Better Racing Through Chemistry
Rebecca: Season 5. A fellow trainer of mine at the gym approached me about applying for it. And I’d just broken up with Adam, and I knew it was his favorite show. So I thought, what better way to annoy your ex than to get on his favorite show? I really wasn’t a huge fan. I mean, I watched one season, and that was the one with Flo and Zach. But I really wasn’t invested like Adam was. So I was like, “Oh, yes, I’ll apply. Sure.” So we made a videotape. We made it like three cuts. And then we didn’t make it further than that. And that was it. And that was fine. I was like, whatever. Well, then they call me for Season 6. They were like, “Look, we remembered you. We really liked you. We were wondering if you would like to apply again, but maybe with somebody you have more chemistry with.” So I was like, oh, well, I can’t think of anybody I have more chemistry with than Adam—not necessarily positive chemistry. So anyway, I asked Adam, “Do you want to apply? I have a feeling we’ll totally get on the show if we do it together because we’re just so—the two of us are such a dichotomy.” So we applied, and four months later we got it.
Tribefan: Wow. So they do keep people in mind when they’ve applied once.
Rebecca: Yeah, it’s interesting. Like my season, a lot—I think only myself and maybe Lori and Bolo sent in a tape. And all the people, like Maria and Meredith, the girls who couldn’t drive a stick shift, they were alternates for Season 5. And a couple other people were up for Survivor. They were actually finalists for Survivor. So they really just kind of—everybody gets switched over and used again.
Tribefan: There’s just one pool of contestants.
miri: You know, I think sometimes, too, that happens if the time between seasons isn’t quite what they had planned on. They probably have to rely on that a bit more, maybe.
Rebecca: Yes. Because the casting of the Race is very much based on like a puzzle, and all the pieces have to fit together. They may really, really love a couple, but it might not work with the others.
Tribefan: Unless they’re missing something. “We already have too many of these, so—”
Rebecca: Right. I know in the final room, it was the—let’s see. Uchenna on this season—they were in the finals at CBS when we went to network. They were in the room with us. So I guess that’s another example.
miri: Oh, okay.
Tribefan: That’s interesting. You wonder if it’s because maybe they were too much like Chip and Kim, and people might think that, that maybe they wouldn’t go that route.
Rebecca: Sure. Yeah.
miri: So given how dynamic your relationship is with Adam, were you a little worried about going onto the Race with him?
Rebecca: I wasn’t worried until I got to Iceland. I’m sorry, I take that back. In Chicago, when we were filming the opening credits, I don’t know if you remember in the first episode we’re on boats in Chicago. Well, Adam got seasick and was throwing up on the boat. Because prior to that I knew it was going to be a challenge, because Adam has never left his home town. He’s very, very sheltered and extremely routine-oriented. And he’s also kind of scared of everything. So I thought, okay, this is going to be really hard. Not to mention my own fears and shortcomings, and I’d have to worry about me and him. But I thought, you know what? It’ll be fine. We’ll just take each task and take each step as it happens, and it’ll be fine. But, in Chicago, when he got sick on the boat, I was like, oh, what am I in? What am I getting myself in for?
Tribefan: I’ve been on the Seadog on Lake Michigan. It’s not that bad.
Rebecca: Not bad at all. I couldn’t believe he started throwing up. And then, you know, each boat had three teams in it, so the two other teams in the boat with us were probably like, oh, this’ll be the first team out.
Tribefan: I’m sure that was part of his strategy.
Rebecca: I was like, oh, we’ll just make it seem like we’re weak. That’s the key.
Tribefan: They won’t target you that way. Oh my gosh.
miri: Do you think your relationship was portrayed fairly on the show, or was it—because we saw you have some good times, and we saw you guys have a lot of fights, too. It seemed like we got to see a little bit of both.
Rebecca: Yeah. How the relationship was portrayed on TV is exactly how it is. We have great fun, adorably sweet moments when we’re loving each other, and then there are moments when we want to kill each other. So the relationship is so tumultuous, and it’s so—I dare to use the word toxic, but it kind of is. And I think watching it on TV really helped me to see that.
miri: Really? Not just going through it, but then when you actually saw it, it just really helped bring home to you that maybe you guys were—
Rebecca: Absolutely. Absolutely, yeah. On the Race, I was like, this is never going to work. This isn’t something that—traits that Adam has, a lot of them are amazing. He’s passionate, and he’s a wonderful person. And I don’t think that came across on TV. What did come across is definitely a huge of part of him, too, and that’s not really what I want for me in my future.
miri: Right. The impression I got, just from watching it—and I know that we only are seeing part of the picture—is that it seemed like you guys were great people by yourselves, but something about you seemed to bring out the worst in each other at times.
Rebecca: Yeah. It’s like we’re all kind of like chemicals, and some people blend with each other and some don’t. And it’s sort of intangible. You don’t know what exactly makes it work with somebody and doesn’t make it work with somebody else. But the way Adam and I are, it just does not bring out the best in us.
miri: Right. So he was the one who was the bigger fan of the show. But you had seen previous seasons?
Rebecca: I’d seen one, yes. I think it was Season 3, with Flo and Zach.
Tribefan: That would be Season 3, yeah.
miri: Right. You got one of the good ones there.
Rebecca: Adam watches it with all his friends and his family. It’s a ritual, every night it comes on. And I’d just started dating him, and I got sucked into it. And I was like, wow, this is really good. I remember even saying out loud, I think, “Adam, we’d be amazing on this.” And he was like, “Yeah, right.”
miri: So was it hard to talk him into doing it, given his fears and his need for routine?
