Exclusive: Mallory and Gary Ervin talk about 'The Amazing Race'
By Reality TV World staff, 05/11/2011
Gary Ervin and Mallory Ervin thought they were in good shape for The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business' final leg when they finished the Race's penultimate leg in Brazil in first place.
However, a poor taxi driver dropped the seventeenth-season Racers to third place in the final leg -- leaving them behind winners Jennifer Hoffman and LaKisha Hoffman and runner-ups Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton and Herbert "Flight Time" Lang during Sunday night's finale broadcast of the all-stars edition of the long-running CBS reality competition.
On Monday, Gary and Mallory talked to Reality TV World about their The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business experience -- including exactly what happened with their taxi driver, what they thought about the Race's final task, and how they felt about the penultimate's leg memorable Brazilian waxing session.
Reality TV World: It looked like the whole Race basically came down to the taxi drivers you got when you flew in from Brazil and were leaving the airport in Miami. Is that accurate?
Mallory Ervin: I would say that's very accurate. It's funny because there was a lady in a taxi ahead of us -- this is what really happened -- but we kind of jumped in the first taxi and she said, "I've been waiting for this 30 minutes!" I guess that's the Kentucky niceness that's coming out. We got out of the taxi and got in the next one. So, kind of sucked, but...
Gary Ervin: It even had an in-dash GPS in it!
Mallory Ervin: Yeah.
Reality TV World: Mallory, you seemed to be trying to butter your taxi driver Sterling up during your ride to the marina, was that intentional strategy and were you already skeptical [he knew where he was going] or just being friendly?
Mallory Ervin: Probably maybe intentional strategy. I don't even know what I said. It was so loud in the room that we watched it in, but what was I saying?
Reality TV World: You were just being really friendly with him and asking if he should try and call someone for directions or whatever. It seemed like you already had a hint that something was a little off.
Mallory Ervin: Yeah, well, I mean there were a lot of things a "little off" with the taxi and the taxi situation and the driver and everything, but I guess I was just trying to do everything I could to get there.
For that to happen in the very beginning, we were just so bummed out, but we always stay nice. We always stay positive and hope that that's going to pull us through. So, I guess it didn't this time, but it usually does. (Laughs)
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Reality TV World: About how long did it actually take you guys to get to the marina? Do you have any perspective on that?
Mallory Ervin: Um, I don't know. What do you think dad?
Gary Ervin: I think we were about 10 or 15 minutes behind at the marina, but the real bad one was we got lost going to the Jules' Undersea and we drove -- it was on Mile Marker 96 and we drove to Mile Marker 115.
Reality TV World: It looked like all the teams ended up with new taxi drivers after you took the boat rides to the trailer park and completed the Detour. Was yours any better than Sterling?
Mallory Ervin: So much better, yes.
Gary Ervin: Much better.
Mallory Ervin: She's a huge fan of the show, so she was getting us where we needed to go. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: About how long did it actually take you guys to do the trailer park task? It looked like you closed the gap on the other teams a little bit.
Mallory Ervin: I'll let my dad answer that one, because he owned that trailer park.
Gary Ervin: Yeah, we did real well. We were told that we did it substantially faster, but we were probably 10-15 minutes behind the Globetrotters maybe. But we went through it pretty quickly. We had two things. We had the picture, but we also had their trailer displays too. So, we had a little bit of an edge to get it done quicker.
Reality TV World: So you guys did the same thing as Flight Time and Big Easy and went and checked out Jen and Kisha's setup?
Mallory Ervin: Yeah.
Gary Ervin: Yeah, we could see theirs from where we were doing ours.
Reality TV World: Mallory, you seemed to really enjoy yourself during the samba Roadblock task in Brazil...
Mallory Ervin: I did! (Laughs)
Reality TV World: How long did that take you? It seemed to go pretty smoothly for you.
Mallory Ervin: Yeah, it was really quick. That was probably my best challenge of the season. We got there and maybe knocked it out in 15 minutes, which I watching it back, it's sad. I didn't know that [fourteenth-season Racer Zev Glassenberg] was there before us and then so long after us.
