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AU News

Class of ’93 Graduate Appears on Reality TV Competition

September 17, 2018

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Among her sisters, Carla Waddell is the last one who should be on a cooking show. 

But if that show is Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America?” That’s a different story. 

“My older sister is a great cook, and my younger sister is a trained chef,” said Waddell, who in 1993 earned a bachelor degree in fashion merchandising from Anderson University. “Since I’m in the middle, I guess I never picked up the cooking gene. When I try, it never turns out well.”

Carla Waddell Anderson University Food Network Works Cooks AmericaBut that means she was perfect for “Worst Cooks,” now in its 14thseason. Waddell was among the participants on the program, which wrapped up with its season finale on Sunday.

“It’s been a great experience,” said Waddell, who grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina and today works as a human resources professional in Alexandria, Virginia. “My co-workers are like, ‘We watched last week’s episode. We can’t believe we actually know someone!’ It’s a blessing. It’s something I’ll never forget.”

Those who’ve seen Waddell on the show might be surprised to know that she wasn’t always comfortable in front of a camera. She said Anderson helped bring out her gregarious side.

“When I went to (Anderson University,) I was very shy,” she said. “I didn’t know anybody, but the school made it easy to feel comfortable. (AU) brought things out of me I never knew were there.”

By the time she graduated, Waddell was fully in the spotlight. She was class president each of her four years, served on the AU diversity board and was voted “Miss Anderson College” while producing the school pageant.

Anderson “helped me be able to communicate with everybody and anybody,” she said. “People from all over the world come to (Anderson University), and to be able to learn from professors and all kinds of different people, those who wanted to be around and learn from each other, it helped me grow and have the nerve to step out.”

If Anderson was a stepping stone to reality television stardom, her experience on “Worst Chefs” has given her confidence to break even newer ground – and get back to what was once a personal passion. 

Carla Waddell Anderson University Food Network Works Cooks America“I used to be a model, and I’m actually thinking about getting back into it,” Waddell said. “Being on television in front of all of those people watching has given me the confidence and encouragement to step out and give it another try.”

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