Despite beginning the Race's final leg in second place, the "Sisters" team were able to pass fellow finalists fifteenth-season Racers Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton and Herbert "Flight Time" Lang and stay ahead of seventeenth-season Racers Gary Ervin and Mallory Ervin during the competition's final Florida leg and become the first team at the Pit Stop and the second all-female team to win The Amazing Race -- resulting in them claiming the $1 million dollar grand prize.
On Monday, LaKisha and Jennifer talked to Reality TV World about their The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business victory -- including whether they had expected to be the second all-female team to win the competition upon arriving at the final Pit Stop, why they believed it took so long for women to finally start winning The Amazing Race, how close they thought the last leg really was, what surprised them about the clues' instructions and the concluding Roadblock task, and how they disagrew with another team's claim that the "Harlem Globetrotters" frequently acted as "big bullies."
Reality TV World: So how's it feel to become The Amazing Race's second all-female winners?
Reality TV World: Did you already know that Racers Nat Strand and Kat Chang had won last season and become the first all-female winners when you were filming your season, or did you find out sometime during the Race, or what was the timeline there? Because I know your season began filming two or three weeks before Nat and Kat's finale aired on CBS.
Jennifer Hoffman: Yeah, and going into the Race, I think we just assumed that they were winning because again, they were so consistent and it wasn't anything that stood out in their season. They had some great competitors [fellow seventeenth-season Racers Brook Roberts and Claire Champlin] and [fellow seventeenth-season Racers Jill Haney and Thomas Wolfard] were great competitors, and that was a great final three.
But you have to look and evaluate the competition and for our season, we had 11 great teams or they wouldn't have brought us all back. So, going into the final three, we had Gary and Mallory and Big Easy and Flight Time, and those were two other teams that were extremely competitive and very good Racers. We just punched it out and did all of our tasks and came out on top!
Reality TV World: So did you find out you weren't the first all-female team to win when you got to the finish line, or did you already know before then?
Jennifer Hoffman: Yeah. I think it was just a pure assumption until we got to the mat and [The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan] said that we were the second all-female team. It was just pure assumption, and it is what it is.
Reality TV World: Did you feel a little disappointed that you didn't get to claim that title?
LaKisha Hoffman: Well, Jen's shaking her head, but she never said that before. I think that whether we were the first, the second -- I mean, it would have been nice to have that just to boost our egos to say we're the first -- but whether we're the first, second or third, we still get a million. So, I guess that really doesn't matter. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: The money's a nice consolation prize. (Laughs)
(LaKisha and Jennifer laugh simultaneously)
Reality TV World: Why do you two think it took so long for an all-female team to finally win and now we've seen it happen in back-to-back seasons?
Jennifer Hoffman: Great question. Given that it's the eighteenth season that just ended, there's really no way to assume that women are weaker because it just happened a year ago that a female-female team has won. This is a show about competition and about smarts and it takes in so many aspects of life that most people don't see on a daily basis.
They don't go through this amount of stress, so to have people at their breaking point, I think that's what the show establishes -- with sleep deprivation and starvation and you're just physically and emotionally worn down -- Some people can't take that and that's what going through it and advancing in the Race, that's what happens.
You have to stay mentally tough and you have to have your bearings about you. You just have to be very, very strong and it just so happened that the two female-female teams that won back-to-back were just mentally and physically strong and extremely consistent.
Reality TV World: That final seven-mile bridge bike ride seemed to pretty much eliminate any chance that Gary and Mallory were going to be able to close the gap on you, but were you surprised that you were actually able to pull away from Flight Time and Big Easy -- who are also supposed to be athletes like yourselves -- during the ride?
LaKisha Hoffman: No. We weren't shocked at all. I mean, we at the task before, we got a little lead on them. So going there to the bridge, it was one of those things where we just told ourselves to keep going. I really struggled on that bridge. I do know how to ride a bike. I don't know why it appeared that I didn't, (laughs) but yeah. We just knew that we had to keep going and we pulled it off.
Reality TV World: A lot ofThe Amazing Race seasons have ended with a task that involved remembering the earlier legs, but this season didn't feature that. Did that surprise you, and had you two been taking notes and cramming on the plane in anticipation of a memory task?
LaKisha Hoffman: When we were at the first Roadblock, I stepped up to do it because we figured there would be a memory task, and even though we both kind of went over information, Jen was the one really studying. We figured that she has a better memory, so she would be doing that.
So, we were a little bit surprised, but I don't think the show really captured that once we finished at the Marina, to even get to the undersea lodge, there were like four different riddles you had to figure out. So, I actually think that figuring out the riddles, to figure out what places you needed to go next, was a lot more difficult than any memory challenge could have been.
Reality TV World: You mean the rest of the riddles were a lot harder than subtracting four? (Laughs)
LaKisha Hoffman: Yes. (Laughs) Well, no! There was another one where it was like four different riddles where you had to figure out someone that was like a part of a band, then the aerial, a song, and then two other things that we actually had to Google to find out the information to even get there. So, yes. The four thing was easy (laughs), but the other ones? Not so much. But I don't think the show really captured how difficult that actually was.
Reality TV World: Another thing that seemed surprisingly difficult from what they showed last night was the trailer task. Flight Time and Big Easy actually used your trailer setup to figure out what they had done wrong with their setup, which some viewers have labeled cheating, and Gary and Mallory also told me they did the same when I talked to them a little while ago. It obviously didn't cost you two the win, but what are your thoughts about that?
