Alumna shares inspiring ‘Price is Right’ experience

by Eugènie Budnik, Senior Staff Writer

When San Diego State Master of City Planning alumna Reyna Ayala watched the game show “The Price is Right” with her husband and her grandmother-in-law, she said she wasn’t planning on getting emotional.

That is, until Ayala saw a woman from the episode describe how much the show meant to her and changed her life. So, Ayala decided that she wanted to make her mark as a contestant on “The Price is Right.”

“When I watched the show and got to the showcase showdown, the woman who won was so excited that she had won, and she was so emotional about it,” Ayala said. “It really moved me. I think because I was hormonal, because I am pregnant now, I just started crying because I was so happy for her that she had won.”

Ayala made the decision right then to visit “The Price is Right” website to purchase tickets to the show, and also filled out the contestant application. 

“Hours later [after filling out the application] I had a call from a producer of the show, and they said they saw on the application that I was pregnant. They were having a special edition of the show for expecting mothers, and were filming that week,” Ayala said.

Although Ayala went through the Zoom audition process, she did not get chosen as a contestant for the Expectant Mothers Edition of the show. At this point, Ayala figured she had missed her chance and had forgotten about her application for a few weeks.

A few weeks later, Ayala got another call from producers…this time with good news. Ayala had been chosen to be in the audience of another taping of the show, and the producers told her that she could bring guests.

“Any of us could potentially be called to come on down, so I brought my husband and my best friend,” Ayala said.

On the ride up to Hollywood, Ayala brushed up on her pricing skills in the car with her husband and best friend. Ayala said she had been memorizing the prices of products which often reappeared on the show. 

Ayala’s hard work paid off, as she was called down by “The Price is Right” announcer George Gray.

But Ayala noted the most impressive element of her game show experience was the talent and passion from the show’s hosts and producers.

Courtesy of CBS/The Price is Right

“I was blown away by how great everything on the show was. Everyone was so energetic and I can’t believe that they [the producers] do that multiple times a week and multiple times per day,” Ayala said. “The host, Drew Carrey, was so amazing and was great to the audience.”

While Ayala enjoyed her time on the show, she doesn’t see herself going on another game show anytime soon.

“I have so much going on with working and expecting to be a mom, that I don’t think it’ll be a career for me,” Ayala said. 

Ayala says this experience has given her a new perspective on life, and hopes others can take inspiration from her.

“I would highly recommend to anyone who just looks at something and thinks ‘oh, it’d be cool to do that,’ I would say to try,” Ayala said. “Just do it, because you don’t know until you try. The only thing that is stopping you is that you aren’t trying.”

Ayala’s episode of “The Price is Right” aired on CBS on April 19 where she won $37,426 worth of prizes, including a collection of Cole Haan handbags, a new backyard set from Outdoor Interiors, a Bayliner boat and a trip to Montana.