She had to ask! Vanna White has never traveled first class with Nelly, despite what his lyric in “Ride Wit Me” says. The Wheel of Fortune star was so shocked that the rapper gave her a shout-out that she talked to him about it when they once crossed paths.
“I was at an Easter party years ago and Nelly was at that party,” White, 59, tells Us Weekly exclusively. “I went up to him and I said, ‘Did we ever sit next to each other on an airplane?’ And he goes, ‘No, it just rhymed.’ True story!”
Nelly, 41, rattled off the line on the track, which appeared on his 2000 debut album, Country Grammar. “Can I make it? Damn right, I be on the next flight / Payin’ cash; first class — sittin’ next to Vanna White,” he raps.
White says she loves the song — and so does her family. “My kids were blown away. They thought I was really cool that I was in a Nelly song on the radio. That was one of the highlights of my career for my children. Like, ‘Wow, Mom! Great song.’ I was popular on that one,” she tells Us. “I get a big kick out of it.”
White has become a pop culture icon thanks to her 33-year gig on Wheel of Fortune. A lot has changed since she first started on the show in 1983, from White’s glamorous wardrobe to the colorful spin wheel. White has even gone from turning the letter puzzle board manually to revealing an answer with just the brush of her finger.
“I love the screen touch! If there’s a problem, I’m not the one to make the mistake,” White says, adding that the old school set once got her into trouble. “The puzzle was Doctor Spock or Mr. Spock. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I was horrified that I touched the wrong letter. They had to throw the puzzle out and do another one. But that was the only time, thank goodness!”
White has gotten tech savvy with a new mobile game, too. She’s a new avatar for a new Puzzle Pop! app based on Wheel of Fortune (.99), which gives fans a chance to play the famous show on their phones. “It’s just fun,” she tells Us. “It’s such an escape in this crazy world of ours.”
For more with White, read her Q&A in our Now and Then series:
US WEEKLY: What’s the process of choosing your gowns for the show?
VANNA WHITE: I’ve been doing the show 33 years, and I’ve worn over 6,000 gowns. And never the same one twice! They send about 40 to 50 dresses at a time to the studio. I try them on and we pick the top 12 because we’re doing 12 shows in two days. I don’t get to keep them.
US: Are there certain cuts you try to stay away from?
VW: If it’s an off-the-shoulder dress. I need to be able to raise my hands up to turn the letters. That’s probably the only limitation I have when it comes to gowns. I wear tight ones, I wear loose ones, I wear every color, and different fabrics.
US: What has been your favorite and least favorite dress?
VW: There was one that I wore recently that I absolutely loved. It was a white, very tight dress. Simple, very tight dress. And at the bottom it had feathers. It reminded me of a Barbie dress that I had many, many years ago as a kid.… And the ones that I don’t like are the ones that are really uncomfortable and so skintight I have to suck in my stomach for 30 minutes.
US: Have you ever had a wardrobe malfunction?
VW: Of course, we would have to stop taping. I’ve even gotten sewn into some dresses where the zipper broke so they just sewed me into it for the rest of the show. But I’ve never had to change clothes during a taping.
US: What workouts do you do to keep in shape for your job?
VW: I spin. And I’m just getting into Pilates. I do pushups and sit-ups. And I do weights for my upper arms because I wear a lot of strapless dresses. I need to keep my arms in shape.
US: What is your heel collection like in your dressing room?
VW: I have a huge collection of shoes there because I don’t bring my shoes back and forth. They’re my shoes. I buy them.… Most of the shoes I have at home are flats or boots or very few high heels.
US: Are you restricted when it comes to what color manicure you can get?
VW: I can do whatever I want, but I’m a French girl. It goes with everything.… I’ve never had gels before.
US: Are rumors that you and host Pat Sajak used to get drunk before shows true?
VW: We used to have two hours to kill and there was a Mexican restaurant across the street from the studio. We would just go over there and have a margarita or something. [The rumors] got out of hand. We never were drunk or anything like that.… We have never had one argument in all these years! It’s great.
Wheel of Fortune airs weeknights. Check your local listings.
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