Exclusive: Kent Kaliber and Vyxsin Fiala talk about 'The Amazing Race'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/03/2011
Kent Kaliber, who was known as Kynt Cothron during his initial Race edition, and Vyxsin Fiala seemed likely to survive, if not win, the Race's tenth leg when they were the first team to complete the chocolate gnome Roadblock task, giving them a head start to the tenth Pit Stop of The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business all-stars edition.
However, the couple's Race experience took a fatal turn when they failed to read the leg's final clue carefully and chose to take a taxi to the Pit Stop in Zermatt, Switzerland, instead of running by foot as instructed. Kent and Vyxsin didn't realize their mistake until it was too late and incurred a 30-minute time penalty upon their finish, resulting in the "Dating Goths" becoming the seventh team eliminated from the competition during Sunday night's broadcast of the all-stars edition's tenth episode.
On Monday, Kent and Vyxsin talked to Reality TV World about their The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business experience -- including whether Kent really blamed their demise entirely on Vyxsin, why Vyxsin reacted and broke down the way she did after being "bullied" by a couple of the other Racers, what the couple's blunt opinion was of Nathaniel "The Big Easy" Lofton, how Vyxsin explained her apparent frustration towards Kent's negative attitude during the Race and why she felt he had a good excuse to complain, and why the "Dating Goths" were convinced they never got special treatment when they had received the season's most controversial time penalty.
Reality TV World: So Kent, based on what was shown last night, it really did look like -- as Vyxsin claimed -- you were trying to throw her under the bus and blame her for your time penalty and subsequent elimination. But you don't seem to think that's what you were doing, so you explain your side of things?
Kent Kaliber: Absolutely. That was a very "Kent high pressure moment," and we were standing there in that penalty for about 20 minutes. So we actually had a much longer conversation than you saw, and I felt like because of time constraints or whatever, I felt like our Pit Stop moment got cut really short last night.
I was on the mat and with [The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan] saying, "You're eliminated," and it was like, "Bye guys!" But we actually had a much longer talk with Phil about that and we said that it was both of our faults -- that nobody was to blame -- it was just what happens in the Race. It was just as much my fault as it was hers.
She worked really hard that day doing the challenge under some pretty intense circumstances. She did great and I'm really proud of her! You know, it's seeing moments like that on the show that don't make you feel good, but if you can learn something from it -- some moments of the Race are moments of triumph for seeing yourself overcome obstacles that make you feel like a rock star.
And there's moments where you feel like, "You know what? In a situation like that, let's not bicker. Let's support." So, I'm going to walk away from this Race learning from it. It's kind of likeThe Amazing Race -- It's amazing therapy. I feel like I learned a lot about it and how I can be a better person in all of my life.
Reality TV World: Vyxsin, what's your take on the whole incident and what resulted from it?
Vyxsin Fiala: Yeah, no. I totally agree with Kent. I mean, at the point, we had spent 25 or some days on the road. We were exhausted. Our bio-rhythms were all off and flying all over the place. We were hungry. We were a bit psyched out because of some snarky behavior from some of the other teams. There were a lot of factors that played, and one thing I love about Kent is that he is a great forgiver.
That's something that I tried to be as well in our relationship. We both know that the secret to friendship and love isn't, "Let's be perfect all the time." It's understanding that we're human and we're flawed, and we have moments where we say things and do things that aren't really what we're about in the big picture. He's very generous with me about that stuff.
So, when I saw that moment, I know how crummy we both felt. We felt terrible. It was awful. We both were to blame. We were both -- It's awful -- It's like if you take it and actually think about it in your personal life, it's a really embarrassing, horrible, really stupid moment, and then [it gets] put on TV in front of all your friends and all your family and 30 million strangers.
It's like, "Ugh!" It's kind of hard to -- It's not pleasant to watch. But at the same time, I know that Kent has my back and he's my sweetheart. So, I'm not worried about it. That was just a really rocky moment.
Reality TV World: Vyxsin, there seemed to be a point when you guys were riding in the electric taxi on the way to the Pit Stop where you told Kent that you thought you two were doing something wrong and Kent just brushed it off and said he didn't care. What did you think was wrong, because based on the way you reacted when you got the time penalty, it didn't seem to be that you had figured it out that you had to go to the Pit Stop on foot.