Rebecca: Oh God, no. He was gung-ho about it from the get-go. Yeah. No, he was real excited about it. And it was an interesting four months. You know, there were a lot of highs, and then we wouldn’t hear from them for a few weeks, and then we’d get a call, and it was like another high, and then another bout of time when we wouldn’t hear anything. So it was a lot of up and down, and it was a very tense period. Because the further you get in the casting process, the higher the stakes are. And it’s like, God, like if we were told, “Thanks for investing all this time and energy but it’s just not going to work out,” that call was something I dreaded every day.
miri: Right. Especially since you’d been through that before.
Rebecca: Yeah. It was a little different this time, though. The first time, the guy that I auditioned with I really didn’t care for in the same way as Adam. Not nearly. I actually was kind of dreading being with him. I was hoping I didn’t get it. I remember going to the in-person interview—it was like the third or fourth callback—and I was driving there with him, and I go, God, I really don’t think I want to do this with this person. I really don’t like him.
Tribefan: At least you recognized that.
miri: So it was for the best that you didn’t get picked for that season.
Rebecca: I think subconsciously I kind of sabotaged it, yeah. They asked me—because they wanted to create tension—“Would you care if Glen would meet another girl?” I’m like, “No, I wouldn’t care at all.”
Rebecca: They asked me the same question with Adam, and I was like, “I would be killing somebody.”
Tribefan: Ah hah. They probably could see the lack of chemistry. If they said that they wanted you to have a partner who had more chemistry with you, they could see that, because, as you said, you probably did sabotage it a little.
Rebecca: Yeah. I knew in my heart of hearts that we were going to get picked. I knew it.
Tribefan: And you did.
Rebecca: Yeah. We did.
Tribefan: Did Adam have the hair horns before the Race, or was this something he devised for the Race?
Rebecca: No. He’s had them for—about two years ago, I put them in. I don’t know what I was thinking, but we were just playing around in my room one day. And I put them on. Didn’t know they’d stick and be portrayed on national television.
Tribefan: It’s become his trademark.
Rebecca: You know, I know. Well, they’re gone now.
Tribefan: That’s true. Well, it made you guys stand out, you know?
Rebecca: Yeah, yeah, sure.
Rebecca: I get it in airports: “Oh, Rebecca, you’re the one with the guy with the horns.”
Tribefan: Yeah. That’s the problem. You’ll forever be associated with the guy with the horns. Yeah, that’s you.
miri: Going into the Race, what did you guys think were the biggest strengths and weaknesses of your team?
Rebecca: Well, Adam has severe, severe eating issues in terms of he won’t try anything new. He doesn’t like anything. He eats like egg whites and chicken breasts. That’s all he eats. We knew if there was any food challenge, he was out. It was done. Game over. So we were really lucky that most of—well, one of the two foods of the Roadblock, the pizza, was difficult, because he doesn’t eat tomatoes. So that was kind of a problem. I knew my strength would be food. And he also is afraid of heights. So anything high up would have been out. Remember when he screamed, “Mommy!” going down the zip line?
Tribefan: So this played into how you separated Roadblocks, then, how you decided who did Roadblocks. Right?
Rebecca: Oh, we each knew our strengths and weaknesses. And then whenever it was manual labor, we knew he could do it, or we thought he could do it.
Tribefan: You didn’t count on salt in the eyes, did you?
Rebecca: Clearly, I over-estimated his strengths.
Tribefan: Well, you’re pretty strong yourself, but I guess you expected maybe a little more—
Rebecca: Yeah. I was hoping he could rally a little bit more and make it happen, but whatever. I’m happy with our third finish. I would have been much happier with a first finish.
miri: But third place is pretty damn good. I mean, you got to run the whole Race.
Tribefan: Because, yeah, that’s the thing. You get to do everything, at least, in the top three.
Rebecca: Yeah. Considering when we started off in Chicago, I just didn’t want to be the first team eliminated. That was my whole thing. And then after that, I was like, okay. Well, now my goal is to maybe make it top six. And then after that, it was, oh my God, let’s see if we can make final four.
Tribefan: And then you shoot for the top. Was there anything special you did to prepare for the Race?
Rebecca: I worked out a lot harder. I watched what I ate. Adam and I did this thing called the stairs in Santa Monica. It’s kind of a famous place where people would train, a grueling stretch of stairs at like a 90 degree angle. And we would go there, and we would train there once a week just to keep our endurance up. We went rock climbing.
Tribefan: That’s good. How much time was there between finding out that you were going to get on and actually leaving for the Race?
Rebecca: We were told on June 16th that we got it, and we left August 1st. So it wasn’t a lot of time.
Tribefan: Yeah. Because I always wondered if you even get enough time to prepare properly.
Rebecca: Yeah. It’s hard to prepare for the Race. You don’t know what they’re going to throw at you. All you can do is get yourself in the best physical shape possible. We attempted to learn how to read maps, and I went online. I was looking up different words in different languages, basic words, and I was writing them all down. But then they confiscate everything in the hotel.
Tribefan: So you have to have a really good memory.
Rebecca: I was trying so hard to say, “How much? How far?” and stuff like that in different languages. But I retained nothing.
miri: What for you is the biggest difference or the biggest surprise from actually being on the Race as compared to watching it? Was there really one thing that you were like, “Wow, I didn’t think it was going to be like this at all?”
