Exclusive: Jennifer and LaKisha Hoffman talk 'The Amazing Race'
By Reality TV World staff, 05/05/2009
The "Sisters" team of Jennifer and LaKisha Hoffman seemed to be on their way to securing the third and final slot in The Amazing Race 14's final leg.
However after downing several bottles of water so that she could complete the penultimate leg's gross food Roadblock task, nature ended up calling at the worst possible time for Jennifer, and she and her sister were eliminated from the race after they after made a brief stop for her to use a bathroom on their way to the leg's Pit Stop mat.
On Monday, the sisters spoke to Reality TV World about why Jennifer wasn't willing to pee her pants for $1,000,000, why LaKisha's openly gay sexual orientation was never mentioned on the show, how long the extra U-Turn task they had to do really took them, and what they thought about their unusual Pit stop confrontation with fellow racers Margie Adams and her son Luke Adams.
Reality TV World: Let's start at the beginning of last night's episode. did you guys walk up to that Pit Stop knowing you were already in last place or did you think maybe Tammy and Victor had gotten lost or [something else]?
LaKisha: Oh yeah, we knew we were last.
Reality TV World: So did you arrive there thinking there was any chance it might be a superleg or were you 100% certain at the point that you were going home?
Jennifer: We just wanted to finish strong and that's the thing about the race -- you can never predict what's going to happen because it always amazes you, that's why it's called The Amazing Race.
But when we were the last team to leave the Detour in China we just wanted to finish, we just wanted to make sure that we didn't quit. So at that point that's what was on my mind: let's finish strong. She motivated so much to where -- I was defeated from all the stress.
I was mentally just broken down, so having my sister there, not wanting to disappoint her and her having that confidence in me. Just, that whole situation became bigger than the race at that point for me. And that's why I said had I not had my sister, anybody else would have let me quit.
So at that point it became much bigger than the race, it was about finishing strong and about how at that point you see my sister and I's relationship, you know, grow. And that's the type of people that we are -- that everything that they built our story and so forth and so on, that's what you see, that's how we are.
That's what I'm most appreciative of having her experience this with me to the end when we got eliminated until now. She's still... she's one of my best friends.
Reality TV World: Jennifer, can you just talk a little bit about what happened with that swimming task. Was it a water phobia?
Jennifer: No (both sisters laugh)
It's not necessarily a fear of water well, I mean, yeah, it is. (LaKisha laughs)
I don't like -- I don't put maybe in situations where I'm required to swim or when I'm around a pool or anything. I always have the attitude 'Well I'm 6' 1" so I can stand in the shallow end and not even hit my belly button' you know, so if I can stand in the water, why swim in it, who cares.
It wasn't a fact of me never wanting to learn how to swim, it just wasn't on my agenda and you know, I just don't put myself in those situations because I automatically think 'death' with water and 'drowning' because I'm an anchor. When you put me in the water I don't float.
Reality TV World: So going forward to the middle part of last night's episode, how much time did you guys lose when you were wandering around looking for that U-Turn cluebox after the opera house [task]?
LaKisha: We're not sure but it felt like we were walking around for hours. We were okay at first, we felt that Tammy and Victor, you know, they had the advantage of the language so they had that to go on [but] we actually saw Margie and Luke and Cara and Jaime walking around as well so even though we were a little frustrated that we couldn't find this place we knew that two other teams were with us.
And then we didn't see Margie and Luke anymore so we figured okay, they found the location and it was down to these last two teams trying to find out where this next clue was.
Reality TV World: Were you expecting to be U-Turned? Because [the show showed] Tammy and Victor making some statement about how they expected you to have U-Turned them if you'd had the chance?
LaKisha: Yeah, I'm not sure why they expected us to U-Turn them, only in the sense that anybody in the situation when it's down to the final four teams and whatever you can do to get an advantage on someone else that's what you do.
