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Though time for socializing was in short supply with conversations with competitors off-camera forbidden (“They’re still doing a show,” Big Easy notes. “So it’d be hard to explain why this team doesn’t like this team”), competitors still found moments to bond.
Flight Time: I’d say that we made way more friends along the race than we did enemies. Zev [Glassenberg] and Justin [Kanew] were really good friends of ours. Mallory [Ervin] and her dad [Gary Ervin] from the second season that we did. Kisha [Hoffman] and Jen [Hoffman], I mean everybody. Even Brian [Kleinschmidt] and Ericka [Dunlap], we’re still friends with Brian to this day. (Kleinschmidt and Dunlap divorced in 2011.)
Kilmer-Purcell: Everyone is really nice. The Twinnies [sisters Natalie and Nadiya Anderson] are some of the most competitive, strongest young women we have ever met to this day. And, you know, they proved it, going on to Survivor. They came to our wedding!
Victor Jih: It’s like we made this friendship in the middle of a traumatic situation that every time I see them, it’s almost as if I’ve never been apart from them. I’ve been to two of their weddings, [The White Lotus creator] Mike White put me in his HBO show, Enlightened. I haven’t talked to some of them for months or even years, but when you do, there’s such a common bond.
Tammy Jih: I realized that I currently work with another Amazing Race winner and a Survivor winner and we are all Asian American. Pre-pandemic we had planned to speak to the Asian-American affinity group at our company about our experience in it. Because, historically, Asians have not been represented a lot in television or even on reality television.
DeJong: We saw Bertram and Elise out on the course too. It was fun to have the creative team right there with us filming us, making fun of none of us being able to see these hunting boats. So it just felt like you’re part of a family from the get-go.