Rosie Sato took home the $10,000 grand prize on Dec. 2 as winner of the “Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper,” a national gift-wrapping contest held at New York’s Rockefeller Center.
Sato, who beat out seven other contestants to claim the prize, said she went into the competition with a clear game plan.
“I just stayed focused on what I had to do,” said Sato, a Gardena resident, who returned from New York on Monday. “I knew what I was going to do and I actually practiced.”
Sato prevailed in the final round of the competition, transforming a six-foot tall backyard playset into a whimsical panda bear. The contestants weren’t told how much time they would be given for each round of the competition, sponsored by 3M, the maker of Scotch brand tape and Scotch cutting tools. Contestants were judged on three criteria: appearance, technique and speed.
“I had played around with a lot of different ideas. I was going to do a Candyland theme, but all of that was taking too much time. I had to take into account if it wasn’t going to be 20 minutes, I had to do something that would give a big bang for the buck,” Sato said.
In fact, for the final round she and runner-up Diana Lemos were only given 16 minutes to wrap the playset.
“I guess your adrenaline causes you to do what you have to do. It was pretty amazing,” Sato remarked.
Lemos, who resides in San Diego, received a $2,500 cash prize. The other six contestants also received smaller cash prizes. After her big win, Sato celebrated with friends at a David Benoit concert in New York.
Sato plans to use the prize money to write a book on gift wrapping. “The reason I found out about contest is because I wanted to write a book on gift wrapping. In my research I think the world can do with one more gift-wrapping book,” said Sato.
With Christmas fast approaching, the champion gift wrapper said she may do something a little out of character.
“I may do something silly and totally opposite. I may wrap everything in newspaper!” said Sato.
Previously: That’s a Wrap