Netflix show ‘The Circle’ has ties to Truckee, Tahoe women |

Netflix show ‘The Circle’ has ties to Truckee, Tahoe women

Sam Corey
Special to the Sierra Sun

When she was in high school, Erin Tomasello wanted to work in the television industry, but she didn’t know how that was possible.

Growing up in Truckee, Tomasello graduated from high school and went on to take broadcasting classes in college. Her work included editing, camera work and live news anchoring, she said.

Taking a leap of faith and moving to Los Angeles, Tomasello worked her way into casting positions with the shows “Next” and then “Date My Mom.”

Now, she’s the supervising casting producer for the American version of the Netflix show “The Circle,” which dropped the final four episodes early Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020.

But that’s not the only person from the area working for the show. Contestant Miranda “Randi” Bissonnette has lived in South Lake Tahoe for four years.

“It was such an amazing experience,” said Bissonnette. “It’s hard to put into words sometimes.”

Before her most recent program, Tomasello was working in casting for shows like “The Bachelor,” “Fear Factor,” “Let’s Make a Deal” and others. But “The Circle” is a different type of show.

Originally from the U.K., an American version of the program began Jan. 1, and Brazilian as well as French versions are currently in the works, according to The New York Times.

The show prevents contestants from meeting one another in person, but rather has them communicate via online profiles and a social media platform known as “The Circle.” Since they never meet face-to-face, even though they live in the same apartment building, the contestants are afforded the opportunity to forge their identities or play the game authentically.

In the remaining episodes, the contestants rank each other, and the highest-rated players leave with $100,000, said Tomasello.

Bissonnette, a photographer and employee at Cold Water Brewery & Grill in South Lake Tahoe, enters the game during episode two of the show. She sports herself as a “free spirit” and “very open.” She spent two weeks alone in an apartment unit for the filming, she said.


If the casting producer wasn’t grateful before embarking on a career in television, she said she definitely feels lucky now.

In 2008, Tomasello was struck by a car while walking in Los Angeles, and believed her career would be over forever.

Slowly, after several years, she said she was able to recover at her parents’ home in Tahoe.

“I couldn’t walk for a full year,” Tomasello said.

In 2012 she was able to return to her television career.

“Every single day I just wake up so thankful for a second chance at life,” Tomasello said.

She hopes people yearning to work in television follow their dreams.

“If they put their mind to it they can make anything happen,” she said.

Tomasello said she’s happy to be working for a television program that she said has turned into a bit of a cult classic.

“(People) cannot stop watching,” she said.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email or call 530-477-4219.

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