Sara, a 27-year-old luxury realtor from St. John, Virgin Islands, and Shamir, a 28-year-old Wall Street banker from Jersey City, NJ, paired up on the first day of the Race when they were total strangers. They became the fourth team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they finished the fourth leg in Tanzania in last place out of the eight remaining couples.
"It's tough running a race with someone you barely know. Even though it definitely wasn't a match made in heaven, I certainly haven't forgotten all of the incredible experiences that we did have. It's just been amazing," Sara said in her final words.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World via email, Sara talked about her The Amazing Race experience. Below is what she had to say.
Reality TV World: How long after Brooke Camhi and Scott Flanary arrived at the Pit Stop did Shamir and yourself get eliminated? Were you certain you were in last place towards the end of the leg?
Sara Fowler: Unfortunately, we never arrived at the Pit Stop to greet [The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan]. You can see on the episode that Phil had to come to us because we were still working on the ladle Detour well into the night and never actually completed it.
You can never be 100 percent certain that you're in last place, but I was 99 percent positive that we were dead last. I had my fingers crossed that it was a non-elimination round!
Reality TV World: Your dynamic with Shamir on the show was tense and even made viewers uncomfortable at times. You even broke down crying at one of the Pit Stops. Can you talk about what it was like for you to race with Shamir?
Sara Fowler: Viewers weren't the only ones who felt uncomfortable. Shamir and I have several fundamental differences in our personalities as well as in the way we view life. When asked to describe my "nightmare partner" heading into the Race, I always said that I would be most disappointed if I ended up with a negative partner with a big ego.
I told production, "Give me Barbie, but please don't partner me up with an egomaniac!" When I arrived at the Pit Stop in Brazil, I was extremely emotional for several reasons. I felt that my worst fear had become a reality. My frustration was countered by an overwhelming sense of gratitude for being able to be a part of such an incredible adventure.
All of my emotions came to a head after Shamir threw his backpack and I found myself standing in front of Phil and next to my inconsolably enraged partner. Watching the episode for the first time brought up similar emotions all over again.
It is definitely difficult watching yourself break down, knowing exactly what was going through your mind and not being able to completely voice your frustration because it would only fuel the fire. I also thought we were going to be eliminated -- there was no way production would allow us to continue on the Race after Shamir had punched and shattered two windows.
Fortunately, I was wrong. There was a stark contrast between the way we arrived at the Pit Stop and the way the other Racers finished the challenge. Everyone was smiling, embracing one another, and showing appreciation for everything around them -- I wanted to be a part of that.
I understand Shamir was in pain, but I also experienced negativity and aggression from him even when he wasn't wearing a harness. Like the rest of the cast, Shamir and I are now friends; and I think we have all grown and learned things about ourselves from this experience.
I struggle with how to respond to questions about him and our partnership. I care about him and his wellbeing; however, I also think it's important to be honest. Through traveling with Shamir, I learned that he deeply loves his family, especially his nephews. As a former pediatric registered nurse and aunt, I also have little ones that look up to me.
I hope that by speaking openly and honestly, I do not offend anyone. Rather, I hope to share my perspective on a situation that has so many TAR fans puzzled. I have grown to loveThe Amazing Race even more now that I was a contestant because of its authenticity.
From the very beginning, production took pride in making sure that every element of the show was as real as it would appear on TV. I was also blown away, not only by the show's authenticity throughout the entire production, but most impressive was the amount of people it took to make the whole thing work.
If I were being anything less than honest about my experience, I would be doing a disservice to the show and it's incredible production team that not only gave me the adventure of a lifetime, but also introduced me to my Soulpartner. Heres a clip that sums up exactly how I was feeling at the Pit Stop in Brazil: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yp3wJcief0
Reality TV World: You stayed pretty calm and collected when Shamir was being temperamental, especially during the time he had to wash the window in a harness. Was it hard watching some of these episodes back on TV? And looking back, how do you think you guys could've worked better together?
Sara Fowler: Watching The Amazing Race on television for the first time was awesome. I have been falling in love with the cast all over again! While running the Race, you are so focused on how you and your partner are performing that you miss out on the craziness that's happening with other teams.
As much fun as it is relive, some of the footage was difficult to watch. It's rare that I cry in my normal life, so watching myself break down on TV was tough.
It was even more difficult for my friends and family to witness. Attempting to look back in order to dissect our choices and analyze what we should have done differently is a slippery slope.
Of course there are a million things that, if done differently, would have a huge impact on the outcome of the race. Overall, I wouldn't change the way I raced nor would I change my partner. I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason, and The Amazing Race is no exception.
Reality TV World: Were you leaning towards picking a different Racer after the season's very first suitcase challenge? If Shamir was taken, whom would you have picked?
Sara Fowler: If Shamir had not chosen me as a partner and I had my pick, I would have chosen [Logan Bauer]. I saw him and thought, "Yes, please. I'll take the big strong werewolf!" Little did I know Logan is actually Wolverine. Good call [London Kaye]!
Reality TV World: What do you think was your downfall in your last leg on the Race? Was it searching for the three doors? How much time did you spend wandering around?
Sara Fowler: There were many critical errors we made leading up to the door challenge. Our communication was awful, and we spent HOURS running around knocking on doors. We waited a significant amount of time before even considering switching Detours.
Because we unsuccessfully attempted to switch Detours in the previous challenge (we switched from building the desks to weaving baskets but failed), I was reluctant to switch when we only needed to find one more Royal door.
Reality TV World: Did Shamir and yourself hammer out a plan or strategy for Roadblocks? Did you two discuss your strengths and weaknesses, and if so, what were they?
Sara Fowler: He was going to complete the challenge if it required heavy lifting, strength, or math. I would complete the challenges that required interacting with people (i.e. market Eoadblock), heights, swimming or endurance.
Reality TV World: Based on what I've seen on social media, it looks like you are dating Logan and might even be in love with him! Could you confirm that, and if you're not dating, what is your relationship with him?
Reality TV World: Are you still living in the Virgin Islands and is Logan living in Georgia? If that is the case, how you are two making a long-distance relationship work and are either of you planning on moving?
Sara Fowler: I have two homes these days. I travel back and forth between the US Virgin Islands, where I sell luxury real estate with Sotheby's International Realty, and Los Angeles.
Jumping on a plane feels like taking a taxi ride these days, so traveling to see one another is easy. Of course we want to live together, but right now we are enjoying this adventure and allowing the rest to unfold.
Everyone can follow our story on [Instagram] @sarafowler_ ... Now that I've been eliminated, we know our romance didn't play out on the show. Logan and I realize that lots of fans are curious about our relationship and how it all began so we are having fun answering questions on our Youtube channel. Check it out!
Reality TV World: How were you cast on The Amazing Race and was this your first time applying?
Sara Fowler: The CBS casting producer contacted me via Facebook. At first I didn't think it was legitimate, but I reached out to one of our mutual friends and she confirmed that he was who he said he was. Next thing you know I was traveling from the Virgin Islands to LA for some intense interviews. I've watched The Amazing Race since I was little, so the entire casting experience was so surreal.
To read what Sara's partner Shamir Arzeno had to say during his exclusive interview with Reality TV World, click here.