Chasing Cabs and Chewing Chinese Starfish with Kisha and Jen of The Amazing Race
The last couple of legs of the 14th season of The Amazing Race, specifically legs 9 and 10 through Thailand and China, proved that the race can change at the drop of a dime. Although the sister team of LaKisha and Jennifer Hoffman were one of the teams to beat during this season of The Amazing Race, overcoming a setback in Thailand when they were forced to retrace their steps to retrieve their bags, the sisters were stopped dead in their tracks when Jen was forced to confront her fear of water during a swimming pool challenge in China. Despite trying her best, with her older sister giving her sibling support, Jen fell victim to one of her worst fears since she didn't know how to swim. Still, Jen soldiered on in the pool to eventually complete the leg and finish strong in last place at the mat in front of The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan.
To their surprise, the China leg of the race wasn't over, as Phil handed Kisha and Jen their next clue, and the sisters staved off Amazing Race elimination. When The Amazing Race resumed this week for leg #10, Kisha and Jen continued behind the other teams but were eventually handed a U-Turn by brother and sister team Tammy and Victor who had an easier time in China since they spoke the language. After making up major Amazing Race ground to catch the cheerleader team of Jaime and Cara in Beijing, Kisha and Jen squared off against the cheerleaders in an eating competition that saw Jen struggle with choking back grasshoppers, larva and a deep fried starfish while Cara chomped down the creature critters like a deep fried starfish eating champ at a Chinese state fair.
When both teams were done with their delicacies, the race truly became amazing when both female teams were neck-in-neck en route to the Olympic pit-stop. While racing in a cab through the streets of Beijing, Jen began to squirm, clenching her teeth, as she had to stop to use the washroom after drinking so much water to wash down her starfish minutes before. When they hit the mat in front of Phil in what looked to be seconds behind Jaime and Cara, Kisha and Jen were eliminated from The Amazing Race after nearly reaching the million dollar final three.
The next day Kisha and Jen called in to TheDeadbolt for a few minutes of exclusive one-on-one pit-stop time to fill us in on how they made it through the last couple of Amazing Race legs, how the race brought them closer together as sisters, what they thought of their altercation with Luke And Margie, what it's like to eat deep friend starfish, and whether Jen now takes a new approach to undergarments when she goes running after jogging through the streets in Russia.
THE DEADBOLT: So how close behind Jaime and Cara were you at the end of the race?
LAKISHA HOFFMAN: We donít really know. Phil said seconds, but it wasnít seconds. We were guessing, but we donít have an exact idea.
THE DEADBOLT: You know, I thought the real turning point was when Cara horked down that nasty starfish so fast.
JENNIFER HOFFMAN: [laughs] I like that word, "horked," Iím gonna steal that from you.
THE DEADBOLT: [laughs] Did you guys even think about that? They just breezed through it.
JEN: Well, we didnít really see them eat. So our astonishment came when we were on the mat and were the last team to arrive. We were like, ĎWhoa.í And then us seeing it yesterday, we just saw her pretty much unhinge her jaw and just swallow it whole.
THE DEADBOLT: [laughs] So what does a starfish taste like?
JEN: Oh, my God! I tried to explain this to my sister, Kisha. I told her, ĎIt tastes like fish.í And I said this a lot, ĎIf you eat fish and if it tastes like fish, itís bad.í So the starfish tastes like the ocean. It was pretty much bad even though itís fried and I could add ketchup and hot sauce and salt and pepper. It didnít matter, it was gross.
THE DEADBOLT: It was impressive that you actually got through the language barrier at the restaurant. How was that for you guys?
KISHA: Initially we were like, ĎWow, how do we accomplish this?í We were a little nervous and thatís why we didnít choose that task in the beginning. But it was just kind of like, 'Okay, we have to do it. Letís go figure out how to do it," and we just tried to phonetically sound it out in English and try to put their accent on it. I mean, Iím still surprised even watching it, even though itís quite hilarious to see, and I donít know if itís true if we were saying exactly what they were saying or if they did their own little captions. But yeah, Iím surprised we were able to do that U-Turn and do it so well in a timely fashion.
THE DEADBOLT: Kisha, in Thailand when the bags were left behind, did you feel similar to how Jen felt in the swimming pool?
