Exclusive: Brooke Camhi talks 'The Amazing Race': You can't prepare yourself to feel elation, depression and back again
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/06/2017
Brooke Camhi and Scott Flanary were crowned the winners of The Amazing Race's 29th season during the finale broadcast on CBS.
Brooke, a 36-year-old criminal attorney from New York, NY, and Scott, a 34-year-old recruiting manager from West Hollywood, CA, arrived at the final Pit Stop in Chicago, IL, in first place, therefore winning the $1 million grand prize.
"You started this race as strangers, and now, after nine countries, 17 cities and more than 36,000 miles racing around the world together, I am pleased to tell you that you have won $1 million and you are the official winners of The Amazing Race!" host Phil Keoghan told the pair as they hugged each other at the finish line.
Tara Carr, a 38-year-old U.S. Army officer from Alexandria, VA, and Joey Covino, a 46-year-old police sergeant from Saugus, MA, completed The Amazing Race in second place. London Kaye, a 27-year-old artist from Brooklyn, NY, and Logan Bauer, a 27-year-old surgical consultant from Columbus, GA, made it to the finish line in third place.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World via email following the show's finale, Brooke opened up about her The Amazing Race experience and victory. Below is the first half of what she had to say.
Reality TV World: When you were racing to the finish line, how confident were you that you had won The AmazingRace? When you were in a taxi going to the finish line, it didn't seem like you thought a team could catch up to you.
Brooke Camhi: We knew that when we'd finished our memory task at Wrigley Field, and found our "go, go, go clue" to head to the finish line, another team had not yet gotten to the scoreboard, so we knew we had a bit of a lead. We also had a great cab driver to the finish line, so I was cautiously optimistic that we had it at that point.
Reality TV World: Do you think the fact you left your backpacks at the airport and didn't have to lug them around the entire last leg in Chicago played a role in your victory? If so, how significant of a factor do you think it was?
Brooke Camhi: I think that there were several things that helped us in that final leg. As a huge fan of the Race, I knew that there was no way that I was carrying my backpack on that final flight.
Any advantage on the last leg is imperative if you want to take home the grand prize. Another thing that helped us is that Scott and I stayed up a good part of that final 13 hour flight studying absolutely everything that had happened on the Race so that no matter what that final memory challenge was, we were prepared to knock it out of the park (sorry, pun).
Reality TV World: When did you make the decision to check your bags, and are you surprised neither of the other two teams followed your lead? Or maybe you guys were deliberately sneaky about the move?
Brooke Camhi: I spoke with Scott after the South Korea leg and that night we each packed our fanny pack with our essentials because we knew we were checking our bags. We were VERY surprised no one else decided to do that. We did wait until the last second to gate check our backpacks and we did let the other two teams board the plane before us so that no one saw us do it and decided to follow suit.
Reality TV World: Do you think winning the Race basically came down to the fact you were the first ones out of the airport? It didn't seem like teams had much of an opportunity to pass one another unless someone got terribly lost or something. The last leg seemed to lack really competitive tasks other than the scoreboard one at the end. For instance, you can't really screw up handing out hotdogs.
Brooke Camhi: Getting in that first taxi out of the airport was definitely an advantage, however I think that there were many times the lead could have changed hands. If someone else had driven around the track faster, if I'd taken a much longer time changing the tire, if we hadn't correctly solved all of the riddles on our first try, all these things could have resulted in a lead change.
There was a lot of running, and of the Final 3 teams, we were the slowest, so getting those riddles right on the first try was a game changer. We were just hoping to get to that memory challenge first, because that's where I was confident we'd shine.
Reality TV World: You seemed to run a very smooth final leg in Chicago. Did you hit any bumps to the finish line that the editing glossed over? Did you encounter any issues viewers didn't really see?
Brooke Camhi: I remember before we got off the plane in Chicago, Scott and I were saying "let's run one perfect leg" and then we changed it to "let's just make less mistakes than the other guys." That final leg actually went almost perfectly for us. There were no hiccups or bumps edited out. Sometimes you just have a really good day.
Reality TV World: How long did the final scoreboard task take you to complete at Wrigley Field? And how prepared were you for a task like that, what type of notes had you been taking up to that last leg?
Brooke Camhi: So, as I am sure you could see from watching the show, the physical tasks were not my strong suit, but I was more than prepared for artistic and mental challenges. That final scoreboard task took very little time for us.
What you didn't see was that as soon as we opened that final clue and I turned to run to the press box, I chanted "4, 6, 6, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 4, 2, 1." I knew that order like the back of my hand, and watching it on TV, you can see that Scott knew it too. It's the kind of task that we were hoping for and that we were both very prepared for.
Reality TV World: You were shown saying at one point that Scott never thought you guys could win The Amazing Race. When did you two discuss that and was there a reason Scott assumed that other than the obvious one -- that you guys bickered a lot? Maybe he felt threatened by other teams or figured you couldn't pull it off since you hadn't won a leg?
Brooke Camhi: I don't think Scott never thought we'd win, there was just a moment at the end of Leg 2 when we weren't doing as well as we both probably anticipated, and that thought came up. Most of the race was very physical and I think that since I'm "not a runner," it was hard in the beginning to think we would be able to keep up.
It's much harder than it looks on TV, and I don't think anyone is fully prepared for how quickly the emotions can go from elation to depression and back again. I think that from Leg 4 forward, when we started climbing 1 spot in the rankings each week, we both started to really believe in our team.
Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Brooke's interview as well as our exclusive interview with Scott Flanary.