Exclusive: Katie Seamon, Rachel Johnston talk 'The Amazing Race'
By Reality TV World staff, 10/25/2010
The Amazing Race racers Katie Seamon and Rachel Johnston were desperately hoping a lucky break or bunching point to get back in the Race after they finished next-to-last in its fourth leg.
Unfortunately for the "Beach Volleyball Partners," they got neither during the Race's fifth leg and instead became the fourth team eliminated from the around-the-world competition during Sunday night's broadcast of the seventeenth edition's fifth episode.
On Monday, Katie and Rachel talked to Reality TV World about their The Amazing Race experience -- including whether they really didn't realize they were in last place prior to their arrival at the check-in mat, what they thought of the leg's Fast Forward task, how they feel about the season's new "Express Pass" twist that indirectly lead to their ouster, and why they think an all-female team has never won The Amazing Race.
Reality TV World: So did you guys know you were in last place when you got to the Pit Stop or did you still think you were ahead of [Jill Thomas] and [Thomas Wolford] at that point?
Katie Seamon: Like Rachel said before, we ran out there like idiots smiling like we know we're not last! And then Phil Keoghan told us we were eliminated and we were like crushed.
When we drove up we only counted five cars or like six cars or something ahead of us, so there was one less than there needed to be, so we really thought we were in it. And after we saw Jill and Thomas on the bridge we were like, yes we have a shot, we have a shot! You never know what could happen.
Rachel Johnston: We kind of saw it in Phil's eyes and we like no! (laughs)
Reality TV World: Do you have any idea about how far behind [Chad Waltrip] and [Stephanie Smith] you two ended up arriving at the marina Pit Stop?
Rachel Johnston: We got there about 25-30 minutes behind them. The exact amount of time that we started behind them. So it was kind of like no teams really made any mistakes and neither did we so there was just no opportunities for us to catch up.
Reality TV World: Yeah, from watching at home, it didn't look like -- realistically -- your odds of surviving the leg were going to be that great once you opened your Pit Stop departure clue and learned there wasn't going to be an airplane flight or anything to bunch everyone back together and help close the two and a half hour gap between you two and front-running teams.
Did you two also kind of feel the same way while you were out there?
Katie Seamon: We knew, we were like praying we would have a flight -- like literally I was thinking about it. I couldn't sleep, I was like, "Please let there be a flight!"
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And then we open our clue and it's like drive to Norway. I was like uh, god damnit!
So at that point we were just trying to you know, make up as much time as we could and we were hoping there would be something really hard like the wheel challenge in Ghana where we caught back up but there wasn't of course.
Everybody just like kind of did their thing and you know, we kind of just stayed in the position we were.
Reality TV World: So you guys were optimistic but realistic at the same time I guess?
Rachel Johnston: Yes, definitely.
Reality TV World: Last night's episode showed Katie saying that quote about how she thought it was "kind of easier" to be in last place. Rachel, did that throw you for a loop? What was your reaction when you heard that -- you seemed a little surprised.
Rachel Johnston: I think I said like, "Why would you say something like that Katie?"
But looking back now, Katie was just trying to be positive about it like it would kind of be really good TV if we came back and got like third you know?
She was kind of saying it's easier to come back than be first and fall behind, you know, it makes you more focused. It makes you more driven so if there was a really hard task, say everyone had to eat the sheep's head, we would be snarfing that thing down because we wanted to win. So, it gives you more motivation being in last.
Reality TV World: Yes I was going to ask you about that. Obviously it seemed like Nat and Kat struggled with the [sheep's head eating task at] Fast Forward a little, but based on what you just said, it sounds like you guys are confident you would have blown right through it?
Rachel Johnston: If it meant we'd be in first place I would have eaten anything.
Katie Seamon: Yeah, we would have licked the bones clean.
Reality TV World: Last night's episode showed [Nick DeCarlo] and [Vicki Casciola] being completely unaware how the Fast Forward works and apparently thinking every team could complete it, which really surprised most viewers. Even if they'd somehow never seen the show, isn't that something that's explained on the clue or in the rules?