JEN: [laughs] Her fear of leaving bags does not equate to me being in a swimming pool ...
KISHA: Did I feel guilty if you didnít complete it, or something like that? I donít know. That was an episode I didnít watch. But I wouldnít have taken the total blame, because, initially, at that point I was like, ĎOh, there goes my shoes. There go the passports.í Then we went on and after that she was like, ĎWe should go back.í And I was like, ĎNo, we should keep going.í It was just one of those things. Youíre in a race, youíre stressed, and you make decisions that are sometimes good, sometimes bad. So we were able to get through that and continue on. I think seeing her fear of swimming was a totally different experience, but we got through it.
THE DEADBOLT: So how did the altercation with Luke and Margie affect you guys for the rest of the race? Did it at all?
KISHA: No. I mean, I donít know if this is from our experience of being athletes, but things happen in competition and the dynamics of the race can be physically exhausting. Itís like, 'Okay, it happened, itís over with, and we move on.' But from watching the show, I donít think they have the same attitude. But weíre just like, 'whatever, move on.' So it didnít affect us at all, not even one bit.
THE DEADBOLT: Did you guys patch things up, or was it a case of just keep on moving?
JEN: For us, I think it was just pretty much keep on moving, because we donít hold grudges and you canít lie about whatís been shown because itís on tape. So thereís really no way of saying 'this is what happened' as opposed to 'this,' so we took full responsibility for our actions. I think thatís where my sister and I are a little disappointed. They didnít do the same, they just pretty much placed all of the blame on us, and we 'did this' and we 'did that,' and they did nothing. So you canít really say anything about it. But we were over it once we hit the mat because we were so exhausted. We just ran through China.
THE DEADBOLT: Was there anything we didnít see that you wished we did see?
JEN: I think they portrayed our relationship to a "T". I know weíre very proud of the way they portrayed us as sisters and our progression and our relationship. So, no, thereís nothing that was on air that we were like, ĎOh, my God! Donít show that.í
THE DEADBOLT: How did the race bring you closer together as sisters?
KISHA: I think we gained a better appreciation for each other. I think that the way we learned to communicate, change, and I just think we gained a better respect for each other. I said before that weíve done a lot of the same things but never together, so this is our opportunity to put our strengths together and compliment our weaknesses and really grow as a team. I know Iím personally proud to have done this with my sister.
JEN: I think it definitely made our relationship better, because we had an adjustment period in the first couple of episodes where we had to get used to being around each other a lot. But as the race progressed, everybody got to see how we really interact with each other and it just made it better. I think the turning point for me was in Thailand when we forgot our bags and we got to the mat and we had to go back and get them and we were still in the race. I think at that point, for me, it started to be more about my relationship with my sister and me experiencing this with her, as opposed to, 'Okay, we have to do anything that we need to do to win a million dollars.' So that was definitely the turning point where I was like, ĎYou know, Iím going to enjoy this with my sister and weíre doing well and weíre communicating well. Itís out of our hands. Weíre doing the best that we can and any other things that we canít control, theyíre going to come and weíre going to take it with a grain of salt.'
THE DEADBOLT: So, Jen, I remember you didnít have any underwear in Russia. Do you wear underwear now when you go running?
JEN: [laughs] Now let me clarify this. Itís not that I donít wear underwear, because you need underwear. I mean, you NEED underwear. I wear dresses, you know? You gotta have a pair of underwear on at least. Iím actually a fan of underwear, so I have a lot of it. So itís not that I donít wear underwear, but in that situation - and I know my sister can understand why I didnít have underwear, necessarily, because weíre athletes - itís extremely uncomfortable. I donít own a thong because theyíre extremely uncomfortable.
Just imagine running around the world and youíre trying to pick wedgies out of your butt. Thatís uncomfortable. So instead of bringing underwear, we brought spandex, because Iíve lived in spandex for six years. I play volleyball so I have a gazillion laying around. So in order to have a more comfortable race, we decided to bring spandex and thatís something that people can run in. So that wasnít stripping down to your skivvies, because stripping down to your skivvies I wouldíve been naked. Thatís where that came from. I didnít have underwear because I wanted to run a comfortable race. So I brought spandex instead.http://www.thedeadbolt.com/news/105672/jen_kisha_amazing_race_interview.php