down the whole time.” 

She said she was excited and nervous and jumping around and Cedric the Entertainer helped to keep her focus. 

She was surprised that he knew where Monroe is. 

Killman, a clinical assistant at a primary care office, took one of her daughters with her on the trip. Her other daughter, unfortunately, was unable to come as well, she said. She added that would have made the whole thing perfect.

“We had a great time,” she said. “It is definitely something we will always remember...just driving in New York was itself an experience.” 

Sometimes, when people are in the contestant pool for trivia-based shows, they try to study and brush up before their appearance. 

Killman said she did not really study for the show. 

“Your questions are always so random,” she said. “It’s going to be hard to just study about something like that.” 

She said she watched the show to prepare, though joked that it is always easier when you are sitting in front of your television answering your questions. 

She traveled to New York City with the attitude that she would either know the answer or she would not. She noted that if you try to cram for an exam, it makes you more nervous about it because there is so much going on in your head. 

Killman skipped one of the questions and eventually for the sixth question wrong. 

The question was: “The actor who played Jay Gatsby in the ‘13 film also starred in a film based on what novel that Kurt Vonnegut called ‘The Great Gatsby of my time?’”

The options were Gangs of New York, Revolutionary Road, The Departed or The Basketball Diaries.

Killman asked the audience and 39 percent of them said it was Gangs of New York, with The Departed in a close second at 35 percent. Revolutionary Road was the answer according to 19 percent of the audience and 7 percent said The Basketball Diaries. 

Killman answered A- Gangs of New York and the answer was B- Revolutionary Road. 

However, Killman would not exchange the experience for anything. 

“Even though I came off with just a thousand dollars, I feel so much wealth in support and love that I have from my friends and my family,” she said. “This was absolutely a life-changing event...it has really bolstered my confidence and has made me slow down and make sure I know what I know.”

Unfortunately, the blizzard prevented any sort of viewing party, but Killman said she and her family had their own private viewing party. She said she was more nervous about seeing it on television than she was about the rest of the process. 

She said she would love to go back to New York City someday.

“Compared to New York traffic, driving in Charlotte is a breeze now,” she joked.