Five questions with Sam and Dan McMillen of 'The Amazing Race’
Posted Thursday, Sep. 24, 2009
The McMillen Brothers
For Sam McMillen and his brother, competing this season on The Amazing Race means more than just a chance to win a $1 million prize. They’re also letting the world know something about them that was, until recently, kept secret — even from one another: They’re gay. "We wanted to come out on the show," says Sam, a 23-year-old TCU graduate. "We knew that our story would be great for people to hear." Sam and Dan McMillen say they never truly bonded as brothers until last summer, when each came out to the other. "He said, 'I have something to tell you,’ " Sam remembers. "I said, 'No way. Me, too.’ " Now the two are closer than ever. They also make a fine Race team. They were one of 12 duos chosen to compete in the wild race, which spans eight countries in 21 days. The two-hour season premiere airs at 7 p.m. Sunday on CBS. Sam moved to Fort Worth in August 2004. He completed five years of study at TCU this May, earning two bachelor’s degrees, one in biology and another in anthropology. He moved back home to Kansas City, Mo., two weeks ago. Dan is a college student in Liberty, Mo.
1Howdid you get involved in The Amazing Race? Was there a long, involved selection process?
It started in February. Dan literally turned 21 on Feb. 11. You have to be 21 to apply for the show and the deadline for the application was Feb. 14. He found out on his birthday that the deadline was just three days away. So he called me in Texas and said, 'Hey, we need to make a video now.’ So basically he made a video of himself, and he held up a picture of me while I was on his cellphone talking. We told our story and they contacted us. They were like: 'Hey, send us another video. We want to get to know you.’ They liked our story because it’s unique and because it makes a great dynamic as a sibling relationship.
2 Are you a fan of the show? Have you watched it for a long time?
I had never watched it. I never watch a lot of TV. I was always busy with school and I worked full time while I was a full-time student. But Dan has seen every single episode since it first aired. So he was the one who initiated it. But I wanted to do it as much as he did once I learned about it. And we had such a fun time.
3Were you much of a world traveler before the show?
Prior to everything with TheAmazing Race, Dan and I had only been to Mexico. That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to do it. Because we’re such big fans of travel and cultures, and I wanted a chance to see all of those things that I had read about in textbooks and never seen for myself.
4 Why did you choose Fort Worth and TCU? What was the attraction?
I absolutely love Fort Worth. It actually reminds me a lot of Kansas City. We stepped out of the cab when I got there to visit the first time, and I knew right away it was the place for me. I would love to be able to go to the osteopathic medical school there, just because I really love the town.
5 Any misgivings about coming out on national TV?
Maybe we’re just a little nervous. We’ve found in the past that it seems to be all some people want to talk about and we get pegged. Not that we’re ashamed or embarrassed. It’s just that it’s only part of who we are and what we’re about. There are many other things to recognize about us.
— David Martindale,
Special to the Star-Telegram
The Amazing Race 7 p.m. Sunday