Exclusive: Caite Upton and Brent Horne discuss 'The Amazing Race'
By Reality TV World staff, 05/11/2010
After getting off to a rough start and making multiple mistakes in The Amazing Race's first half-dozen legs, "Dating Models" Caite Upton and Brent Horne appeared to be peaking at just the right time after finishing in first place during the sixteenth-season competition's penultimate leg.
However things didn't go their way during the final leg, and a poor cab driver and the return of prior their error-prone ways combined to cost Caite, a 20-year-old model/actress from Lexington, SC, and Brent, a 28-year-old advertising model from Columbia, SC, their chance at finishing in first or second place during Sunday night's finale broadcast of the CBS reality competition.
On Monday, Caite and Brent talked to Reality TV World about their The Amazing Race experience -- including why they feel they may have been so mistake-prone, what were the unseen "mean things" that they claim sparked their feud with previously eliminated racers Carol Rosenfeld and Brandy Snow, why the incidents were not shown on the show, and what the status of their romantic relationship is now.
Reality TV World: First off, congratulations on finishing third.
Brent Horne and Caite Upton: Thank you.
Reality TV World: You guys seemed to make more mistakes than the other teams during the Race, right up until the last leg when you had to go back to Lucasfilm. Why do you think that was?
Caite Upton: We both played sports growing up and we're both fast-paced people. A lot of times we overlooked the clue because we were rushing things.
Reality TV World: Brent, is that your conclusion too?
Brent Horne: Yeah. We both did the tasks real well and all of that, but we -- at times, because we're so competitive because of our backgrounds -- we sort of rushed through things, and that's sort of what we did.
Reality TV World: Exactly what happened at Lucasfilm with your money and personal stuff? Last night's show really never showed you guys after that so it was a little unclear.
Caite Upton: What happened was Brent and I got there and I had my money bag and in the lobby there are two separate changing rooms -- one for me and one for Jet -- and when Jet came out to bring out his clothes that he had changed out of, he laid it over my money bag knowing that's my money bag. He was playing the game, he knew it was my money bag, he knew I would probably miss it -- so I ran out without it.
Reality TV World: So you know it was deliberate? Did he acknowledge it, or are you [assuming that]?
Caite Upton: I know it was deliberate. It was the only thing sitting on the entire couch. He knew that wasn't his and he knew it was mine -- or somebody's -- and he deliberately put the clothes over the top of it. He could have laid his clothes somewhere else on the couch. But no, he put it over the top of the money bag. So, yeah.
Reality TV World: So you mean the clothes you guys took off and were leaving behind when you were leaving?
Caite Upton: The crazy outfits.
Reality TV World: Do you guys have any idea about how much time you lost by having to go back to Lucasfilm?
Caite Upton: About five or 10 minutes.
Reality TV World: Did you guys still end up doing the final elimination order puzzle at the music hall or did the producers just send you straight to the Finish Line at that point?
Caite Upton: We still did it because we did it in like two seconds.
Reality TV World: So you guys did do it?
Caite Upton: Yeah, we did do it. We did it very quickly -- very, very quickly.
Reality TV World: Were you guys surprised how easy that was?
Brent Horne: Yes. That was really -- I don't want to say anything negative -- but that really kind of upset me.
I don't know, maybe the Star Wars thing was supposed to take a while and we just did it so quickly like we did just about every task on the Race. Last season they had to do this $1 million chip thing and the highest chip count was $1,000 and that's what got everyone [bunched] together -- no matter what the cabs were doing, that sort of made a big play.
We just didn't have anything [like that] on this final. It was, to me, the weakest leg throughout the entire Race, I felt. And here it was the last leg of the Race.
Reality TV World: Had you guys been anticipating it was going to be some sort of memory thing or were you disappointed at how easy a memory thing it was?
Brent Horne: Typically, there's some sort of memory thing that comes in there. So we figured there'd at least be something that would sort of take a long time to do. And there just really wasn't anything that did that, it seemed like.
