The Amazing Race > The Racers

Azaria Azene and Hendekea Azene - TAR12

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MSN Interview

Here's what the brother and sister team had to say for themselves:

MSN: So guys, sorry you got eliminated from "The Amazing Race."

Hendekea: Yeah, tell me about it.

MSN: It seemed like you guys had everything you needed to go all the way. You'd come in first on three legs. So what happened? Why did you guys get the business class rather than economy?

Azaria: We got the business-class ticket rather than economy because we didn't really dictate to the travel agent very loudly that we wanted economy. And that was compounded by the fact we never really checked the ticket to make sure it was economy.

MSN: So why does "The Amazing Race" have that rule, that all flights have to be economy class?

Hendekea: My guess is because number one, it's cheaper, and probably more importantly, the pressure is more on if you have to get economy, because usually first-class tickets are more available on international flights. And so there wouldn't be as much competition to get a flight period if first-class was open.

Azaria: Also, I was thinking that on an economy flight, say, from L.A. to Ireland, it's a lot more difficult than a first-class ticket.

MSN: So was there any possibility of your, say, trading your business-class flight with someone economy-class, or was that disallowed by the rules?

Hendekea: No. The explicit rule is that you must purchase economy tickets. So we could have downgraded or gotten different seats but that would have been against the rules because we had to purchase economy tickets. And that had to be done at the ticket-agent phase, at that time.

MSN: So how would you categorize your experience on the Race overall?

Azaria: Ups and downs, but for the most part, except for Croatia, the ending there, it was really phenomenal. It was just an unbelievable opportunity, a chance not just to travel the world and to see different cultures and places, but to share that experience with my sister and actually my family and friends back home.

Hendekea: Yeah, it was obviously more than just winning a million dollars. Traveling around the world, and meeting interesting people and building relationships, not just with my brother, but I met so many great people from other teams on the Race.

MSN: How did your time on the Race compare to what you expected going in?

Azaria: I thought it was a little less physically grueling. I thought it was going to be a lot of physical activity with some mental tied into it. But with the exception of the first leg, it really wasn't like that.

Hendekea: I also totally expected to be arguing with Azaria more than I did. I think Azaria and I worked really well together. I think we discovered early on I was strong in certain areas he wasn't and he was strong in certain areas that I wasn't, so if we could keep cool, we were a team that could really work well. So that surprised me.

MSN: What would you say were your strengths and weaknesses as individuals and as a team?

Hendekea: I think obviously Azaria's a lot faster and stronger than I am. But I pay more attention to detail. I have better eyes than he does. I work better when it comes to asking somebody to use a laptop or a cell phone. I'm probably more of a people person. So that was my strength.

MSN: What would you say was your favorite leg of the race?

Azaria: I enjoyed the first leg in Burkina Faso. It started out pretty tough, we slept on the concrete that night. ... Being in Burkina and being able to run with... Misha and do all the activities we did was really fun.

Hendekea: I'd have to say the same. It depends on what's more important to you. Croatia is a beautiful place, a wonderful landscape, and the task in Ireland was fun and crazy, but for me it came down to interacting with people and growing relationships. I think that took place in Burkina Faso, so I'd have to agree with Azaria.

MSN: How did being on the Race affect your relationship with each other?

Hendekea: I think for most of our lives, Azaria and I have had the typical brother-sister relationship. Unfortunately we weren't that close all our lives. I felt he was like the protective brother, so I wasn't as open to him as I maybe would have liked. I think being in such close proximity and having to work together has forced us to be more open. As a result, after the Race, I think that we communicate better, we talk to each other more often, and we're really trying to work on building an open, positive relationship with each other.

Azaria: I think every Hendekea said was pretty accurate. ... I love her and I'll always have her back.

Hendekea: All that's implied, right? I think to make a relationship stronger, you have to be a lot more open. ...

MSN: Other than obviously the mistake that led to you being eliminated, what else might you change if you had the opportunity to do the Race over again?