It's gotta be terrible to see somebody come in and blow that Roadblock away like that with you still being there. But yeah, that samba was fun for me. It was pretty fun, and I've [danced the samba] before.
Reality TV World: I think the consensus is that the samba Roadblock really seemed to be favor the teams with women. What do you guys think about that?
Gary Ervin: I would say yes.
Mallory Ervin: Yeah, they did look funny in that outfit, especially Zev when he walked down in that outfit. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Gary, you still had an interesting experience there with the waxing session. How painful was that?
Gary Ervin: (Laughs) It was bad. I don't think mine was as bad as Zev and [teammate Justin Kanew] though. I wasn't quite as burly as those two were, but it was pretty bad! I can't believe anybody -- I still can't believe anybody would pay to have that done.
Mallory Ervin: (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Mallory, are you still enjoying the "memories" of that special father/daughter bonding time?
Mallory Ervin: Yeah. Like Gary said, it was so loud in the place but that is one thing I did hear about, "What did I say?" -- Something like, "Concerning next time, you're going to get lasered [unintelligible]."
I don't think I'll have another one with him -- not because I don't love him, but because that's usually that's not a fun experience, I think, to have with him. But it was funny. It was -- we got lucky. I mean, if you saw Zev and Justin and Flight Time and Big Easy, thank goodness we didn't have that situation, you know?
Reality TV World: What made you guys decide to do the "On The Rocks" Detour task instead of the bikini task? Was it the type of situation where you thought it would just be too hard to do the selling?
Gary Ervin: Yeah. You not only had to sell them, but you had to get the people to model them -- to put them on. So, it seems like it was difficult from the description, but we already had a previous lead and it was a defined quantity.
We had to do 100 of these drinks, so it seemed like -- just from the reading -- the reading of the Detours that are usually cryptic, and a lot of times you don't know until you get there, that you made the right or wrong call.
Mallory Ervin: That was the right call that time. Also, we remembered Ghana -- having to sell the sunglasses -- which was a much less quantity and lower amount [during] our first season [on The Amazing Race], and that was really tough.
So, we always know we can knock something out of it's physical, and we knew that we could knock those drinks out, because all it was about was quantity... we were able to sell the sunglasses [but] we decided we didn't want to do that again.
Reality TV World: Gary, where was your bag when you were leaving the Miami airport? We saw Mallory's but not yours. Did you guys consolidate into one or something?
Gary Ervin: Yeah, we had done that after the fact because everyone checked their bags and we didn't. So, what we did was we left it with the stewardess to put it in -- to check it, we put our address on it and they just checked it with the airline. We just grabbed Mallory's bag and unfortunately, we didn't bring any warm clothing.
We froze to death on that boat ride. The entire leg was just -- it was a 58-degree day, blowing, kind of mixed overcast, and we didn't have any extra clothing. So, we consolidated, but we just had very little clothing. I think Mal had her jacket.
Mallory Ervin: I know, I don't know why I grabbed that. I think it was because I really like that piece of clothing. I didn't have as much to take as my dad, but our bags were going to get back to us at the end. So, I didn't want to use everything. So, luckily I grabbed that purple jacket because it was freezing.
Reality TV World: Speaking of freezing, I need to ask you guys about the "Search" Roadblock task in which you had to dig out the dummy. I know you had a lot of viewers laughing, but what was it like out there?
Mallory Ervin: That was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my whole life.
Gary Ervin: It was minus nine [with winds of] 40mph. I don't think the wind chill got to you, but it was cold. I would say that the conditions were just extreme, but I still remember at 14,000 feet the color of the sky and the sound. It was just amazing up there on that glacier. It was something I'll never forget.
Reality TV World: It looked like one of this season's hardest tasks was the dinosaur task in China -- which you guys ended up using your Express Pass to skip when you got to the leg in last place. Do you think you guys would have been able to survive that leg and make it all the way to the last leg if you hadn't had the Express Pass?
Gary Ervin: Yeah, I think it was a construction task. I regret not doing it. I like to build things and I think I could have -- it was my task and my turn to do it. We kind of alternated on the tasks, and it was something I would have loved to have done. I think that I could have -- we could have -- gotten in there and not have gotten eliminated that leg.
