Exclusive: Brook Roberts and Claire Champlin talk 'The Amazing Race'
By Reality TV World staff, 12/13/2010
Brook Roberts and Claire Champlin began the final leg of The Amazing Race's seventeenth edition with a chance to make history and become the first all-female team to win the CBS reality competition.
However when Sunday night's finale broadcast ended, the competition's other remaining all-female team -- "Doctors/Friends" Nat Strand and Kat Chang -- emerged as The Amazing Race's record-setters and Brook and Claire finished as the Race's runner-ups.
On Monday, the "Home Shopping Hosts" talked to Reality TV World about their The Amazing Race experience.
Reality TV World: So did knowing you lost to another team that became the show's first all-female winners soften the blow of your loss at all or did it actually make it feel a little worse?
Brook Roberts: No!
Claire Champlin: No not at all! Our goal was to be up there with the first female team -- either it'd be us the first female team or be up there with the doctors -- and we accomplished that. So, it was a huge goal of Brook and I's and we did it! So we were super stoked on it!
Brook Roberts: No, we're elated and when we signed up for this and you go through this whole interview process and everything -- I'm just dumbfounded that an all-female team hasn't won -- and we believe in women, we believe in their strength, and their wit, and so if it wasn't us, we couldn't be more proud that it's Nat and Kat. We're really happy for them.
Reality TV World: Why do you think it took so long for an all-female team to finally win? Do you have any thoughts on that having participated in the Race now?
Brook Roberts: Because they didn't have a Brook and Claire and Kat and Nat! (laughs)
That's a great question! Now that we lived it, Claire what's your opinion on that? I still don't understand why it didn't happen sooner.
Claire Champlin: I don't know! I don't know if in the past seasons, they didn't have the comradery that the doctor team and we had with each other, because we really worked well with the doctors throughout the whole season and we were just kind of helping each other out through the mission, and making sure that we were always up in the final three with the doctors.
So that definitely worked to our advantage. And two, I know that our past season was one of the most difficult seasons in Amazing Race history...
Brook Roberts: Yeah...
Claire Champlin: So I thought that was really interesting that two female teams conquered this season as well. So I don't know! Yeah, I think it's just that we are strong women and we helped each other out.
Reality TV World: Do you have any idea how far behind Nat and Kat you two got to the Finish Line?
Brook Roberts: Well according to everyone standing there, it was about 15 minutes...
Claire Champlin: Yeah...
Brook Roberts: Pretty close.
Reality TV World: You two were actually the last team to leave the Roadblock task at Rose Bowl, so did you still think you had a chance to win at that point or had you begun to think it just probably wasn't going to happen.
Brook Roberts: I don't think Claire or I ever lost hope at any point. We always just charred through, and we were so fast, and that's what's so frustrating. Claire and I always talk about this looking back and reflecting -- we wish we could have got past that quicker, not been the last to leave the float -- because Claire and I just flew.
We did the clue, we went, and we did remembering where we were on that game show thing and we just flew through it and that's why we pretty much caught up with them.
Reality TV World: Unlike the other two teams that seemed to focus on trying to get help from their taxi drivers or their phones, you guys seemed to decide to go right to a hotel instead. Was that actually the case, and if so why did you two decide that?
Claire Champlin: That was just both Brook and I's idea -- was just to get to the Internet. -- We know that every hotel has Internet and there was a hotel right off the freeway. So, we went directly there and got our information -- we were on our way -- rather than messing with the taxi cab drivers, because we all know how hard it is with taxi cab drivers being in The Amazing Race situations.
So, we don't even mess with that. We just knew we had to get the mission accomplished and get it done, and that's what Brook and I know what to do best.
Brook Roberts: Yeah, that seriously was in retrospect the most frustrating thing because Claire -- the truth was that we just went bam, bam bam -- we finished everything to perfection, ran to the Internet, ran to the next spot, we did not miss a beat at the end, so at least at the end of the day we can be proud and say that we ran a perfect race, and it just wasn't in our corner that day.
Reality TV World: Brook, you really seemed to get anxious during the bungee drop and did a lot of screaming afterwards. Were those screams of relief or fear or what were they?
Brook Roberts: Oh my God, that was on full force. When was I not screaming through the Race? I think all I heard the whole time was, "Ahhh!" But no, that was relief. It was either a relief to be done with that because I'm tough as nails, like I will carry bricks on my head, I will just do anything and everything, but when it comes to a free-fall drop, it petrifies me.
