Spartanburg native primed for 'Amazing Race'
BY HILARY POWELLhilary.firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 3:15 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 9:06 a.m.
Don't let the pink outfit and the Palmetto State-bred smile fool you
Marisa Axelrod is a 22-year-old Spartanburg native whom the world is about to witness in the biggest race of her life, and her family says the Southern belle has got the attitude she needs to win.
"To me it's going to be shocking (to others) because she's such a girly-girl," said mother Lori Axelrod. "She's sweet and caring, but at the same time competitive."
Axelrod and best friend Brooke Jackson, a 24-year-old graphic designer from Columbia, will compete in the upcoming installment of the reality show "The Amazing Race," set to premiere at 8 p.m. Sept. 28 on CBS.
The ladies will join 10 other teams who will travel more than 30,000 miles, spanning five continents. The 13th season of "Race" will feature a fistful of firsts, including teams traveling to what the show calls "a floating city." There are also stops at first-time "Race" destinations such as Cambodia and Kazakhstan.
At every location, each pair will have to compete in a series of mental and physical challenges and must overcome those challenges to learn their next destination.
Marisa Axelrod was unavailable for comment on Wednesday, but CBS representatives are permitting an interview today.
Lori Axelrod had never watched the reality show until her daughter auditioned, she said. But Marisa has been dancing at her grandmother's studio, Miss Marion's School of Dance in Spartanburg, since she was 3, and Alexrod said her daughter has the drive to do well.
"All her life, she's been in dance competitions, and that certainly helps," Lori Axelrod said. "Dancing gives you poise and confidence."
On the show's biography Web page, Axelrod contends her extensive dance training will help her be focused and determined during "Race."
Grandmother Marion Feinstein said no one was more taken aback by the trip than she was. She and Marisa share a close bond, but even Feinstein wasn't let in on the show secret. In April, Marisa told her family she was going to Paris for a school trip, Feinstein said.
"It was very hush-hush," she said. "There's no name calling me 'grandma' because Marisa and I are best friends. And wow, when I heard the news, I don't think anything in my life has been as exciting."
Axelrod is a broadcast journalism student at the University of South Carolina. She describes herself as "ambitious, witty and spontaneous."
Joining her at USC Columbia this year is little sister Shauna Axelrod, 18, of Spartanburg, who said she is inspired by her sister's experience.
"I think it's awesome," Shauna said. "Of course she's my older sis and I look up to her, but I've learned to take more risks and be outgoing (from watching her)."
Shauna said she plans to watch each episode at her sister's apartment in Columbia.
Gal pals Marisa and Brooke are competing, among other things, to be the first "Amazing Race" all-female team to take the $1 million prize. Marisa's mom thinks she's got what it takes.
"She's a go-getter," Axelrod said. "If she puts her mind to something, she'll do it full out."http://www.goupstate.com/article/20080821/NEWS/808210372/0/living