http://www.digitalspy.ca/ustv/s66/the-amazing-race/interviews/a380511/amazing-race-art-jj-qa-it-just-wasnt-our-day.html'Amazing Race' Art, JJ Q&A: 'It just wasn't our day'
By Catriona Wightman
They were one of the most competitive teams on The Amazing Race but Art and JJ ended up finishing in second place after losing out to Dave and Rachel.
Digital Spy spoke with Art and JJ to find out about their tough final leg, whether JJ's conquered his fear of heights, their "mad respect" for Rachel, whether they feel vindicated about Nary and Jamie, online comments and what's next for them...You were such a competitive team, so how did it feel to come in second?
Art: "It's disappointing. I mean, we're there to win the Race, but you know, we got second place. It's a little disappointing."
JJ: "It was tough to stomach!"You'd argued with Rachel and Dave a couple legs back about the U-Turn, too - was there any resentment still there or were you still happy for them?
JJ: "You're in a bubble on The Amazing Race, you're in your own little world, so there was resentment. But at the same time you have to acknowledge a team when they're really good, and they're really good! We had a chance to win for over an hour, they made a horrible mistake and they overcame it, so I give them all the credit in the world for winning the eight legs and winning at the end. Art and I definitely have mad respect for Rachel - she's such a tenacious competitor and she does it with a smile on her face. She's very kind and endearing. So in that respect we do acknowledge that they are the winners."You did have a really difficult final leg - was there ever a point where you thought you were definitely out, or did you always think you could still win?
Art: "When I was doing the sledding, I always thought we were in second place. So the fact that [Rachel and Dave] showed up and were there, it was kind of a little bit of a shock. But by the time they showed up, I had probably done close to 30 tries down that hill, so I was hoping that she was going to have as much trouble as I was having. But when she got it on her second time, that's when I really became kind of defeated. I was like, 'Wow, that's crazy, we had a chance to win this thing and she just got it on her second try'. I mean, I was in awe. It was pretty cool to see her do that."Can you just explain why you struggled with that so much?
Art: "Because it was a sled that's eight inches wide and 12ft long and I'm 250lbs... It's just not meant for big men to be sliding down on two little rails!"And earlier in the leg, do you regret just following Rachel and Dave's cab?
JJ: "You know, the reason why we said, 'Follow the cab' was because our cab driver was abysmal! We realized that this guy doesn't know what planet he's on, so we're like, 'Oh dear God, that's our only chance - to follow this cab'. And then when he lost it we just told him to get to a hotel and we switched out cabs, so that's the only reason why we said follow that cab. And of course when we said, 'Follow this cab' he lost it within two seconds, so he could never be in law enforcement or surveillance!"JJ, you were obviously a bit nervous about the towers - do you feel like you've conquered your fear of heights?
JJ: "Uh, no! If I ever do The Amazing Race again, obviously I'd do whatever it takes, but it's just unnatural. And to climb up, to go up the face of that tower - the hardest part was when you got to the very top you had to crawl, and it just felt like you were going to fall over. And I thought, 'Okay, we're going to go down an elevator and run out and do something'. They said, 'No, you're going to have to go off the front face first', and that first step off the building, I was screaming inside. I mean, it's so ridiculous. Your mind is telling you, 'This is wrong, this is wrong to just step off a building'. So it wasn't pleasant at all. And Art was such a comforting and compassionate man towards me so his words of ridicule just added to my anxiety!"
Art: "I just told him to have faith in his equipment. We had so much gear up there. I was like, 'Dude, you're never going to fall out of this'."
JJ: "Yeah, yeah, sure Art!"You also seemed to be one of the teams most focused on strategy - did the other teams' lack of strategy frustrate you at times?
JJ: "Yeah. I think the place where it frustrated me the most was the shave your head challenge. It's like nobody's thought, 'Okay, if I don't do it then Mark and Bopper who are like felines with nine lives, somehow Phil's going to put them in a catapult and shoot them over India right into the finish line'. Why won't you do it? I mean, [Rachel's] afraid because she has her extensions - for God's sake, just grow your hair out after a month and add a thousand dollars of extensions on out of your million dollar prize, and it's all good. So it was frustrating on that point."If you could go back to do the Race again, is there anything you would choose to do differently?
Art: "I think the one thing I would probably change is when we finished the throwing the stick challenge there in Tanzania, is making the left hand turn instead of the right hand turn when we ended up going the wrong way. If we wouldn't have made that turn, I think stuff would have been a lot different for the Race for us."
JJ: "You think, Art? You know, Art and I go back and forth on this. I always say, 'What could we have done differently?' blah blah blah, but my gosh, we were in first place for over an hour with less than a quarter mile to run to win. I mean, we did everything you're supposed to do to win and it just wasn't our day. So Art says he would change - I don't think I would change anything. I mean, I would have loved to win every leg of The Amazing Race, but all we cared about was putting ourselves in a position to win at the end and gosh, man, we did it and we just weren't able to pull the trigger."Was it just a day of bad luck?