Azaria: I would have been easier on Hendekea, been more supporting, instead of being a coach, be more a friend or a teammate.

Hendekea: And I tried to be a peacemaker in the sense that it would have been easy for me to fire back at him and argue all the time but I didn't think it was conducive to a better team. But looking back, maybe that was what we needed. Maybe if I had fired back, rather than him nailing it on me, I could have been there to calm him down and reevaluate some of our decisions. MSN: So that last episode, how far back where you from the grandfather and the grandson when it was all said and done?

Hendekea: We were probably 10 minutes behind them. Azaria: Yeah, 10 minutes.

MSN: Looking back on that last leg, once you were in Croatia, was there anything you could have done differently to pare down that 10 or 15 minutes?

Hendekea: A lot of things. They didn't show that our taxi driver took us to the wrong pier. That could have been 10 minutes right there.

Azaria: It took us like a half-hour to get the Roadblock completed just because there were so many blocks and not  very many slots that would fit. And then there was the Great Anchor Incident. ... Our rowboat was tied to the pier, but there was also an anchor that was holding it down, and we didn't realize there was an anchor. MSN: That must have sucked.

Azaria: Yep. 

MSN: So what advice do you have for people who might want to go on "The Amazing Race" in the future?

Hendekea: I'm not a big fan of "Let's go on 'The Amazing Race' and re-evaluate our relationship." I don't think that contestants should try to go on "The Amazing Race" to see how strong their relationship is. I don't think that's not very healthy. You need to be calm, obviously. It seems the people who are the most calm and look at the big picture do the best. So if you can steer away from drama for the most part and remain calm, I think you'll do well.

Azaria: I think the most important thing to do and it benefited us greatly throughout is using all the resources that are available, and particularly focusing on the people. If you were to come to New Orleans and wanted to go to the Superdome, you'd rely on the people around you to help you. Hendekea and I did a really good job of trying to get input from others.

MSN: How did you guys stop from laughing when Jen was complaining in that one leg that you guys had already had your turn at being first and you didn't let them come in first?

Azaria: I smiled, but didn't laugh. She was venting.

Hendekea: She was venting. At that point, they had come really close to first like two or three times I think. They were just frustrated and they let their emotions get the best of them. I didn't really take it too seriously.

MSN: How would you assess the remaining teams?

Hendekea: It's really weird. I think that a lot of people wouldn't expect the two older teams, Gramps and grandson and Ron and Chris, to be there. But I don't think being older is that much of a disadvantage. And in my opinion, it's an advantage because they think a lot more. They're slower because of it, but it also causes them to look at the big picture and not rush into judgment. I think a lot of people are surprised about them being around.

Azaria: I think the remaining teams are all strong in their own way. TK and Rachel are very laid-back. They also have physical prowess. Ron and Christina are extremely intelligent and I think their relationship throughout the Race has gotten stronger and stronger as they've gotten to know each other. Nate and Jen, they bicker, they fight, but if you look at their performance throughout the past six legs, they've always been at the top. They've never really dropped down to the back. So it's a pretty good complement of people who still remain in the Race.

MSN: Guys, anything else you'd like to add about your time on the Race?

Azaria: It was awesome. It was a great experience that's going to stick with us for the rest of our lives, and I feel very fortunate to have been a part of it.

Hendekea: We're just really thankful to have been given this opportunity. It's definitely something I know a lot of people would love to do and we were just fortunate to have been a part of it.

- posted by Raoul

Reality Wanted Interview

Interview with Azaria and Hendekea of the Amazing Race 12
Posted on December 12th, 2007 by Mark
Author's web site:

Q. Mark What initially got you both interested in being on the The Amazing Race?

A. Hendekea, The Amazing Race 12: I am the guilty party here, I am a huge fan of The Amazing Race and roped my brother in to being on the show with me.

