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INTERVIEW: Dustin and Kandice talk about their 'Amazing' experience


By Christopher Rocchio, 05/08/2007 

Dustin Seltzer and Kandice Pelletier were looking to become the first all-female team to ever win The Amazing Race when they signed-up for All-Stars on the heels of their fourth-place finish during The Amazing Race's tenth season.

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Unfortunately it wasn't in the cards for the "beauty queens," as they were the second All-Stars team to cross the finish line behind winners Eric Sanchez and Danielle Turner during eleventh installment's finale on Sunday night.

On Monday Dustin, a 25-year-old graduate student from Seattle, WA, and Kandice, a 25-year-old former New York University student from New York, NY, talked to Reality TV World about their Yield deal; feelings on other All-Star teams; how it felt to come-up just short; and what it was like representing future and past female racers from across the country.




Reality TV World:  How important was it for you to become the first all-female team to ever win The Amazing Race?

Dustin:  We were all in.  I mean we were giving it all we had and we wanted it really badly. 
Kandice:  I think just on top of personal reasons for wanting to win The Amazing Race, I mean [becoming the first all-female team to ever win] was an added incentive and pressure in a way.  I really felt like we were kind of representing, you know, we really felt the representation when we were running.

Reality TV World:  Do you think it's something that will ever happen?

Dustin:  I hope so.  I think we would be really happy to support any girl-girl team that would be strong enough to do that.  We are a little bit disappointed still that...
Kandice:  It wasn't us...
Dustin:  We came very close.
Kandice:  But you know what?  Actually Dustin and I were talking about this earlier today, I'm realizing more and more how strong women are... emotionally and physically too.  I think men have an advantage in that arena a lot of the time -- physical strength -- but I think that women mentally, physically, all the way around.  They're definitely capable.
Dustin:  I think the word came-up to when we were talking... just resilient.
Kandice:  Yeah.
Dustin:  We were able to just do difficult things and just kind of move on and keep the main thing the main thing.  And for us the main thing was the race.  It wasn't personal, little vendettas.  It wasn't drama between anything.  It wasn't being negative about other teams.  It was our goal to win and that's kind of what motivated us to really live through a lot of really difficult legs and hard situations... kind of that goal that was in sight.

Reality TV World:  Dustin, why did you think maneuvering the kayak without the paddles was the faster choice?

Dustin:  Well, you know, the water was really quite shallow out a ways.  And we didn't really seem like we were getting anywhere, so I thought it might be interesting to try and walk it out.  I think anything that we tried turned out to be pretty frustrating just because of the nature of the situation.  The wind, the waves.  I think our biggest point of contention in that challenge was actually the direction of the tip of the [kayak].  Kandice thought we should go more left of the buoy, I thought we should go more right.  The wind was blowing, and I was afraid we'd get washed down by the wind and the waves so I thought we should kind of point towards the wind and then let the wind kind of bring us down to that buoy.  So I think that was probably the biggest issue and it was so difficult because the waves were crashing.  As you could see on the episode, we were getting flipped over every eight to 10 seconds when a wave would come in.  We couldn't really talk.  We had to yell because we couldn't hear each other.  We were both kind of in a half panic and trying to do the best for the team -- both of us -- but it was just a really frustrating situation and communication was very difficult.

Reality TV World:  You two never really seemed to disagree much throughout All-Stars, except during the finale Kandice when you commented that Dustin never really listens to you.  Do you think your disagreement following the kayak challenge hurt you down the stretch?

Kandice:  You know what?  I think that in this kind of game, a lot of times one person has to be the chief and one person has to be the Indian.  I feel that way because I think with two strong personalities and two strong leader positions that Dustin and I are used to taking, sometimes it's difficult.  And I think a lot of times I did take the backseat for the benefit of the team, and sometimes Dustin did.  At this point, I just think we just felt like we were getting hurt... There were definitely some things that didn't need to be said at that point, but with the frustration, the lack of food and the lack of sleep, stuff happens.  And actually, we got over it pretty quickly... We love each other, and we were just frustrated like everyone gets I guess.

Reality TV World:  Dustin why did you change your answer during the final challenge about which team was the least trustworthy?

Dustin:  What do you mean change?

Reality TV World:  I thought you had initally answered Rob and Amber Mariano to that question but then changed it to one of the other teams?