Art: "It wasn't a day of bad luck - it was just one of those things. It happens with every Amazing Race in every pretty much final leg. Someone can't land a simulator jet or somebody can't do this - it always happens. There's always going to be some time, somewhere after traveling for as long as you did, where you finally get to a point where it's like, 'Wow, man, when are we ever going to finish this thing?' And it just happened to be for us that it was that leg."You made a really nice gesture earlier in the Race where you chose to share some prize money with Bopper. Can you just talk us through the reasons for that?
JJ: "On the way to Buenos Aires on the 18-hour bus ride, me and Bopper talked a little bit. I asked him about his life and we were talking about what's going on. And he told me about his daughter and all the trials going on with that, so I told Art, 'Hey, you know what, man? If we're fortunate enough to win some money, let's go ahead and split it with Bopper'. And Art was like - being the good man he is - 'Yeah, absolutely, let's do it'. So we decided to do it a leg or two prior to winning. Then when we won, we had no idea where they were and we didn't really care - it wasn't about whether they were eliminated or not, we were just going to give them the money. So that's really the backstory to it and we didn't want any strings attached or anything or to garner any goodwill or anything of that nature. It did buy us, though, in the blogosphere one day of reprieve before everybody started hating on Art and I again... which I blame totally on Art's personality!"Have you been looking at what people have been saying about you online?
JJ: "I don't read it that much. When Art and I read it, basically it's our wives telling us... But Art and I will read some of it and they're great. I think the greatest about Art and I, since we're border patrol agents, was some guy wrote, 'I hope Art and JJ die by a stampede of Mexicans tonight'. We thought that was the greatest one ever! It's okay. You know, I think The Amazing Race portrayed us as we are - we're confident, ambitious men that when we put our mind to it and we have a goal, we're going to complete it."
Art: "And the thing too is that we speak our minds. If somebody's doing something wrong, I mean, we call a spade a spade and we don't dance around an issue and we bring it to life, and we're upfront and honest about the way we see things. Maybe that's what people don't... they don't like being told what reality is and they like stuff sugar-coated and we just don't tend to sugar-coat stuff much."
JJ: "Art, do you agree though, it seems like there are two camps in the world - where they want men to be placated and just get along, and there's another camp that likes men that are like us, that they use the word aggressive but it's not aggressive, we're just ambitious. We were put into a game and told, 'Here's the rules, play within the rules and at the end, if you're the best, you win a million dollars'. So why wouldn't we use all the tools or use all the rules to our advantage to win it? So I don't apologize for anything we did or said - I apologize for Art's rude behavior sometimes, but that's who Art is! Because that was shown so much on TV! Art was portrayed as this jolly, get-along guy, which makes us laugh."
Art: "Which I am, because my nickname is Party-with-Artie!"Do you feel vindicated now that you know Nary and Jamie aren't really teachers?
JJ: "The thing was, it wasn't the thing about vindication for anything. It was a scenario that presented itself to us and in our line of work, that's what we do - people lie, we figure out whether they're lying or not. It was a distraction. I personally could care less what those women did for a living. I could care less, just like I could care less what anybody else did on the Race. But when they lied to us and we figured out they were lying, it was like, 'Hey, whatever, man, if that's the way you wanna roll, that's how you roll'. But I mean, it was no big deal. It was just part of the Race and somebody had to say something and it just kind of clicked in my mind that, 'You know what? These girls are lying - they're not saying who they are'. So we just called them on it but I could care less what it is they did."
Art: "But it was good drama, you know!"
JJ: "And they got off their game a little bit. We were never really worried about them getting past us or anything like that, and I know that sounds arrogant, but that's how we feel. So it was good. Art and I just wanted to stir the pot up a little bit - there was a lot of drama going on in Africa, so why not add to it and just have fun? Because we never really cared - we just wanted to win. That was the end game for us."Are there any of the other Racers you keep in touch with now?
Art: "I still keep in touch - I mean, I became really good friends with Ralph and Vanessa. To me they were actually really good people. Vanessa kind of tended to speak her mind quite a bit. But I keep in touch with her, I still keep in touch with Danny and Joey, and I text back and forth now and then with Elliot and Andrew and stuff. So I mean, there's still people that I keep in touch with."
JJ: "And Misa and Maiya are great girls."So what's next for you? What are your plans for the rest of the year?
JJ: "Art and I are eagerly awaiting the phone call for a Redemption show where Art and I get called back and have a good chance. And then the first challenge would be a sledding challenge, and that would just make or break the entire season for Art and I!"