Of the hundreds of Ellen fans that flocked to the Opera House stairs on Tuesday, Penrith’s luckiest birthday girl stood out from the crowd.
Carly Heading, 23, is now in Los Angeles after wowing one of the world’s most famous talk show hosts, Ellen DeGeneres, at a live cross to her program.
Friend Jennifer Kenyon was also selected to make the trip, but the plan hit a snag when organisers discovered she didn’t have a passport.
In the end, Ms Heading’s sister Briony joined the whirlwind trip to LA.
Ms Heading could barely contain her excitement when she spoke to the Western Weekender just as they were boarding the Qantas flight.
“I called work, I called my parents to tell them not to come to my birthday dinner and my cake is in the freezer, in case I get home in time,” Ms Heading said.
“This is the best birthday, I don’t think anything could top it now!”
Ms DeGeneres, who will visit Australia in March to record her popular show, had announced on Monday via Twitter that there would be a surprise for her Australian followers, telling fans to make their way to the Opera House with luggage and passports in tow.
At the live cross at 11am, fans battled to impress Ms DeGeneres with their opera singing talents and perhaps it was Ms Heading’s love for the talk show that helped her get all the way.
“I love Ellen’s show, I watch it all the time. I make mum and dad tape it so that I can watch marathons later. Ellen is so inspirational, she’s incredible. We are so excited about it,” said Ms Heading.
The girls were whisked away, along with two other winners, straight to the airport and onto the 3pm flight to LA where they will meet Ms DeGeneres and be part of the audience for her show later this week.
Ms Heading was planning to use the 15 hour journey to think about what she’d say to her idol when she finally gets the opportunity to meet her.