This Is What It's Like To Be An Audience Member On The Rachael Ray Show

Tune in to the Rachael Ray show and you'll occasionally get glimpses of a smiling, applauding crowd, cheering on Rachael Ray and her celebrity guests. Viewers enjoy the image of a few dozen or so fans all having a great time alongside Ray, likely chowing down on some delicious eats created by the host herself, talking to her between sets, and maybe even taking home some fun merch...after all, that is what happens, right?

Unfortunately, that's not really the case. While some lucky audience members get the chance to talk with Ray on camera, and sometimes the audience is sent home with a gift, the illusion of a happy-go-lucky crowd is just that — an illusion. Audience members on the Rachael Ray show (as well as on many other similar shows) are required to follow strict rules in order to assure the show goes well, and sometimes they don't get anything at all in return.

Audience members rarely get to indulge in the food that's made during the Rachael Ray show

All that delicious food Rachael Ray cooks up on her show can leave your mouth watering — and that's just while watching from home. So imagine audience members' surprise when they watch all the culinary magic go down in-person and then are sent away hungry. Past audience members (this writer included) report that rather than eating any of the food Ray and her guests prepare, audience members are expected to eat some light, packaged snacks in a holding room before they're led on-set. Expect cookies, muffins, miniature bags of chips, room-temperature bottled waters — typical gas station fare. If you're lucky, you may receive a food item as your gift to take home, but audience member gifts are not guaranteed.

So, if you plan on attending the Rachael Ray show as an audience member in the future, remember to eat a good meal ahead of time. You'll need it to hold you over while you go through the multiple stages of waiting, both outside the building for the doors to open, then afterward as you wait to go on set.

Don't break these rules or you may be turned away at the door

The Rachael Ray show requires its audience members to follow a strict dress code, for aesthetic's sake. A business-casual dress code is enforced and jewel-toned colors are recommended (think dark blue, ruby, emerald, etc.). According to the show's website, clothing items that can get you turned away at the door include T-shirts, shorts, capri pants, ripped jeans, flip-flops, sequined items, hats, distracting patterns, white or light pink tops, and velour.

In addition to these guidelines, others that can get you turned away at the door, if you so choose to ignore them, include the strict age limit (16 or over, with 16 and 17-year-olds accompanied by a guardian) and the cell phone ban. There's an absolute no-phone policy on the show (however, this isn't a guideline that's uncommon in the live-taped television world). Other prohibited items include outside drinks and food, large bags, and chewing gum. 

What you should bring with you, on the other hand? A valid photo ID and your printed ticket.