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TAR 24: Brendon Villegas & Rachel Reilly (TAR 20) "Newlyweds"

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Brendon Villegas and Rachel Reilly

Name: Brendon Villegas
Age: 33
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Previous Seasons: Season 20
Current occupation: PhD student in biomedical physics at UCLA
Describe what you do: Currently, I am examining post-mortem brain tissue from Alzheimer's disease patients in an effort to correlate the pathology we saw using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging while the patient was still living with the disease. The field itself is tough, since so many individuals have or will have family members that will experience some form of dementia. In my lab at UCLA, we strive to find a biomarker that might be an early indicator at the onset of Alzheimer's disease, in which case we might be able to stop the disease before it heavily progresses.
Biggest mistake you made in your previous season: Not reading a clue properly and heading to the wrong location in the final leg.
Most memorable moment from your first Race: Taking a beautiful detour through the Ngorogoro crater in Tanzania and happening upon a pair of twin baby elephants. One of the baby elephants trumpeted as they walked around our safari jeep. It was one of those moments that we will remember for as long as we are alive.
Favorite place you visited on your first season: Tanzania, Africa.
Why do you want to run the Race again? To win the $1 million so I can buy my beautiful wife a house and also we can… wait for it… have a baby!!! We live in Los Angeles, so this is pretty much what it costs!
How have you changed since the last time you competed? I am married to Rachel and I would like to think that our relationship has grown considerably and we won’t be (knock on wood) arguing nearly as much during the Race!
What are you passionate about? My family and my future children with Rachel. After racing around the world, you quickly realize how much money and possessions can never replace the people you have in your life. I am passionate about my science and trying to do something that will have a positive impact on the world.
People would be surprised to learn: I was a competitive spelling bee kid when I was younger, and I absolutely hated it! I would sit at my house and read thousands and thousands of words and learn their root meanings. I enjoyed learning the words, but hated the competition itself. It is so nerve-racking for a child!
Biggest challenge you and your teammate will face on The Race together: Making sure we are passing the reigns to one another when the time is appropriate and not fighting each other over small things.
Pet peeve about your teammate: Not listening to me. Just kidding! Rachel is an amazing racer and I am lucky to have her as my best friend and partner. Sometimes Rachel and I will both be too anxious in a task and rush, rather than making sure we are doing it correctly. So it is more of a team pet peeve!
What country and place would you most like to visit and why? Africa is somewhere we will always want to go back and visit. What do you hope to accomplish by running The Race (other than winning one million bucks)? Get to make some more memories with my beautiful wife and have a baby after winning the million dollars!
Any strategic changes you will make heading into this Race: We are going to make sure we read our clues carefully and make detour decisions more carefully.

Name: Rachel Reilly
Age: 30
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Previous Seasons: Season 20
Current occupation: Actress, reality TV personality, journalist and owner of
Describe what you do: I compete in reality shows including The Amazing Race and Big Brother, as well as filming other reality lifestyle shows. Most people don't make a habit of doing competitive reality shows, but I keep getting asked back--obviously because I am so entertaining! I train for the shows mentally and physically for hours a day!!! I am going for the title of competitive reality TV tri-athlete, which means I will obviously have to compete on another CBS reality show.
Biggest mistake you made in your previous season: That would be trying to take a cab ride to Hawaii Pacific University. I really just wanted to spend more time in Hawaii, and knew if we won I wouldn't get asked back for another season… so it was a win win!
Most memorable moment from your first Race: The African Safari with my hubby. The romance and splendor of the birth in the African savannah; seeing the little baby twin elephants; witnessing baboons carrying their new born children; and romantic dinners at the end of every leg. Also, trying beers in every country we visited!
Favorite place you visited on your first season: Every place was amazing; it’s hard to pick just one! That’s like asking if I would rather play Big Brother or The Amazing Race again!
Why do you want to run the Race again? My motivation to run the Race again stemmed from my deep need to compete on reality TV. I think that America, and the world, needed to watch another season of #Brenchel going at it! I have to give the fans what they ask for and they really wanted us back. Oh, and Brendon promised me if we win I can have a Brenchel baby!!!!!
How have you changed since the last time you competed? I think I am the same, just more awesome and experienced!! We also got married, so that probably made a difference.
What are you passionate about? Other than being passionate about the hubs... I am passionate about sharing my life with America. Brendon and I fell in love while you were watching, we had our first kiss while you waited to see if we would get voted out of the house, we won money to start a family while you cheered us on, we traveled around the world on an adventure of a life time while you laughed at my tears, we got married and you shed tears with your besties. I love the entertainment industry; from competing on reality TV shows to filming my day to day life and making good TV.
People would be surprised to learn: I am an artist and headband designer! You can buy my designs online. I also paint glass! Biggest challenge you and your teammate will face on The Race together: Brendon and I just love each other too much and we always think the other one is right so it’s hard to make a decision.
Pet peeve about your teammate: My lil' bookie has no flaws; he's perfect in every way!
What country and place would you most like to visit and why? I would like to scuba dive with sharks in the Pacific. You haven't lived until you've swam with sharks!
What do you hope to accomplish by running The Race (other than winning one million bucks)? I would like to have a Race baby, that way when we win the Race and have a baby we can tell them a really cool story about how they came into our lil' #brenchel family!
Any strategic changes you will make heading into this Race: I won't make any changes, since I am so competitive and have never been eliminated. Brendon and I want to have the record of the team never being eliminated… and winning The Amazing Race 24!!!




