ISLANDER'S 'AMAZING RACE' TO THE NATIONAL STAGE
Dongan Hills bartender globetrots with her friend in a top TV reality show
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
By DANE VARRIANO
ADVANCE STAFF WRITER
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Lots of Staten Islanders know Danielle Turner as the pretty, personable bartender at Es-Ca restaurant, Dongan Hills. The rest of the world knows her as an adventurous contestant on "Amazing Race," the reality-television show.
After being scouted in Las Vegas, the 23-year-old Tottenville resident made her television debut in the ninth season of the CBS hit show, with her friend Danielle Torchio. Eric Sanchez was a competitor, and now the dating couple is on the show together for the "Amazing Race All-Stars," Season 11.
Ms. Turner and Sanchez, a Floridian, are globetrotting in competition with other two-person teams for the $1 million grand prize.
They rose to second place two weeks ago, and now stand in fifth place. They have five more episodes to make up the ground and claim the big prize. The show airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBS.
Racing in the show, which entails rushing around the world while facing obstacles and chores, is demanding -- but Ms. Turner loves the adventure.
"It's so tiring and draining, it really is not that easy," she said, " but it's so rewarding, you feel so proud of yourself."
During her travels with nothing but an extremely tight budget, two shirts and only a few belongings, including toiletries, Ms. Turner often longs for home, but her innate craving for adventure keeps her going strong. Although she anticipates seeing more of the world, she can't wait to go home and have a home-cooked meal and a nice relaxing bath.
Her parents supported her desire to be on the show, knowing she would love to gain an amazing experience. But not being allowed to hear her voice over the phone for 40 days is difficult for them.
"I'm not allowed to speak to anyone, not even my family -- no phone calls, letters, nothing," Ms. Turner stressed.
Dealing with people in her role as a bartender may be good practice for Ms. Turner when interacting with people around the world.
The four-year-veteran bartender is well known at Es-Ca for her outgoing and friendly personality; plus, she can serve a delicious drink.
"She's is a wonderful bartender with a great personality," said Michael Calore, Es-Ca's owner.
The Es-Ca bartender is looking forward to doing more modeling and television work and is proud of her accomplishments thus far.
As of now, her experience on the "Amazing Race" show, Ms. Turner said, is nothing shor of "amazing!"
Dane Varriano is a reporter for the Advance. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org