It's a long way to Los Angeles from Croatia, where Kristina Kuzmic (now Kuzmic-Crocco) grew up amid the chaos of the 1990s war of secession from Yugoslavia. And it's even further to Wenham, where she graduated from Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School in 1997.
Kuzmic-Crocco, 31, is now a reality TV star who will premiere Friday at 9 p.m. on the OWN Oprah Winfrey Network as a contestant on the series "Your OWN Show," competing to win a job as the host of her own cooking show on OWN.
"I grew up in Croatia during the war and came to Hamilton for my freshman year," said Kuzmic-Crocco.
Now, the mother of two and former stay-at-home mom is looking to be the star of her own cooking show.
"I never thought of cooking as a career, because you have to be practical growing up in a small, poor country," Kuzmic-Crocco said in a phone interview.
Last year, she decided to launch her own website, StickyCook.com.
"Within a month I found out about 'Your OWN Show,'" she said.
Her audition video was chosen among a pool of 15,000 applicants.
There are 10 contestants vying for the reward, from different backgrounds.
Each contestant has to produce their own show segment, and judges eliminate one contestant each week.
Kuzmic-Crocco can't reveal if she wins her own show on Oprah Winfrey Network, but she said the show is worth watching to find out. The OWN is in channel 226 on Comcast and 161 on Verizon Fios in Hamilton and Wenham.
"There's a lot of reality shows out there, but I can't say enough great things about Oprah Winfrey," Kuzmic-Crocco said. "It was done in a classy way with respect for all of us."