We knew that if it came down to a footrace that they were a little, you know, intimated by that. It was disappointing that they U-Turned us but...
Reality TV World: They also said that you guys would have definitely U-Turned someone else if you'd had the opportunity. Was that the case, had you discussed that and who would you have done?
Jennifer: Um, it's all about strategy. Like when we were in the race and we'd seen Margie and Luke and Cara and Jaime we'd figured that we could assume Tammy and Victor were before us.
So, thinking at a strategic point -- because my sister and I, we don't hold grudges, we always think about what's at stake -- so [in that] instance, we'd been roaming around [for a while]. So if an hour or a half hour had passed and we didn't see Margie and Luke well then we assumed they were up ahead of us so the only team behind us was Cara and Jaime.
You see what I'm saying? It's not like 'Oh, if we get there first these are the people that we're going to U-Turn to be malicious.' No, it was all part of a strategic standpoint and that's why we understand why Victor and Tammy did it.
Reality TV World: So if you had been in third place [you'd have used it] but maybe not [if you were in] first place?
Jennifer: Right, right.
Reality TV World: How long did it take you to go back and do that Chinese Waiter task? That seemed pretty difficult.
LaKisha: It actually only took us around 15 minutes or so to do it. We are still surprised until this very moment because we were like 'Oh wow, they U-Turned us [and] this other task we need to speech Chinese!' (laughs)
And so I think initially we were a little nervous but once we came up with a strategy to get past it then that's what we did. So surprisingly it only took us 15 minutes or so.
Reality TV World: Wow, that was probably quicker than the opera task
Jennifer: Yes, at some point that make-up began to singe off my skin and it burned me a little bit on the cheek so... but that was a good task, that was fun
Reality TV World: Did you guys really finish just "seconds" behind Cara and Jaime at the Olympic stadium? I know that's what [The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan] said, but they didn't seem to still be there on the mat [or nearby].
LaKisha: We're guessing [it was] minutes but you really never know, there's really no concept of time during the race until someone is running right next to you.
Jennifer: Yeah, let's just say I did not piss away a million dollars, please. Let's just say that.
Reality TV World: Actually, that's kind of my next question and I'm not really sure the best way to bring this up, but there actually has been a lot of discussion this morning about what people would be willing to do for a million dollars...
Reality TV World: ...and you know, peeing their pants seems to be something most folks have thought they'd be willing to do. Did you realize how close things were [with Cara and Jaime] at that point or did you not realize how tight it was?
Jennifer: No, I just wasn't going to pee on myself (laughs)
Reality TV World: A perfectly legitimate answer... (laughs)
Jennifer: I've been getting calls 'Oh, I would have peed on myself' [and I've been saying] well, you're never put in that situation, ever, in life, so you can always say that it's something that you would do but when you're in that situation we'll see how you'd react.
So I've been like yeah, it was a funny episode [and] you know, it happens. Stuff happens so we've definitely moved on and I don't regret anything that I did in the race and I think my sister and I ran a great race.
Reality TV World: And this is obviously a hypothetical, but do you think you would have made the same decision if that had been the race's final finish line instead of the penultimate Pit Stop?
Jennifer: Um, from the previews where they are around water I probably would have pissed in the water (both laugh)
Reality TV World: The gross food [Roadblock] task, Cara really seemed to fly through it. Was that something that surprised you?
LaKisha: I would say yes. I think both of us joked that she must have had zero gag reflex just because when we left the Roadblock they were just starting. So she must have like pretty much swallowed it whole. (Jennifer laughs)
I think the other thing was that their cab driver dropped them off pretty close [to the stadium] where you could see from the show that our cab driver dropped us off [farther away]. And all those factors concerned left us, you know, in fourth place.
Reality TV World: But you didn't actually get lost on the way there or anything like that, it was basically the bathroom break that was the [final] difference maker?
