County native to appear on #039;Oprah#039; show

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 26, 2003

When Coal Grove native Monica Williams entered a contest to appear on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" she never dreamed she would be selected, and she never expected the joke that was played on her.

The episode of the show will air at 4 p.m. today on NBC's local affiliate, WSAZ-Channel 3.

Williams' story began last Tuesday when she was surfing Oprah's Web site and decided to enter a contest to be Oprah's personal assistant for a day.

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Last Wednesday, she was called and interviewed about why she thought she would make a good personal assistant. Williams said she cited the fact that she works in a physician's office as a qualification. The next day, she was notified that she was one of six winners.

"I just could not believe it was true," she said.

In a way it wasn't, as Williams later found out.

Actor/comedian Jamie Kennedy, who has starred in films such as the "Scream" series, "Three Kings," "Boiler Room" and "Bowfinger," appeared on the show to prank the unsuspecting guests.

The guests were told they would be helping the "personal assistant" Kennedy set up a new office. To Williams' horror, Kennedy broke a "priceless" vase and blamed it on her, she said.

After all the joking was over with, Williams did get to spend about a half an hour with Oprah.

"It was wonderful. She is a super nice person," she said. "She is just as much fun and sweet as she comes across on the TV. The television really does not even do her justice."

Despite being pranked, Williams said the only disappointing part was that she did not get to spend more time with Oprah. She will return to the show today to talk with Oprah live about the experience.

"I still look at it like I am lucky. A lot of women would have loved to do it," Williams said. "I appreciate just getting to meet her."

Williams, the daughter of Douglas and June Freeman of Coal Grove, graduated from Dawson-Bryant High School in 1981. She lives in Valparaiso, Ind., with her husband, Mike, and two children, Lindsay, 15, and Brian, 13.

June Williams said it is exciting to know her daughter got to meet Oprah and said that all of her family will be watching today.