Reality TV World: But you guys had notes like the other two teams did -- from all the legs and everything like that, right?
Brent Horne: No, we didn't take notes. We just had it in our heads. It was kind of easy. It was real easy to be honest.
Reality TV World: No, I agree. I think many viewers probably could have done it.
Brent Horne: Oh definitely. You've got 11 teams on the race and you're standing there racing with two others and you're third, so it's not like you really have to memorize that much.
Reality TV World: Given they never fell out of first place after that, how big of a role do you think the fact that Dan and Jordan were able to move up to first class and be the first ones off the plane played in their victory?
Brent Horne: That was the biggest move. That's what obviously won the Race for them. I give them props for making such a smart move early on in that leg.
Reality TV World: Did you guys know they were doing that at the time, or were you guys sleeping or what was going on [with your own team] when that happened?
Brent Horne: Yeah, we knew they were moving up there. One thing that went through my head -- because Caite and I had been up in the front of the plane many times throughout the Race -- and it never mattered. Because we were all like, "Yeah, the front of the plane. We'll get there first." Then you have to get out and you go through customs and you go through all that mess [and it doesn't matter much].
I don't know, when we got off the plane there was a crowd of people. Obviously when they got off the plane they didn't really have to go through much. I guess the airport was closed before our plane got there because there wasn't anybody else there except when we landed.
Reality TV World: Yeah, I just talked to [Dan and Jordan] a few minutes ago and they said even though you were the first to check in for the flight you ended up sitting the farthest in the back somehow.
Brent Horne: Yeah, and that drove us crazy. Here we were, we sat in the airport, we thought it was going to play a big role, we finished the previous leg in first, and we're sitting behind everyone else. And nowadays you can't really go stand at the door whenever the plane's landing. You'll get arrested.
Reality TV World: So how did you guys end up in the back? Did you not ask the check-in person?
Brent Horne: We did.
Caite Upton: We tried a million times.
Brent Horne: She's like, "No. It wouldn't matter. You're all sitting next to each other."
Reality TV World: What was your take on that backpack incident between Dan and Jordan and Jet and Cord at the Shanghai airport?
Brent Horne: Well, it's a race and inevitably that didn't really play a big role -- again -- because we all sat next to each other. But it's just a race. They thought it was something that would help them out, but it really didn't. I guess Jet and Cord, it really pissed them off. But I don't think it played that big of a role.
Reality TV World: It just seemed kind of strange because it seemed like you guys were all going to be on the same flight any ways -- with the special check-in window and the special flight and all that. So it just kind of seemed like there wasn't much upside to it unless they were intentionally trying to get under their skin.
Brent Horne: Well, typically if you're the first team to the airport you can get a better seat, and that's what they thought. They were like, "Well, if we're in-front of Jet and Cord..."
Us, they don't get in front of us because we were standing right there at the counter for eight hours it seemed like. They thought they would get a better seat, and it just really didn't matter. No one got better seats. They just moved up once we were in the air later on.
Reality TV World: Caite, you had repeatedly mentioned that improving your public image was a big part of why you did the Race. After seeing what got broadcast, do you think participating on the show accomplished that or maybe made things worse?
Caite Upton: No, I actually think I was able to change other people's opinions of me. Of course I'm always going to have those haters out there, but that's life for you.
Reality TV World: I want to ask you about your rivalry with Carol and Brandy. Every time you mentioned how they had said "mean things" about you, the producers just kept showing that one "tiara" comment that Jordan told you guys about, and when I asked Carol and Brandy about it...
Caite Upton: You don't even need to tell me about that because they said it to my face after that leg. They came up to me and said it to my face.
They actually came up to me after the first leg and were like, "Who completed the Roadblock?" And I said, "I did." And they said, "Aw, I can't believe you did it without your little tiara." And then Brandy did say, "I'm surprised you didn't bring it with you." Just all snotty. Very snotty.