A. Azaria, The Amazing Race 12: Hendekea called and asked me to apply with her, it was her fault.

Q. Mark What was your favorite stop while traveling around the world on The Amazing race?

A. Azaria, The Amazing Race 12: My favorite stop was Africa when we visited Burkina Faso.

A. Hendekea, The Amazing Race 12: Africa was also my favorite stop on the race. However, I loved all the stops we visited. I looked most forward to being around the different cultures and the locals. In Burkina Faso we met a local who we ended up having lunch with, I just loved bonding with all the locals in the different countries.

Q. Mark Last week I spoke with Lynne Spillman, as you know she runs casting for The Amazing Race. She mentioned that The Amazing Race is more of a relationship show vs. a travel show. So how did this experience help or hurt your relationship with one another?

A. Azaria, The Amazing Race 12: We had our ups and down like anyone on the race that was under that much pressure. We had some issues at the start but grew stronger as the race went on, after we were eliminated it was hard to be around one another for a little while, but we are now a lot closer.

A. Hendekea, The Amazing Race 12: There was a bit of time right before the race where I was wondering if it was such a good idea to be on the race with my brother. As hard as he was on me on the show he can be harder to deal with in normal life. It ended up working out and we meshed well and found we had different strengths one another did not have. After we got kicked off the show, it was such a shocker and we both went through that “what the hell just happened” thought process. We were both a little depressed for a few days but later we looked at the positive side of things after we reflected on the “coulda woulda shoulda” process.

Q. Mark So in your case things between you two look solid. It doesn’t look so good for Nate and Jen. Did you guys know Nate and Jen were having such a hard time with one another?

A. Azaria, The Amazing Race 12: I think that Nate and Jen have a very up and down relationship to start with so you’re seeing this yo yo type relationship on the show.

A. Hendeke, The Amazing Race 12: As a friend and I consider them friends, I feel bad because they both wear their hearts on their sleeves. There were times I had to calm myself down and filter myself so I didn’t explode on Azaria or someone else during the course of the race. I don’t think Jen and Nate filter their thoughts. I think they love one another very much but I also I think the editing is trying to make it look like Jen is causing most of the problems but it was more 50/50.

Q. Mark, It’s interesting to watch the teams and how they do with one another during the course of the race, I am sure editing is a big factor since viewers don’t see all the footage. On episode two you mentioned that Kynt and Vyxsin were serious competitors, looking at them did you think they would be such a competitive team?

A. Azaria, The Amazing Race 12: I didn’t expect them to be so competitive based upon their appearance and how they value things like getting their makeup ready for race while the rest of us were packing our bags and doing race related things. They came out and did a good job but in my mind they have ulterior motives for being on the show, they are not just there to race.

Q. Mark, Ulterior motives, I must have missed that. What do you think their ulterior motives are for being on the show?

A. Hendekea, The Amazing Race 12: I think they want to be little TV stars. It’s so funny how a person is during the race and how they are when a camera is around. On TV Kynt comes off as a fun loving guy but in reality he was depressed and a little rude, at least to me. He was very quiet but when the camera came around Kynt was a different person.Q. Mark, I have heard that on other shows as well, but they seem to be landing near the top each week and I assume everyone who goes on Reality TV wants a little piece of the star pie. So we have a ton of fans who watch the show on our site and many who have applied for next season or will apply for a future season. Since this show can bring people closer or push them apart what would you say to aspiring Amazing Race contestants?

A. Hendek, The Amazing Race 12: Don’t blame and finger point, both people on a team need to make decisions together not go back and finger point. Communication is by far the most important thing to be successful and enjoy yourself on the show.

Q. Mark, Would you guys do the show again, say if there is an Amazing Race All Stars season two?

A. Azaria, The Amazing Race 12: If you asked either one of us we would say yes before you could finish asking the question.

Q. Mark Well if CBS is reading this I guess they know who to call for All Stars. You two were doing so well and on the last episode you looked to be eliminated because of someone else’s airline booking screw up, was this the case?

