Lawrence High School graduate’s energetic personality lands her in the Price it Right’s final showcase.
When she wasn’t busy interning in the marketing department at Warner Bros. Records or sitting in the classroom, Jamie Hargraves could often be found sitting in the audience of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the Ellen DeGeneres Show, or shaking hands with celebrities like Melissa McCarthy and meeting one of the Real Housewives.
Hargraves, an integrated marketing communications major at Ithaca College, spent January through May this year at Ithaca’s satellite campus in Los Angeles for a six-month internship program. During that time, Hargraves said, she got the opportunity to experience the world of Hollywood.
And on May 1, the day before she was scheduled to fly back home after the program, the 20-year-old capped off her trip with an event that would put her on national television almost a month later.
That day, Hargraves and two of her friends arrived at the studio for the 8:30 taping of The Price is Right. Tickets are free and available online, and upon their arrival, potential contestants had to fill out their information and participate in a group interview.
The night before, the friends had stayed up watching YouTube videos and reading a blog post that recommended being energetic and making yourself stand out to be chosen as a contestant. Hargraves decided just to act silly—and was the only one of her group of three to be chosen.
From the moment her name was called in the audience, Hargraves said, she felt like she was in a daze, her face frozen in disbelief as she raced down to the stage.
“My adrenaline was just rushing,” she said.
In her first round on stage, Hargraves picked the closest price of a diamond and sapphire ring, beating out the second place opponent by just $1. She would later face that same opponent, Scott, in the final showcase round.
Her first-round win brought her face-to-face with show host Drew Carey, who immediately imitated Hargraves’ excitement.
“I was nervous, and he obviously could tell, because I sounded like a 5 year-old girl,” Hargraves said. “My voice was so high, it was all over the place.”
Despite the whirlwind of activity, Hargraves wound up as a finalist in the showcase round after also winning a pair of motor scooters. But when she saw that a car was part of the advertised prize, she immediately got excited, she said, because she was in need of a new car. But it wasn’t meant to be, as she guessed far above the price and missed out on another win.
After the show ended, Hargraves got a few minutes to chat with the host when she was a bit less nervous.
“The prizes aren’t a bad part, but at the end, Drew Carey came and said congrats and talked to me a little, so that was nice he took the time to get to know you a little bit,” Hargraves said.
Trying out for a game show had been on Hargraves’ mind since she moved to L.A. She said part of the fun of living in the area was the large amount of opportunities to try out for the shows filmed there, and even received encouragement from her mother, Maryan, to try out specifically for The Price is Right, which Hargraves used to watch regularly.
“I watched it with my grandmother when I was younger, but I haven’t really been able to watch it at all the past couple years with school and working,” she said.
When the episode aired June 13, the Hargraves family and Maryan’s three brothers gathered at the house to watch.
Maryan said a love of game shows is something widespread in her family. Each night, the family turns on the TV in time for Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. Maryan recalled watching game shows with her own grandmother, and said Jamie’s grandmother was always involving the grandchildren in “old-fashioned” games like Dots and teaching them new card games.
“My mother would always play cards with my kids,” Maryan said. “They learned to count to 21 from playing Blackjack with her.”
And in fact, Hargraves wasn’t even the first to get The Price is Right tickets. Her family had already obtained the free tickets for the show for the day the they flew out to L.A. to help with moving day. Yet after helping Hargraves set up her living arrangements, the family quickly ran out of time.
Part of what Maryan loved about watching her daughter on the show was that the family saw a side of her they usually don’t see.
“Jamie is usually very calm and very focused,” Maryan said. “Jamie’s a very goal-oriented person, she sets a goal and really goes after it, so just seeing her on there was just pure excitement.”
Hargraves said it’s not unusual that she’ll still hear her mother watching the video clip of the episode at home; her sister Jaclyn even put together a video montage of all Hargraves’ appearances.
“I love seeing her on it,” Maryan said. “I love her sense of disbelief.”
Since the episode aired, Hargraves was waiting to be contacted by a Honda dealer about getting her prize motor scooters—though it’s highly unlikely she’ll ever ride them, she said.
Now, Hargraves is spending the summer commuting to another internship in New York City before returning to Ithaca for her senior year.