Exclusive: Mark Jackson and replacement partner Mallory Ervin talk 'The Amazing Race: All-Stars' (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/04/2014
The Amazing Race: All-Stars eliminated Mark Jackson and his replacement partner Mallory Ervin during Sunday night's second episode of the CBS reality competition's 24th overall season and third all-stars edition.
The Kentucky team, which started out as Mark and his best friend William "Bopper" Minton -- who became ill just before the Race began and therefore was forced to withdraw from the competition -- became the second team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the Race's second Pit Stop at the promenade on Shamian Island in Guangzhou, China in last place.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Mark and Mallory talked about their short-lived The Amazing Race experience. Below is the first half of their interview. Check back with us on Tuesday for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: I'm sorry about the way things turned out for you two!
Mallory Ervin: Oh it's alright. Thank you, we appreciate it. It's alright!
Reality TV World: Based upon the fact you two came from very strong teams in prior seasons of the Race and you didn't know each other, was it a shock for you guys to be the second team eliminated or were you kind of thinking it'd be a long shot to get very far in the Race because of your unexpected pairing?
Mark Jackson: No, I thought we had just as good of a chance as anybody else. We just didn't end up -- the communication and stuff did play a big factor in us getting eliminated. But we was a strong team. We didn't know each other well enough to compete, but we did everything we needed to do.
I mean, we was -- the backpack was what cost us, we were in first place. I mean, whether I left it back there or we left it at the curb, but we was still in it. So we was a very strong team. We just didn't know each other well enough.
Mallory Ervin: Yeah, I thought we could've won it, easy. Well, not easy, (laughs) but I definitely thought that. I thought the fire in us for all the people that we didn't want to let down too would, like, help bring us to the end. And I think the other teams would have helped us throughout the Race too, so I always thought we could win it.
Reality TV World: Mark, you said you left with no hard feelings about anything. But based on the way you guys went out, it's kind of hard to believe there wasn't at least a little tension between you two, especially from your end Mallory, because you were against getting Mark's backpack the entire time. So Mark, do you regret going back to get your bag? And Mallory, how did you feel leaving the Race?
Mark Jackson: Nah, I didn't regret going back and getting it. It was just, it's what [hurt] us I guess, but no, I mean, I did not regret going back and getting it. When we got to the other chore that we had to do, we just couldn't get it done. It might've been the people that we chose, because when we got there, there were still two teams that hadn't even shown up yet. So we were still in the Race.
Mallory Ervin: Um, (laugh) I felt like that was a prime example of how, onThe Amazing Race, it's so important to communicate well with your partner. I didn't even know the fact about Mark. I didn't know -- my dad [Gary Ervin] and I talked about everything that could've happened.
We knew we'd keep our passports together, and if we ever left our backpacks, we'd race without them -- always. Because we loved to race and we wanted to keep going, and you know, Mark and I hadn't even talked about that.
So I was surprised, I guess, in the moment. We were so flustered, and you know, we just couldn't get it together! Leaving the Race for me, it was -- I had no doubts when they contacted me. I love the Race so much and I wanted to help Mark out because he's such a good guy, and Bopper. I would never have turned down the opportunity.
So I was really, really sad. I've never been through an elimination. I was sad because I felt like I let my dad down a little bit, I let my town down a little bit, I let Bopper down a little bit. But I'll always take all that weight on my shoulders, and I was really sad to go. I wanted to keep racing with my friend.
Reality TV World: Mark, viewers were confused about why you needed the backpack so badly when Mallory had said she still had both your passport and your medicine, which would allow you to continue racing. So why was the bag so important to you?
Mark Jackson: It had my contacts, my glasses, it had all my clothes. I mean, like I said... I didn't have my sweatshirt. I wouldn't have had nothing. I wouldn't have been comfortable the whole time. Somebody might've gave my something to wear, but I just did not feel comfortable without my stuff that I needed.
Mallory Ervin: I saw, from my point of view, I saw the faces of everybody when they saw that Bopper had to go and that I was coming in, and I saw how much they respected us and loved us as a team.
I think the other teams were even rooting for us at the beginning, and I knew how much they liked Mark. And I could just see, you know, us showing up to the Pit Stop and [Nate "Big Easy" Lofton] being the first one to hand over some clothes or "The Cowboys" [Cord McCoy and Jet McCoy].
And I just saw how much everyone supported us, and I had no doubts that he would get close, so I was really confused. Because I would've raced around in a swimsuit and gotten frostbit in Switzerland until like my body shut down. But, you know, people are different. Maybe Mark couldn't race without his clothes, I mean, you know, that's just different.
Mark Jackson: But also, the backpack was not mine. I borrowed that bag and I wasn't going to leave the bag back there. I had to return the bag, and I mean, it had everything that I needed in it. It had my glasses, contacts and everything in it.
I mean, it was not an option. I went around the world the first time and I never -- it literally shocked me -- it literally blows my mind that I didn't have my backpack. I never, ever let -- it's just something that doesn't get out of my reach.
Reality TV World: So it sounds like you both understand each other's perspectives now, but it's still kind of an agree-to-disagree type of situation? Is that accurate to say?
Mark Jackson: Like she said, her and her dad discussed it. If me and her would've discussed it, we would've probably -- as soon as we went to drop [the kiddie car] off and we discovered it was gone, we would've turned around and gone back and gotten it, if me and her would've discussed it.
Because I would've let her know that I just never let my backpack [get] away from me. Like when I was back in that car, I didn't want to let it [get] away from me then, but she said she had it, so that was it.
Mallory Ervin: There are some challenges when you can't, literally can't, have your backpack, and I think that that was probably one of them. And who knows where that got mixed up, but I guess, yes, agree to disagree. I disagreed. I knew that I disagreed.
I was just on his team and if he really and truly thought he needed his backpack, I did not agree with it one bit, but I did it for him and I would always do that probably.
Reality TV World: So how much time did you guys actually waste driving back and forth from the cultural center to the mall and then back to the Detour task in order to retrieve Mark's bag?
Mark Jackson: I would say probably 45 minutes, but 25 to 30 of it was just wiped trying to find somebody and get them to bring it to us or something. We did that for probably, I would say, five teams came when we were sitting there trying to get another taxi or something to go back and pick it up and bring it to us or whatever it was. But we stood there, I would say, for almost 25 to 30 minutes just right there.
Mallory Ervin: Because we couldn't risk -- the taxi driver did not speak any English. He didn't understand, and I knew we were going to lose the Race if we didn't do this perfectly. So going back, it was much longer than that -- the drive was, I think, but who knows. But I mean, it was just, the traffic got bad and then the car was running low on gas.
It was like the perfect storm, I guess. By the time we got to the challenge, we did get there very close to the end and we were so flustered by all that had happened, that we didn't do the challenge as well as we would've done it and we didn't have the time to. There were just so many things that went wrong.
Above is the first half of Mark and Mallory's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Check back with us on Tuesday for the concluding portion.