Brent and I both looked at each other and we're like, "Did that really just happen? Did they really just say that? Wow. They're cool."
Reality TV World: So when I spoke to them, they had insisted that the reason the producers kept showing [just the same "tiara" comment] was because they hadn't really said any other mean things to you and that was all the producers had to show...
Caite Upton: They lied. They said a lot of mean stuff and it just happened to be off-camera.
Another mean thing was when we were sitting in France at the airport, [Louis Stravato] was asking me just a simple question, "What famous people have you met?" So I was answering the question and Carol was sitting next to him, turns to us, rolls her eyes and says, "No one cares to hear what you have to say."
Reality TV World: You're saying there were a lot of examples but they just all kind of tended to happen off camera?
Caite Upton: Yeah, all the other rude comments were whenever the camera was not on them, whenever they said it to our face. And many others.
Brent Horne: They said it about many people...
Caite Upton: Yeah, they said mean stuff about everybody...
Brent Horne: ...and that went into our [U-Turn] decision.
It was like, "Yeah, they're targeting..." but at the same time, they said it about a lot of people -- negative comments -- and getting off that leg where we U-Turned them, they really showed their butts getting off the train, and that's one thing.
We looked at each other and were like, "If we get there first, no doubt they're gone now."
Reality TV World: Caite, when I talked to them, Brandy also said that she believed that you might be homophobic and have a problem with lesbians. I just want to give you a chance to respond to that.
Caite Upton: That's funny that she said that because I'm actually one of the most supportive people whenever it comes to gays and lesbians. Some of my best friends -- even my pageant coaches -- they're all gay. A couple of my friends are lesbians that I played soccer with and I love them all dearly. I think they're great people and I am one of the most supportive.
And if anything, they should have befriended me because I was definitely the most supportive one aside from "boy" Jordan on that Race when it comes to gays and lesbians.
Reality TV World: Yeah, when I just spoke to Jordan he mentioned you guys have become really friendly...
Caite Upton: He's one of my best friends.
Reality TV World: Do you think [Louis Stravato and Michael Naylor] kind of played a role in fueling your relationship with Carol and Brandy?
Caite Upton: They kind of came to us and they told us negative comments they were saying about Louis and Michael. So I mean it just kind of made out decision clearer, like obviously.
Brent: Nobody influenced our decision. Brandy and Carol are the only ones that influenced our decision to U-Turn them.
Reality TV World: Caite, you had a couple of ugly moments during last night's episode with your cab driver where you kept yelling at him, called him a "dumb ass" and complained [that] he didn't speak English. Was it hard for you to watch that, and do you think you learned anything about yourself from watching that or the earlier episodes?
Caite Upton: A lot of it was mainly just me getting out my frustration. I was mentally and physically drained. It was just like I had built up all inside and I was trying to take it out on the cab driver. I mean he didn't know better -- he barely knew left from right and I had no reason to take it out from him.
Brent wasn't being the nicest person of all that day either, and that was also frustrating me as well. I don't know, I just kind of blew up. I was sick and tired of just sitting there and trying to cope with everything and being nice when, you know... I dunno.
Reality TV World: Brent, what was going through your mind when that was happening? I know you were telling her to "chill out" and "get a grip."
Brent Horne: Honestly the worst thing you can do -- and it's tough to fight it -- is to freak out over a situation, even though it was very frustrating. There were some comments made and I just felt like there's no need -- we knew our fate kind of at that point.
You know you just kind of suck it up and you're just like, "Screw it. At least try to finish the Race with your dignity and don't show your ass too much on television." That was kind of what was going through my head. Let's just chill out and let's just try to do the rest to the best of our ability.
Caite Upton: Yeah, well you could have said it in a lot nicer way, so... okay.
Brent Horne: You're the one that told people you were going to punch me on national television.
Caite Upton: Yeah, well you kind of deserved it, so.
Reality TV World: About how much time do you guys think you lost while you were driving around and looking for Battery Park?
