The Amazing Race can be brutal sometimes. Brother-sister duo Azaria and Hendekea dominated the race early on, winning a plethora of prizes amid their first place finishes, yet all it took was one misstep in a Lithuanian airport and their million dollar hopes were shot down in cold blood. The siblings looked poised to run away with the race – they were smart, athletic, they pushed each other, and got along in the way quality siblings do. Their undoing was an honest mistake (accidentally booking business class instead of economy tickets) and, still, they almost came from behind to nip the second to last place team. Azaria and Hendekea stopped by earlier today to speak with us about their time on the race.
Below you will find both the written transcript and full mp3 audio.
First off, can you guys tell us how you got on the show? Were you always big fans of The Amazing Race? Had you always planned on trying out together?
Hendekea: I’ve always been a big fan of The Amazing Race. I remember many Sundays watching with my mom at home, but I think Azaria was not as big of a fan.
Azaria: I’ve seen a couple episodes, but I actually don’t watch very much TV to begin with.
Hendekea: I actually met somebody who was involved with the show, and she encouraged me to audition. Of course my brother being the big competitor that he is, and it was obviously apparent through the race, I wanted to do it with him. I felt like, because he was my brother, it was probably one of those relationships where I felt like we could be completely open with each other and not worry what does this mean about our relationship. So we did the whole audition process, and here we are.
Why do you guys think you performed so well throughout the race, especially early on? What was the key to your success?
Azaria: I think the key to our success is that individually we’re very strong-willed and intelligent people. If you look at all the legs that we performed on, with the exception of the last one, the reason that we did well was because we switched off who would focus on the certain task at hand. One of us was always really in the driver’s seat. One of Hendekea’s strengths is being able to interact with people, so when it came to meeting folks or using cell phones, things like that, she really took a lead in that. Understanding what our roles were was definitely beneficial.
Hendekea: For the race, I think it’s good to have a leader. Not necessarily a leader and a follower, but someone who takes the lead in each race, and not necessarily the same person. Having it switch off, because sometimes it can get tiresome to have both people just constantly being so stressed out. I think in the beginning we definitely had Azaria lead in Amsterdam, then I lead in Burkina Faso, so it kind of worked out that way for us.
What aspect of the race was most different from your expectations going in?
Azaria: What surprised me about the race was actually the duration of pit stops. I thought that it would be really a hundred miles an hour, go go go, every minute of every day. In the timeframe between pit start and pit stop there’s a lot of that, but the pit stops lasted 12 hours, 24 hours, 36 hours. I thought it had a negative impact on us as a team, because we both have strong minds and are able to deal with a lot of adversity. If we had shorter pit stops I think we would have been better suited for that.
We don’t get to see any of the pit stops. What do you guys do? Is it relaxing? Is it fun at all?
Hendekea: Normally not, because even though it might be more than 24 hours you’re doing a lot of stuff like washing your clothes by hand. When we were in Amsterdam, all my clothes got completely muddy, and unless we were willing to spend like five bucks to go across the street and wash clothes, we have to do it by hand. I spent all day washing and drying my clothes, then of course you’re supposed to sleep, get your stuff together, and get your energy together. It’s not a lot of down time where you’re relaxing.
Azaria: That and a lot of overeating. Oh my goodness.
You guys pretty much dominated the race early on. How frustrating is it to be eliminated just based on one mistake at the airport?
Azaria: It’s tough. The analogy that I’ve been using lately is that it’s like if you go into a battle, or a war, you want to die by somebody’s hand, or if somebody shoots you or something like that. You don’t want to fall off of your horse, and have your horse step on your head. That’s really how I feel this happened. We were charging along, we were moving and grooving, then the [blank] got disconnected and we fell off.
Hendekea: That’s why it was so horrible, because we didn’t have time to recuperate. We didn’t have time to reevaluate and be like okay, this is where we can strengthen our team and make those corrections. One thing just lead to our demise.
Azaria: I felt that that, in and of itself, is what makes the race so interesting. You can have a team that does terrific and is really performing, but they make that crucial mistake and it’s game over. I almost feel like in Lithuania we were getting a little complacent.
Azaria: We woke up a little bit late to get to the pit start.
Hendekea: We did?
Azaria: Yeah, remember how we got woken up?
Hendekea: No, I don’t remember that. I don’t know.
Was there anything edited out over the course of the season that you wish CBS had shown of you two?
Hendekea: I do. When we were in Burkina Faso, I met a local whose name was Tal, and there was a little web clip of us going out to lunch with him. But he was like our saving grace for Burkina Faso. I truly believe that him helping us helped us maybe win one or two of those legs in Burkina Faso. He was just this great guy who helped us with directions, and exchange money, and he came to the airport three different times to hang out with us. He was just a great guy, and I wish we could have seen more of him on the screen, but he didn’t cut it, he didn’t make it.
Do you two have anything coming up in the future that you’d like to talk about, outside the show?
Hendekea: I’m working where I’ve always been working for the past two years, and I want to go back to school so I’m hoping to get that together soon. That’s about it.
Azaria: I’m still trudging along in my old job, so no changes there.
I appreciate you guys stopping by to talk to us, and we wish you luck in the future.
Azaria and Hendekea: Thank you.
-Interview Conducted by Oscar Dahl
(Image Courtesy of CBS)