'Amazing Race's Nary, Jamie Q&A: 'We got so close'
Published Tuesday, Apr 17 2012, 7:37pm EDT | By Catriona Wightman
Nary Ebeid and Jamie Graetz had a lot of ground to make up in the latest leg of The Amazing Race after being saved by a non-elimination leg the previous week. Unfortunately, despite a valiant effort, they couldn't quite do it and became the latest team to get sent home.
Digital Spy recently spoke with the duo, so read on to find out how they feel about their elimination, why they pretended to be teachers, and which team Jamie would have used the U-Turn on...
You were obviously at such a disadvantage going into this leg. What was your attitude going in? Did you think you'd already been eliminated or did you have an open mind?
Nary: "Of course when we first started the leg we were hoping we were going to go to an airport and have some type of equalizer - instead we were racing, we're still in Tanzania, and we're like, 'Oh no, this is not looking good', because we already started two hours after the last team took off, so we knew there was going to be a lot of catching up to do. We just had to keep our hopes up. We were just going to race - we were just hoping something happened to another team. We knew there were the U-Turns coming up and we were hoping the other half of the U-Turn was difficult and we would be able to catch up. And we did end up catching up which was nice, but then we had our Speed Bump. So right when we got to our Speed Bump our hope kind of went down a little. We knew our chances were slimmer but we still had hope and it didn't matter, so we were still going to fight all the way through the end."
Was it frustrating having to do the Speed Bump when you knew you were close to Vanessa and Ralph by that point?
Jamie: "Yeah, absolutely, because we knew if we hadn't had to do that Speed Bump we would have been completely neck and neck. But it wasn't terrible. It was definitely doable. I think we did it in maybe 15, 20 minutes or so - it was just a bit windy. But still, we're not very tall people and some of those things had to be hung very high, so we're stacking a chair on top of a table! It was a little frustrating, but we did it I think as fast as you could do it. We were trying to make up hours of time and that's hard to do unless you have a meeting point like an airport or a train station where everybody catches up, and we never got that opportunity."
You did get very close, like you said - were you proud about how close you came?
Jamie: "Oh yeah. I mean, we got so close. I think we were within 20 minutes of Vanessa and Ralph hitting the mat. I think we were really close, so that's a nice feeling. But at the end of the day, it just doesn't cut the mustard. You just have to take it and we had a great run, so I think it was kind of bittersweet knowing that we finished last."
You had a good attitude throughout the Race - you didn't really argue or complain. How did you keep that up?
Nary: "Our friendship has never entailed any of that - if we're annoyed with each other we just stay quiet and then deal with it. But never the arguing, the screaming, because you don't get anywhere doing that. We didn't even have to tell ourselves, 'No arguing, no screaming', we just knew, 'Hey, we know we're going to be tired, we know we're going to be cranky, we've just got to do it'. And rooting for one another and cheering the other on, that really helped. When I was struggling with the gnome, she's like, 'Come on, you got it', knowing we were the last team. I know Jamie was like, 'Oh my God, I wanted to cry!' But it just was great to know Jamie was like, 'Don't worry about it, you got it, you're still going to get it' and lo and behold, like three gnomes later. The support really, really helps and screaming at each other's really not going to get you anywhere - then I'm going to be like, 'Screw you, I don't want to do this, I don't want to put this tent up together!' So that's just how we work - we're just more professional. That's how we deal with it."
So do you think the Race brought you closer together?
Jamie: "Yeah, absolutely. We're super tight - we've both said before we consider each other like a sister and that's how we treat each other. But you can grow together and still learn about each other. It just reinforced the fact that we're there for each other 110% and never going to leave you behind or leave you hanging. That's why I feel like you don't see us fight, because we're so similar in the fact that you give us a mission, you give us a task, and we're going to get it done. I don't care if we're bleeding, sweating, hungry, tired - we're going to get it done and I'm going to make sure she does her best and she's going to push me to do my best. Those qualities just reinforced what we already knew about each other. It was fun to see how far we could be pushed because we were doing things we've never done before, so it was fun to watch each other grow through the experience as well."
Did you have a chance to enjoy this leg? You had so much time to make up but there was that amazing safari at the beginning of the leg.
Nary: "Yeah. I mean, our first task was to go on a safari in the Ngorongoro Crater - it's an unbelievable sight. You forget that you're racing and that we definitely got to enjoy. Not only did we get to enjoy elephants when we were in last place and we took advantage of that, but then we go on this safari, this amazing, beautiful safari, and it's like we forget we were racing. It was an amazing feeling and then the moment we were out of there we were just straight racing and it's like, 'Oh my God, we're so far behind'. That's the only time we really got to enjoy it because our focus was just completely on the safari and not on the Race. It was just a great feeling."
I've got to ask about your decision to pretend you were teachers - what was your reasoning for that?
