Exclusive: 'The Amazing Race' winners Dana Borriello and Matt Steffanina talk (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/18/2016
The Amazing Race crowned "Engaged Couple" Dana Borriello and Matt Steffanina the champions of Season 28 during Friday night's finale broadcast on CBS.
Dana and Matt arrived at the final Pit Stop in Los Angeles, CA, in first place, therefore winning the $1 million grand prize. They raced through 18 cities and 10 countries, traveling more than 27,000 miles.
"Mother and Son" Sheri LaBrant and Cole LaBrant, who were the underdogs all season long, finished in second place. On their heels were "Best Friends" Tyler Oakley and Korey Kuhl in third place.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Dana and Matt talked about their The Amazing Race experience and victory. Below is the concluding portion. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: Did you find watching some of the episodes back a little cringe-worthy? I'm sure it wasn't easy to watch yourselves fight, especially if you were watching with friends and family.
Dana Borriello: Dubai wasn't my finest hour. I didn't enjoy watching that back. It was a tough episode for us. But you know, like I've been saying, I really feel like it's a blessing in disguise.
A lot of people don't get that kind of lens, where you get to watch yourself and say, "Okay, this is not good. This is a part of my personality that I need to work on." And if you can accept that and make the changes, I think in the end, I'll be better for it and our relationship will be better for it.
Reality TV World: What would you say was the most difficult part of the Race for you guys and what will go down as your highlight -- aside from crossing the finish line first and winning $1 million. (Laughs)
Matt Steffanina: I would say the most difficult part for us was self-navigation in Dubai. It was probably our least favorite moment of the Race as well, but it's just so hard, being in a country with a foreign language. And we're not the best with maps because we rely on GPS mostly in LA.
That was also where we had some arguments and stuff. It was just a tough leg. We knew we were at the back and we knew that we were really in danger of going home, and we just weren't ready to go home.
I think favorite point, for me, was Chamonix for sure, doing the paragliding off of the mountain. That was one of the coolest Roadblocks throughout the Race and something that I'll remember forever. It was such a beautiful place. We've been to France several times but I've never seen anything like that.
Dana Borriello: Yeah, I think he pretty much covered it. But my favorite moment was actually in Bali. I really enjoyed it. I know [Matt] kind of hated it, but we looked outside at the temple in Bali and we had had a pretty rough leg before that. And I got to sleep outside and it was really peaceful.
You could hear the waves on the beach and we really refocused before that next leg. I think that was kind of where the whole game shifted for us, when we really decided that we wanted to win. (Laughs) Again, we renewed that commitment and I felt like a new person after that experience.
Reality TV World: Did it come as a surprise to you that Sheri and Cole finished the Race in second place, especially considering they survived two last-place finishes and were the underdogs when Tyler and Korey were the frontrunners?
Dana Borriello: Yeah, I was shocked honestly! When Sheri and Cole came around second, I was really surprised. I mean, I knew that they were really strong, and you know how it is, a race is a race. It's meant to be that way, that anyone can do it.
They are a great team and they had so many great moments, and they were really strong. So, we never underestimated them. But I guess, you know, just in us expecting Tyler and Korey to -- they are just such a great time. I was surprised, were you?
Matt Steffanina: Yeah. I mean, obviously I was shocked. I think everybody was, and even Sheri and Cole admitted, like, "We've given our goodbye speech five times now whether it's in taxis or on the mat. We just somehow keep surviving."
As fans of the show, even though we obviously wanted to win, we were rooting for them to do well also. Because they're just fun to watch and they are really good people with good hearts.
Reality TV World: Did you two personally feel a little underestimated in the Race? Because it seemed like the big threats who were always discussed were only Brodie Smith and Kurt Gibson as well as Tyler and Korey.
Dana Borriello: I definitely think we were underestimated throughout this season. We actually made a comment after the U-Turn that we were really happy to be underestimated because no one even really considered us for the U-Turn! (Laughs) They were like, "We don't need to U-Turn them. They're fine. They're easy to beat."
So it saved us in that regard, that I think people didn't really remember us. They didn't consider us one of the frontrunners. And I think with fans watching the show, they really, I think, thought that the bickering was a bigger deal than it was.
Like I said, for us, we had moments when it went a little too far, but mostly, it really wasn't that bad -- the bickering. I feel like we worked really well together. We were a really strong team through a lot of it. You just couldn't really tell, I guess.
Matt Steffanina: And also, historically on the show, dancers haven't really done very well. (Laughs) [Tiffany Chantell and Krista Debono] had a really great season last year, but other than that, usually dancers are some of the first ones to go.
Dana Borriello: They were actually "Cheerleaders." They had dancers [Ernest Phillips and Jin Lao] on their season that went home early.
Matt Steffanina: Oh yeah! The dancers did go home early. I mean, I think Tiffany and Krista were dancers as well. But I think that stigma came with us a little bit, like people were like, "Oh, yeah, you know, the dancers. They never do too well on the Race." And that kind of worked to our advantage. We were able to lay low and sneak in there.
Reality TV World: What do you guys plan on doing with your $1 million?
Dana Borriello: We don't have any, like, in-depth plans right now for the money. We are just going to take my parents on a vacation to Italy. My dad has always wanted to see Italy. He's been talking about it since I was born pretty much, and he's been promising my mom he would take her.
So, he's going blind and we wanted to get him there before he completely loses his eyesight so he can see Italy. So, we'll be doing that in the next couple of weeks, and that's really the biggest plan we have right now.
Matt Steffanina: Yeah, we have a lot of things that we wanted to do with dance, whether it's get a space of our own and just be able to help dancers and work with dancers here in LA and around the country. So, we're just going to think about it and see what we can do -- what would be the best use of [the money] for us.
Reality TV World: Any wedding plans in the works? Any details set in stone?
Dana Borriello: No, we don't really have any wedding plans. It's still kind of the same as before we left. Our relationship is doing really well and we're really happy, but we don't have any plans to marry or to separate. (Laughs)
We're just kind of really happy doing what we're doing. We're traveling a lot, we're working a lot, and I think that if we get married -- when we get married -- it will probably just be like a quick, small barbecue.
Matt Steffanina: Yeah!
Dana Borriello: He really wants it to be a barbecue.
Matt Steffanina: (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Based on your obvious knowledge of the show and the fact you're fans of The Amazing Race, did you actually apply to get on the show or were you contacted by producers because of your YouTube presence?
Dana Borriello: We had actually applied several times for a previous season, and we've been called but never brought through to finals. We kind of put it on the back-burner, and it had been about a year...
Matt Steffanina: We applied but we also went to an open call. We slept outside on the sidewalk in San Francisco to get seen for the open call.
Dana Borriello: Yeah, we really wanted to do it and we applied several times since we were big fans. But we never got through to the finals, so we kind of put it on the back-burner a little bit.
And then we got a call from the casting director that had called us for a previous season, and he said, "I recognize your photo from your previous admissions on your YouTube page, and this season, we're doing social media, so I think you guys are a great fit." And it kind of just went from there!