Nilo Ghandehari of Newport Beach may one day host a talk show on a network founded by the queen of talk shows.
Already a successful event planner and breast cancer awareness advocate, Ghandehari, 26, has auditioned for a chance to host her own show on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). The network is scheduled to launch on cable TV in January 2011.
Ghandehari, who goes by the name Nilo G. is among 5,800-plus hopefuls who submitted an audition video to myown.oprah.com/audition.
Potential hosts submit tapes in one of five categories: traditional talk show, cooking, interior design, fashion, health and wellbeing or wildcard. Visitors to the site vote for their favorite video.
The top five on-line vote-getters become part of a larger talent pool that includes individuals selected from live auditions. OWN producers will select the host from among those finalists.
Drawing from experience, Ghandehari submitted her tape in the wildcard category. On the website, it's labeled "All About Event Planning and How It Relates to the Core of the Human Spirit."
The show would cover topics such as seasonal trends, budget tips, entertainment ideas, color schemes and the small details that can make for a memorable event.
"There are a lot of shows on how to plan weddings, but nothing on really why and what is the value behind the event," said Ghandehari, owner of Kapture, a Newport Beach event planning company. "I believe every person has the ability to plan an event and they just need help getting there."
Ghandehari grew up in Brea and credits much of her drive to her days as a member of the Brea Olinda Ladycats basketball team, consistently one of the nation's best.
She received a degree in business marketing from Cal State Fullerton.
While interning at the Fox Broadcasting Company, she helped produce hits such as "American Idol," "That 70's Show" and "Prison Break."
At age 19, Ghandehari hosted her first charity event – a house party in which she charged friends $5 a piece.
Ghandehari raised $150, which she donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the celebrated breast cancer awareness non-profit.
She then started THE Breast Cancer Fundraiser, a non-profit aimed at 20-somethings that raises money through posh parties.
"I would love the opportunity to use the platform of television to communicate such an important message," she said.
With Saturday the deadline to submit a video, Ghandehari knows there is a lot of ground to make up.
Her submission, among nearly 6,000, has received about 33,000 votes, while top entries have gotten millions.
However, if she impressed producers in her live audition, Ghandehari could still get picked for a talk show or a spot on an OWN reality show.
She hopes to know one way or the other by mid-July.
Whether she gets on TV, Ghandehari said the process has been character building.
"It's been an amazing experience" she said.