The "Dating Couple" on the show -- who got engaged last week as the season was airing -- won the $1 million grand prize after they traveled more than 29,000 miles through nine countries and crossed the finish line in San Francisco, CA, in first place.
Cody appeared shocked and stunned by his team's victory, and he was thankful Jessica was able to complete the final plane-building task of the entire race by herself before the other two teams. On her way to the finish line, Jessica cried tears of joy.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Jessica and Cody talked about their The Amazing Race victory as well as their love life now that they're engaged. Below is the first half of what they had to say.
Reality TV World: Jessica, how long did it take you to finish the final plane-building task? And how prepared did you feel for it? Had you two been studying a lot in between legs?
Jessica Graf: It probably took a little over an hour, I would assume. We filmed back in October, so it's kind of blurry now. But I also felt I was at a disadvantage because the parts of the plane probably weighed 40 pounds.
Every time I had to switch out one of the wings, it took so much time that that was really holding me back.
And I felt pretty prepared for the most part. We had been studying throughout the Race because I knew that the last challenge is always, like, a review of all the competitions. So I felt good!
Cody Nickson: Jessica was the studier. She was doing all the homework and everything for us. Honestly, I wouldn't have been able to do the last task, because I didn't do any studying.
Reality TV World: How long after you two do you think Henry and Evan got to the finish line in second place? And then what about Kristi and Jen in third place?
Cody Nickson: Henry and Evan were pretty quick after us. I have a strong feeling that once Jessica got her plane together, that Henry looked over. Because Jessica stopped and gave the dude a hug, and then Henry looked over and saw what was going on and was able to see Jessica's plane parts and what she had and what she didn't have.
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Cody Nickson: Yeah. (Laughs) Henry copied her homework exactly. So he put his plane together pretty quick after that. You see him kicking into high gear, and I just want [people] to know, we did beat Yale in a mental competition in this end.
Reality TV World: When did you find out that Henry actually put his plane together correctly -- and paused -- but then changed a couple parts around at the last second before getting a check? What was your reaction to that?
Reality TV World: Cody you appeared absolutely stunned when you crossed the finish line in first place, almost as if you were paranoid you wouldn't be declared the winners. What was going through your mind? Were you worried Phil Keoghan was going to say you had a time penalty?
Cody Nickson: You know, you never know. On one of the legs, they didn't show it, but we were on the mat and I asked if we could pay our taxi driver, and Phil was like, "Oh, well then you're not checked in. You need to go pay your taxi driver first." So we paid our taxi driver and came back.
So with that happening, I'm like, "Oh my gosh." After that, we always made sure we were squared away with our cab driver and everything.
And on that one, we just weren't sure, like, "Are they going to say we didn't cross this T or dot this I?" I don't know. I didn't know what they were going to throw at us, but we got it. We were good.
Reality TV World: You two were dead set on wanting to go to the Final 3 leg with Alex and Conor and Kristi and Jen. Henry and Evan were clearly the outsiders. Was your pact strictly about friendship or was there a personal reason why you didn't want Henry and Evan in the mix?
Cody Nickson: We were actually friends with X Games [Kristi and Jen] and Indy [Alex and Conor]. It's just one of those things that kind of naturally happened.
We really like Henry, but Evan, she's just one of those people that whenever a situation came up in the Race where all the teams were hung up and everyone was like, "Screw it, let's just work together. Let's get throuhg the task and complete the challenge," Evan just never wanted to work with anybody.
She separated Henry from the rest of the pack and would say, "Henry!"
Henry was so nice and wanted to work with everyone else, and yes, I get that it's an individual team competition or whatever; however, early on in the Race when teams got hung up, they helped each other out to get to the next point. And she was never a part of that, so I think she just made herself an outcast.
Jessica Graf: I think you see a lot throughout the season she had no problem asking for help and receiving it, but when it comes to giving help, she just shuts down and won't (laughs) be very helpful. So I think she put a target on their backs a lot throughout the Race because of that.
Reality TV World: What are your plans for the prize money -- other than, presumably, Jessica's beautiful engagement ring.
Cody Nickson: Not having to pay rent or a mortgage or anything like that, it's going to help us out. I don't know how much money we're going to have left over from that, but we do want to set up our kids' future.
[My daughter] Paisley, I want her to be a business owner someday and I want her to have, like, a good chunk set aside so I can teach her how to write a business plan and give her the money and stuff like that. I really want our kids to go to college.
Reality TV World: I watched you both on Big Brother as well. What happened between Big Brother's ending and whenThe Amazing Race began filming? What was your relationship like, because I'm assuming you made it work long distance. How often did you see each other?
Cody Nickson: Yes, I just stayed her with Jessica in Los Angeles because it was four days until we had to go into The Amazing Race sequester.
Reality TV World: Wow.
Jessica Graf: So they were back to back. So we had to -- I mean, we had four days to prep from Big Brother and then there was packing. So there wasn't really any time between the two, so we have essentially been together since Big Brother's finale. We've only been separated for a couple of hours.
Jessica Graf: Kind of unintentionally! We just never wanted to be apart, so we just kind of decided that if we were going to go to Dallas, we were going to Dallas together. And if we were going to Los Angeles, we were going to be in L.A. together. It just kind of happened naturally.
Reality TV World: Now that you are engaged, have you made a decision on whether one of you is going to relocate -- either to California or Texas?
Be sure to check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of our exclusive The Amazing Race interview with Jessica and Cody, as well as additional interviews with the rest of the season's finale teams. About The Author:Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.