Rachel Johnston: Not necessarily, like on the Fast Forward it says one team completes it. Maybe if they didn't know beforehand -- like Katie and I have been avid fans for years and years so we know how it works. But [if they only started] watching the show kind of recently, maybe they weren't sure or maybe the clue was confusing because [it] happened so I guess that's the only way I can explain it.
Katie Seamon: They were cracking me up when they went and tried to do it. They were like, "What does this mean?" You know it's just really funny but I guess there are people who watch it all the time and are like, "Oh come on," but I think it's a mistake that if you don't really know then yeah definitely it could be made.
Reality TV World: What did you two think of Nick in general? He seems to put up a confident front but it seems like Vicki is actually the tough one on that team. [This week] he let her do the rappelling, and then he also seemed to struggle with the bike ride after talking up his BMX experience.
Katie Seamon: We didn't really get to talk to him too much but they seemed like good people and Nick seemed like just a pretty chill guy. I understand the anger and getting mad, and Katie and I are the first ones to get frustrated to lash out at each other, so I mean I think it's just being competitive.
I think it's kind of funny that he is getting put into place by his girlfriend. I think it's like, "Way to go Vicki!" Because she like puts up with it but then she gets to show him how it's done kind of thing.
Reality TV World: What made you two decide to the "Boat" Detour task instead of the "Bike" option?
Katie Seamon: We did the "Boat" because at that point we didn't want a new Detour that we thought there was a high chance for error because when we read the clue it said you need to get this combination and if you don't get it right you have to go back and look again.
So we were like envisioning all these numbers and finding a combination so we were like oh, let's just do the boat. It seemed straight forward -- You know, we can't mess that up. We'll do the best we can and you know, we won't lose any ground.
Reality TV World: So far, an all-female team has never won The Amazing Race. Having experienced the Race firsthand now, why do you think that is? Any thoughts?
Katie Seamon: I don't think there really is a reason why two females have never won the race before. I think that women are just as capable of winning the race as men are. You know, when we went up against the men I didn't feel so inferior or anything like that.
Like definitely there are some guys that are physically stronger but there are so many different aspects to the Race that it could make up for you know, whatever weaknesses any team has and I think that it's just about finding the right combination. Me and Rachel felt that we were the competition but apparently not. (laughs).
Reality TV World: Had you been aware of that before the Race or did you only find out afterwards?
Katie Seamon: We were very aware and we wanted so badly to be the first females to win. And we wanted to show everybody that we were just as strong as any of the guys that came on the show.
Reality TV World: You two were one of the teams that struggled with the "Sleds" Detour in Sweden and ended up switching to the "Beds" option. Can you talk a little bit about that? Were you surprised how hard the "Sleds" task ended up being?
Rachel Johnston: We have watched snowboarders before and Katie like hates skiing and hates snow and it's like terrifying -- like I don't like going down Black Diamonds or anything so I was a little nervous. But it worked out. It definitely wasn't as difficult. But it was much more difficult than we thought it was going to be.
Reality TV World: Did either of you come away with any serious injuries? I think you only tried it once, but it still looked like you had some pretty hard collisions out there.
Rachel Johnston: We actually tried it twice and I had giant bruises on my legs and Katie actually got injured from the rappelling. She had like horrible, horrible rug burn on her ankle.
Reality TV World:What did you two think of the show's new "Express Pass" twist? Do you think it was a good idea or something that devalued the Race? What were your thoughts?
Katie Seamon: I guess it originally sounded like a good idea but it kind of screwed us over in the end so I'm not a big fan of the Express Pass. But yeah, it definitely adds a twist to the game and it kind of is an opportunity for the team to succeed when they're in last. It would have been nice if we had it -- We could still be in the Race.
Reality TV World: So it sounds like you realized that when Jill and Thomas used it in the last episode, it kind of stuck you guys in last place for the beginning of this episode?
