When Hixson High School and UTC alumna Katheryn Golden started getting emails about NBC television show "First Dates," she was confused.
"[My sister] had secretly submitted my photo and information," she said. "The next thing you know, I had a ticket and flight to Chicago."
Golden appeared on the first episode of the Ellen Degeneres-produced reality series, which aired earlier this month.
"The date went horribly," she said.
But the appearance has led to other valuable opportunities.
ESPN, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "Hollywood Today Live" and Life & Style magazine have featured Golden's appearance on the show, and she also went on "Steve Harvey" to talk about her experience.
Harvey is going to try to set Golden up on a more successful date, and she'll appear on the show again later, she said.
She's also gotten calls from producers and casting agents who want to give her other opportunities, such as hosting, she said.
"It's kind of opened a lot of doors, and it's really exciting," Golden, a local medical esthetician, said. "This has been the most spontaneously amazing experience of my entire life."
And after years of getting the "obnoxious" question "Why are you single?" she said she's grateful that she wasn't in a relationship, because she wouldn't have had these life-changing experiences otherwise.
"I just want people to know that ... being single isn't always a bad thing," she said. "Don't try to rush life. Unexpected things happen in unexpected ways. You never know."
The show airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on WRCB-TV, Channel 3.
Another local resident will also appear on the show. Click here for more about that.
Seven couples from Tennessee are slated to appear on the show.
Golden said the show's team paired people from the same state so that if the relationship had potential, they hadn't been set up with someone they liked but who lived across the country.
Casting director Doron Ofir said the team recruited nationally.
The show aims to highlight human similarities—everyone wants to love, Ofir said via email.
"When the casting process began, we searched for regions that had large single populations with vibrant demographics and diverse communities," he said. "Tennessee yielded some wonderful characters that we felt were deserving of the opportunity."