Manuel Romero Bejarano, (1973, Jerez de la Frontera) is living history of television contests. The month of March will mark the 17th anniversary of the achievement of the first Pasapalabra jackpot, which exceeded one million euros, 1,023,000 to be exact. It was achieved by this official from the City Council of Jerez, who on that historic day hit the 25 definitions, speaking only four times with 110 seconds, less time than other contestants who have achieved the same milestone. With the money obtained from that program he bought a store and moved his El Laberinto bookstore to a larger space. He bought a house in the same building as the establishment and traveled to Italy, Japan and Russia.
Romero, who is currently breaking records in ¡Boom! enlisted in the teamThe dispersed with almost 300 consecutive deliveries on the air, confesses that he has never studied to go to a contest. However, he recognizes that the landscape has changed a lot in recent years, and now it is practically impossible to complete the Pasapalabra donut without extensive prior preparation. “Currently the contestants study the dictionary, they take it as if it were an opposition,” he says.
–He was the first contestant to exceed one million euros in ‘Pasapalabra’ when he won the famous jackpot. What memories do you have of that historic moment for the contest
was a great joy, I was in many programs competing and I thought I was never going to take it away. When I won it, it was an immense joy. It was something totally unexpected.
–How has ‘Pasapalabra’ evolved over the last few years
–The program has changed a lot. Each time is harder. The contestants study the dictionary and are very prepared. Also the donuts over the years are more complicated and include two or three very specific questions.
–Is it now more difficult to be a television contestant
–In the case of Pasapalabra, yes. Much more complicated. The people who appear take it as an opposition. In the current Pasapalabra, if you don’t study you don’t have the chance to take the pot. However, boom! It’s very different, you don’t have to prepare so much. The contestants do not study with the enjoyment of Pasapalabra.
“Contests hook me from the moment I consider them a way to earn money”
–You have never studied to compete…
–No, the truth is that no. I have never prepared myself when I enter a contest. I go with what I wear to the contests. I have a busy enough life to start studying right now.
–Are television contests addicting
from the moment I consider them a way to earn money. I do not have a disease to compete, nor do I have to prove anything to anyone. In my case, the main goal is to make money.
–How is the experience in ‘Boom!’
-Very well. We have been with the Los dispersos team for almost a year and a half. The work we are doing has much merit. The program team is made up of lovely people. The harmony between them and us is total. We are very happy with ¡Boom!, there are already more than 300 programs on the air.
–A team made up of ‘Know and Win’ contestants.
–Yes, we are all contestants of Know and win. We met there and we thought about introducing ourselves to the program. We created the team and they called us to participate. And there we continue.
–The coronavirus affected the Los dispersos team.
-Yes, two members got infected and we had to look for two substitutes to cover their places while they recovered from the virus. One of them was from Jerez, the girlfriend of a friend of mine.
–What have the competitions meant in your life
–They have been a way of obtaining extraordinary income, with which I did not count at first. It has also helped me to meet many interesting people. From the contests I take very good friends, among them of course the members of the team Los dispersos.
-If you had to choose a contest, which one would you choose
-It’s very difficult. Each one has its good and bad things. In Boom! we are four. We compete as a group and share the responsibilities, which is something that other formats do not have. In general, I have very good memories of all the contests in which I have participated.
–Is there a thorn in your side or a goal you haven’t reached
–When you go to a contest you have to be aware that you start from scratch, you have nothing, and if you win a euro you have already obtained something that you did not have. What comes, comes. I never set goals. We all want to make money, but you can’t always get it. I do not lack anything to achieve in the contests.