Rebecca: Probably the exhaustion. It’s almost indescribable how truly, truly mentally and physically exhausted you are the entire Race. I mean, you are running on 100% pure adrenaline. Even when you get to sleep, it’s not restful, because you’re constantly stressing about the next thing, and there’s never any peace. So it was 31 days of just constant exhaustion. I think that was the one thing that I—and also a lot of down time. A lot of waiting. A lot of waiting in airports. A lot of driving. The interesting thing they don’t really show on the Race is time lapse. In Iceland, we did about 15 hours of driving. From the gas station where I did the whole diesel nightmare, the Pit Stop was a five-hour drive. And you don’t know. You can’t really gauge. And the time with the locks, I was there for six hours.
miri: Okay, wait a minute. So you guys had the diesel problem, and the one season you had seen before was Season 3?
Tribefan: [Laughs] That’s what I was just thinking.
Rebecca: Because they don’t show this on the TV, but Adam remembered that incident happening after I filled up the tank with the wrong gas. So he was like, “We can’t drive. It will break down, because that’s what happened in Season 3.” So that’s when we had to siphon it out. Yes. I would have—I guess I did see Season 3, but I don’t remember that. I would have just driven away, like, “Oh, we’ll be fine.” Then we would have been out of the Race. So Adam’s knowledge of that saved us.
miri: Well, I will say I watched the premiere with Michael and Kathy. They were the team who got knocked out because of the diesel thing.
miri: Yeah. And they were like, “Oh, someone else doing the same thing!”
miri: It was kind of a little relief.
Rebecca: That’s hilarious. Bertram, who’s the creator of the show, came up to me at the Pit Stop and he was like, “Let’s try to do new things. We’ve already done that. Let’s try to do new things.”
miri: And how is it when you know a moment like that is coming up—I mean, you’re watching with your family and friends, and obviously they don’t know it’s coming up, and you know you’re going to be doing something that’s maybe not showing you in the best light possible? Is it hard not to give that away, or do you just like to sit back and watch their reactions as they see it?
Rebecca: No. I was very tight-lipped about everything. I only watched like three or four episodes with my family, because they’re in Virginia. I was very tight-lipped. I didn’t want to tell anybody. I didn’t want to reveal anything. I wanted everything to come as a complete surprise. And my parents lived for Tuesday nights. They’d get together with my brother and his wife, and it was just such a fun time for them. Because they would call me during commercials: “Oh my God, you’re screaming at Adam.” You know, whatever I was doing, whatever debacle I was in. I didn’t give anything away. It was easy for me to keep it tight.
Tribefan: Well, if you don’t see them all the time, that probably helped.
Rebecca: Yeah. But we got a lot more air time than we would have gotten if we hadn’t had the diesel incident, so I was actually happy for that.
Tribefan: That’s right. That was on the first episode, when there are so many teams.
Rebecca: Yeah. The more mistakes you make, the more air time. I learned that.
Tribefan: So there was another strategy.
miri: Well, and especially since I think you guys are such a dramatic team. With all your ups and downs, both in the Race and emotionally, I think that you got a lot of the air time, too.
Rebecca: Yeah. They really spent a lot of time cultivating our relationship. It was really interesting that they didn’t spend more time with Freddy and Kendra, knowing that they were going to win. Because usually they like to do that. That’s why a lot of stuff I read that I read on the internet, people were banking on Adam and I winning.
Tribefan: Yeah, I had heard. That was kind of a fake spoiler I had heard, that you guys did win. So we were surprised when you didn’t.
Rebecca: Yeah, it would have been nice.
Tribefan: Speaking of your family, was there anything that happened on the Race that they didn’t show that you really wish your family and friends could have seen?
Rebecca: No. I was actually really happy with my edit. I mean, I was shocked at Hayden’s edit, to be honest with you, looking back on it. She is such a funny girl and she was like comic relief on the Race. And they just made her look like such a raging bitch.
Tribefan: She did not come across very well.
Rebecca: She came across very whiny and annoying. And, yeah, I was pleasantly surprised that they gave me a lot of funny lines. Yeah. The one thing I would have to say that I wish they had explored was that we had an alliance with Jonathan and Victoria when it came to the Yield. It was just called our VooDoo Yield alliance. We would not Yield them if they did not Yield us, unless they were the last team and we had no choice. So that’s why we Yielded Freddy and Kendra. And a lot of people didn’t understand why we did that.
miri: Especially since I think earlier in one of the episodes, they showed him yelling at you guys for following them. Did the alliance come out after that?
Rebecca: Yeah. Victoria approached me in Budapest at the Pit Stop, and she was like, “You know, a lot of the people have lost their Yields.” Because at each stop, you turn in all your plane tickets that you don’t use and clues. And so, accidentally, a couple of teams turned in their Yields, and they didn’t mean to, and they don’t get them back. So a lot of the teams, we had an advantage over them. Like Hayden and Aaron didn’t have a Yield. I believe Lori and Bolo didn’t have a Yield. There were a lot of people that didn’t have them. So Jonathan and Victoria knew this, and so did we, so we made an alliance with them that we wanted to Yield—we really wanted to Yield Aaron and Hayden. That was our first. But they were ahead of us at the donkeys, so we couldn’t Yield them.
miri: Why them? Did you feel they were your strongest competitors?
Rebecca: Absolutely. They were the strongest team, and we wanted them out.
Tribefan: But you’re right. They really didn’t show that at all. So it was kind of confusing that you would Yield Freddy and Kendra when Jonathan and Victoria would have been an easy mark, and they were last.
Rebecca: Yeah. It didn’t make any sense. And I was reading on all the sites, people are like, “What is going on with that?” They thought it was horrible that we Yielded Freddy and Kendra and not Jonathan and Victoria.
