Culture Scan

At the intersection of real estate, media, and pop culture.

Can I Get an 'R'?

“Wheel of Fortune” contestant and real estate professional Lacy Johnson comes out of her shell for the big win.

Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition?

Game shows have been a staple of American television since the black-and-white era of the 1950s, offering contestants an opportunity to compete against each other to win cash and prizes. One of the longest-running and most popular is “Wheel of Fortune,” which debuted in its current nighttime syndication format in 1983, and has since filmed over 7,000 episodes in 39 seasons. Genial host Pat Sajak, glamorous, letter-turning cohost Vanna White, the light-up letterboard, and the multicolored spinning wheel have all become cultural icons.

One nice aspect of “Wheel of Fortune” is that it isn’t a zero-sum game. There is one overall winner each night. But all contestants who solve one of the show’s hangman-style puzzles get to keep the cash and prizes that they accumulated during their individual rounds.

Real estate is a business that also allows for multiple winners.

So it was perhaps fitting that in late January, one episode of the show became an unofficial National Association of REALTORS® night, featuring three NAR members as contestants.

Ray Fernandez, an agent with NextMove Realty in La Habra, Calif., Jessica Micklus, an agent with 805 Real Estate Inc., in Arroyo Grande, Calif., and Lacy Johnson, an agent with eXp Realty in Las Vegas, all took turns spinning the wheel on the same night. All of them came away with some prize money for their efforts.

Johnson emerged as the overall winner for the evening with $23,600 in cash and a trip to Barbados. She spoke to Culture Scan recently about her lifelong love of “Wheel of Fortune” and what being a REALTOR® means to her.

You received your real estate license in 2020. What made you decide to take the plunge?

I bought my first property in 2019, and that one decision changed the trajectory of my entire life. I decided to go into real estate because I wanted to share what I had learned in that process and be the piece that unlocks homeownership for others. It’s my way of saying “thank you” to those who have helped me. I’ve seen people passing up the opportunity to own real estate because they think it’s unattainable, and I want to help change the track of others’ lives.

What made you decide to try out for “Wheel of Fortune?”

I’ve watched “Wheel of Fortune” my entire life. I watched it first with my grandmother, and now I watch it with my wife and kids. I’m shy, and my wife is the one who signed me up. We recorded an audition—you record from home via Zoom—and sent it in. I never thought they’d choose me.

How was the experience of taping?

I had a great time taping. Everybody on staff was in the top 20 of the nicest people I’ve ever met. The taping was very streamlined, and they worked to make sure everyone felt safe and comfortable. There were tons of contestants, and we interacted without knowing who was going to be in our episode. They tape multiple showings in one day, so I didn’t find out who was going to be on my show until taping started.

Pat Sajak mentioned that you’re known for your cookie baking. Can you tell me a little about that?

My wife and I run a business called B.I.T.E., which stands for “bold, incredible taste every time.” I bake a few hundred cookies every day, and we do a lot of parties. We do pop-ups in Las Vegas, Texas, and Los Angeles. Baking cookies is my therapy.

You mentioned that others have helped you in your real estate career. Have you had any mentors?

Decatur Thornton is my go-to at eXp Realty. Like I said, I’m shy, and one thing that I feel he really teaches me is to step out of my shell—be myself—be authentic. Our clients want to see who we are. The business side comes easier for me. So he helps me work through my shyness to build my brand.

Have you had the opportunity to be a mentor to other agents?

I do have people I mentor. I tell them to focus on knowing their [customer relationship management] systems and to provide value to their clients—and everything else will follow. People come to me a lot to learn about how I create my social media presence. I am extremely shy, and I was worried about putting myself out there. But I tell them when you put the content out, the feedback you will get is amazing. Any colleagues who would like to connect with me can reach out to me at @listedbylace.

I also mentor in my community. I love basketball, and I am a volunteer basketball coach for youth girls ages 9 and 10. (Know a REALTOR® who has made a profound difference in the community? Applications are now open for NAR’s Good Neighbor Awards.)

Congratulations on being the overall winner on your episode! Have you taken the trip to Barbados yet?

Not yet! But it is definitely on the schedule.


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