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Inside ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Star Vanna White’s Rise to Fame!

Everyone knows Vanna White for her starring role on Wheel of Fortune — but do you know how she first got her start in showbiz?

The future TV icon was born Vanna Marie Rosich in Conway, SC in February 1957. Vanna later took her stepfather Herbert Stackley White Jr.‘s last name when her biological dad, Miguel Angel Rosich, sadly left her mother during Vanna’s childhood.

MORE: See Vanna White’s Style Evolution Through the Years!

In her early 20s, Vanna appeared on television for the first time as a contestant on The Price is Right. Though she did not make it onstage during the June 1980 episode, she was filmed running to Contestants’ Row after being called down from the audience by host Bob Barker.

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Vanna on Wheel of Fortune in 2013. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Just two years later, Vanna — then 25-years-old — was selected as one of three substitute hostesses to appear on Wheel of Fortune after star Susan Stafford left the show in October 1982. She was named the program’s regular hostess after two months.

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“I didn’t think I had a chance. The girl I was competing against [for the job] was the complete opposite of me: poised and brunette and perfect,” Vanna said in a previous interview. “I felt like I was just this girl from North Myrtle Beach that was… I don’t know. I had no confidence.”

“[Wheel of Fortune creator Merv Griffin] says that he hired me because I turn the letters better than any of the 200 other women who auditioned… And what’s my secret? As I told 60 Minutes, ‘It must be in the wrist!’” Vanna wrote in her best-selling 1987 memoir, Vanna Speaks.

More than 30 years later, Vanna — who received a coveted star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006 — is still the letter-turning hostess on the show alongside host Pat Sajak.

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When recently asked why she thinks Wheel of Fortune continues to be one of the most successful and beloved game shows today, the 59-year-old simply replied, “Loyalty.”

“Our viewers are loyal. They’ve seen Pat and me together for 30 years. It’s like Ken and Barbie. How do you break them up?” Vanna said.

Click through the gallery below to see more of your favorite game show hosts then and now!