Dustin:  Yeah you know what's really interesting about that, I put the answer in the Guidos [Joe Baldassare and Bill Bartek] the second time.  But the first time that I went to put the clue in the safe, it didn't accept it.  It didn't lock the clue in.  So I actually thought I was trying to guess the popular vote... and realized I was trying to think like Kandice would.  Like, "What would the popular vote say."  So when I didn't get it right the first time, I tried a different team.

Reality TV World:  Okay... I see.

Kandice:  At that point I think we realized -- especially when she told me that -- because in my mind I was like, "Why did she choose the Guidos?"  You know I was like, "We like the Guidos."
Dustin:  We had talked about the Guidos previous to this season as kind of the shifty team, but then we did like them...
Kandice:  We ended up liking them, so they weren't on the forefront of our mind at all.  But I think like she said, when she told me she changed the vote from Rob and Amber, I was like, "Wow.  It just wasn't meant to be for us."  It was just so odd, it was kind of funny how things happen.

Reality TV World:  What was your initial reaction when you saw Eric and Danielle had finished ahead of you?

Dustin:  We were crushed.  I think we had been kind of visualizing the finish line with no one on it but [The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan] and that was our hope.  So to run around the bend and see that [Eric and Danielle] were [already] there was pretty crushing after a month on the road and so many challenges behind you... so many countries and long flights and loss of sleep, and all the things that you sacrifice to just be on the race.  In addition all the wonderful experiences too, but it's just a marathon and to come to the end and realize you were so very close, it was really hard.
Kandice:  I don't think I was prepared to get second at that point.  It hit me like a ton of bricks on the finish line.  As you saw, I was balling my eyes out... kind of uncontrollably.  And I think we had to be so strong and we had to do what we had to do the whole time and it kind of hit me at the end and you know... man.  It's such a bummer.  We were five minutes away from winning.  It's hard.  It's hard to take.

Reality TV World:  How long did it take you to scrub the B-52 bomber during the twelfth leg's "Engine Care" Detour Challenge?

Dustin and Kandice:  Oh man!
Kandice:  You know I think one of the hardest parts was we had to scrub with our arms, like our hands over our heads...
Dustin:  Yeah.
Kandice:  And so you kind of want to give your arms a break and just shake them out and let them down, and you just can't stop because you know other teams aren't gonna stop.  It's like a newfound respect for the military.  I knew they were going to be picky, but when you're actually doing it, you're like, "Wow!"  I mean they are very particular about their planes and my dad works on planes so I kind of had an insight to that, but we did end up finishing in not bad time.

Reality TV World:  Can you talk about the deal you struck with Ozzy and Danny for the use of their Yield and why you thought it was an important decision?

Kandice:  Well, actually they struck the deal with us.  I mean I wish we could take the credit for that because it's pretty genius to think of that...
Dustin:  They approached us.
Kandice:  Yeah.  You know, I think at that point of the race Dustin and I had been fourth last season on The Amazing Race 10.  So at that pinnacle point -- that critical point I should say -- we were just like, "We have got to stay in this game."  We didn't want to take any chances, and we felt a little threatened, sort of, that we could be Yielded if we didn't do this.
Dustin:  It was kind of a strategy.
Kandice:  I think another aspect too is that we learned in the race that you use whatever you have as energy.  Is it money?  Is it that you have a little bit of a lead?  Is it that you know the language?  Is it that you have extra money?  What is your leg-up at that time of the race, and for us at that point, Oz and Danny were definitely in need of money, and we had been really good about saving our money from leg to leg.  Never, ever spending any extra money.  Just really being tight with it.  I want to say we had $300 or $400...
Dustin:  We were at $200.
Kandice:  We had $200... okay.  But that was significantly more than zero.  So you know at that point it was kind of our energy.  It was something we could use to get an advantage. And I think one of the biggest things that we were also thinking wasn't just that we wanted to Yield someone, but that we personally didn't want to be Yielded.  We knew that was a very real reality for us.  We knew we couldn't afford to be Yielded either.
Dustin:  And I think our biggest hesitation there was the fact we felt Danny and Oz were a strong team.  I mean they were consistently in the front, much more than Danielle and Eric actually.  So we were thinking, "Well, it may not be that bad if they run out of money."  You know what I mean?  Everything that we did on this race was purely strategic, purely just to stay in the game...
Kandice:  Survival tactics.

Reality TV World:  What was your relationship with Eric and Danielle like both before and after the Yields?

