Hamilton twins entered 'Amazing Race' to repair relationship
Some siblings go to counselling — or even to court — to settle their differences.
Hamilton twins Treena Ley and Tennille Dorrington took a less conventional approach: they entered a contest to appear on reality TV.
Months later, the 36-year-old sisters are making their small-screen debut on The Amazing Race Canada. Premiering on Monday on CTV, the north-of-the-border version of the American reality hit stars the Steeltown twins facing off against eight other teams in a race around the country to win prizes totaling half a million dollars.
“We both watched The Amazing Race, the American version, for years now,” says Ley, a Hamilton police officer.
'I think that's why we got on. They were hoping a big fight would erupt on TV.'
—Treena Ley, contestant, The Amazing Race Canada
But it took a 60-day long spat between the twins to get them to audition.
“A friend of ours, who's been one of our best friends for 20 years…said 'You guys got to put this aside,'” says Dorrington, a tax auditor. “[He said] 'This is a great opportunity, you guys are super entertaining, you're so funny and you'd be great for this show.'”
Ley says even in their audition video, she and her sister were fighting.
“I think that's why we got on. They were hoping a big fight would erupt on TV.”
Sisters made 'friends for life'
Despite the argument that prompted their audition, the sisters agree that they balanced each other out in the race.
“Her weakness is my strength,” says Ley, who describes her sister as being more analytical than her. Dorrington agrees.
“I'm really analytical,” she says. “Treena's really observant, so we really play off one another.”
“One of the things Treena and I realized is that we know very little about Canada,” says Dorrington. “We travel a lot but we hardly ever travel in Canada.”
The contest included 18 contestants — nine teams of two — and required team members to find clues and tackle physical challenges while travelling across the country. But Dorrington says the race was not just about how strong you are, but rather how you approach the task at hand.
“It's a lot harder than it seems on TV,” she says, noting she and her sister have always tried to keep fit.
“We totally help each other and push each other,” she says. “We were both well known in high school for running track, so we're pretty fast.”
Treena, a sergeant with the Hamilton Police Service, says her training helped as well.
“Through our training and being on the job, you notice little things that the everyday person might not notice.”
She says she bonded with another police officer in the race, Jet Black from London.
“I found that everyone was so nice and friendly,” she says. Dorrington agrees.
“When you're on the race and you're not with your family, they become your family,” she says. “We've got, literally, friends for life.”
Show 'different' than the American version
While the show is based on the American version, the twins say it won't be exactly the same.
“When you see the States' version you see a lot of underhanded things and people being sneaky, just trying to take out the competition. I didn't see any of that here,” says Ley.
“I think the way the teams operate on the show are different from the American one because we're very different as people,” Dorrington says.
“You're in a competition and you don't want to screw yourself over,” she says. “But your natural instinct is to hold the door open when the other racers are running through it.”
That's not to say that the show won't be interesting, Dorrington adds.
“I think even for people who've never watched the show before, they're going to be hooked and blown away at how amazing and how reflective it is of Canada.
“It's non-stop. All 10 episodes are going to be jam packed with drama and excitement.”
Citing confidentiality agreements they've signed with the network, the twins say they can't comment on how they fared in the competition. They did say, however, how their relationship weathered the race.
“I can firmly say that Treena and I have a stronger relationships than we ever have,” says Dorrington. “And without the race, I don't know where we'd be."