Brenchel Talks 'Amazing Race'
By Jarett Wieselman
February 26, 2012
Thanks to a pair of Big Brother seasons, CBS knew what a reality TV goldmine it had in Rachel Reilly and her fiance, Brendon Villegas. Hot tempered, out-spoken and, lets face it, fierce competitors, tapping the twosome to run The Amazing Race was (despite what some of their haters might say) an inspired choice. I caught up with the pair to talk about the differences between BB and TAR, how they worked as a team and what reality show you might catch them on next!Insider.com: How did the opportunity to run The Amazing Race come about?
Rachel Reilly: Brendon and I had always wanted to do it and CBS approached us right after we won Big Brother. We were so excited that we had just won, and when we got the offer to do The Amazing Race, it was insane. We knew we had to take the opportunity and do amazing on the show. It's a show that Brendon and I thought we would excel at; it gave us the opportunity to travel around the world, and to compete for a million dollars, so it was something that I was super excited about.Insider: You basically played Big Brother as a team both times -- do you feel like that helped you here?
Rachel: I definitely think that we played Big Brother as a team. Even with something as simple as Brendon using the Power of Veto on me, we always tried to play together and I think that in the race, we definitely played as a team, which helped us with knowing how we would work together.
Brendon Villegas: I think not even just the team scenario and working together in Big Brother helped us, but the stressful situations helped as well. In Big Brother you're always stressed out, and that translates over to the Race where you're constantly stressed out. You need to be able to work under pressure, to get through it, keep your head down, and barrel through the competition.Insider: Your BB seasons were interesting because in one, it felt like Brendon was keeping Rachel together and in the other, it felt like Rachel was the one keeping the team together. In the Race, did it feel like one of you was taking that role more often?
Brendon: Rachel and I are very intense people. There are good and bad things to being an emotional person: we're passionate and passionate about each other. We get very intense as well, so we have our moments, but like I said, it was very much a learning experience for us because it was so different from Big Brother. Big Brother is a mental and physical game, but I feel like the Race is a little more physical -- there are mental aspects, but those come and go. In Big Brother you can't ever get away from the game, you don't get down time, that's the difference with the race.Insider: Even with all that experience, was running the race was harder than you expected?
Rachel: It was way harder than I thought it would be. It's so different because in Big Brother you're secluded 100 percent -- you're cut off from everything and you're just living in a house. In the Race, you are in the middle of a crowd of people at all times, you're making travel plans, running around in crowded streets and you're actually racing around the world. It's so different than what you see on television -- you're always tired, it's what you would expect the race to be and then some.
Brendon: For me, I always think that it's kind of like comparing a sprint to an endurance race. In Big Brother, we compete as hard as we can for ten minutes and then you're done. In The Amazing Race, once you get off that plane you keep going and going until you hit that mat and you're done. That's a different experience because it's a different kind of stress. It's almost like being tied, like a bungee cord, to your partner for the entire time. You have to do everything together, and that's a challenge too.Insider: And what about the hosts? How does Phil Keoghan compare to Julie Chen?
Rachel: [laughs] You don't ever want to go see Julie, but with Phil you always want to race to be the first person to see him.
Brendon: Julie's hair always looks so much better! [laughs]Insider: Rachel, in your opening clip package from the season premiere, you modify your catchphrase, so I have to ask: what does someone have a better chance of doing -- getting in between you and your man, or getting between you and your million?
Brendon: Well after that ring I just got her…
Rachel: Brendon got me a beautiful ring for Valentine's Day. He got me an antique ring with a ruby in the center and diamonds, so I have say no one comes in between me and my man!Insider: You guys have now tackled Big Brother twice and run The Amazing Race – are there any other reality shows out there that you would like to be on?
Rachel: [laughs] Brendon's said that he has hung up his reality television hat. But for me, I don't know. I just started taking improv classes at Second City, so we'll see, I don't really have any plans right now, but we'll see whatever comes my way.
Brendon: I do enjoy watching Wipeout! [laughs]
Rachel: I feel like Brendon would do well on Survivor – now you go win us a million dollars!