MAYVILLE – One could say 12-year-old Hannah Doughty had a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but she’s determined to find a way to make it happen again.
On Thursday, Hannah was featured on Nickelodeon’s “Figure It Out,” a nationally televised trivia gameshow where panelists try to guess a special talent that the contestant has. Panelists are given three rounds of 45 seconds to guess the talent, and are given three clues along the way. Of course, since it’s on Nickelodeon, there’s plenty of slime involved too.
After winning a contest, Hannah was invited to serve as a guest panelist on the show. On Thursday night she was finally able to view the fruits of her labor.
Although the show began at 7:30 p.m., guests arrived at Hannah’s home much earlier. By the time the show began, throngs of anxious teenagers crowded around the television, waiting to see Hannah.
“It’s nerve-racking, and exciting,” Hannah said, about waiting for the show to begin. “My friends have been asking me lots of questions about it, but because of the contract I signed, I haven’t really been allowed to talk about it.”
Finally, the clock reached 7:30 p.m., and the show began. Through the show, Hannah was able to uncover a few words about each contestant’s talent, and of course, was slimed on one occasion. Although she claimed she was nervous through the whole episode, it was far from transparent, as she conducted herself with poise both on the television and in the living room, watching herself on television.
As the show concluded, Hannah’s friends and family all stood and applauded her.
“It felt a little weird seeing myself on television,” Hannah said. “As a panelist, I had question in my head, but when it came time to ask them, it was difficult to remember them. It’s difficult to think of a question on the spot knowing that the cameras are pointing at you.”
Hannah said the entire experience was incredible, and she hopes it can help her in the future to achieve her goal of turning acting into a career. Hannah is very active in several local performing arts organizations, including the Junior Guilders, Chautauqua Opera, the Lucile Ball Little Theatre, the Infinity Piano Program and the Tiffany Wakeley Academy of Dance.
“I was still nervous during the show, but I think the experience will help me,” Hannah said. “I know it will look good on a resume. I really want to go into a performing arts high school, and then study it in college too, and I know that this will help me do that.”
Hannah credits her mother, Tracy, with helping her the most to prepare for the show.
“She made me feel less nervous about the show and helped me to get everything in order,” Hannah said. “I don’t think I would have been ready without her help.”
But experience isn’t the only thing that Hannah took away from her time on “Figure It Out.” Since the show, she’s kept in contact with one of the contestants from the show, named Nicole Brazier, and the two have become good friends.
“We both were worried that the show might not air, since the date it was supposed to air kept getting pushed back,” Hannah said. “She would hear rumors about it airing or getting pushed back again, and we just got to talking. Because of the contract, I wasn’t allowed to really tell anyone about the show, but Nicole was on it with me, so we were allowed to talk.”
Meanwhile, her friends at home are very proud of her accomplishment, and are sure she will continue to succeed in performing arts as she grows.
“It was neat to see her broadcast on television for the whole country to see, because this is such a small community,” said Katherine Schultze, Hannah’s friend. “It’s great to see someone from here make it on to something so big.”
“(Hannah) has always wanted to be an actress – she’s always singing and dancing,” said Shannon McKee, Hannah’s friend. “It was really cool that she got to be on television – it was very fitting for her. She’s got really amazing talent and puts herself out there constantly, so we’re all sure she’ll become an actress like she wants when she grows up.”
Perhaps Hannah’s strongest supporter was her brother, Noah, who made the trip to Universal Studios in Los Angeles for the filming. Though it would be easy to be envious of his sister, Noah said that being on television has always been Hannah’s dream, and he’s proud that she’s already made it happen.
“I was very proud and happy for her, because it took a lot of determination to enter the contest that she entered every day,” Noah said. “It’s never really been my dream, but she’s always wanted to be on television, and of course I’m so proud that she made it happen.”