INTERVIEW: 'The Amazing Race's Lorena Segura and Jason Widener
By Christopher Rocchio, 11/27/2007
Lorena Segura and Jason Widener began the fourth leg in last place but assumed they'd at least be given the opportunity to catch-up.
Unfortunately for the dating couple from Sherman Oaks, CA, that never happened, and they instead became the fourth team eliminated from The Amazing Race's twelfth season during Sunday night's broadcast of the CBS reality series.
On Monday, Jason, a 33-year-old wedding videographer and actor, and Lorena, a 27-year-old bartender and actress, talked to Reality TV World about how a Roadblock technicality contributed to their elimination; why the lack of a bunching point on the fourth leg proved to be costly; how the use of a U-Turn on them was a case of mistaken identity; and how Jason thinks viewers will react when they see the season's eventual outcome.
Reality TV World: How were you cast for The Amazing Race 12? Was it your first time applying for the show?
Jason: It was the first time we applied. The reason we got cast, my family is really into [The Amazing Race]. My aunt, she was into it. Her kids were into it. We always talked about how this would be a cool adventure and me and my girlfriend decided, "Let's go for it." We went through the process and sent in tape -- where we were actually arguing (laughing). I thought that was funny. They brought us in and we got on the show. We were lucky to get on the show.
Reality TV World: You just mentioned your family had watched the show. Had you watched The Amazing Race before?
Jason: We're not fans, but we watched it. We never really stuck through a whole season, but I was always like, "That's pretty cool." Everybody's always telling me about it... Lorena: I think once we got on we became fans (laughing)!
Reality TV World: How did you prepare yourselves both physically and mentally for the competition?
Lorena: Actually we've always been pretty physical, so we kept doing what we were doing physically. Preparation mentally... We just watched a lot of past races and looked for strategies, pointers from other people online. Most of them said the same thing. "You don't know what's going to happen and it's much more of an internal thing. Much more of how you deal with each individual situation."
Reality TV World: Had either of you previously done a lot of international traveling? Do you know any foreign languages?
Lorena: I have. I've traveled... Actually, I've been to Amsterdam not too long ago, so I knew my way around there when we went there. I know a little French -- enough to get by -- not fluent. I've been to France. I've been to England. I've been to Italy. So I've been to a bunch of places, internationally and in South America. I've been lucky with my family, that [travel] has been a priority.
Reality TV World: Were there any teams you initially butted heads with? Any teams that you got along with really well?
Lorena: We didn't butt heads with anybody actually. From the beginning ["Sisters" Julia and Marianna Ruiz] -- we weren't sure about them in the beginning -- but then we got along with them perfectly... Jason: I think even the producers, they were a little scared. They were like, "Man! You guys get along way too well!" Lorena: Yeah. We got along really well. Jason: There were people that we were hoping were going to be out as far as competition.
Reality TV World: You just mentioned the sisters, did you form any alliances with any of the other teams?
Lorena: We actually did help... We helped ["Dating Goths" Kynt Cothron and Vyxsin Fiala]. We actually helped each other a lot in the first three legs of the race. We worked together really well. Jason: They weren't really alliances as much as they were situational. Like if you're sitting on the train, you're sitting by somebody -- I don't care who it is -- you have to put your heads together and try to stay towards the front of the pack. I think everybody kind of had that strategy. I think the people that alienated themselves at the beginning probably didn't have as much information. You want to stay in the front of the pack, and if you're in the back of the pack, you'd like to be in the front of it.
Reality TV World: During the first leg of the race, Jason you commented how communication wasn't your relationship's strong point. Were you concerned that was going to be a hindrance in the competition and if so, do you think you guys were able to overcome it?
Jason: I think we communicated well in the second leg... I think communication in life with everybody is an ongoing work in progress, so when you're under that kind of stress and sleep deprivation, it just heightens everything. So I think everybody was challenged with communication... Lorena's a pretty emotional girl, so I think that made it a little more difficult. But we did our best. I think we communicated really good, we got U-Turned and we didn't have an equalizer.
Reality TV World: During the second leg, Jason you showed some of your physical strength during the "Hoist It" Detour challenge and subsequent pole-vaulting Roadblock challenge, allowing your team to be the first to reach the second Pit Stop. How confident were you at that point of the race?
Jason: I knew there was a possibility there as far as taking an advantage and being physical. I think in a footrace or anything like that -- physically -- we were really in shape. If it's a simple task, and you're doing something using muscle and physicality, I was like, "Man, it's going to be hard to beat us." But when you're milking a camel or walking a donkey, you never know. It's not as controlled. It's not in your control as much...