A. Hendekea, The Amazing Race 12: It was both our faults and hers. Basically it is the racers responsibility to double check things like this. Azaria did ask for economy but things happened so fast it was overlooked.

A. Azaria, The Amazing Race 12: So we sat down at ticket office and got business class tickets by mistake. What you don’t see is the timing of how things unfolded on the show. When we sat down to get our tickets we only had 20 minutes until the plane left. We then got our tickets with only 10 minutes to spare. It was a very high stress environment, once we were told we had the wrong type of tickets we were left with only 5 minutes to spare and correct it.

Mark Well we want to thank you two for spending some time with us, I am sure we will see you at the finale. Do either of you have a Myspace you want to share with fans?

A. Hendekea, The Amazing Race 12: You can look me up by my name I am the only result for Hendekea.

Amazing Racers' Forbidden Ticket Landed Them Off the Map

Brother and sister engineers Azaria and Hendekea Azene seemed like a final three team for sure. They won three of the first five legs and often operated like a well-oiled genetically-linked machine. But they showed up at an airport gate with a forbidden business class ticket and it was back to start. Just goes to show you can never get too comfortable on The Amazing Race 12 (Sundays, 8 pm/ET, CBS). Once more for the record: Please explain how you ended up with the wrong type of ticket to Dubrovnik.
Hendekea: Luck. The ticketing agent ended up giving us business class even though Azaria said economy. Did you do any "Hey-it-wasn't-our-fault" begging that they didn't show on camera?
Azaria: No. I don't even know if we remembered that we'd said economy.
Hendekea: Everything happened so quickly.
Azaria: We got our tickets at 6:15 am. The flight was leaving at 6:30. They were actually holding up the plane for us. So I can't fault Polish Airlines. I can maybe fault the travel agent a little. But the responsibility to check the ticket is on our own shoulders.
Hendekea: In the end, we should have been the ones to double-check before we left the ticketing agent to make sure it was right. How many languages do you speak?
Azaria: We're both pretty good at English.
Hendekea: But it's funny people thought Azaria could speak French. They were like "We heard him speak French in Burkina Faso." But that was the only three French words we know.
Azaria: And Hendekea actually makes fun of the way I talk to foreign people because I talk with an accent. Plus my hand movements and body gestures just got much more animated.
Hendekea: I did it too, though. When you spend so much time outside of the U.S. you start talking with the same accent of the people you're hanging around. So I can't judge. Well, how was that ill-fated flight?
Hendekea: It was the most depressing time of my life. First of all, we had to wait in Vilnius for three or four hours. And then we had a layover in Frankfurt, and Azaria was moping around all depressed.
Azaria: That was because of all the cigarette smoke around in that airport! [Laughs] It was terrible. [That, plus] we ended up landing four or five hours after the first team. At least you made out pretty well before you were eliminated. You won three legs.
Hendekea: Yeah, we did. We won a trip to Whistler in Alberta, Canada to go skiing. Then Bermuda… and scooters. Which was your favorite leg?
Azaria: The first leg of Burkina Faso where I had to drink the crunchy camel's milk while she was yelling at me. But Croatia would have been [our favorite]. Had we won.
Hendekea: Winning's always great. But our goal was to stay in it as long as possible. Did being Ethiopian ever give you an advantage? Were locals like, "She's not from here but she's a fellow African?"
Hendekea: We told people that we were Ethiopian and they didn't care. The only advantage was the fact that we had been to Africa before. I think that, maybe, with some of the other teams like The Blondes or Kynt and Vyxsin, [the poverty] they saw surprised them and they got very emotional. What did you think when Jennifer complained that you were winning too much.
Hendekea: That was funny. But they didn't show part of it. We got there first and when they were second I put my hand on Jen's shoulder [as if to say], "We're still in the game. That's what counts." And she turned to me and snapped, "Don't touch me!" But Jen and I are good friends and I totally understood where she was coming from. She apologized afterwards and it was no big deal. In general, how did you all handle finding food and timing potty breaks?
