Carol and Brandy is the sort of team that’d split opinion. Take it from me on this one: in the early legs of the race they came across as this annoying, snobbish team. In the later legs, however, they got their act together and became this focused team, and suddenly I don’t mind seeing them far on the race. So, I’ll admit, I felt a little bad when they got U-turned in Singapore on The Amazing Race last Sunday, and were consequently eliminated.
The couple were known for their many lines–witty, rude, choose your pick–and I got to experience just that when I talked to them early today. We talked about their early bickering, their opinion towards Brent and Caite, and that “valet parking” line in Los Angeles.
Why did you decide to join the race?
Carol: It was just such a unique opportunity to travel extensively and have some grand adventure with someone that I had just begun a relationship with, and as such simply seemed too good to pass up.
Who first floated the idea of joining the race?
Carol: Actually, the idea to apply was recommended to us by a mutual acquaintance of ours.
Brandy: We were newly dating and had such great chemistry, so she thought we’d be great on the race.
In the early legs of the race, it seemed like you weren’t willing to go through certain tasks–those comments on valet parking and hotel rooms–thus viewers thought you were arrogant. Do you think you were misunderstood?
Brandy: I think we were terribly misunderstood. We were willing to do each and every challenge from the very beginning of the race. The lack of hotels and valet parking didn’t affect me in any way.
Carol: We have both traveled extensively but never with such a great degree of sleep deprivation and never having spent so many nights either sleeping on a plane or bus, or wandering around the streets.
Brandy: I’ve lived in many other countries as a local, no valet parking or hotels involved! (laughs) Also, I am from Utah. I grew up camping and doing strenuous outdoorsy things, so any type of lodging the race had for us, I was ready for. I know how to make myself comfortable in any given situation, and often all it takes is a travel pillow and blanket, which I definitely took with me!
Carol: My joke about “my idea of roughing it is when there is no valet parking” was exactly that, just a joke.
Brandy: That’s all it was, a joke! Where did an appreciation for humor, self-effacing at that, go?
Carol: There is a really cute secret scene of us in the streets of Puerta Varas amused over our homeless and moneyless state. Other racers cried and yelled. I have a tendency to use levity in times of great stress but would challenge anyone to go through the same experience and not feel stressed.
You also argued a lot in the early legs, but you decided to get past the bickering and focus on the race. What was that moment like? I’ll be honest: I didn’t expect you to make it far after all those disagreements.
Brandy: I appreciate your honesty. The truth is, we barely knew one another before embarking on this trip of a lifetime. It was actually between four to five months that we have been dating before we left on the race. Our entire relationship was consumed by the race: auditioning, preparing, then competing. I am quite proud of how well we did given that handicap. All the other teams had had relationships for much, much longer.
Carol: Look, we are two strong-willed, confident women. We agree to disagree but really never let it get in our way–the only time it really affected us was when we spent too much time trying to find the bags in the field in Bariloche. If we had simply tried it for 10-15 minutes we would have ended up in second as opposed to third on that leg. But it taught us a great lesson about how long we should stick with a task before moving on to something else, so in the end, it was absolutely worth it.
Brandy: After our meltdown in Bariloche, we realized that we would not survive either in the race, or together, if we didn’t shift our thinking. We decided that it had to be us against everybody else, not us against each other! We recognized early on that if we didn’t focus on our game and realize we were not competing against each other but rather against the other players, we would surely be not only eliminated, but miserable, too!
How were you with the other teams? Your short-lived tie-up with Joe and Heidi raised some eyebrows, but soon it seemed only a couple of teams didn’t like you a lot.
Carol: I don’t think we viewed our alliance with Joe and Heidi as short-lived. Rather, we ended up in separate vehicles shortly thereafter and we always wished them success in every subsequent leg.
Brandy: We ran a great leg with Heidi and Jo and I have nothing but respect for them. I chose to focus on the race, not the other racers. It was far more important for me to show up each leg and do my absolute best, give it my 110%.
Did you really dislike Brent and Caite, or were you just frustrated by them? Have you since talked to them?
Carol: Can’t say that I have spoken to them and really don’t expect to. I also wouldn’t say that I disliked them because the truth is, we were never around them for any significant period of time so I really didn’t have a chance to form an opinion in one way or another.
Brandy: Until the U-turn, I had nothing but kindness and support for Brent and Caite.
Would it have made a difference if another team slapped you with a U-turn?
Carol: We considered it to be a strategic opportunity to eliminate a stronger team.
Brandy: I would have been equally stunned had Mike and Louie managed to U-turn us. It just does not make good strategic sense to target us. We were not the strongest team, physically, and we had never won a leg of the race.
Carol: I don’t think we considered ourselves to be that big a threat in terms of outrunning or out-lifting the other teams so it just doesn’t seem like the smartest decision at the time.
What was the most memorable part of the race for you?
Carol: There were so many incredible sites. I personally loved South America and cannot wait to go back. The Champagne region of France was gorgeous, and with a couple of glasses of champagne probably even more enjoyable. Even Massiges, though the task was grueling, was very moving when you consider its history dating back to World War I and the soldiers that died there. And I loved Malaysia with its mix of three different cultures.
Brandy: I left bits and pieces of myself across the race course. There is not one moment that sticks out for me over any other. Everything from traversing the high wire, to bungee jumping, to the gorgeous helicopter ride in the Seychelles and those damn incense sticks has left an imprint on me. I am forever changed for having done the race, and for that I consider myself very lucky!
You’ve been dating for five months or so before joining the race. How has the whole experience benefited your relationship?
Brandy: I learned a lot about Carol in a very short period of time, and about us together. I am very proud of how we were able to show up and complete each task despite exhaustion, hunger and stress.
Carol: Look, we got to share something incredible that very few people get the opportunity to do, so from that perspective I feel humbled, honored and privileged to have participated. I’m proud of the fact that we never gave up, we never cried or threatened to quit when we didn’t like the tasks we were faced with.
Brandy: Although we bickered a bit, we never gave up, we supported each other and we did our best and for that I am very proud.
Carol: Our goal was simply to do our best and not worry about the things we couldn’t control and I think by and far we have achieved that goal.
(Image courtesy of CBS)