LaKisha: Well, our cab driver didn't drive very fast
LaKisha: ...theirs, it looked like he was going a hundred miles an hour. And you know you count the distance that he dropped them off to the distance to the distance our cab driver dropped us off and you know...
Jennifer: Lots of factors
LaKisha: You know there were several factors, it wasn't just one single instance that really put us in that position.
Reality TV World: Going back, you had actually alluded to Tammy and Victor's [Manderin language knowledge] a little while ago. Obviously the course was pre-planned, but you guys ended up spending I believe it was not one or two or but [essentially] three legs in China. How big an advantage do you think that was for Tammy and Victor [at this stage in the race]?
LaKisha: I think that in certain instances it was an advantage. Like say in yesterday's episode when they were looking for the next clue. Because they could speak the language, they found out really quickly that it was right next door where for us we didn't find that out.
But the other part of that too is that they are [still] at the mercy of the cab drivers. Even though they speak the language, I think it's pretty tough to -- I mean if you have a cab driver that doesn't know where he's going then it doesn't matter if you can speak the language. I think that in some instances it's an advantage and in other instances you're still on the same page.
Reality TV World: LaKisha, a couple of weeks ago there was a story about how you're openly gay but how that wasn't featured anywhere in the [show]. Was that your decision or was that someone else's decision?
LaKisha: I think it was CBS' decision just because this is a race so I think [the teams] have certain labels and we were 'the athletic sisters' and they really wanted to focus on that aspect of our relationship. And I think they did a great job of that because from the beginning of the race with us adjusting to each other to the end of the race [with] us really supporting and working well as a team, I think they really captured that.
And you know, it's just one of those things where I have big breadth. There's different characteristics of me that make me who I am, from being a woman, to being African-American, to being a sister... it could be as a teacher... it could be as a lesbian. You know there's so many aspects of me so I guess they picked what they felt would really be fitting for us at that moment.
No, that wasn't my decision because my family knows about me and my friends know about me.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: According to a CBS spokesperson, LaKisha's sexual orientation would have "definitely" been mentioned if it had been deemed, similar to the gay father and son team of Mel and Mike White, to be a "major story point" of her The Amazing Race participation. The show has also similarly not noted the orientation of openly gay "Mother and Son" team member Luke Adams, the spokesperson noted.]
Reality TV World: Jen, can you talk a little bit about those clue box incidents with Luke? Based upon what was shown [on TV], it looked like Luke was at least as responsible for what happened there.
Jennifer: Everything they showed and aired on TV was exactly what happened. There's no, you know some people say believe half of what you see and none of what you hear, but if you see it and it's on TV -- I mean it wasn't edited to the point where it was [even] choppy or what have you.
What happened is what happened. There's kind of no room for error but there's really nothing I can say because everything that was explained at the mat and on television by myself was what happened and that's all that I can go from.
Reality TV World: Were you guys how surprised how strongly Margie reacted?
LaKisha: Oh yeah...
Jennifer: I was definitely taken back and honestly I was very disappointed and very shocked at her reaction, definitely, but to each their own.
Reality TV World: According to Phil's blog, that argument at the Pit Stop there after actually went on for about 30 minutes, is that accurate?
Jennifer: It was more like us standing there and them yelling, yeah.
LaKisha: It did, it did go on for about that long, yeah... with Luke pretty upset, walking around and you know, being very dramatic about the situation and you know, once we made it to the Pit Stop [and] that leg of the race was over we were like okay, that's the end...
Jennifer: We were tired, we had run across China... let's go to sleep, so... (laughs)
Reality TV World: Did that change your overall opinion of Margie and Luke or did it just reinforce whatever opinion you already had?
LaKisha: I think that in the instance, just because we don't hold grudges, that when it came down to that next day starting of the leg that we were you know, pretty much over it. [It was] water on the bridge, we're in a competition.
[But] I must say that since watching the other episodes of the show I'm definitely disappointed because it's very evident that you know, they didn't [consider it] water under the bridge. They were still, [holding] a grudge.... they definitely held a grudge and we didn't and so...