Caite Upton: We definitely lost about 30 minutes. We were very far ahead of the cowboys and when we saw them drive by we immediately like knew the directions and exactly where that location was. So we finally got our cab driver to go the right way.
Reality TV World: Caite based on your comments, you seemed to have felt that getting an English-speaking cab driver [for the final leg] was pretty important. Had you tried to find one but been unable to?
Caite Upton: Well immediately I was trying to ask our taxi cab driver if he knew where this was and wanted to hear like how he did speak. Then Brent was like, "Just get in the car." So it's like, "Okay..."
Reality TV World: Did you end up keeping that same cab driver all the rest of the leg?
Caite Upton: Yes.
Reality TV World: Wow.
Caite Upton: We were scared to get out and lose the taxi cab and not be able to find another one.
Brent Horne: There were no other taxi cabs floating around the area. It's not a real cabby area. We asked all kind of people around there where this place was, no one had a clue where it was.
You know how cabs line up at an airport, that was the first cab sitting there lined up and he acted like he knew where it was. He was pretty for sure, at least that's the way it came across. And I knew we only had a split second in-front of the cowboys even though the brothers were way ahead.
Reality TV World: You guys seemed to really close the gap on Jet and Cord during the Lucasfilm virtual reality task. Why was that -- do you think you were just better at it or do you think that was one of those tasks where getting to hear what was going on between the other teams kind of gave you an advantage?
Brent Horne: No, I think we were definitely better at it. Obviously I was sitting there next to Cord, but he was just yelling out stuff and I didn't know what in the world he was yelling out. I just felt like if Caite would listen to me, we could really dominate that task, and we did.
Reality TV World: So the part at the end there where you had to spin around -- that was something you figured out on your own, it wasn't because you had heard and seen Jet and Cord?
Brent Horne: Yeah, we're standing there and Caite -- and obviously she's just chilling because we finished the whole video game portion -- she kind of moved a little bit and I saw it slow down. Like the words were going really fast. And I was like, "Keep moving your head!" It kept slowing down. So finally we figured it out that's how you do it.
Brent Horne: It's really the only reality show that I really care for. I love to travel and all that mess and I love competition, so I thought it would be something great to do. It was a show that I always said if I'm going to do one, that's definitely the one I want to do.
Caite Upton: Yeah, so I contacted my manager and I was like, "Hey, we would love to be on this show. Can you try and work something out?" He contacted CBS and at first they said no because of my age -- I was only 20. And then later on someone higher up at CBS contacted my manager and was like, "Oh my god we love her. You've got to bring her in."
So we sent in a video and it worked out.
Reality TV World: So they basically told you they decided to make an age exception for you?
Caite Upton: I mean, obviously we had to go through a lot of the interviews and stuff and it wasn't just the fact that I was Miss South Carolina. We had to go through the whole process just like everybody else did.
Reality TV World: What was your favorite moment on the Race?
Caite Upton: I loved the bungee jumping and crossing that wire. That was really cool.
Brent Horne: I really liked the zip line in Singapore and obviously winning the leg there in China was pretty exciting.
Reality TV World: What was your least favorite Race moment?
Caite Upton: I think my least favorite moment was telling Brent he had to go in that cow farm.
Reality TV World: How about you Brent?
Brent Horne: I guess my least favorite moment, towards the end there because Brandy kind of showed her ass and sort of ruined it for everyone.
Reality TV World: Caite what was your reaction when that whole thing happened?
Caite Upton: I was very surprised that they were handling it so poorly. I was like, "Wow, you're acting like a child. Can you please grow up?"
I mean if they had a daughter, I would be there daughter's age. It was like they were talking down to their daughter. It was very disrespectful.
Reality TV World: What's the status of your relationship now? Are you guys still together?
Caite Upton: No, we're not together and it was more personal reasons. It had nothing to do with the Race. We're 3,000 miles apart from each other.