Reality TV World: That leads well into my next question. Lorena what was the major problem you encountered during the third leg's Roadblock when you were milking your camel?
Lorena: I think the kicking... The camel kicking and me losing milk a lot didn't help in me filling that bowl. Also, you don't get to see everything, so you miss out on some technicalities in the beginning about rules and stuff. I actually had a bowl and drank it in the beginning, and it wasn't acceptable after the fact that it was accepted. So that was like a big deal there, and that contributed to my...
Reality TV World: Interesting. Was there a reason they said it wasn't acceptable after you drank it?
Lorena: You know, I never really asked because you don't have time to talk to people about it. I never really asked. In that moment, I was so nervous thinking that I did something wrong, I didn't realize that I actually didn't do something wrong. Something... Jason: She drank the bowl of milk in-front of the wrong person so... They don't show that, but it disqualified her from moving on [until she completed the challenge again]. She had to do it again, so the camel was already out of milk.
Reality TV World: Jason how difficult was it for you to watch Lorena struggle with the camel, knowing there was nothing you could do?
Jason: It was hard man. I wanted to help her, but I knew she had to do it on her own and of course I saw the race slipping away. I think when the [sandstorm] finally came, at this point I said, "You know what? Enjoy the race, have fun, and stay positive because this could be our last leg."... I don't know. There's worse things in life then being on a TV show in Africa. Lorena: Yeah....
Reality TV World: Seeing as how it helped you complete the Roadblock, were you surprised when Julia gave you the hint to milk the nursing camel?
Lorena: I think at that point, we became so close because we were there for like an hour after everybody had left. We became so close, we actually helped each other back and forth even before that. We were telling each other, "This one has milk! That one has milk!" We were helping each other out in that situation...
Reality TV World: About how long did it take you to finish that Roadblock challenge?
Lorena: About three hours...
Reality TV World: What were you thinking when you were leading your camels and saw Julia and Marianna walking slowly down the path?
Jason: I knew we were going to lose the race unless we ran. Even though they said we weren't supposed to run, our nomad was really cool, and I think he... Lorena: He started hitting our camel in the back... Jason: He wasn't hitting him he was making noises, which would kind of... I don't know if it spooked him, but it was trying to keep him going.... Camels can run!
Reality TV World: How far ahead of Julia and Marianna were you in reaching the third leg's Pit Stop?
Lorena: We were like 15 minutes before them... or 10. Jason: No we weren't. Lorena: They weren't RIGHT behind us Jason. Jason: They were in the classroom [for the Detour challenge] with us. Lorena: We got to the Pit Stop WAY before they did. Jason: I don't think it was WAY before. I think they were only like five minutes behind us... Lorena: Well, it felt longer.
Reality TV World: You left the third Pit Stop about an hour and half behind the next closest team -- were you confident you'd be able to make-up your deficit heading into the fourth leg?
Jason: Absolutely. I mean considering we didn't know we were going to stay in Africa. We thought we'd get clumped up at the airport again at least, or something...
Reality TV World: Do you think that the leg's lack of a bunching point -- the leg didn't feature any airplane flights or clue locations that only seemed to be open during certain limited hours and allowed all the teams to get back together -- is what did you in?
Lorena: Okay... So I'm going in. I have to go. Jason: Okay. You have to go? Lorena: I do. Jason: Okay. Keep your phone on and then come back to the conversation. Lorena has to go for a second...
Reality TV World: Okay.
Jason: Yeah, I mean at this point it was the only leg where there wasn't something that equalizes everybody. If we had the airport involved, we're only an hour-and-a-half behind. You know you're going to get to the airport with everybody else and you're going to be able to catch-up. At least with two other teams, who then you can try to beat on the ground. We didn't expect the U-Turn (laughing)!
Reality TV World: I was just going to ask you about that. What was your initial reaction when you saw "Friends" Shana Wall and Jennifer McCall decided to use the U-Turn on you?
Jason: They thought that ["Newly Dating Couple" Rachel Rosales and TK Erwin] were Rachel and I. So they thought they we were right on their tail when we're weren't. So basically, we were still... That was an hour-and-a-half taxi ride from Bingo to that Detour. So that was just kicking us when we were down. I wish they would have known who they were U-Turning! I think that if they would have known that was TK and Rachel, they wouldn't have U-Turned us. That's unfortunate. But what's funny is, when we finished the whole leg, we were only an hour behind [Shana and Jennifer] and TK and Rachel.
