An Elon Law alum’s ‘split second’ on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Very few people ever have the opportunity to win big money on a talk show hosted by one of the most beloved pop culture icons of the past quarter-century. Lauren Hossfeld L’Dec.’17 is in that elite group.

Let’s start from the end and work our way backward in our story of trivia and luck, shall we?

Greensboro elder law attorney and Elon Law alumna Lauren Hossfeld L’Dec.’17 plans to spend the thousands of dollars she won this month from Ellen DeGeneres to help with her November 2020 wedding.

No one back home believed she had won the money until the contest aired a day later. Hossfeld’s phone has been “blowing up” almost ever since.

On television, it looks like Hossfeld walked away from a February 12 taping of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” with $10,000 in bundled cash.

In reality, producers had pulled her aside after the show to fill out tax forms for the IRS. Hossfeld will receive a check for north of $7,000 after Uncle Sam receives his cut.

Yet it’s all a blur for Hossfeld. The screaming and cheering from the audience, her future sisters-in-law and close family friend “going nuts.” Hossfeld’s own celebratory dancing. The hug from Ellen. In her words: “I spaced out with excitement.”

That’s what happens when you correctly answer five questions in less than 60 seconds for “Ellen’s Split Second” (answers at the bottom of this page):

  • Mary Connelly or Andy Lassiter: “Whose rash do I mention on the show?”
  • Tom Hanks or Tom Cruise: Who collects vintage typewriters?
  • India or Italy: Which country is shaped like a boot?
  • Nike or Adidas: Which slogan is “Just Do It”?
  • Kim or Khloe: Which Kardashian is taller?

Hossfeld’s selection to play wasn’t completely random. Producers screened for possible contestants as audience members stood in line to enter the studio. “Pretend that Ellen calls your name for something,” they asked. “How would you act?”

The trip was made possible when Hossfeld’s close family friend won tickets to a taping and asked if Hossfeld and her future sisters-in-law wanted to be a part of a “girls’ trip” to Los Angeles.

It helped that Hossfeld had the encouragement of colleagues to head west on a moment’s notice for a rare treat. The attorneys and staff at The Elderlaw Firm in Greensboro, where Hossfeld assists clients with estate and long-term care planning, would soon cheer her appearance on TV during a weekly meeting.

Ultimately, simply meeting Ellen was a dream come true for a young attorney who had watched “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” since its first days in the early 2000s and is a walking encyclopedia of pop culture knowledge. Hossfeld has always loved the good people highlighted on the show alongside the funny and quirky happenings in our world.

And of course the dancing.

So what does Hossfeld want everyone to know about her experience?

“Everything you see on TV, with Ellen being a genuinely nice person, is true,” Hossfeld remembers. “She stayed after the taping and talked with the audience. She thanked us for coming because she knew that we were taking time out of our day and that many of us had traveled far to see the show.

“She actually is as nice as she seems.”


Answers: Mary Connelly, Tom Hanks*, Italy, Nike, Khloe Kardashian. 

* Hossfeld notes this was the only answer that she guessed.