Two Regina women are preparing for "pure excitement" after learning they will join television icon Oprah Winfrey on a tour of Australia.
Janice Holmes and Mona Crandell were among the 300 audience members who will make the trip in December, part of a tourism promotion for the country.
"Mona and I just jumped out of our seats," Holmes said Tuesday, recalling the moment Oprah unveiled the surprise. "We didn't stop [jumping], in our five-inch heels."
The Oprah show, a staple of daytime television, opened its final season with an audience of dedicated viewers.
Holmes was in the audience after sending an email to the show, expressing how Oprah was an inspiration for her business, a friendship website for women.
She said she was shocked when producers responded.
"We got the invite about two weeks later to come to the show as an ultimate viewer," Holmes said. "We had no idea that it was going to be the season premiere, the ultimate show and the biggest show of all time."
To top things off, Holmes and Crandell were selected to appear, with 18 other fans, in a promotional picture with Oprah.
However, they say nothing will top a free vacation with Oprah Winfrey.
"Eight days in Australia with Oprah," Crandell gushed. "It will be easy to get ready for just pure excitement."
Oprah's season opener was recorded Sept. 9. The pair had to keep the surprise trip a secret until the show was broadcast Monday.
Anything to declare?
Holmes was even reluctant to spill the beans when a customs and immigration officer asked her if she was bringing any gifts back to Canada on Saturday.
"He says, 'I'm immigration. You have to tell me if you have gifts,'" she said. "I said, 'I can't tell you. I'm under embargo.'"
The officer was insistent, however.
Finally, Holmes realized she was not actually bringing any gift with her.
"No, I have no gifts with me. But lots of great memories," she told the officer. "And he just chuckled and let me through."