Tribefan: The fact that they didn’t show that made a big difference, because we were all scratching our heads.
miri: Is that really difficult, reading the sites? I mean, obviously, we only know part of the story, but that’s all we have to base our opinions on. Is it hard not to go, “But wait a minute! You guys don’t know!”
Rebecca: At first it was, especially when people were writing things about which they didn’t have the whole story. And I wanted to go on there and defend myself. And then I got to the point where, you know what? It’s fine. Once it’s over, people will stop talking about it. And it’s kind of interesting. I liked reading the bad stuff. Hayden was banned from reading them, because it was really making her depressed. But I was like, it’s fine. People can say what they want and have opinions, and it’s all good. I had no problem with it.
Tribefan: Well, you seem to have a good attitude about it. I know there have been Racers in the past that really didn’t react very well to the criticism they received on the boards.
Rebecca: Right. Yeah, I can see how it would get to you. Adam never read one. He didn’t ever go on and read it. And it’s probably best that he didn’t, because they really ripped on him at times.
Tribefan: Yeah. In the end, because I know I have friends who really liked you but weren’t fond of Adam. So I think you came across much better in the team than he did.
miri: You know, after some of the interviews you both did right afterwards, like the TV Guide interview and stuff, a lot of people gave both you guys a lot of props for just saying, “Well, that’s what we are.”
miri: People don’t like it when you say, “Oh, we were edited,” you know? So you just kind of—
Tribefan: Absolutely. A lot of redemption can come in your post-Race interviews.
Rebecca: That is one thing I will say about Adam in his defense. I mean, as many issues and problems that he has, he is 100% secure with himself. And he’s like, “This is me.” He doesn’t apologize for it. And I find that to be really admirable because a lot of people just can’t hang with their shortcomings.
Tribefan: That is true. It’s good when you can say, “Hey, that’s who I am. I accept who I am,” as opposed to trying to blame it on someone else for the way you were portrayed. So yeah, it really did go a long way towards people thinking differently of Adam when all was said and done.
Rebecca: He’s probably the most real, not-fake person I’ve ever met. Like if he doesn’t like you, he won’t pretend that he does. He won’t even look at you. And not many people are like that. They’ll put on a smile and sort of be amicable. And Adam cannot be fake. He cannot. He is missing the DNA that lets him be fake.
miri: So were you kind of like the ambassador to other teams if there was a team that he didn’t like or get along with?
Rebecca: It’s so frustrating. I mean, I remember this one incident. We were in Shanghai, and it was hours of operation. We were all lined up outside of this tower—not tower. We were like getting the gongs.
miri: Oh, yeah. Right.
Rebecca: We’re all out there. It’s like 3:00 in the morning, and we’re just all wired. And so me and Hayden and Freddy and Aaron and Kris and Jon, we’re like just being retarded and laughing and just dancing around the premises. And really early, these Chinese people would come and do yoga. And we were like joking with them and just being really loud. And Adam was just this curmudgeon. He was laying there. He just didn’t want to talk to anybody. He was like, “Everybody is making too much noise.” We’re all like, “What is the problem? We’re in China. We’re having fun.” And it was like this big rift between Adam and everybody else. It was horrible. And I was like, “Why can’t you just be nice? Be nice! Let’s have some fun!” So, he was such a downer a lot of the time.
miri: And I remember at one point when you all were—I can’t remember what city this was in—I just remember y’all walking across a bridge or something and you saying something about how you were feeling alone and how you couldn’t hang out with some people as freely as you wanted to because of his attitude. Was that kind of what was going on?
Rebecca: Well, what happened was we got to the cyber-café, and it was hours of operation, so they put us up in a hotel, so we had a lot of time to kill, and we were all going to go to dinner. Well, Adam was like, “I don’t want to go. I don’t want to go.” And I was like, “Adam, I want to hang out with Kris and Jon and Aaron and Hayden and Freddy and Kendra and be social.” And they were really fun to be with, really cool people. And I was like, “Can we just go and be with them, please?” And it wasn’t that he wanted to be romantic with me—how it seemed on TV. It’s just he didn’t want to be with them. And it made me sad, because I was having more fun with them than I was with him. And it got like—
miri: It just kind of put you in an awkward position, it seems like.
Rebecca: Well, I was really torn, because I felt I was likable and fun to be with. And Adam was the antithesis of that. And I just wanted to hang out with them and bond and meet new people and make friends, and Adam was not interested in doing that.
Tribefan: Do you think that pulled you down as a team, because you were just so different in that regard?
Rebecca: Yeah. I think, certainly, our differences played a factor in a lot of—I mean, we were just pulling up the rear the whole time. And, really, I don’t know how we made it to third place. We certainly should not have by all accounts. But, yeah, a lot of it had to do with our inability to communicate and get along. So much energy put into fighting.
miri: Would you say that good communication—I mean, if you’re looking for a partner for the Race—would that be one of the most important tools you could think of that a Race team should have?
Rebecca: I would say the most important element would be respect. You have to respect your partner. And I think a lot of times, I looked at Adam and I felt like he was pathetic, and I didn’t respect him. And so that’s why I didn’t respect what he thought or where he thought we should go or what he thought we should do. I felt very much in charge, and that’s a problem. That’s a deal-breaker, it really is, in a relationship and in the Race.
Tribefan: That kind of came out when he wanted to give a shot at working the airline counter. And you were just like, “You stay there, and I’ll do it.”
Rebecca: Yeah. I was like, “No, I don’t trust you enough. I have to do it, because I don’t know how your abilities are, because I don’t respect you.” And it’s horrible to say that, but it’s just completely honest.
miri: Do you think, by the end, that you had a little more respect for him?