So, that was a relief. And Claire is such a rock star, she was like, "Brook you got this!" And she was just strapped in and was acting like it's just another normal day, and I was like no, this is crazy!
Reality TV World: Claire, your watermelon incident was obviously one of this season's most memorable moments. What was going through your head after it happened -- you seemed surprised when Brook said you still were going to have to finish the task.
Claire Champlin: Yeah, well it kind of caught me off-guard because I really didn't know what was going on. I didn't know what had hit me or anything until Brook was taking watermelon off of my face. And I didn't know if we could finish, and of course CBS' medical team, they were right there.
They checked me out and then they disappeared and they started filming again, so Brook and I literally didn't know if we were allowed to race or not. So, we kind of just sat there and that's when I looked at Brook and I was like, "What do we do now?" And she said, "I think we have to finish." And then that's when I was like, "What?" And then I saw the other team going, and it's kind of like survival of the fittest.
You just see those other teams and you have adrenaline coming and you're like, "I just gotta go." I knew once I'd get to the finish line, I'd get to get some Advil and an ice pack rather than just quitting. I could have quit then, but are you kidding me? I never would have heard the end of it from Brook. (both laugh)
Reality TV World: So you just weren't sure that they had cleared you yet? That's what your hesitation was?
Claire Champlin: Yeah, I didn't know!
Reality TV World: A lot of viewers were surprised you didn't suffer a concussion. Did you suffer any problems afterwards?
Claire Champlin: I just had a splitting headache the whole entire time...
Reality TV World: Wow.
Claire Champlin: ...I was racing, yeah. So, lots of Advil and Tylenol and that was about it. And then I got my brain -- my head scanned -- when I got home.
Reality TV World: Brook, what was your initial reaction when you saw Claire get hit -- did you think she was seriously injured at first?
Brook Roberts: No, it's just basically the same thing. It's just when you're watching the clip, it's so funny how people perceive it and what is actuality. And so when she was hit with a watermelon, I ran up to her and just like everyone -- we're all in shock -- I could see it on everyone's face.
I mean, that was a freak accident and no one could predict that. So we sat in the grass for a long time and we were just sitting there and Claire truly was going, "What do we do?" And then if you hear what I say, I go, "I think we have to finish."
So we were just confused. It was an overwhelming thing, and we were just overall confused and shocked. It's like being in a car accident and you just don't know what to do or how to react. So we ran. (laughs)
Reality TV World: Brook, the show portrayed you as a person who is always bouncing off the walls. Were you really like that 24/7 during the Race or did they just edit you to portray your personality like that? Are you that bubbly and hyper in everyday normal life?
Brook Roberts: Well, I would say...
Claire Champlin: ...Yes!
Brook Roberts: I definitely -- I am a super hyper person for anyone that knows me -- and that's what all my friends and family say when they watch the show, they're like, " Oh my God! A show that actually portrays you as you are!" But I definitely have my moments where I feel like sometimes Claire and I had really serious moments.
Being a journalist and traveling across the world, I take appreciation for culture, and people and life, and so sometimes I was fearful that I was portrayed as a person that's just bubbly and maybe doesn't have a lot of depth. So hopefully that was portrayed that I definitely am not super hyper and just ditsy la-la all the time.
Reality TV World: Nick and Vicki quit the Detour task which required the teams to search for their given number on hundreds of boats. You both did that same task, so did you find it as challenging and exhausting as Nick and Vicki had claimed it to be?
Claire Champlin: It was, it was really, really difficult. All of the teams were out there for hours looking for these boats to drop off these birds. This harbor just went on and on and this was after a full day of running a race, and then we had to do that, and then it started, and then it got dark, and then it started to rain. It was horrible; we were all so miserable.
And after that, Vicki got really, really sick throughout the whole sushi thing and so for them to get on that boat after going through the past mission, I just think that both of them were so exhausted.
Brook Roberts: Yeah I just think the whole time perception -- you couldn't see it -- people were out there, all of us. No one just went on that boat and quickly found it. And poor Claire, bless her heart, just ate all that sushi, puked it up -- "Okay, let's go! Let's go spend hours looking in the cold wet rain for a boat to put a bird on." -- That was tough.
Claire Champlin: Right. It was tough. That was a really hard mission.
Reality TV World: During your pre-show interview, you two said you weren't going on The Amazing Race for the money or the exposure but were only doing it for the experience. Were you being completely truthful when you said that?