Hendekea: I don't know why people complain about food, because I was never really hungry. We were on airplanes half the time and, maybe it wasn't fine dining, but it was food. With bathrooms, I just didn't drink so I wouldn't have to go much. I was probably dehydrated half the time.
Azaria: You do learn to hold it in. But when it comes to food, I looked at it like this: The first leg of the race was so physically demanding I felt like if I could get through that then everything else was cake. It was funny when you called Nick and Gramps out for trying to get the ticket agent to screw over the other teams. How often did you overhear things you shouldn't have?
Azaria: A lot of times you're in close proximity to other people — especially in the ticketing office. That's partially why we ended up sharing a lot of info. We felt like they would get it anyway. In your CBS bio you say you were setting out to make friends along the way. Which teams will you see again? And who would like to never see again?
Hendekea: A lot of the teams live in southern California. So I see them all the time — Nate and Jen, TK and Rachel, Julia. I don't really have anyone that I super dislike except for maybe Kynt and Vyxsin. Why are they not on your Favorite People list?
Hendekea: For several reasons. I feel like they put up a bit of a show. I could care less if somebody's walking around with a pink afro and a tutu. What seemed phony about them?
Hendekea: I can't believe we're getting into this. [Laughs] But Kynt really catered to the camera. The second it was on… Kynt was dynamic and exciting. But when it came to interacting with other teams, they wanted nothing to do with any of us. In this week's episode it just looked like their strategy was to not go along with the crowd.
Azaria: That is the biggest joke ever. I don't want to bad-mouth them, but every single leg of the race they followed people.
Hendekea: In Ireland and in Amsterdam they followed us. They would try to be your friend when it was advantageous to them. But then they would go and backstab you. If that's how you want to play, that's fine, but don't walk around with this high and mighty attitude like, "Oh, we have so much integrity. We would never lie. We're such respectful people." OK. Changing the subject, what happens to your backpacks sometimes? During this last leg, especially, they disappeared.
Azaria: The production guys picked up our backpacks at the airport because they knew that we'd be repelling and doing other things. Is that how you'd be tipped off that a tough leg was coming?
Azaria: No, because the toughest leg was the first one and we had our backpacks for that. In this last leg it was just about logistics. You're not going to be able to carry a backpack down a zipline or when you're dropping into the water. See, some of us — meaning me — would have been worried about not being strong enough. And falling. And killing ourselves.
Hendekea: I guess you could have fallen. But you can't think about it. You just do it. Like before we left for the race, I was thinking about how Joyce [of Season 7] shaved her head in India. I was like, "I would totally not cut my hair." But then when I got on the race I realized I would do many things I otherwise would never expect myself to do.

I just got a question about them.

Were they even called to race in UB?? I think they had the biggest reason to come back to TARUB. I also understand that they might not be called if Christina was also racing. Is there any news about them? Thanks.

I just :<3 em

Here are the statistics on the placement of teams in seasons 12 through 17:
6 9th place teams - Zev/Justin were in AR18
6 8th place teams - Amanda and Kris were in AR18
6 7th place teams - none were in AR18
6 6th place teams - Mel and Michael, Gary and Mallory were in AR18
6 5th place teams - Kynt and Vyxsin were in AR18
6 4th place teams - Keisha and Jennifer, Flight Time and Big Easy were in AR18
6 3rd place teams - Margie and Luke were in AR18
6 2nd place teams - Ronald and Christina, Jaime and Cara, Jet and Cord were in AR18
6 1st place teams -  were in AR18

So only 4 teams with a 6th place (what Azaria and Hezekia finished in AR12) or worse placement appeared in AR18. I would not have put Azaria and Hezekia in instead of Zev/Justin, Amanda/Kris, Mel/Michael (that one is a tossup) or Gary/Mallory.



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