Rebecca: Yeah. I think Adam is capable of a lot more than he thinks he is. And like the skydiving thing, I really wanted to do that. I knew it was going to be skydiving. But I knew that he needed to do that, just to kind of end with a bang, to go out with a bang. So I think that gave him a lot of confidence. Because he really is a lot different than he was when I first met him nearly three years ago.
Tribefan: So it was a good growing experience for him, it sounds like.
Rebecca: Sure. Yeah. He grew a lot. He had a long way to go.
miri: And it sounds like you learned something about yourself, too.
Rebecca: Yeah. I definitely don’t think that we know how strong we are until we’re challenged, until we’re forced to face certain things. And I think that can be true in many aspects of life. And certainly on the Race, I was like, wow, I’m capable of a lot more than I thought I was.
Tribefan: Was there a challenge on the Race that you didn’t think you could do but that you then did and were really proud of yourself for having done?
Rebecca: I would have to say the—I never thought I couldn’t do it, but I certainly was scared shitless—the window washing. It was terrifying. It really was terrifying. It was so high up, and the wind was blowing me across that building, and I couldn’t work the clutch, and I was falling up there. And it just felt like at any minute—I just kept imagining the little rope breaking. I don’t know why I let my mind go there. But it was excruciating. And I just forged—like I have no choice. I have to do this.
Tribefan: How long did it take you to do that?
Rebecca: It took me about half an hour.
Tribefan: Wow. That’s a very long time when you’re afraid.
Rebecca: Yes. Everything went numb.
miri: And you’re so skinny and tiny, it could have just blown you away with that wind blowing.
Rebecca: That was an ongoing joke with the bungeeing, because I got catapulted about 25 more feet than everybody else.
Tribefan: Propelled into space.
Rebecca: They had weights on me, and I still like blew everybody out of the sky.
miri: Was that scary?
Rebecca: Yeah, that was pretty scary. It wasn’t scary at all. I was actually relieved, because we got there, and, of course, it was hours of operation once again. And it was like 3:00 A.M. we got there and the bungee thing didn’t open until 6:00. But we didn’t know it was bungee, because they hadn’t set anything up. It was just a parking lot. So we’re looking around. We’re looking around, and I see a big box that says “bungee,” and I was like, oh no. Because I knew Adam could not do it. He absolutely could not do it. That would be like—that’s his biggest fear. So I was like, “Adam, it’s bungee, honey.” And he was like, “What? What? What?” He’s like, “I’m going home. I’m going home. I can’t do this. I’m going home.” He starts freaking out. He wouldn’t talk to anybody. He was all but crying like in the corner. So, when I found out it was a Roadblock, I was so relieved that my relief took over my fear.
Tribefan: Oh, that’s good. Because you knew with a Detour, it wasn’t going to happen.
Rebecca: I think,had it been a Detour, he would not have done it. He really wouldn’t have done it. And that would have been really sad to me.
Tribefan: So thank God, you just did it, and it was okay.
miri: Well, and then was it he and Bolo who were teasing you while you were—
Rebecca: Yeah, in the recap episode. “Rebecca, if you don’t make it, can we eat your Power Bars?”
Tribefan: What was your absolute favorite task on the Race? What was the best thing of all?
Rebecca: Hmm. The best task? Let’s see. I would have to say I really enjoyed the soapbox. I was so surprised. I loved that. I really did. It was very, very cool. It only looked like it was a second, but it was a lot longer than it seemed.
miri: Oh, really?
Rebecca: Yeah, it was fun. I liked that.
miri: Well, that looked like fun, too, because it wasn’t scary. It wasn’t anything stressful. It was just fun.
Rebecca: It was fun, yeah. We really need more fun things on the Race. Everything’s like scary or disgusting or—
Tribefan: Yeah. It’s Fear Factor on location.
miri: Speaking of the Fear Factor thing, what do you think of these eat-way-too-much challenges?
Rebecca: That seems to be their thing on the Race. It’s not so much what you’re eating, it’s how much you’re eating. In the soup, for example, I was so focused eating the soup that I didn’t even realize what I was doing. I was just like in the zone. And I was so—myself and everybody else—was so sick from that. At one point, Adam was like, “I’m calling a doctor.” I mean, it was very similar to having food poisoning. Yeah, it was not pretty. I mean, I was really, really, really sick for about six hours after I got to the Pit Stop, and all the other teams were, too. And it can’t be good for you.
Tribefan: We agree. None of us seem to like it, either, and we’re not doing it.
Rebecca: I just feel like it’s—and at the time, I was 97 pounds. I was really, really tiny. And, I mean, looking at people like Gus and Aaron who were getting sick from it, and they’re like twice my size. So yeah, gorging yourself till you puke.
Tribefan: We understand that if it’s just some kind of native food and, you know, like the octopus in Season 4, that was something that they went to restaurants to eat. It was a delicacy. But, yeah, when they start getting into the volume, I think that’s where we all have a real problem.
miri: Yeah. And that really started in Season 5.
Rebecca: Yeah. The camera guys were telling us on Season 5 that it was just a big pukefest when they were eating the eggs, and they didn’t really show that. And the same thing with the caviar. They were just getting sick left and right. And they didn’t want to show that, because they kind of wanted to—but they sure showed it on my season.
Tribefan: Yes, they did. And they pointed it out. “Hey, he’s throwing up.”
Rebecca: Yeah. That was fun. That was fun walking into it and seeing Victoria and Aaron throwing up. I was like, “Oh, party!” I don’t even know what I’m going to have to do. I mean, that was awful walking into that room. I was like, oh no.
miri: Just the smell alone, I would not have been able to eat anything.