Jamie: "It was something we had come up with before the Race started. We figured, 'Hey, we don't know who these contestants are - we've seen them, we're unable to talk to each other'. A lot of stigma, a lot of stereotypes come with people who worked in law enforcement and some of those are good and some of those are bad, so it was just our strategy for saying, 'Hey, we just want to start off on an even playing field with everybody else where they just see us as who we are based off of our actions and what we say'. That was pretty much our main reason for doing it. We didn't know that the U-Turn was going to be so late in the game, where people kind of already know this far down the line who's who. Had a U-Turn come earlier on, you don't know. OK, there's other people in law enforcement but they might see that as a threat because they might say, 'I don't want to get beaten by another agency because I'll never live that down'. So it could work either way - you've just got to take a risk. If nothing else it was funny and it was funny to us and we had a good time with it. Those that matter to us, i.e. Mark and Bopper and our friendship with Brendon and Rachel, they didn't care at all. They just wanted to know, 'Hey, was everything else you told us truthful?' And once we told them 110% it was, it was like we hadn't skipped a beat. They didn't care at all. So that was our strategy."
Did you ever consider revealing the truth - maybe when Art and JJ called you out?
Nary: "Our strategy from the beginning was, 'We will reveal it at the very end, at the last leg when everything's done'. But once Art and JJ approached us, the way they approached us we weren't happy with it. So we were like, 'No, we're not going to tell you, so let them go crazy in their heads still trying to figure out what we do for a living'. But once it got out and Brendon and Rachel and Mark and Bopper were like, 'Hey, is this true?' then because they're our friends we felt like we owed it to them to tell the truth. Those were the only two teams up until the very end that knew what we did for a living."
Hypothetically, if you'd reached the U-Turn before the other teams, would you have used it? And if so, which team would you use it on?
Jamie: "Um, I think I would have used it on Art and JJ."
Nary: "Ha! See, and I wouldn't! I probably wouldn't have. Knowing that we were first, I wouldn't care."
Jamie: "I think I would have just to have them eat something foul just for a little bit! And I would have been fine with that. I don't think I would have done it for anybody else though. Especially if we were way ahead, there's no reason to but just for s**ts and giggles I think I would have done it for Art and JJ."
So were Bopper and Mark and Rachel and Brendon the teams you were rooting for when you left?
Nary: "Absolutely. Once we were interviewed and they were like, 'Who are you rooting for?', of course Mark and Bopper were our first choice, and Brendon and Rachel were our second. We were like, 'If Mark and Bopper don't win, we want Brendon and Rachel'. Only because we have a friendship with those teams. I mean, Art and JJ we didn't want to at all, and Dave and Rachel, I mean they're a strong team and we knew they were a strong team - we just didn't have much of a relationship with them, so that's why we didn't choose them or anybody else or Ralph and Vanessa. We didn't have much of a relationship with the others, so that's why we picked those two."
If you could do the Race again, would you do anything differently?
Jamie: "You know, there isn't much I would change. I mean, I would bring ear plugs, and I would have brought a little air pillow! And that I regret. Besides that, I think we had a mission in mind - we wanted to win $1m, we wanted to make sure we took the time to enjoy and appreciate where we were and every country and our surroundings and the people, and then third have fun - like, have the time of your life. I feel like except for the million dollars, we accomplished that 110%. I'm thoroughly satisfied with how we played the game - we stuck true to who we were, we stuck true to who we are as agents and what we stand for and the type of agency we work for and we learned a lot about each other. And in the end, we left with an even stronger relationship. That's worth more than $1m to me, realistically."
You did seem like one of the teams who had the most fun and appreciated it the most - what was your favorite moment, if you could choose one?
Nary: "I have to say stopping and watching those elephants."
Nary: "Only because it's one thing that sticks out because it's more recent. It really is - knowing we were last and then seeing that and just taking it in. A lot of times when you're in these countries you're racing and racing and you want to be able to take things in. Sometimes you just can't. In Argentina, they're dancing while we're making pińatas and we want to just stop and watch them dance because it's just so beautiful, but we're like, 'We're racing here and we're moving and we're moving'. To be able to stop and just enjoy it along with going into the Ngorongoro crater, it's amazing stuff like that where you're able to stop and take a breath and take it all in. Tanzania did it for us - we were happy we were able to see Tanzania. It was a beautiful, beautiful place and the wildlife was unbelievable."
I think that was a good moment for viewers as well.
Jamie: "Yeah! I mean, because I think you could hear the surprise in our voice and whatnot, that it was like it just took our breath away. We were like, 'Wow, we need to jump out of the truck for a minute and take this in'. It really was just a special moment."
If you had the chance, would you go on the Race again?
Jamie: "At first I said, 'I don't know'. I was so tired and so hungry! But that drive inside me would say 110%. Whether my work would allow it is a whole other story but in my heart I would love to run again with her!"
Nary: "Absolutely and I agree - I mean, this is an experience of a lifetime and to be able to do it a second time, that's just amazing. Absolutely."