LaKisha Hoffman: I think that when you're on the Race, you have to be smart and resourceful. So if someone had completed a task and it's right there for you to look at, then you might as well do that.
Reality TV World: So then the other side of that is people have been wondering if you guys ever considered wiping your table off or taking part of your setup apart before you left so that the other teams couldn't copy you?
Jennifer Hoffman: Well in the Race, those are things that you don't really think about. Once you've completed the task, you've completed the task, and it's not something that, like I said, when going throughout the Race and people thinking that we're sharing information with everybody, I was definitely not going to tell them that they jacked their place up and they needed to separate their plates.
That's some information that I'm not going to share with them. But if they wanted to use it and use ours as a diagram, then they could surely do that.
Reality TV World: When I talked to Gary and Mallory, they said they felt like the Race basically came down to the taxis that everyone got leaving the Miami airport, and when I talked to Flight Time and Big Easy they said like they felt like it came down to the trailer park task and all three teams still had a chance at that point. What do you two feel was the deciding factor?
LaKisha Hoffman: I think that for Gary and Mallory, their cab driver did do them in, whereas we felt like our cab driver was heaven sent -- with him really calling and speaking out information and really just knowing his way around -- and when he didn't know, asking.
I think that because the [Harlem Globetrotters] and my sister and I were neck and neck, it was the trailer park. Because we actually -- Big Easy -- it took us a little bit to get our trailer onto the mount. They came and they pulled theirs right up, and so we were neck and neck and neck that whole leg, especially at the trailer.
Miss Rosie told us that we did ours incorrectly a couple times and once we figured out that one last thing that we were missing, that was the deciding factor right there. If they would have decided that their plates were out of order before we decided that we were missing a coke can, they would have been the ones that would have won.
Reality TV World: You don't think that you would have been able to pass them on the bridge?
Reality TV World: Jennifer, when I interviewed you after your first Race edition, you wanted to make it clear you didn't feel your bathroom break is what cost you the Race, but the editors continued to suggest otherwise during this season -- including during the beginning of last night's episode. How frustrating was that?
Jennifer Hoffman: It's not frustrating at all. It's actually an ongoing joke. They call me "pee-pee girl." It's definitely an ongoing joke with the family, but no hard feelings. It happened. It's over. I don't live in the past. Let's not go there.
Reality TV World: Last week's episode featured the chocolate gnome controversy in which Flight Time's mold seemed to disappear from the freezer and Big Easy accused [twelfth-season Racer Vyxsin Fiala] of taking it. What was your take on that incident -- do you guys believe Vyxsin took Flight Time's mold, and do you think Big Easy's reaction was appropriate or too much?
LaKisha Hoffman: I think that once you get caught up into the moment, the competition, things happen. Once we were looking at the people doing the tasks, we didn't think that Vyxsin completed her bottom piece. But you never know.
You never know what happened, and it's like, if you're there and you see your partner working really hard and you feel like they're cheated, then you speak up and you say something. I think that things just happen in the heat of competition and I think us, as athletes, we understand that and we are able to look past that and move on.
Reality TV World: When I talked to [twelfth-season Racer Kent Kaliber] and Vyxsin last week, they said they felt the Globetrotters basically become bullies when things don't go their way. What are your thoughts on that?
LaKisha Hoffman: We think that that's a total crock. Sorry, that's not very diplomatic. I take that back.
Reality TV World: You don't have to be diplomatic. (Laughs)
LaKisha Hoffman: (Laughs) Too late. Too late. No, I think that the Globetrotters ran a really great Race and I think that they're great role models and yeah, that's what I have to say about that. I don't think they're bullies. I think that people say things when they're upset and things happen. People have different perceptions about things.
Reality TV World: This season's Race started with a scuba diving Roadblock in which LaKisha, you had to go swimming with sharks, and then kind of ended with the underwater Roadblock, where Jen, you had to go find your next clue underwater in the treasure chests.
LaKisha Hoffman: I know! Why did I have to swim with sharks when she gets to listen to music underwater? I'm still trying to figure that one out.
Reality TV World: How hard was that for the two of you? Because obviously based upon your first Race, you guys weren't too comfortable in the water and had struggled with the swimming and diving task in China.
Jennifer Hoffman: Looking back, it kind of came full circle knowing that we had to get over the things that were really, really tough situations in our first season, and it just goes to show -- true to form -- that it was unfinished business. To go back and have to accomplish something that was such a hindrance in your first season is just a test of how strong and competitive we are.
Reality TV World: Some viewers feel that between the samba Roadblock and the Brazilian wax, the Brazil leg really seemed to favor the teams with women. What do you guys think about that?
LaKisha Hoffman: When it came to waxing, we had the same amount of time. [Fourteenth-season Racers Zev Glassenberg and Justin Kanew] didn't have the same amount of hair as us, (laughs) so it was painful to watch but actually quite hilarious.
Reality TV World: You guys didn't win a leg the entire season except for the last leg, do you think there's any significance to that at all?
LaKisha Hoffman: I think, we said all Race, every single leg -- beat one team -- last leg, beat two. You could win five legs, but if you don't win the last one, then what's the point? We wanted to win the leg that counts and that's what we did.
Reality TV World: What do you guys plan on doing with the money? I know you said you wanted to help your mom start a business. Are you still planning on doing that and what kind of business is it?
LaKisha Hoffman: We are going to sit down and ask her what it is that she wants to do. She was really interested in real estate. We want to like buy her a property and then build from that. So, if that's something that she still wishes to do, then that's something that we're going to assist her in doing.
Reality TV World: Any other plans for the money for yourselves?