Tribefan: I know. I don’t know how you got yourself into a zone, because, yeah, the smell would have ended me right there.
Rebecca: Yeah. The funny part is, the next day, during the Pit Stop, they took us back to that restaurant for lunch.
Tribefan: Like you really wanted to revisit those people.
Rebecca: I know. Another thing about the soup is that that’s not—like they said it’s a Hungarian delicacy. It’s not. They were in the back like making it as spicy as they could, adding stuff to it. I mean, they were really trying to make it painful for us.
Tribefan: See, that’s what I really don’t like, because you’re right, it’s not even endemic to the culture. You’re making it up just to make you all sick.
miri: Personally, for me, I think it’s very Ugly American. I think it’s the picture people have of Americans, that we eat until we’re sick.
miri: And that, you know, we’re a big fat nation. And, as a big fat person, I can say that. You know, that is true. People do have that perception of us. And that’s just—
Rebecca: Yeah. And it’s also disrespectful to cultures that don’t have any food.
Rebecca: I know for a fact that, when they were doing the eggs eating, they were in a very poor country. And, you know, people don’t have anything, and here’s the big Americans in here stuffing their faces. I mean, that’s disgusting.
Tribefan: It is disgusting. It’s disrespectful. Yeah, we can do without the eating.
miri: On to maybe more pleasant topics.
Tribefan: Okay. We’ll move off from the vomit now.
miri: You guys, it seems like the Racers who did go to Sequesterville ended up being fairly close. Do you feel like you’ve made some close friendships with people on the Race?
Rebecca: Oh, absolutely. I mean, Hayden is like one of my best friends. I see that girl every day.
Tribefan: Oh, that’s so cool.
Rebecca: Yeah, she’s my girl. We’re very, very tight. And I’m invited to Freddy and Kendra’s wedding next month. And I see Jon and Victoria quite a bit. Jon, Victoria, myself, and Aaron are all going to Hugh Hefner’s birthday party on Saturday at the Playboy Mansion.
miri: Ah, that’s fun, I guess.
Tribefan: It’s probably more fun for the guys.
Rebecca: Exactly. But, yeah, we all hang out. We go on hikes, we go out for dinner, and we spend a lot of time together.
Tribefan: Oh, that’s great. I know that you’ve become friends with Brennan as well, and I’m sure you’ve met other Racers from other seasons.
Tribefan: But is the L.A. group pretty tight?
Rebecca: We are. I just went—earlier this morning, I had breakfast with some Survivor people. So it’s like a little reality world culture out here, like a little subculture, all the Survivor people and Race people and different shows. They all kind of hang out.
miri: Like a little support group for people who’ve survived reality TV.
Rebecca: I guess that’s kind of what it is.
Tribefan: That’s fun. What else have you been up to since the Race?
Rebecca: Since the Race? Let’s see. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling. I just got back from Florida the other night, and, tomorrow, I’m going to New York. I’m kind of all over the place. I was up for this Discovery Channel show, and I don’t know if that’s going to happen just because CBS is giving me a hard time with my contract. So I don’t know—
Tribefan: Is that only for like a year or something afterwards?
Rebecca: Yeah, they own me. And it’s kind of a bummer, because it looks like that’s the only problem with me booking that.
Tribefan: Oh, that’s too bad.
miri: Are you allowed to talk about what that show would be about?
Rebecca: An extreme sports travel show. So basically like Joe Schmoe writes in and says, “Hi, I’m an accountant in Sherman Oaks, and my dream is to rock climb with so-and-so,” who’s like the most famous rock climber in the world. And I would show up at the door with this famous person that he wants to rock climb with, and I’d be like, “Pack your bags, we’re going to leave.” And then we’d fly out, and we’d go through a training session and do all this stuff. But it’s extreme sports, like helicopter skiing and all kinds of stuff.
Tribefan: There’s a big, big audience for that. That would be a great show, I think.
Rebecca: Yeah. I think so, too. One of the producers was a big fan of the Race, and he was like, “Yeah, we really want you, because you’re like a strong girl.” I was like, yeah, that would be good.
Tribefan: If you actually can work it out with CBS.
miri: Well, good luck on that.
Rebecca: Steve is dealing with it. I really am kind of like just an innocent bystander. Other than that, I’m just kind of jobless, looking for something to do. You know, I’m going to be 30 in June. It’s like a big life-changing age, or at least a turning point.
Tribefan: It’s a milestone.
Rebecca: Yeah. I really would like to do something, I don’t know, worthy, something interesting. So I’m keeping my eyes open for something.
Tribefan: That’s good, because now is the time of life when you can do those things, you know, find what it is you’re looking for.
Rebecca: Yeah. Certainly.
Tribefan: Do you have any advice for people who aspire to be on the Race?
Rebecca: I would say—well, everyone says this, but be yourself. But that’s huge. I mean, they really—I remember when we were making the tape, Adam was like, “We should be on spinning bikes and be really creative.” And I was like, “No, we shouldn’t. We should sit on my bed, set up my video camera, and film ourselves.” And that’s exactly what we did. We just kept it super-simple, because essentially they want to know that you are an interesting person when it just comes to you and the camera. And that’s the essential, key thing, just to be able to articulate yourself and be interesting and be a compelling persona and make people want to watch you. And certainly another huge thing is your chemistry with your partner. What they really are interested in is having relationships that are kind of unresolved, like fathers and daughters who don’t have the best of relationships and they’re trying to work it out, or boyfriend/girlfriend, or a marriage that’s on the rocks. You know, they like relationships that have banter, that have interesting components.
miri: And, obviously, you need to feel comfortable enough with each other to have that banter and back and forth.