--- Quote from: RealityFreakWill on January 26, 2014, 03:40:17 PM ---
TV Guide tweeted this article....

Exclusive: Brendon and Rachel "So Excited" to Return for Amazing Race All-Stars

Brenchel's back!

Big Brother's Brendon Villegas and Rachel Reilly are among the returning teams on The Amazing Race's upcoming All-Stars season, can exclusively reveal. Because ain't nobody gonna come between Rachel and $1 million twice... right? "When you go on these reality shows, I go to win $1 million, not to just be on TV, so I'm just so excited to get a second shot at this," she tells "It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we get to do it twice."

The pair, who married in 2012, finished third on Season 20, which is as famous for eventual champs Rachel and Dave's record-breaking eight leg wins and fan favorites Bopper and Mark as it is for Brenchel's bitter feud with Vanessa and Ralph, and Rachel's patented meltdowns.

But the couple promises things will be different this time around — and you might even see a new, softer side of Brenchel. See what else they have to say about their second trip around the world and what they learned from last time.

Rachel, on your Twitter bio, you had "Retired reality star," which is no longer there. So why did you unretire?
Brendon: I don't know why she would ever write that. C'mon!
Rachel: [Laughs] I know. That is so true. I wrote it because I was like, I feel like I'm getting old and tired, but it's Amazing Race, and you can't say no when they ask you. We're just so excited that we got the honor to come back on The Amazing Race again.
Brendon: And in case you haven't figured out, my wife's a little dramatic.
Rachel: A lot dramatic!

What was your reaction when you got the call? I don't think anyone is surprised they asked you back.
Rachel: We had kind of always hoped we would be asked. Brendon and I made final three on Season 20. We thought we did a pretty good job. We weren't surprised we were asked for an All-Stars season, but we were surprised it was this soon. The last one was Season 18, so we thought it would be in another year or two. But oh, my gosh! I was like jumping up and down [when they called].
Brendon: That's what usually happens. She says yes right away and I'm like, "Let's talk about this." I'm trying to do a PhD here. But of course we both wanted to do it. It's never a matter of if we want to do it, it's if can we do it and me not getting choked out by my professors at school.

I feel like you've been working toward this PhD for 10 years.
Brendon: [Laughs] Yeah, you and I both feel like it's been 10 years.

How did you approach this season knowing it's All-Stars and everyone's been through this at least once already, some twice?
Rachel: We actually didn't know that anyone was going to be on the third time. We decided that if we're doing this again, we really need to work together. I had to say to myself that I wasn't going to take the lead all the time, which I did a lot in Season 20. ... We're partners. We want to work together really well and make sure that our team was the strongest. We had the mindset of being focused on the Race. If we have an issue, we'll deal with the issue after the leg is over.

