Alabama natives appear in episode of Netflix’s ‘Nailed It!’

Published 6:02 am Sunday, August 15, 2021

Sonja Thomas has always thought of herself as a good baker; she even took a few decorating classes to hone her skills. But she learned a thing or two when filming an episode of the Netflix series “Nailed It!”

For example, if you want fondant decorations to look good, you need more than 45 minutes.

“I’ve always baked for friends and family, that sort of thing,” Thomas said. “I thought I was a good cake baker and decorator, which I know I am.”

Thomas, who grew up in Dothan, appeared on the Season 5 “Nailed It! Double Trouble” episode titled “The Burbank State Fair,” which is currently available for viewing. Thomas was entered for the show’s consideration by her 16-year-old daughter, Courtney Thomas, and was joined for the competition by her friend Shereta Blackmon.

“Nailed It!” has its roots in Pinterest fails. People duplicate a craft or baking project from Pinterest only to fail miserably at their attempt and then post the photos of the original compared to their attempt. In the Netflix series, contestants compete to see who can best replicate a baking challenge. At stake is a $10,000 prize.

The “State Fair” episode was filmed in August 2020 in Los Angeles, delayed several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The season was released by Netflix in March. The series was recently nominated for a 2021 Emmy award for Outstanding Competition Program.

In “The Burbank State Fair,” the challenges were inspired by carnival games and rides that you might find at a state fair.
First up was a challenge to build a carnival barker knockdown doll like you would see in a toss game on a festival midway. The creation had to be formed with caramel popcorn and fondant following instructions provided. And they had to do it in 45 minutes.

Needless to say, Thomas and Blackmon’s creation wasn’t quite identical to the original.

The final challenge was baking and decorating a cotton candy-flavored roller coaster cake in 90 minutes using icing, fondant, and molding chocolate. Their cake fared a little better and Thomas said the taste was good. But in the end, the pair didn’t win.
“The cake was massive,” Thomas said of the original roller coaster cake. “That cake was at least three layers at the bottom before they started the design of the roller coaster at the park. So it was huge and the detail was immaculate. It was quite amazing. We had to make everything from scratch.”

Thomas and Blackmon have known each other since their days as teens in Dothan and in the flag corps for the former Northview High School marching band. Thomas lives in Auburn while Blackmon now lives in Atlanta.

Thomas left Dothan after high school graduation in 1996 to attend Auburn University. Thomas, an entomologist, got her PhD from the University of Georgia and now works for Auburn University.

While disappointed in not winning the $10,000 prize, Thomas said she loved the experience on the show.

“I think it was an amazing opportunity; I enjoyed it,” Thomas said. “I love meeting people and I had a blast.”