Reality TV World: In reaching the fourth leg's Pit Stop?
Jason: Yeah... AND we did both Detours. We blew through that leg, which sucks because we were just getting our rhythm and I think we would have been a force. We just had a lot of things that stacked up on us and just really took us down.
Reality TV World: About how long did it take you to complete both of the Detour challenges?
Jason: You know, the hard part... It was all in one area, those Detours. If you wanted to do the ["Shake Your Booty" challenge] or the ["Shake Your Pan" challenge], but it was a long like half-mile or mile in-between each one. Plus the U-Turn was at another place, like a triangle. So there's a big triangle. So we had to go from [the "Shake Your Booty" challenge] to the U-Turn, from the U-Turn to [the "Shake Your Pan" challenge] and then back to the U-Turn to get our clue. We did double or triple the amount of running than everybody else -- they didn't show that -- and we still did it faster than everybody. I don't know how we did it so fast. We did really good, and it just sucks. Another contributing factor is nobody really made any really big mistakes. Every other leg, there's at least a couple of people that something goes bad...
Reality TV World: When you saw the U-Turn, did you think there was any chance you'd be able to catch-up with the other teams?
Jason: It's never over until it's over. I thought maybe -- even though they said there's no non-elimination rounds -- maybe there is a surprise. Just keep doing well, you don't want to be too far behind the other teams.
Reality TV World: Do you think Shana and Jennifer's decision to use the U-Turn put a target on their backs?
Jason: I think yeah, the other teams are definitely going to know that [Shana and Jennifer] are not scared to put a target on their backs and they made a bad decision because they didn't even know which team they were actually U-Turning... They were just playing the game though. I understand.
Reality TV World: The show hasn't made any mention of it, but TK, Rachel, Staella Gianakakos, and Nathan Hagstrom all went to high school together in Fountain Valley, CA. How forthcoming were they with the information and what was your reaction when you found out about that?
Jason: They even told me! So we did find out. I was like, "Oh really?" It really was a complete coincidence. None of them knew each other really; they just knew of each other. I believe that because everybody was straight, stand-up people.
Reality TV World: Once you found out, weren't you worried that their three teams might be planning to ally against the rest of the teams?
Jason: Yeah. I was worried. I was hoping that I could develop a report with the people at the top of the pack and keep an open mind and keep the information going. We did -- but after that third leg -- everybody looked at us a little weird in Africa... We were in last, and now we're in first... I think that's when the race really started to begin, that third leg. They were like, "Uh-oh."
Reality TV World: What was the toughest part about competing on The Amazing Race?
Jason: The hardest part for me was actually seeing Lorena after that Roadblock with the camel. Standing there, and the only thing I could do was give her encouragement. That's what I did. It's hard when you really can't help somebody...
Reality TV World: Which team would you like to see win the $1 million prize? Anybody you don't want to see win?
Jason: Since I know the outcome of the whole thing, it's too much information I know. I think everybody's going to be surprised who wins... It's a long race... It's really a long race... I think it's going to be one of the best seasons. It's really good.
Reality TV World: If you had won, what were your plans for the $1 million prize?
Jason: Well right now, I'm working on this documentary about the real Hollywood entourage. So I'm going to need some money for that -- so I'm raising money right now for that, and that's what I would use it for. But I'll find the money another way and everything's going to work out. I know Lorena... You know we dream about a house. Keep it simple.
Reality TV World: During your post-elimination interview, you both talked about marriage. What's the current status of your relationship and do you think participating in The Amazing Race strengthened it?
Jason: We're both living in L.A., we work as actors... We really don't know what the hell we want, the both of us. We're trying to figure out what we're doing and keep it artistic -- the spirit alive... Marriage for me, I'm like one of those guys that's against the institution so I'm trying to stay away from that and keep the free spirit about myself. She really is too, but she does love the traditional aspect of getting married...
Reality TV World: You already touched upon this, but what else is next for you two?
Jason: I mean we're really acting hard -- I mean there's the [Writers Guild of America] strike right now so we're waiting for that to be over. I was just in a movie called The Comebacks, where I played the actor Mark Wahlberg in a spoof with David Koechner. Lorena was just in a show called Moonlight about vampires. So we've got things going for us as far as the acting and the documentary is going to be my life for the next six months. We're just trying to keep moving.