Amazing Race 10 Exclusive Winners Interview: Tyler & James
We talk to the victorious team about what it took to win a million dollars.
by Eric Goldman
December 12, 2006 - Make sure to also check out our exclusive interview with the runner up team, Rob & Kim, and check back Wednesday for our interview with Lyn & Karlyn.
The Amazing Race 10 came to an end this week, and after a race around the world, Tyler & James were ultimately the victorious team. The friends, who had both conquered drug addiction and also worked as models, had run a strong race for nearly the entire duration of the season, and in the end, they crossed the finish line first in New York.
The morning after their win aired on TV, I spoke to Tyler & James for an exclusive chat with IGN, to find out what it was like for them to process not only their time on the race, but the fact that they had won a million dollars.
IGN TV: How did you guys come to be on the show?
James: Actually, I was sitting at a restaurant, eating dinner, and a casting recruiter walked up to me and asked me if I'd ever be interested. I kind of thought about it and then I talked to Tyler about it. We came in for an interview, and put in an application tape. And then of course many other interviews and things [followed] and we got on.
IGN TV: Were you fans of the show beforehand?
James: We were familiar with the show, but we were not yet… I mean now I would say we are fans, obviously, where I'm gonna watch the show every season. But we weren't die hard fans.
IGN TV: Before you started racing, were you able to watch old episodes to prep for it?
James: Once we started getting involved in the casting process, we started watching the last season, because it was almost just beginning. So we pretty much watched all of season nine. Then when we went into finals, which was part of the casting process, they had a screening, and we watched all of season seven. And we would catch some reruns on TV, on Game Show Network, and stuff like that.
IGN TV: What was it like for you on the first couple of legs, getting the hang of the race? Was it more stressful then you expected or less stressful?
Tyler: I think that from when they first yell go, you feel so hectic. You're trying to get everything done so fast, and you just want to go-go-go-go-go. You're not really making clear decisions and clear thoughts, and I think that by the second or third leg, you start to figure out a bit more that it's clear, slow, thinking and thought process that is going to get you a lot further then just being fast. Making good decisions has to come sooner rather then later, otherwise you're not going to last very long.
IGN TV: What were your thoughts on the Six-Pack alliance? Did you think it was helping them? Did it make them more of a target for you guys?
Tyler: Yeah, I think once they established that they were called the Six-Pack, we just kind of starting poking fun and said we're gonna start snipering off this Six-Pack one at a time, which was kind of exactly what happened. But as far as the alliance, I understand it, and it makes sense to a certain degree, but at the same time it is a race. And you know, three teams can't hit the mat at once. So at some point you're going to have to stab your teammate in the back, no matter what. So the Six-Pack only makes sense in theory, but when you get down to it, it's every man for himself.
IGN TV: You guys and Dustin & Kandice seemed like the front runners most of the race. Obviously by the end, you were really trying to get them out. Was that a friendly competition or had any real animosity formed?
Tyler: We didn't have hatred for them. It was more just a strategic thing where we knew that they were probably our biggest competition, so we wanted to see them go. We kind of bonded with them a little bit; just that we ran a couple of legs really neck and neck with them towards the end. And we liked them, and we admired their competitiveness. We just, for us, wanted to see them go.
IGN TV: Why do you think some teams had more personal problems with Dustin & Kandice?
Tyler: Well, because, the way most of the teams were, they kind of bonded; for instance we bonded with Rob & Kim, and there was the Six-Pack, and everyone kind of made friends with a certain team or teams and would share information and would have a good time. And from the beginning, the beauty queens were not interested in making friends; they were not interested in working together with anyone. They were on their own race, and they really let you know that. They really schemed and did what they could to get ahead of everybody else.
IGN TV: You guys kept your cool most of the time, but you probably had the most tension of the whole race at the airport at the start of the final leg. What caused that?
Tyler: You know what? It was like any natural reaction to lack of sleep and lack of food. So your nerves start to get frayed by the end of it, and that's like day 29 or 30 of racing non-stop, and your brain is fried. And it's only natural to become a little bit snappy. So it was just like remedial argument, back and forth, but it really meant nothing. It was just a byproduct of being hungry and tired. James and I never get in fights in the first place, so it's rare that we do.
IGN TV: Tyler, there were a couple of times where they showed you a bit critical of James. Do you think that was accurate?
Tyler: No, I think that sometimes comes down to the editing. There's never a moment where I'm not totally supportive of James. Or where I'm ever doubting his ability to do something, because there never was a moment where I was like that. The only time where I can see that people would think that is where I got on him about the navigating, but you know that was just that we're in foreign countries and navigating in that place is not easy all the time. So it's easy for me to bark when I'm not navigating, but I'm just a control freak of nature, so that's my problem.
