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HOME > The Amazing Race > The Amazing Race 20

Exclusive: Nary Ebeid and Jamie Graetz talk 'The Amazing Race'


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/16/2012 

Nary Ebeid and Jamie Graetz were eliminated from The Amazing Race's twentieth season during Sunday night's broadcast of the CBS reality competition.

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The "Federal Agents and Friends" team became the sixth team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the Race's eighth Pit Stop at Lake Manyara, which Ernest Hemingway had described as the loveliest lake in Africa, in last place due to having to complete an additional Speed Bump task and leaving the seventh Pit Stop hours behind the other teams -- putting them in last place and leaving them little opportunity to ever catch up and surpass their fellow Racers.

On Monday, Nary and Jamie talked to Reality TV World about their The Amazing Race experience -- including why they didn't get along with Art Velez and J.J. Carrell, who they would've U-Turned had they gotten the chance to, which Racers they became friends with and whom they had no intention to befriend, and what their mindset was heading to the Pit Stop after they had just survived the prior non-elimination leg.

Reality TV World: How far behind Vanessa Macias and Ralph Kelley do you think you guys finally arrived at the Pit Stop? The show made it look you guys were pretty far behind considering you had to complete that Speed Bump painting task when Vanessa and Ralph got to move forward in the Race and head towards the Roadblock task.

Nary Ebeid: We don't know for sure to this day. We are guessing -- we heard it was close, but we're assuming it was between 15-20 minutes. So close enough! I mean, it's pretty surprising. Of course we were already two hours behind and then they had to do the extra Detour for the U-Turn and then they had a flat tire, which we didn't know anything about.

Jamie Graetz: But then again, when we caught up to where our Speed Bump was, it was kind of heart-wrenching to know we still have to complete a Speed Bump. We were ecstatic that we caught up and once we had that Speed Bump, we knew it was going to put us behind again.

Reality TV World: So it sounds like you think the Speed Bump task was ultimately responsible for your elimination, right? Do you think the fact you guys had started out the leg about two hours or more behind all the other teams made much of a difference?

Nary Ebeid: No, I mean it did, because we were just playing catch-up all day. I mean, it's like, the Speed Bump was where we ended up catching up, but I mean, if you want to say that's what it ultimately was, I don't know if that's what it ultimately was because we were already two hours behind. So it was just playing catch-up all day.

Reality TV World: How long do you think it took you to complete that Speed Bump task and was it challenging or pretty easy?

Jamie Graetz: I think it -- I mean, that Speed Bump task wasn't very difficult. I would say maybe 15-20 minutes. I mean, it really was -- you just looked at that paper. So what I did was, Nary picked out the items I needed and I pretty much arranged the wall.

So, she actually picked them out, I hung them and we kind of had a great system going. It was done rather quickly. The only minor thing was maybe that it was windy, but I think we did it as fast as one could finish it. So, it wasn't that big of a deal.

Reality TV World: When you two arrived at the Double U-Turn board, were you surprised that no teams decided to U-Turn you guys? Why did you think that was at the time and were you surprised to see that Rachel Reilly and Brendon Villegas and Vanessa and Ralph were U-Turned instead or no?

Nary Ebeid: We weren't surprised that Rachel and Brendon were U-Turned. We had a feeling somebody was going to U-Turn them. And then of course knowing that whoever's behind Rachel and Brendon -- we were friends with Rachel and Brendon, so the only other teams for them to U-Turn -- because they were of course kind of fighting constantly with Ralph and Vanessa, they figured, "Hell, we're going to U-Turn them."

But I mean, U-Turning us, we never really felt that was much of an option only because we were so far behind. I mean, we were three hours and change behind team number one. So they knew. I mean they were pretty much already at the Pit Stop before we even like started.

It's like, they didn't even show us until the middle of the episode. "Okay, Nary and Jamie are finally taking off now." So we never really discussed it, but I don't think it was ever that much -- I mean, of course it was always an option -- but it never really crossed our minds that we were going to be U-Turned.

Reality TV World: It sounds like you think Brendon and Rachel's decision to U-Turn Vanessa and Ralph was simply due to personal issues rather than believing Vanessa and Ralph were a real threat in the Race, right?

Jamie Graetz: I think it was two-fold. I think they were probably pretty happy to -- and willing, more than willing -- to U-Turn them. But also, I would like to think -- I mean, they were our friends and we were working together. If there was a chance, [we thought] that that would help us to try to catch up, and so, it was darn close. That's for sure. But it just wasn't quite enough.

Reality TV World: Had you have gotten to that Double U-Turn before the other teams, who do you think you would have U-Turned in the Race hypothetically speaking? Who do you think it would have been strategically smart to slow down?

Nary Ebeid: Me personally, if I'm in first place and I know that I have a huge gap between me and the last team, I probably wouldn't have U-Turned anybody. Jamie, on the other hand, thinks a little differently only if it was a little closer, I think.

Jamie Graetz: Yeah, if there was a big gap, I don't think I would have U-Turned anyone anyways. I mean, I wouldn't have minded a bit U-Turning Art and J.J. just for sh-t's sake. But I don't know. At the time, I don't honestly think I would have. I think my animosity towards them has just kind of boiled since since I've watched the show.