Kent Kaliber: Well I'll grab this answer before she starts. It was really tough because right when we left that Roadblock challenge, Vyxsin had endured so much abuse from the ["Harlem Globetrotters" Big Easy and Herbert "Flight Time" Lang] and so much wrath from them, she was in a state where she felt like, "We already lost the game." While we were running out of that challenge, she kept saying, "Kent, we lost. Kent, we've lost. We've lost the game."
I tried to keep saying, "No, no, no. We're doing fine. We're doing fine. It's going to be okay. It's going to be okay." The poor little thing was just stuck in this head space -- I'll let her expand on that...
Vyxsin Fiala: Yeah, well. Yeah. Basically, in the art of war, (laughs) the most vulnerable point to go for in your opponent is your mind. So, I guess the "Globetrotters" know that, and we don't play that way. We don't live that way, and they really had the false idea that I had messed with their stuff at the Roadblock -- that I had messed with their little chocolate gnome -- they just wouldn't get off it.
I told them I obviously hadn't done it if you watch the footage. I didn't do it. That Roadblock took almost three hours to complete, and both of the "Globetrotters," Kisha, Mallory -- they were all giving me all kinds of grief about it for like hours and hours and hours. Honestly, I didn't fight back, and maybe I should have.
Maybe what would have been better, would have been to strike back at them and then get it out of my system, but I was trying so hard to just be polite and just do my own thing. Unfortunately, yeah, I was psyched out. I don't know what else to say. I was psyched out, and it brought me back to a lot of really bad bullying that I endured during growing up.
It just made me feel like, I don't know, just really small and terrible and helpless. So, I wasn't paying attention to the clue, and Kent is a sweetheart. He was the best teammate and he was worrying about me. So, we weren't thinking.
Reality TV World: What was your opinion of Big Easy's behavior? Some viewers have been feeling he was basically behaving as a bit of a bully.
Kent Kaliber: Absolutely. I mean, he was absolutely being a bully. There's no doubt about it. If you go back and watch the footage, Vyxsin clearly didn't take his stuff. The fact of the matter is, the "Globetrotters" -- when they don't get their own way, they turn into big babies -- behind those jerseys, they're big cowards.
It's not above them to bully a person around on the Race. In particular, to bigger to bully a girl around. It's the second season in a row where they've done it. Check your tapes, they did it in their own season. So, I just feel like when they don't get their own way, that's what they resort to, and I don't feel like it's good sportsmanship and I don't feel like it's what their jerseys are [about].
Reality TV World: Did you guys ever figure out what happened to Flight Time's mold?
Vyxsin Fiala: No and honestly, it's none of my business. I don't care. (Laughs) I bet one of two things happened. Either he forgot where he put it, or some other teammate took it. I mean, that's one of two possible scenarios. I put mine on the very bottom. It shows it!
Because I thought, "Oh, I'll put it on the bottom. No one wants the bottom. That's great because I'll remember where mine is, because there's so many guys in the fridge." I don't know. It's just one of those things like, it was what it was. I think that the way they behaved was shady, but at the same time, it was our mistake at the end of the day that got us eliminated.
I'm not about to sit here and not take responsibility for my own actions. It's our fault. We messed up, but I wish -- because I've wanted so much to like them -- because they're the "Globetrotters." It's an organization that's so cool. I'm just sorry that they behaved the way they did.
Reality TV World: So it doesn't sound like you guys got a chance to talk with the "Globetrotters" about what happened after you got eliminated from the Race, or after last night's episode aired or anything like that?
Kent Kaliber: Yeah, we can't talk about that yet, because we can only talk about what you've seen up until this point. But, we'll see them again at some point, I guess, and we'll hopefully discuss that matter, but a miss is a mile, the damage is done.
Reality TV World: Vyxsin, you seemed to get frustrated with Kent and feel that he wasn't trying hard or pulling his share a lot of times during the Race -- especially during the later legs. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Vyxsin Fiala: Yeah, Kent is totally awesome, but sometimes he gets a little fussy. He also was injured. He really hurt himself. In China, he fell on a metal ladder. The ladder collapsed and he fell upon it. He cracked a rib and sprained an ankle. He had all kinds of physical problems.