Dustin:  I mean we always had fun with them at Pit Stops.  But you know, it wasn't anything like... If they told you they felt betrayed by us, I think that would be kind of a misstatement because we never had an alliance with them, we never partnered with them really, we were always very independent.
Kandice:  We mentioned it on the race -- Dustin and I, we love to talk with people.  We're "people people."  But when you're racing, you're racing... it's a game.  That's what we saw it for.  We didn't see it as anything personal.  We like to make the comparison like Monopoly.  When you're playing Monopoly, if you can take somebody's houses away, you do.  It's a game.  That's kind of how we saw it.  That was our mentality through the whole thing and I think that's why we got so far.  Part of the reason.
Dustin:  Why would you play Monopoly without determination to win?  Why would you land on Park Place and not buy it?  Why would you have somebody land on your property and not charge them rent?  It's just the way you play the game, and if you're in it to win it, than you do everything that's built into the game to your advantage.  And if you don't, then I would really question how much you wanted to win the game.
Kandice:  Yeah.  Exactly...

Reality TV World:  Kandice, do you believe the Malaysian local was correct in saying you had an advantage during the ninth leg's recycling Roadblock because of your looks?

Kandice (laughing):  You know what... that was actually really funny when I saw that air.  It was funny just to see it all happen.  I think that Dustin and I worked really hard and actually sometimes it was a disadvantage to be two blond girls just for safety factors, just for strengths... I think it all evened-out.  Maybe there were sometimes when they thought we were nice girls and they wanted to help us, and I'm not going to say that it never worked in our favor, but it definitely evened-out.  There were definitely disadvantages as well.

Reality TV World:  How did it feel to know that getting lost in a taxi at the beginning of the eighth leg cost you a chance to do All-Stars' first Fast Forward?

Dustin and Kandice (sighing):  Horrible!
Dustin:  Horrible because we had all been so stoked to be on the first bus and then to have to wait for hours and hours... It was just torturous!
Kandice:  It was a little bit of a panic for us too because, now we're racing with just three teams.  So when it gets down to those small numbers... you start to get your energy, your adrenaline starts kicking and you're like, "Oh no!"
Dustin:  Because you know anything can happen.  We were kind of booted from the very front of the pack to the very back of the pack in just that one incident.

Reality TV World:  Considering it is a competition, why did you decide to paint the little girl's nails for free during the fifth leg's "Pamper It" Detour challenge?

Dustin:  Oh yeah...
Kandice (laughing):  Dustin, actually, I don't know if she heard me do that!  She was the business manager and it was a good thing she was!
Dustin (laughing):  I was collecting the money for us, and Kandice wanted to paint nails because she's too cute and wanted everybody to have pretty nails.  I was like, "Kandice, if you paint them before we collect the money, we're never going to get any money!"
Kandice:  I think that was something that was so funny because this little girl -- I mean, her fingernails were the size of an eraser on a pencil -- I mean it literally took 30 seconds.  I couldn't say no to her little face.  And I knew Dustin wouldn't have either (both Dustin and Kandice laugh).

Reality TV World:  Why did you have so many problems with the "Sign It" Detour challenge during the fourth leg?

Dustin:  It was kind of a tricky-trick kind of thing.  You know, we just didn't figure-out that we had to start in Seville.
Kandice:  We may have over-thought that one a little bit. 
Dustin:  Yeah we did over think it.  We were making it a signpost that was four-sided so that it would point east, west, north, south...
Kandice:  I didn't think it would be that simple.  That was probably my doing because I was thinking, "Oh no.  These arrows have..."  Because it was a round post, it made logical sense... I mean there was a reason it was a round post to us.  We kind of wasted a long time with that...

Reality TV World:  Who's decision was it to form the loose alliance with Rob and Amber to try "Navigate It?"

Dustin:  I think it was mutual.  We were both just at the point where we knew we couldn't figure out the sign thing and it was just not happening.  We had wasted enough time, we saw the second flight of teams come in... that was a real impetuous for us to get going because it was like, "Oh man.  We don't have any cushion anymore.  It's gone."  And we kind of felt safety as in like we kind of both struggled with it, so if we could both kind of work together with each other for this next challenge just to kind of get through it than that might be a good thing.

Reality TV World:  How did you feel when Rob and Amber were eliminated?

Dustin:  We'd be lying if we said we weren't relieved.  I mean obviously they [had] won three legs in a row!  I mean they're great.  We were a little disappointed that we didn't get to race with them longer in some ways because we didn't see them much.  I mean they were zooming away.  But of course for our [own] reasons, it was relieving sensation that we felt when we knew we no longer had to contend with them... that was one team out of the way.