Rachel Johnston: Yeah, we were definitely aware. If they didn't have that Express Pass then they could have been behind us or [Jonathan Schwartz] and [Connor Diemand-Yauman] could have been behind that leg, and we could have been saved in this leg so basically it's a cool part of the game and we're sad it wasn't there because then we would've been okay.
Katie Seamon: Yeah, we would have liked it if we had gotten it, but we didn't get it so we don't like it. (laughs).
Reality TV World: Based on the way it's played out, the biggest deciding factor in the last two legs has been who managed to get on that earlier flight from Frankfurt to Sweden. You two were one of the first teams to leave the Pit Stop in Ghana but we didn't see you try for an earlier flight. What happened, was that actually the case?
Rachel Johnston: No that wasn't the case. At the travel agency we actually saw the same flights that everyone got on and we asked if we could get tickets for that. They just said no because the layover time was too short, like there wouldn't be enough time.
So we kind of just dismissed it like, "Oh, okay." So Katie and I just kind of said okay and didn't really push for it more, and that was such a mistake because we kind of looked up other flights but nothing was available. We didn't really push for that, and that was our mistake.
Reality TV World: So it wasn't a situation where there was some rule confusion about whether you were allowed to not use the pre-purchased tickets?
Katie Seamon: No there wasn't any confusion at all. From the time left the Pit Stop we were on the phone, we were calling the travel agencies trying to find out if we could get on an earlier flight.
When we got there, we asked about it but the particular woman we spoke to was kind of like, "Oh no, you can't take that one." And we were like, okay.
I guess Kevin and Michael and the doctors got that valuable information and they shared it with two other teams, and it was such a game changer. It was kind of like those teams that were at the bottom moved up to the top, and the top teams switched off to the bottom.
Reality TV World: You two were also one of the teams that couldn't find the decoder key during the "Language Arts" Detour task in Ghana and ended up switching to the other task. What happened there, did you never see the giant banner on the side of the building or did you just not realize it was the decoder key?
Rachel Johnston: We were kind of just watching what the other teams were doing because they were there before us so we were like oh, if they're doing that maybe we should. But we were like, what? What were they talking about, decoder?
We were just as lost as they were. We were looking in the trees, we had no idea where this decoder was. And then you watch it on TV and you see that it was literally right behind our heads.
Reality TV World: [Brook Roberts] and [Claire Champlin] have been open about the fact that they don't have any qualms flirting their way through the Race. As another female team, what did you two think about that?
Katie Seamon: I don't have any problem with it, like you have to do what you have to do to get through but I don't know. It's not really Rachel's and my style.
We kind of try to do everything with our competitiveness and [athleticism] first. I guess we're not as cheeky, you know what I mean? Like, "Oh we'll give you a kiss for information."
We were just very like boom, boom, boom, let's get this done. So, I wasn't really thinking about kissing guys but I mean if I had to I definitely would have done it.
Rachel Johnston: Yeah, but we're not trying to have a "kiss count" or anything like that. We were just trying to get the job done and be out.
Reality TV World: I know you didn't get to spend a lot of time with them, but was there any team in particular that you considered a big threat or the favorites to win?
Katie Seamon: I think that [Kevin Wu] and [Michael Wu] are the fan favorite to win. He has a lot of followers on YouTube, and he's a really funny guy, so I know a lot of people are rooting for them.
And um, I guess Katie and I were pretty bitter about losing so we just didn't really want anyone to win. We wanted something to happen where nobody could win and we could just do it again. (laughs)
Katie Seamon: We just decided to go to an open casting in Yonkers, NY, and I was in grad school at the time and I took off from class, drove up from the Philadelphia area and we just got in the car and went to Yonkers.
And we got in front of the camera and they just said basically said, "Okay, why do you want to be on The Amazing Race?"
And we were just blabbering like idiots, and we felt like there was just no way we were getting on, but you know it all worked out. Yeah, like I blacked out after the interview and was just like, "What did we just say?" But, I guess we said the right stuff.