BY HANNAH LESTER
Sonja Brannon’s daughter had a plan. She was going to sign up her risk-taking mom for a new challenge — competing on a baking show. But, she didn’t let her mom in on the news.
So when her daughter approached her to say she had been accepted to complete the casting process on Nailed It!, Brannon was completely surprised.
“Almost a year later, they sent me an email asking me to complete the casting process for the show,” Brannon said. “She came in there and she said, ‘momma look!’ … I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say.”
The process took an additional year to complete before Brannon was flown out to compete in the fall of 2020. She also had to choose a partner. Because, unlike a normal episode, Brannon’s episode consisted of pairs. She competed with her friend, Shereta. The two have been friends since high school.
“We didn’t know anything about what our tasks were gonna be as far as the show was concerned, we didn’t know any of the people that we were gonna compete against until we stepped on the set,” she said.
The two were competing in a carnival themed show against pair one, Selma Nilla and Lagoona Bloo, and pair two, Sheldon and Ron.
It took three days to complete filming for the show and the contestants were given no prior information, Brannon said.
“We didn’t think it would be that hard but we come to the task that they give you, and the amount of time that they give you, it’s virtually impossible really,” she said. “You just do what you can do in that time frame.”
The competition itself was completed in one day, but doing interviews and other filming used up the other two days.
Although the competition was filmed in real time and there was no prior knowledge of the task, the show did want all the competitors on equal footing, so before the competition, each pair was taught how to use all the equipment.
The first round consisted of a smaller project, which was a caramel corn knockdown doll. The second round was much more extensive — in this case, a rollercoaster cake.
“It was quite massive,” Brannon said. “It was something that if, I was actually trying to bake that to sell it, it would probably take me about two days to actually do it correctly. And we only had like an hour and 45 minutes.”
Brannon said that although she and her partner did not win the show — she was excited for the pair that did.
“We all had a blast,” she said. “It was so much fun and in the end, we made friends with everybody.”
Looking forward — Brannon said she’d like to compete in front of a camera again.
Brannon said that if her daughter had been 18 by filming, she would have served as her partner in the show. But, there is still some recognition there. If you watch the episode, you’ll see a photo of her daughter.
When the episode released in March, Brannon said she was able to watch the episode with her daughter, and with her parents.
“We didn’t tell a lot of people that we didn’t win,” she said. “We just wanted them to watch it.”
The episode can be viewed on Netflix.