Reality TV World:  Why did you decide to not split the cab cost with Charla and Mirna...

Kandice (laughing):  Man, you got all the drama don't you!?

Reality TV World:  That's right!  Why did you decide not to split the cost with Charla and Mirna on the way to the second leg's Pit Stop?  Do you think it was unfair of you considering they paid for it while you benefited from following it for as long as you did?

Dustin:  Alright.  So we ended up being on the road right behind them.  It wasn't planned, we left at different times, we just happened to be behind them.  They had to deal with the taxi cab, whatever they were going to pay him to go however far, we didn't know.  So when they pulled over, we pulled over, and they were trying to say how we should pay for half of whatever it would cost for [the driver] to take us all the way [to the Pit Stop].  And we really had no idea how far this was going to be, and neither did they.  And they had already spent $100 or something like that.  We said why don't we just split the cost of what a map would be for him to draw-up the map, split the cost, and then we'll just follow the map to the location.  And they're like, "Our guy is not going to draw you a map."  And they didn't seem to hear the fact that we'd split the cost with them.  It kind of got so heated that it wasn't a conversation anymore... they were so heated up that it was like we could just tell sticking around to try to discuss wasn't going to get us anywhere.   That's when we just kind of bailed.
Kandice (laughing):  We like to call it the "Meet and Greet with Charla and Mirna."  That was pretty much our first time really talking to them for more than a couple of minutes.  It was a nice introduction (both she and Dustin laugh).

Reality TV World:  Did you ever consider aligning with your fellow Season 10 racers Mary and David Conley?

Kandice:  Actually you know there was a point -- and unfortunately it was right before they left the race -- I think it was like the second leg.  The first leg, obviously, I guess there was a little bit of friction for whatever reason... I mean it was too resolved.  If they had stayed in longer, I think we definitely would have had an alliance with them at least for sharing information.  Dustin and I pretty much raced on our own.  But we like David and Mary.  They're great people... hard not to like.

Reality TV World:  Were you surprised to be considered All-Stars?

Dustin:  We were just so honored...
Kandice:  We were really honored.  I would say when we got the call...
Dustin:  We really didn't know there was going to be an All-Stars season.  We had just gotten back from Season 10, it really wasn't even on our radar that we would ever race again.
Kandice:  No...
Dustin:  It was both shocking and like Kandice said an honor.
Kandice:  I was enrolled in school, so it was a little bit of a shock.  I kind of had to manipulate, trying to withdraw from classes and you know the whole drama that goes with being enrolled in school, like being a good month into it.  But with that said, we could never pass-up this opportunity.  I mean it was another chance for us to go around the world and possibly win the $1 million.

Reality TV World:  Who did you consider your biggest competition and why?

Dustin:  We had a handful of people.  I would say Uchenna and Joyce [Agu] were in there, Rob and Amber, [John Vito Pietanza and Jill Aquilino] -- who went out first unfortunately -- we couldn't believe.  I mean it was good for us, but we really thought they would stay in longer.  And we thought the Guidos would be up there to.

Reality TV World:  Dustin you got married in between Season 10 and Season 11 right? 

Dustin:  Yup.  I got married right in-between.

Reality TV World:  Okay, so how are things going in both your lives now?

Kandice:  Great, great.  I actually just got engaged when I came back from this race...

Reality TV World:  Congratulations!

Kandice:  Thank you!  So that was exciting.  I finished school -- NYU -- after quite a truck.  That was another little Amazing Race when I returned.  I'm just kind of tranquil right now... I just finished school a couple days ago.  So I'm looking for the next challenge, the next Amazing Race adventure in my own life...
Dustin:  Yeah.  I think for me, I'm living in Seattle currently but my husband and I are going to move to the Orange County [California] area to pursue graduate degrees for both of us. So I'll probably just be working part time.  I'd love to... I'm looking to maybe get an agent down there.  I'd love to do some hosting, or some kind of an opportunity where I could meet more people, interview people... I just love to communicate -- that's what my degree's in.  I'd just love to be able to use that in a career because then I think it would seem like less work and more fun.  So that's the goal, but we'll see.

Check back with Reality TV World on Wednesday for an interview with The Amazing Race: All-Stars third-place finishers Charla Baklayan Faddoul and Mirna Hindoyan or click here to read our Monday interview with The Amazing Race: All-Stars winners Eric Sanchez and Danielle Turner.


(Photo credit CBS)


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