Reality TV World: Did those injuries occur before the Race started or during it?
Kent Kaliber: My main injury happened in China on Leg #5. She was referring to the dinosaur-building challenge. When I fell off that ladder and I landed on it on my right side, I hairline cracked my third rib on my right side, which is why if you go back and watch Legs #1-5, physically, I'm doing a top notch job.
I mean, I finished the dinosaur-building challenge before the "Cowboys" [Jet McCoy and Cord McCoy] -- before several other effective teams. Actually, I don't know if I finished before the "Cowboys."
Vyxsin Fiala: I was going to say that. I mean, we have different things that motivate us. So, I get motivated well when people compliment me or hug me (laughs), while Kent tends to be motivated well when he gets barked at a little bit. It's not because he's not trying his best, it's because he's trying his best and needs to -- it's hard, the Race is very, very hard.
Kent sometimes hits a wall where he's just like, "I can't do anything else. I can't," and I know that he's got a little more in him and it just seems like it's the best way to motivate him. You know, just to get a little harsh.
Kent Kaliber: And I did it. I never took it personally. For me, it was like, if she needs to push me past something, if she needs to tell me, "Do it! Do it now," sometimes that's great motivation. Like in the middle of a football game, the football coach isn't telling his players, "Please and thank you." He's barking at them. He's telling them, "Keep running! Keep going! Don't give up! Don't stop!" That's what it takes sometimes in a game like that.
Reality TV World: Vyxsin, so when you were pushing Kent in the luggage cart, that was more because of his injuries then?
Vyxsin Fiala: Well, yeah. He actually did a really good job on that challenge. That was such a physical challenge, and those hotels, [the show] makes it look like, "Oh, all those hotels are right there." They were far as heck! We were running -- everybody was running kilometers -- running kilometers with all this crazy, heavy stuff.
We finished before some of the stronger, tougher teams. It was because we were just pushing ourselves so hard. But, he definitely did an awesome job at that challenge, but he did have an injured ankle, (laughs) and he was so hurt.
So, I told him to get in the little cart because I figured it was the most efficient way to get him back to the starting point. Honestly, after all that heavy luggage, little tiny Kent was totally easy to -- He's pretty easy to tug around in a little cart. (Laughs) He's pretty tiny. It wasn't too hard on me.
Reality TV World: Based on all the interviews I've done with the eliminated racers, this season's biggest controversy actually seems to be how you two only received a 30-minute time penalty when you missed the mandatory flight from Japan to China and took another flight instead of waiting a full day for the next flight of the mandatory flight -- which is what the other teams feel you should have had to do based on the instructions. Can you guys talk a little bit about that and tell me your side of things?
Kent Kaliber: I would love to talk about that. Honestly, I've never understood the complaining about that -- that moment -- because let's take opinion out of it and let's consult The Amazing Race rules. Let's consult what has been brought up in past seasons and has been discussed before in the Race, and I'll read it to you right here.
"Should a team take a form of transportation that is not the clue required form of transportation and does not result in a time advantage, the penalty is 30 minutes. Examples of this are ["Best Friends" Mark Yturralde and Bill Hahler] in Season 13 taking non-required transportation and receiving a 30-minute penalty. Another good example is team ["Father/Son" Michael Wu and Kevin Wu] in Season 17, mistakenly took a non-required transportation and received a 30-minute penalty."
Obviously, in our case, it's a flight. So, it's a little bit more dramatic then these past examples, but in The Amazing Racerules -- in The Amazing Race universe -- so to speak, a flight it designed as transportation.
Vyxsin Fiala: We were just that close, because they're that good. They're fast. Sometimes, people underestimate Zev, but he is a very, very good Racer. He finished that chocolate challenge right after everybody else did, and they made it down there.
So, yeah. It was literally that close and it was a very romantic evening with Phil and the Matterhorn behind him and the sun setting and the snow blowing and all, but it was hard to appreciate it. (Laughs)