Tribefan: Was there anything that you didn’t bring with you on the Race that you really could have used and you’d recommend someone take with them?
Rebecca: Yes. A sleeping bag. That would be first and foremost. Oh my God, how many times we slept outside, and I had nothing, and it was awful. Thanks to Hayden and Aaron, they had an extra little silk kind of sleeping bag thing that Adam and I would squeeze ourselves into. And also, a bag of detergent. I would bring that.
miri: Yeah, that sounds like good advice. Yeah. We’ve heard tales of the smell emanating from Racers towards the end of the Race, so sure.
Rebecca: Like Adam got real sick in Sri Lanka and threw up all over himself, and then put his clothes in a Ziploc bag and carried it around with him. I was like, oh, no, no, no, no.
miri: Does that just constantly feeling dirty, does it just wear down on you? Does it affect your mental outlook at all?
Rebecca: Yeah, but it gets to a point where you’re just like—depending on how long the leg is, because you can always shower at Pit Stops if you don’t shower before that. So that’s a few days of running around. And it’s harder in the Third World countries where it’s hot. Yeah. I mean, at some points, I was so dirty and covered in, you know, fish juice when we were fish stacking—I think that was Dakar—and you’re just disgusting. I mean, you kind of revel in it. Like, okay. I’m gross. It’s fine.
Tribefan: I guess once you’re gross, what difference does it make?
Rebecca: Yeah. It’s kind of liberating not to care or be concerned about your appearance.
miri: What do you think of this—have you been watching the current season?
Rebecca: Yes, I have.
miri: What do you think about this taking away the whole backpacks and everything on the non-elim?
Rebecca: I love it. I love it. I think that they have to constantly innovate on the show to keep it interesting, because you don’t want the same old stale thing happening. Yeah. I’m glad I wasn’t on that season, though. I was just like, no, I need my lip-gloss. Yeah. But it’s definitely interesting. It will be very telling on them as Racers to see how they’ll do without their comfort products.
miri: Right. Well, personally I think Meredith and Gretchen did fantastic. It was amazing to see them come back from that.
Rebecca: Yeah. They are doing great. They’re holding their own.
miri: How did it feel to be on the Race with this very controversial personality of Jonathan? I mean, he was getting so much press and not very positive press.
Rebecca: It really didn’t bother me, because everywhere I went was, “Oh my gosh, he’s bad.” I mean, that was like the first question out of everybody’s mouth. And it more annoyed me, because he would call me on a daily basis and want to talk for like an hour about how everybody hates him and he’s getting like 5,000 e-mails a day. I’m like, “Jonathan, in a few weeks, no one is going to give a shit. No one is going care. So, you know what? Either run with it and enjoy it while you have it, or just go hide under a rock and come out when you’re eliminated.”
Tribefan: When the coast is clear.
Rebecca: Exactly. And it didn’t bother me at all. I was like, you know, that’s just—of course, it’s going to get all this attention, and everybody is going to be focused on him, because he was so unbelievably cruel.
Tribefan: Did you see that or was it something that we really got the narrowed-down version for TV? Was he as disruptive for everyone?
Rebecca: Oh my God. He was so annoying. Adam and I did not like him from the moment we saw him in the hotel during finals. He was loud, and he was unruly, and he was obnoxious. And, in the finals at CBS, we were all like in the boardroom, and we had to sit there for like hours on end just staring at each other, like the final pick. He just wouldn’t sit still, and he was annoying, and we were, God, the guy is an idiot. We just did not like him. And what you saw on the Race was very much who he was, and, as you could see, he was possessed by the Devil on the Race. But Jonathan is a great person. He has a humongous heart, and I think watching himself has really taught him a lesson. And he is a very compassionate, fun person to be with. And I often hang out with him and talk to him, and there are no traces of that at all in his daily personality.
miri: So you think he just needs to stay clear of the Race?
Rebecca: He’s very competitive, this huge Race fan and Survivor fan. He’s been trying to get on both those shows forever. And I think his stakes were just really, really high.
miri: Yeah. Over-invested, maybe.
Rebecca: Yeah, yeah. I will say this: He was probably the smartest player on the Race. He was a very, very good player. Aaron was the strongest, and Jonathan was the smartest.
Tribefan: If he’s too competitive, sometimes that can be a very bad thing.
Rebecca: Yeah. And, in the Race, attention to detail, that will kill you. If you do not pay attention to detail, that will be the reason you are out of the Race. That’s why Lori and Bolo were out. They didn’t read the detail. Jon and Victoria. You know, it comes down to the details.
Tribefan: You can only go so fast.
Rebecca: Yeah. Exactly.
miri: How long were you at those keys at the end?
Rebecca: Six hours.
miri: Six hours. Oh my God.
Rebecca: I was there for six hours.
Tribefan: Did you ever consider giving up?
Rebecca: Never. Never once. I would have gone all night.
miri: And you just barely got the key in time. Right? I mean, the lock in time.