How did that work out for you guys generally speaking?
Brendon: You'll see! Honestly, for us, we realized we're both individually strong competitors. We know we can be stronger together, but we just have to work well. We have to listen to each other and not fight when we disagree. Whatever comes our way, we have to tackle it and not have our attention diverted.

Would you say that's the biggest lesson you learned from last time?
Rachel: Absolutely. I learned two lessons last time: That and I cried a lot! [Laughs] I knew I had to bring it down. I knew I had to focus more on what I'm doing and not getting emotional because you can have one second of an emotional breakdown and it totally throws you off your game the entire leg. I knew I had to look at everything logically and be super-competitive and work really hard. Brendon and I had to work really hard as a team.
Brendon: Last time, we came in as newbies. We only had two months to wrap our brains around doing it and didn't have a lot of time to prepare. We were learning as we were going. This time, we wanted to be more prepared. We watched probably 10 to 12 seasons of the show. Every time we would see something that a team did that we thought was a good idea of what to bring with you, we made sure we wrote it down.
Rachel: We got on a really strict training schedule. We'd wake up at 6 o'clock in the morning, run for three miles, do yoga, lift weights — anything we thought would help us, we would do. We really trained for Season 24. It's All-Stars and we knew everyone would be super-competitive.
Brendon: Rachel was training really hard. I actually got hit by a car before we left.

What? What happened?
Brendon: Yeah. I had to do some recuperating. I did some yoga and lifts here and there. I knew I would go no matter what, but I had to heal up. I ride my bike to school every day here in L.A. Somebody just took me out — I flipped over the car, I landed and scraped my arm, kind of hurt my ankle a little bit.
Rachel: You need to be careful!
Brendon: If L.A. were more bike-friendly, it wouldn't have happened. But I was OK.

It sounds like you're saying there'll be fewer Rachel meltdowns this season. So there's nothing on the scale of your meltdown in Italy last time?
Rachel: Yeah. Brendon and I talked about it before the Race, like, "OK, we're definitely not doing any salami challenges." [Laughs]
Brendon: The other thing about the meltdowns is if we're doing something where it gets to the point where we're having a meltdown, we just need to stop and focus on what we need to do. Deal with the emotions later. I'm sure you'll never be disappointed by Rachel in any capacity though!

Are we going to see a different side of Brenchel?
Rachel: Absolutely. Last time, Brendon and I had just come off Big Brother. We were newly engaged. You have a lot of issues to deal with. This time, we're married. All the stupid stuff, like not trusting your partner or in the back of your head you think they don't have your back — that's all gone. I think people will see that we're more comfortable with our relationship in general. You can tell we're a little more mature, we've learned a lot of lessons over four seasons of reality shows. We're married. Brendon can't leave me! [Laughs]
Brendon: So romantic! But don't mistake that for us not speaking our minds when one of us is upset with the other or in any terms of the Race. We're here to win $1 million. We were on last time for the experience, see the world. This time, we're here for the money. I told Rachel we have plenty of time to make friends after it's over. ... Some people get caught up in the Race and wants to make friends. We want to win the money. And we're doing it for the baby!

Do you have something to announce?
Brendon: Not yet! But yes, I do figure it'll cost about $1 million to raise a child in L.A. We want a house and a baby.

Were you surprised by any of the teams who were brought back?
Brendon: We went online to see who was prognosticated. Of course, there were some surprises. But it's fun because everyone speculates during an All-Star season. There are a lot of great Racers who have won, who have lost. ... We have some relationships with other Racers outside of the show from different seasons. We do a lot of charity events and we see a lot of the Amazing Race people, so who they brought back was interesting to us. Some of us talk to each other and are friends, so when you get back on the Race course, it could be hard to stab somebody in the back.

Were you worried about people targeting you like last time? You guys are an easy target.
Rachel: We are! We always assume we're going to be targeted. But in an All-Stars season, it's a lot easier to blend in with the rest of the teams so that you're not as much of a target. Everyone has raced before. Brendon and I also didn't win a leg in Season 20, so we thought people shouldn't be that scared of us. There are other teams that have won a lot of challenges before.
Brendon: We were hoping to stay under the radar, but I can never assume that. I think the main thing is we were more prepared. I even had Rachel drive around L.A. navigating, practicing stick. Last time, there was a point if I had picked the Roadblock, she would've had to drive a stick shift.
Rachel: That didn't work out well. Every single time Brendon was like, "You're never driving on the Race." They made me drive on hills, which is probably the hardest thing to practice when you're driving stick. Let's just say that I'm happy Brendon had me practice.