IGN TV: James, you seemed like the MVP for all the teams when it came to gross eating challenges. Was that a talent you were aware of beforehand?
James: [Laughs]. You know what? I never had those kind of experiences before, but it was something that I kind of just knew I could overpower. So we even said from the beginning that Tyler would do things that had to do with heights, because I'm a little more wary of heights than he is, and that I would do all the eating challenges. It's just kind of a mind over matter type of thing; I can just kind of shut it off.
IGN TV: You guys did really well at that fashion detour in the last leg. Did you feel pretty confidant because of your modeling background?
James: Well I don't think that modeling ended up having a whole lot to do with it, because we're never the ones having to stitch clothes or any stuff like that. I credit it more for me, just that I'm artistic and somewhat of a really creative person, so it was just something I was more geared towards.
IGN TV: Did you guys have any idea where Rob & Kim were when you were on your way to the finish line?
Tyler: We had an idea, but obviously there's no way to be 100% sure. We knew that we had lost them with the EZ pass thing, and that we probably had about a ten or fifteen minute lead on them. Plus, we went straight to the News Building, which I don't think they did. So we knew that we had a good fifteen minute lead on them, but any wrong decision that our cab might have made or wrong turn it might have made, would have jeopardized our race for sure.
IGN TV: Last night we saw each of you tell a parent you'd won the race from the finish line. Did they then have to keep it a secret from the rest of your family?
Tyler: I called my mom initially obviously, so she knew, but my sister had no idea and nobody else knew, so it was really good. My mom was happy that she knew, because she said she would have had a heart attack [otherwise].
IGN TV: How hard was it keeping the secret that you'd won from everyone?
Tyler: It was pretty hard man! Every day you were confronted with somebody grilling you about whether you won or not.
James: You're bombarded. But after the first month of being back, you kind of adjusted and were able to give the same answer every time.
IGN TV: What sticks out as either a low point or the most frustrating point of the race for you?
James: I think one of the most frustrating things was the navigating when we got lost. Being lost in Kuwait… I mean when we got to that pit stop, we thought we were done. It was four hours of driving and not knowing where we were going, so it was really hard. That was probably when we got the most frustrated on the race.
IGN TV: Besides obviously winning, what is your favorite place or memory from the race that sticks out to you?
James: For me, it was when I got to drive the Russian tank in the Ukraine. It was just such a great experience. This is somewhere where we almost were going to have World War III with, being Russia, and here I am, years later, driving a Russian tank, in the country of the Ukraine! It was just an unbelievable experience.
Tyler: My favorite place was Mauritius. I'm a big surfer, and that's my kind of heaven, is an environment like that. It's all very Tahiti-ish, and very tropical, and just a place I'd love to go back to, because I know the surfing there is amazing. But I don't think there's any place on the planet that is farther to fly to! [Laughs]
IGN TV: What was it like realizing you won, standing there on the mat with Phil?
James: Well we ran up there, and right when he said it, I think we both went numb. We really couldn't believe it. It sounds cliché, but you felt like you were walking into a dream almost. It was like a dream state, kind of. I wasn't sure if it was really happening! And still, right now, even though we've known we won for months, it's still hard to believe, and it's sinking in right now, doing all this press and stuff. It's really pretty surreal!
Tyler: It is a step out of the comfort zone, that is for sure. It's bizarre. Totally bizarre!
IGN TV: Do you have plans on what you'd like to do with the money?
Tyler: I've always said I'm pretty sick of my apartment. I've been there for seven years, and it feels like the walls are shrinking in on me. So I would love to own a place of my own, and I think that's pretty much what I'm gonna do with my money.
James: I don't have any definite plans. I'll probably get a new car; something like that. But at this point, it's just been about the ride, about watching the show with all our friends and family, and now it's gonna kind of all change now that the finale is over, and we're gonna get our checks and everything. You know, we'll just see where it's gonna go!
IGN TV: You guys went to TARCon last night and met up with some of the fans after the finale aired. What was that like for you?
Tyler: Oh man!
Tyler: Out of control. It was very, very intense. I mean we walked in there and we felt like we were the Beatles back in 1960, you know? It was like flashbulbs going off, and James and I jumped on the bar, and it was really funny. It was a good experience though! You get to see who all the fans are; like the die hard fans who come from all over to support you. It was just a fun experience to actually see that go on.
IGN TV: It's probably a tough thing to sum up, but overall, how has this entire experience been for you?
James: It is, like you said, almost indescribable. I think that Tyler and I are just both extremely grateful for the fact that we got sober, and this is a true gift. It's something that would never have been possible had we still been using drugs or alcohol, so we just look at it as an amazing experience. And I don't know, it's just kind of like gravy for us. http://tv.ign.com/articles/750/750629p1.html