I've seen how they've treated people and what not, and I don't care for them. But then, yeah. I probably wouldn't have U-Turned anybody. But I just thought it was pretty interesting that he had quite a fit over the fact [Rachel Brown and Dave Brown] didn't U-Turn us. We had no idea that that had happened.

Reality TV World: What were your reactions when you watched the show last night and found out Rachel and Dave chose not to honor their agreement with Art and J.J. to U-Turn Rachel and Brendon? Do you think that was a smart move on their part or a bad move, and why?

Nary Ebeid: To me, I think they were smart actually.

Jamie Graetz: Yeah.

Nary Ebeid: They know we're three hours behind just like Rachel said at the very end. She was like, "The teachers are way behind," you know? So what was the point? There's no point in U-Turning anybody.

We're three hours and change behind them, so why have this animosity that close to the end with these other teams -- pissing other teams off and U-Turning? So I actually thought they were smart. I mean, just because you made that pact, who cares. You race the way you race. Don't worry about how the other teams are.

Jamie Graetz: But his thing was that he wanted them to U-Turn Brendon and Rachel, and then they would've U-Turned us.

Nary Ebeid: Us, yeah.

Jamie Graetz: Which is just, like, awful.

Nary Ebeid: Yeah, which he's an idiot. But yeah. I totally agree with their decision. I think that's good they're not getting bullied by someone else, you know? They're playing their own game and "Amen" to that, you know?

Reality TV World: Not much was shown of you girls completing the honey harvesting Roadblock task. Just to clarify, did you complete that task or were you so far behind the producers just let you head to the Pit Stop? If you did complete the Roadblock, who did it and how long did it take you?

Nary Ebeid: I actually am the one who did that challenge and they did show a very brief part of me doing the challenge.

Jamie Graetz: You did it really fast.

Nary Ebeid: Yeah, I did it, I guess, pretty fast. But nope. We never thought once like -- we thought they could have potentially gotten lost -- maybe they screwed up in that challenge. We didn't know what was coming next once we got there. We were the only ones there, so we didn't know if they had completed it or not, so we never gave up. We were still gung-ho running.

I had to put a long-sleeved shirt on because I had to put the suit on, and Jamie was like, "Are you not hot? Are you going to run in that shirt?" I'm like, "I don't care. We need to go." I didn't care. I was just like, "We just need to go. We don't know how far back we are." So no, we never gave up at all in anything we did. We completed every task at hand.

Reality TV World: Although you remained optimistic, I'm sure it crossed your minds that you were likely to arrive at the Pit Stop in last place. So what did you think your chances were the leg would be a back-to-back non-elimination leg? Did you think there was a good shot it could happen or did you see that as a real longshot?

Jamie Graetz: We knew that that was not going to happen twice. I mean, that's for sure. Once she completed the bee task, we were 99.9% percent sure that we were going to get eliminated because we knew Ralph and Vanessa had been ahead of us unless that slimmed into an act of God happening and they were stuck behind us. We knew we would be eliminated, but we ran.

And that was a far run from the bees to the Pit Stop and it showed most of the teams walking, but we ran the whole way. Somebody made a comment to us after. They said they really appreciated us fighting to the very end and running the whole way to the Pit Stop. Yeah, that just kind of shows the character that we are. We weren't going to give up even though we pretty much knew our fate.

And it had been confirmed when [Phil Keoghan] told us we had been eliminated, but you know, we'd still do the same thing over again. You just kind of -- when you have a task, we're going to complete it and we're going to fight until the very end.

Reality TV World: What made you girls decide to do the "Air Supply" Detour task and about how long did it take you? Was it pretty easy to complete or more difficult than it looked during last night's episode?

Nary Ebeid: When we first got to the task, I actually thought the water task would be faster, but Jamie was like, "I think we should do the 'Air Supply' task." And I was like, "Okay if you think so then we're just going to go to the "Air Supply." So on our way there, we end up bumping into Brendon and Rachel, and they told us, "Hey, do the 'Air Supply.' It's faster."

Because they had to complete both challenges because of the U-Turn, so that of course helped in our head like, "Okay fine. This one's going to be a lot faster," because as you saw, they had to wait in this long line and carry these heavy jugs of water. And actually, I would say it took us about 20 minutes or so to complete. It actually was pretty quick.

Jamie Graetz: Mhmm.

Reality TV World: You guys decided to tell all your fellow Racers you were kindergarten teachers rather than federal agents. Could you elaborate a little more on why you did that? Did you think telling the other teams what your real professions were would have really made them that much more intimidated by you girls? And looking back, are you glad you came up with the story or do you kind of wish you had been honest for any reason?

Jamie Graetz: I think that I would have done the same thing over again if we started the game again tomorrow. You just don't know going in who your competitors are and you don't know where they come from.

And coincidentally, we had other law enforcement people that were contestants as well. But see, you can kind of look at that as two guys, as in Art and J.J., in the federal system could have potentially seen us as the threat because they don't want to get beaten by two women that are federal agents.