Reality TV World: So you weren't aware that they had held that grudge then until actually viewing back the episodes now?
Reality TV World: Can you guys talk a little bit about how you ended up on the show? Who originally [wanted to] apply and why?
Jennifer: I definitely have been a fan of the show, so I applied to it and you know, I originally applied for Survivor but I decided, you know, to change my mind and apply for The Amazing Race.
But the whole process of filling out the application and the video, I mean things just worked out and I asked my sister if she wanted to do it with me and she said 'I don't even know what you're talking about, what's the show?' but all she watches in Law & Order so she had no clue about the show.
So once I said 'You know, watch a couple, I really want to do this with you' and she was like 'Oh, okay, this will be awesome, you know we can do all this and blah, blah, blah.' She got a little bit more excited than I did that's for sure. But yeah, I was always a fan so I was the one that kind of applied for the both of us!
Reality TV World: what was your favorite overall experience while you were out there?
LaKisha: Um, we were talking about before when we were in Thailand and we had a really tough leg and we left our bags [behind] you know, and all of that... (Jennifer laughs)
And I think our relationship really changed at that point because instead of us like fighting and really arguing and being frustrated with each other we just kind of took everything with a grain of salt and we laughed.
I mean when our one cab driver stopped and asked about 15 people where to go and took us to five different locations the only thing with did was like laugh hysterically like the whole time when we really thought we were about to be eliminated. It's not that we didn't take it seriously, it was just 'what else could happen, what other bad luck could happen.'
But between that and the swimming episode where my sister really kind of wanted to give up and didn't and overcame her fear and finished strong -- those are probably my two favorite moments.
Jennifer: Same as mine. I really just have to go back and just think there is another one where we're in the car and for some reason they put in the fact that my sister sneezes funny and when her sneeze made the show it was like okay 'sneeze' and [then] 'God bless you, God bless you' and then I tell her to shut up. (LaKisha laughs)
I didn't even know I did that, but that's something I always do to her every time because she sneezes like that (both laugh)
So it was almost like a reflex that -- at some point we just completely disregarded the cameras and that's how we are. However they depicted us, they way they depicted us on the show, that's the way we really are is it was just like word vomit... I really told her to shut up when she sneezed and I was laughing hysterically at that as well. There were a lot of enjoyable moments, definitely.
Reality TV World: Your least enjoyable would be the gross food task at the end?
Jennifer: Um... I did upchuck there a couple of times, but... yeah, yeah, that has to be the most disgusting (LaKisha laughs) because I can't even comprehend anybody voluntarily eating that, there's just no way.
Reality TV World: How about for you LaKisha, [your] least favorite?
LaKisha: Oh, there was a moment, honestly Siberia was probably my least favorite leg because it was so cold (laughs)
I'm a warm weather, nice weather type of person. But there really wasn't a moment. Even though I wasn't thrilled about having to do gymnastics (Jennifer laughs) -- I mean I'm 6' 1" so what 6' 1" gymnast do you know? (laughs)
So it took me a lot to watch that episode.
Reality TV World: What aspect of the show surprised you the most?
Jennifer: Nothing really surprised us. The entire race, you can't predict it, and that's what all the people, all the people that watch the show -- you can't predict it. When we watch it we're seeing it for the first time just like they're seeing it because although we lived through it we don't know how they're going to edit it and everything.
So it's kind of a situation where, my sister and I watch it with friends [and] we're seeing it for the first time just like they are so we get that excitement and it resurfaces when we go to all these places and we see 'Wow, I forgot we did that' or 'Wow, I forgot I said that.' It's just a combination of everything that it's simply amazing to experience and I'm extremely happy I did it with my sister. http://www.realitytvworld.com/news/exclusive-jennifer-and-lakisha-hoffman-talk-the-amazing-race-8911.php