Reality TV World: You guys also got a little lucky when you finished last in the non-elimination leg. That gasoline and oil Speed Bump task you had to do in the next leg seemed pretty easy as well. Was that actually the case?
Mallory Ervin: Yeah. I think it was easier for some people and hard for other ones. We definitely got a lucky break on that non-elimination... that's the leg where we got eliminated in Oman last time.
It was like in the front of our mind the entire leg. We were like, "Oh my gosh. This is the leg where we got eliminated." Then, as we got to the end and we realized we couldn't get eliminated, I mean, we were just on cloud nine.
Reality TV World: Last week's episode featured the chocolate gnome controversy in which Flight Time's mold seemed to disappear from the freezer and Big Easy accused [twelfth-season Racer Vyxsin Fiala] of taking it. What were your takes on that incident -- do you guys believe Vyxsin took Flight Time's mold, and do you think Big Easy's reaction was appropriate or too much?
Gary Ervin: Oh no. They lost their mold. Somebody grabbed it and we were hoping that watching the episode this week or last week, we could find out where it went, but I think nobody still knows what happened to it.
Mallory Ervin: Yea and if she did take it, I don't think it was intentional, but I think that maybe she may have realized it halfway through and just not have said anything, which is probably what anyone would do. But we still don't know. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: When I talked to [twelfth-season Racer Kent Kaliber] and Vyxsin last week, they said they felt the Globetrotters basically become bullies when things don't go their way, do you guys agree with that?
Mallory Ervin: Definitely not. No. They are great. We love the Globetrotters, and I thought that Kent and Vyxsin did too. We were all kind of surprised they said that in their interview. But no, they're not bullies at all. They're great guys.
Gary Ervin: They would stop and help anybody, and in the very first leg in Australia, the way the heart attack victim on the plane -- they were just so kind and have such big hearts. They said, "We gotta land. Race or not, we gotta land. There's a guy in trouble here." So, that's the kind of guys they are. They have very big hearts and by no means are bullies.
Reality TV World: This season's other big controversy regarding Kent and Vyxsin seemed to be how they only got a 30-minute time penalty instead of waiting a full day when they missed the mandatory flight from Japan to China -- which is what the other teams feel they should have had to do based on the instructions. But when I interviewed Kent and Vyxsin, Kent pointed to a Race rule that says 30 minutes is the time penalty if taking another flight didn't get them an advantage versus the original flight. What's your take on that whole thing? A lot of the teams seemed upset about that, from what I've heard this season.
Mallory Ervin: I never heard of that rule and we read that rulebook two times very close together. So, I don't necessarily think that that was the case, and I think that they got very lucky getting a 30-minute penalty because they would have been late or further behind or the time that they made up by being able to take the other flight, was a few hours. So, 30 minutes seemed a little bit short, I guess at the time while we were racing. What do you think dad?
Gary Ervin: We were lucky so many times this season. If someone else has a little bit of luck and gets a little bit further in the Race, good for them. That's kind of -- whether it's an interpretation of the rules -- it's their game. They're put out there and there's always different twists about it. We were given a non-elimination leg.
We drew some very good breaks on choosing the right side of the challenge consistently, and when we didn't get real good breaks, everyone seemed like they were tripped up a little bit worse than us. So, it's allowed us to keep them there, so we've had some great breaks in this Race. No complaints, and as far as anybody else getting a break, good for them.
Reality TV World: Mallory, you were shown saying you wouldn't be able to handle Kent and Vyxsin's relationship if you were in that position. Was it really as bad as it looked on TV?
Mallory Ervin: You know, I don't know. I think all the relationships, [the show] shows the bad side more than the good side. On TV, they're nice people. They've always been nice to us. We hated that they threw the Globetrotters under the bus during their interviews, because I think that they do like the Globetrotters.
They're certainly competitors, and they're in this game to win it, and I'm glad that they got a second chance, and I'm glad that whatever is going on is going on. (Laughs) We don't mind them.