That's one of Phil [Keoghan]'s biggest pet peeves: people who can't drive stick or swim.
Rachel: I know! As a viewer, I wonder that too. When you go on these reality shows, I go to win $1 million, not to just be on TV, so I'm just so excited to get a second shot at this. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we get to do it twice, and I'm going to make sure we're going to practice and train as long as we need to. I always get shocked when people don't train or practice for the Race.

Would you do the show or Big Brother again? Or are you going to retire again?
Rachel: I don't think our reality career is done.
Brendon: We're going to put on Twitter that we're going to retire. [Laughs] My body's getting beat up, but I want Rachel to do it. I really want to pursue a career in medicine. I've been working toward this PhD for 10 years. I think Rachel's fun to watch and entertaining and she should pursue a career in reality and entertainment. If I can be working in a hospital and she's doing reality, that's fine with me.
Rachel: It will be a dot dot dot. I feel like our Brenchel story is always "to be continued."
Brendon: And never say never.

So you won't put your foot in your mouth again.
Rachel: Exactly. We got married on reality TV, so we obviously need to have a baby on reality TV!

The Amazing Race premieres Sunday, Feb. 23 at 8/7c on CBS.

--- End quote ---


Rachel Reilly and Brendon Villegas Will Compete on The Amazing Race – Again

Will the second time again be the charm for Rachel Reilly?

It took two tries for Reilly to win Big Brother, and now, after coming up short on The Amazing Race in 2012, Reilly and husband Brendon Villegas are getting another chance at racing around the world on the new all-star edition of the CBS reality show.

"We were ecstatic to be asked back," Reilly tells PEOPLE. "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity that we have been lucky enough to do twice!"

The first time Reilly and Villegas – known to their fans as "Brenchel" – competed on The Amazing Race, their constant bickering wore on them, and they came in third after misreading a clue on the final leg of the race.

"This time we knew we had to put our emotions aside and focus on the game," says Reilly. "We want to win the million dollars so we can start a family."

The couple have been married since 2012 and are hoping the grand prize could help them buy a house with a yard for their Rottweiler shelter dog Benz and the family they hope to start soon.

"Brendon is a couple years away from finishing his Ph.D. from UCLA in biomedical physics, and living in Los Angeles can be expensive," Reilly says. "So this season, Brendon and I are racing for four now: Brendon, myself, Benz and our future baby."

But getting to the finals may prove tough for the couple, who will be going up against fan-favorites known as "The Globetrotters," "The Cowboys" and many other familiar faces.

Here's the full list of the all-stars "Brenchel" will be competing against when the new season of The Amazing Race premieres Feb. 23 on CBS.

• "Afghanimals" Leo Temory & Jamal Zadran, cousins, who placed 4th on season 23.

• "Twinnies" Natalie Anderson & Nadiya Anderson , twins, who placed 4th in Season 21.

• "The Cowboys" Cord McCoy & Jet McCoy, brothers, who placed 2nd in Season 16 and 6th in Season 18.

• "The Globetrotters" Nate “Big Easy” Lofton & Herbert “Flight Time” Lang, former teammates, who placed 4th in Season 15 and 2nd in Season 18.

• Margie O'Donnell & Luke Adams, mother and son, who placed 3rd in Season 14 and 8th in Season 18.

• Joseph “Joey” Graceffa & Meghan Caramena, YouTube hosts, who placed 5th in Season 22.

• William “Bopper” Minton & Mark Jackson, friends who placed 5th in Season 20.

• Jennifer Wayne & Caroline Cutbirth, two members of country group Stealing Angels who placed 4th in Season 22.

• David O'Leary & Connor O'Leary, father and son cancer survivors who placed 8th on Season 22.

• John Erck & Jessica Hoel, an engaged couple who placed 9th in Season 22.,,20780374,00.html


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