Rebecca: Yeah. It was a crazy story, actually. It was about 6:30 and the gondolas were closing at 7:00. And so production stepped in, like “Hey, we only have 30 minutes left. Rebecca, your lock is between this point and that point, and Hayden, yours is between there and there.” So they narrowed it down for us, and we still couldn’t get it. So, at about quarter of 7:00, they stepped in again, like “Rebecca, your lock is like one of these ten. Hayden, yours is over here.” So Aaron and Adam were sitting there panting, we’re like, oh my God. And we still couldn’t get it. So it was like 6:58, and they’re like, “Okay, you guys, step forward.” Hayden’s like, “It’s totally clear we can’t do it. It’s over. It’s done.” And I walked away from the keys, too. And production goes, “Okay. You have two choices. You can either wait at the bottom and try again in the morning or take the four-hour penalty and then make a run for the Pit Stop. So I had been there for six hours. I hadn’t had any food or drink in like 24. I was not about to do either of those options. I was, I don’t like those. I want to go to my damn hotel right now and order room service. So I said, “You know, I’m going to try one more lock.” And I went over, and, in the last second, I opened it.
miri: Wow. Was it just that the keys weren’t turning, or just—
Rebecca: They were like 600 years old, and the keys like had to be inserted a certain way, and there was a certain amount of pressure involved, and they were rusty, and it was awful.
miri: And I bet after Hayden breaking off a few, you were afraid to turn too hard, too.
Rebecca: Yeah. Oh, yeah. She broke two keys, had to go back down to the bottom and get them.
miri: Wow. I just think watching that, it was so tense. You know, everyone at TARcon was just on the edge of their seats watching that. I never thought turning a key in a lock could be so interesting to watch.
Rebecca: Yeah. Well, that was the most hellacious point of the Race for me. That and counting the damned stuffed animals in IKEA.
Tribefan: Of course, it was a source of great amusement for us, that’s for sure.
Rebecca: My little comments about going insane and—I was just losing my mind at that point after like the fourth hour.
miri: Yeah. I loved the bit where you just were like picking them up like they were nasty things, “Number one. Two. Three.”
Rebecca: Yeah. I’m moving my mouth.
miri: Oh, I know. I just thought that was great. How long were you at that one?
Rebecca: Four hours.
miri: Wow. And with all the noise going on around you and everyone else trying to count at the same time—
Rebecca: Seriously, it was the most tense, hellacious day of my life, because, not only were you trying to like remember the number, but then you had people with pots and pans slapping and just noise and distractions. And my mind was fried.
Tribefan: And that’s where the exhaustion would really play a part, because you’re not mentally sharp.
Rebecca: Oh, yeah. I mean, 95 percent of the exhaustion was mental, because the stuff that we do, the physicality of it, I mean, yeah, certain legs were much more physically demanding than others. But, during it, it was mental. I mean, you don’t see us in the travel agent for seven hours trying to find the best flight out of Dakar. You know, we’re freaking out, and all the power kept dying in the travel agency, and you had to wait on the slow computer forever. I mean, that was just miserable.
miri: Oh my gosh. You know, I think Hera described it as 30 days of just total insanity.
Rebecca: Oh, yeah.
miri: And it’s just amazing, after hearing some of the stories, that you have brain cells left by the end of it, because it just seems like all your connectors would be fried.
Rebecca: I got home from that trip, and I crashed for like a week. I seriously slept for a week.
miri: Because y’all just went straight from the finish line home. Right?
Rebecca: Yeah. In Chicago that night, we had a wrap party, and then the next—I think we left the next day, yeah.
miri: So what did you guys think of TARcon?
Rebecca: I thought it was great. I really thought it was neat. It was kind of a kick walking in and having everyone yelling your name. I felt like a Beatle.
miri: It’s like being a rock star for one night. Right?
Rebecca: Yeah. But it was great. It was cool. It’s great to see people who truly love something you’re a part of. And I think that’s the greatest thing about it, is that it does bring people a lot of enjoyment. And I’m just glad I could have entertained, I suppose.
Tribefan: Oh, you did! That’s the thing, I think a lot of Racers don’t understand the community that’s developed around all of this.
Rebecca: Oh, I know.
Tribefan: People have become good friends with people they never knew before, you know. And the old Racers, the ones who choose to keep coming around, are part of that community. So just so you know, you’re always welcome back, and you’ll still be a rock star.
Rebecca: Oh, thank you!
Tribefan: If you need an ego boost, just come into a room full of Amazing Race fans.
Rebecca: But, really, it’s such a trip. Like there are fans all over, and it’s so nice. And people think they’re bothering you when they come up to you, but they’re really not.
Tribefan: So do you get recognized a lot?
Rebecca: Not a whole lot. Recently it’s been more, when I travel outside of L.A. Because here is where every other person is on TV.
Tribefan: That’s true.
Rebecca: But a funny thing happened, actually, right before I went to Florida, about a week and a half ago. I was getting my nails done, and I was the only person in the salon. And this woman walks in. And did you ever see Private Parts with Howard Stern?
miri: I saw part of it.
Rebecca: Well, her name is Mary McCormack. She’s an actress on The West Wing.
miri: Oh, yeah.
Rebecca: So she walked in. And I was thinking, oh, I just heard her on Howard Stern like a few days prior, and I really liked the interview. So I was like, oh, I’m going to say something to her and just tell her I really liked her interview or whatever. So I’m trying to think of a way to say it without sounding like a dorky fan. So I open my mouth to tell, and she looks at me and goes, “Oh, I so wanted you to win.” I was like, here I am about to like praise her, and she’s a big Race fan.
miri: That’s fun.
Rebecca: So, yeah, we exchanged numbers, and I’m actually going to watch the Race at her house next week.
Tribefan: Oh, that’ll be fun.
Rebecca: Yeah. It’s just trippy. Like you never know when people will recognize you or what they’re thinking.
miri: Yeah. Well, listen, thank you so much for your time and we really appreciate it.
Rebecca: My pleasure.