Claire Champlin: Definitely.
Brook Roberts: Absolutely! The best answer, I think, to that question is I hope that everyone can feel that. I think when you watch the show, I think that really comes across, and what a great, great memory [we got from it], and I couldn't have done it with a better person.
Claire Champlin: We had such a great time and a great experience, and we literally, just had the time of our lives just laughing in every single country, making fun of each other, and growing, and seeing each other do crazy things. I think it definitely comes across that we had a great time through this whole experience.
Brook Roberts: I think money comes and goes, careers come and go, but opportunities like this do not, and I just think that was our motto the whole time.
Reality TV World: Brook, during your pre-show interview, you also felt the Race was going to give you an opportunity to "dispel a lot of myths" about what you called "our kind." Can you elaborate on what you meant by that, and do you think you accomplished that goal?
Brook Roberts: Yeah, I just think sometimes when you're in television, especially being a news anchor or being a home shopping host, there's just a perception of perfection that you have to have your hair done, your makeup perfect, you're always -- just a person that maybe is not approachable -- and so I just really wanted to have this opportunity to show that we're fun-loving, we love people, we love being around people, we love different cultures, and I think the show definitely gave our viewers a completely different take on who we really are.
Claire Champlin: We're hard workers as well. We're not just these ditsy la-la girls running around the world screaming. We really wanted to conquer all these missions and we did it. And we got to show that side of us as well.
Brook Roberts: Yeah, that we're tough -- tough as nails -- and that we'll break some nails to get to the finish line.
Reality TV World: For most of the show, it seemed like you both got along very well, but there were moments when it looked like you got frustrated with each other and would argue a bit. Claire, when those situations happened, you were kind of self-deprecating, talking about how you didn't think you could measure up to Brook as far as athleticism and things like that, could you just talk a little bit about that?
Claire Champlin: Yeah, when it came to that, we knew going into the Race that I wasn't as physical as Brook. So the physical side of it, of course I'm not going to be able to run around with Brook. I mean she goes and runs in triathlons and marathons and everything and I don't do that.
I'm more of the intellect and I like more mentally challenging things, and so that's where I thought my strong points were going to be throughout the Race, and I'm the once giving the directions. Actually, most of the time it worked out to my benefit, because she'd be ahead of me and she could run as fast as she wants to but she's still not going to get anywhere as long as she's not in the right direction.
So I would sit back saying, "Go left, go left... go right, go right" -- kind of guiding her to go but making sure we get there first.
But you learn a lot about yourself as well. And if it wasn't Brook that was in front of me, I wouldn't have been pushing myself as hard as I did. So I think in the long haul it was a great thing that she was my partner. She made me do a lot of things that I would have never, ever have done. I would have given up a lot earlier.
Reality TV World: There also seemed to be a couple of points where Brook's optimism and cheerleading seemed to wear on you a little bit. (laughs) Was that the case?
Claire Champlin: Yeah... (laughs)
Oh yeah, sometimes I think everybody gets enough, "Come on Claire!" Like everybody gets it, you only need so many. (laughs) And I just need to step back and do my own thing.
Like climbing the rope, I needed to be in my own space and concentrate, and she understood that. So I just asked her and said, "Brook, be quiet" and then she did and I went on my merry way.
Reality TV World: How were you two cast on the show, how did you end up on The Amazing Race?
Brook Roberts: I sent in -- my fiance watches the show and he was like, "Oh, we should sent a video!" And so I got my crew together from the station I was at and we created a video and they called up and were interested in us but [later] decided to not go with us.
[Then] like six months, seven months later I got a call from the casting director and they're looking for home shopping hosts -- the creator of the show goes, "Let's get home shopping hosts."
And they said, "Is there another girl that you know that would be perfect that's a home shopping host?" And I said, "Are you kidding me, my best friend and my roommate -- my co-worker!"
And I introduced them to Claire, we went down and chatted it up with them and they loved us and here we are!
Reality TV World: What's next for you two? I saw that Gems TV apparently shutdown this past spring, so are you two doing something else now? And you were both also engaged during the show, have either one of you gotten married already?
Claire Champlin: I got married right after the Race, Brook was in my wedding. So I married and now Brook is getting married in July. So yep, we have that. And hopefully Brook and I are putting our feelers out there, but Brook and I, we really want to do like a travel show together, or something out there
We're going to end up doing something big I know. (laughs)