So, they could have wanted to eliminate -- if we had a U-Turn earlier -- try to get us out, or the flip side to that is, we could've all maybe worked together, as in being the law-enforcement pack trying to get rid of other people. So, you just don't know how people are going to react. You don't know what their strategy is and if nothing else, it was funny.

It was fun and you know, the way it was portrayed on TV showed it as if we were maybe stunned or shocked by Art and J.J., and that really wasn't the case. They kind of came at us a little foul and they had just been in this altercation and fighting in the airport with all these other people, which was completely embarrassing, and then they tried to bring it towards us.

And we weren't going to go there. That's not how we treat people and frankly, had he approached us on the side as like a friend or under cordial conditions, we would have probably told them. But at that place and at that time, I could have told them I was a janitor. I wouldn't have cared. I wouldn't have told him what we really were just to give him that satisfaction.

Reality TV World: Were you girls surprised at all that Art and J.J. were suspicious of you and came onto your stories when they did or did you figure that was going to happen based on the conversations you were having with them during the Race?

Jamie Graetz: Really, I was really just full of Art. I had had enough. I heard enough. He's rambling on to everybody -- to ears that don't understand really what he's talking about. And so, it's like when you have somebody that does understand -- which the whole discussion was about UC, which is undercover work -- and he was kind of tooting his own horn.

I, at 4:30 in the morning with no sleep and was freezing, thought he was just kind of full of it. And so, I did make a couple comments and knew that it was probably risky because most people -- civilians -- don't know the lingo, and I didn't care (laughs) at that point. And so, they think they're pretty much these really good detectives for finding out, and it wasn't rocket science at that point.

Reality TV World: During last week's episode, Art and J.J. told Rachel and Brendon they thought you were police officers because kindergarten teachers would be more "bouncy" and "social." What was your reaction to that? Would you girls say they had a point in that you were a little more quiet and reserved during the Race, or would you say they got the wrong impressions of you while on the show?

Nary Ebeid: Jamie and I were running the Race pretty much we felt like, "We're here to run the Race. We're not here to Oh..." I mean, we made friends, but we're just focusing on the task at hand. That's how we were. So maybe because we weren't friends with them and we didn't sit and chat with them, that's kind of how they portrayed it, I guess.

It's just like, "I'm sorry, because we're not kissing your ass and we're not friendly toward you and all curious about your profession" -- that's probably why.

Jamie Graetz: ... Which is so funny because you and I, of all people -- compared to other women that we work around, although there aren't very many -- we totally goof around. We laugh. That's totally what people think of us at work. We're like bubbly, friendly, joking around -- and I was like, "You just don't know us," you know? (Laughs)

And the other thing is, we always did better on our own. We never wanted to follow people and that was always a big thing too. A lot of times, they would all come together to kind of strategize like, "What should we do? Should we go this way? Should we do that?" And meanwhile, Nary and I would just run by and go in a different direction, because we just operate much better on our own.
 
And so, they saw us as being cold and withdrawn because we weren't trying to follow people. That's just not what we did, you know? It wasn't successful for us to follow people around.

Nary Ebeid: Yeah, but even from the very beginning when... everyone was introducing each other, I don't recalling [Art and J.J.] being very friendly either towards us.

It's not like they even tried to be friendly with us, so we kind of got a vibe from them -- a different vibe than we got from Brendon and Rachel, who were asking questions and [being] more friendly. [Art and J.J.] barely talked to us, so it's like, "Well, then we have nothing to talk about." And that's why they said that -- because we didn't talk to them or kiss their ass.

Reality TV World: There has clearly been a lot of tension between Rachel and Brendon and Vanessa and Ralph this season. How much of that were you two aware of while you were racing with them? Did you think one team was more at fault for starting arguments than the other or would you say they both were equally responsible for causing drama?

Jamie Graetz: I mean, once it got rolling, I think they were equally as responsible. We kept telling Rachel, "Just who cares what Vanessa says. Who cares if she says you're like 100 pounds overweight. Like, who cares." But she lets stuff get to her.

She reacts maybe not how we would, but okay. But you know what? I kind of felt like Vanessa, definitely with her mouth, could definitely let things brew -- just the way she pops off.

I just never got a good feeling about Vanessa. She spoke poorly -- or basically, for lack of better terms, she talked sh-t about everybody. I just didn't think she was a very nice person and I think -- you can see it on TV -- how she reacts to Ralph, whom I thought was probably a pretty decent guy.

But we didn't want to hang out with them because we couldn't stand her. Vanessa's just not a nice individual and so, you know, Rachel yeah, would throw it back at her. But Vanessa, I think, started a lot of it to be honest.

Reality TV World: How were you cast on The Amazing Race? Was it your first time applying for the show and would you ever consider doing an all-stars edition if you were given the opportunity?

Nary Ebeid: We just applied and we got in, so we got very lucky, I have to say. The process went pretty smoothly, we were happy about it and if we were asked to go on again -- I mean, The Amazing Race is the experience of a lifetime. And to be able to have such a chance at it, absolutely.

(Photo credit CBS)


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