Exclusive: 'The Amazing Race' blind daters Jackie Ibarra and Jeffrey Weldon talk (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/17/2015
The Amazing Race eliminated blind-dating couple Jackie Ibarra and Jeffrey Weldon during the 26th season's sixth episode Friday night on CBS.
Jackie, a 27-year-old professional dancer from Las Vegas, NV, and Jeff, a 26-year-old account executive and salesman from Tampa, FL, were ousted from the race around the world after they arrived at the sixth Pit Stop in last place. They are the second blind-dating couple to be eliminated from this season.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Jeff and Jackie talked about their The Amazing Race experience. Below is the concluding portion. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: How do you think producers did matching up the blind-dating couples this season?
Jackie Ibarra: When it comes to the actual matches and blind dating, like relationship-wise, I don't think anyone was really a match unfortunately. I know Jeff and I definitely hit it off. Match-wise, no.
But partner-wise, you are going to fight, you're not going to like each other at times, it's very difficult, you're stuck with each other for the whole process, and you just have to deal with it. So tensions are going to fly and, you know, at the end of the day, we're all great friends. It's something we all shared together, especially with your partner.
Reality TV World: After experiencing the race together, do you think couples who had pre-existing relationships before the show had an advantage over the blind daters? Or do you think just the opposite is true?
Jeff Weldon: Actually, Jackie and I talked about this, and I think it's a really interesting point. I think at first glance, most people would think that the blind daters would be at a serious disadvantage not knowing each other's strengths and weaknesses. However, what I do think is that the blind daters had an advantage that nobody really saw coming.
And what it was is, I think the blind dates, we held each other accountable for all our actions. And I think even more so than the people who have been dating and have known each other for many years -- just because you could be very sympathetic towards an individual, like, "Oh, he's not good at dancing. I'm not going to give him a hard time."
You saw that happen with [Jeff Magee and Lyda Grawn]. He was terrible at dancing and that's what was their demise. I think that Jackie and I, she would literally look at me with, like, the death stare. She's like, "You're going to do this. We need it to win and I'm not going out because of you."
And I think we were really both on the same page with that. I think all the blind dates were. We held each other extremely accountable, and I think that's what created an interesting element in the show in that the blind daters are absolutely killing it from Day 1, and I think it's because of that.
Reality TV World: Jackie, how long did it take you to complete the Roadblock when you had to gather the chocolates and roses? And Mike Dombrowski had trouble spotting the yacht, so did you find it easily?
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Jackie Ibarra: Yeah, we all came in order within each other, so we all took the helicopter ride. I think they were about 5-20 minutes apart, so I think I did a great job. I didn't come in quicker than anybody, but I didn't lose my place where I started. So, I feel like that kind of happened with everybody -- the ones that started kind of came in first and the ones that came in a little later came in after me.
So, I'm happy that I still kept my place, but I would've definitely liked to pass by and run past everybody and find it quicker of course. But it was hard finding that little stand of flowers in the corner. It was like a shock to find them in the middle of the garden, so that was difficult.
Reality TV World: Jeff, were you just hanging out and sunbathing on the yacht in the meantime? (Laughs)
Jeff Weldon: Yes, it was an extremely relaxing sitting. We were just kind of soaking in the rays and soaking in the view. We were on a yacht waiting it out and I think I even had a nice water. Sorry to tell you that, Jackie. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Which teams were you closest to on the Race or even considered allies?
Jeff Weldon: Jackie, if you want to help me with this -- I think we were on the same page with how we felt. Going into it, Jackie and I definitely wanted allies, but what we quickly realized is we were kind of running our own race. We didn't really see the other teams too often, and so it was hard for us to really position ourselves with another team and say, "Hey, let's be allies. We're getting along really well."
It was more, "Hey, we want to try this." I think right off the bat, Jackie and I were like, "Let's get the Olympians [Aly Dudek and Steven Langton] on our good side, I mean, they are Olympians for God's sake." They are extremely competitive, they're athletic, and I think they got along really well with everyone.
Jackie Ibarra: They are the sweetest people in the world!
Jeff Weldon: Yeah, so we were like, "We definitely want them on our side." And interestingly enough, we didn't really see it coming, but Hayley Keel and Blair Townsend -- if we did have an ally -- they kind of became allies for us. And I think that point was -- in Germany was it, Jackie? We kind of worked together on a leg.
Jackie Ibarra: No, going into Thailand. We were trying to book that flight when we first started talking to them.
Jeff Weldon: So, I think our allies were Hayley and Blair.
Jackie Ibarra: We never got to really be together, but yeah, they were definitely a good team to be close with.
Reality TV World: When you two left the Race, were you rooting for a team in particular to win? Based upon what you're saying, maybe Hayley and Blair or Aly and Steve?
Jeff Weldon: For me, well, Jackie, you answer and then I'll answer. Because I think my answer is going to be a little bit different.
Jackie Ibarra: (Laughs) I definitely was, yes, rooting for Aly and Steve, absolutely. They were sweethearts, they were really nice to us, they helped us out, we helped them out.
Hayley and Blair, we were kind of rooting for them too because they started from the bottom and then picked it back up. I didn't know they bickered that much though now looking back and watching it. (Laughs) I didn't really see that when we were altogether hanging out.
And also, another team that we were really interested in was Mike and [Rochelle Nevedal]. They were definitely a good team. They were there for good reasons. They were very amazing, great people. And, yeah, they kind of started off a little rough too, but now they're killing it!
Jeff Weldon: Yeah, I would agree. I think that Jackie and I definitely wanted -- well, first off, I'm just going to throw this out there. There wasn't, like, a particular team when we got eliminated that I was like, "Hey, I want them to win." There was a particular team where I was like, "I do not want them to win."
And so that particular team would be [Laura Pierson and Tyler Adams]. They just kind of rubbed me the wrong way during the entire race, and I don't know, I just got this vibe that they were kind of snake-ish. They're obviously in it to win it, but we had a couple run-ins with them where we kind of saw their true colors. So, they left a bad taste in my mouth. I was like, "Yeah, I just don't want them to win." (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Did you two actually apply to get on The Amazing Race? And if so, did you jump at the chance to do it once you learned of the blind-dating twist or was there actually hesitation there?
Jackie Ibarra: You know, the Race is actually an amazing, amazing show. I love every part of it -- the whole traveling, the challenges, the million dollars at the end of the day if you win. So when the opportunity was kind of presented, oh, 100% I definitely went for it.
At the time, I had actually just broken up with my ex-boyfriend, so when that twist kind of came in, I was kind of ready for it. I was like, "Hey, maybe possibly I could find love too," you know? But it was definitely a crazy twist. It was definitely a crazy situation, let me tell you.
Jeff Weldon: Yeah, I kind of have a similar story. I always wanted to go on the Race, and actually, me and my ex applied before but unfortunately didn't get on. And so, for me, I jumped at the opportunity because I was like, "Wow, this is kind of like a slap in her face. Not only do I get to go on the Race and she's not, but now I get to go on a blind date too."
So, it's not that I was just doing it out of spite, because I still would have done it regardless of whether it was a blind date or not, even if I got paired with just a random person.
So, I think for me, I was kind of in the same boat as Jackie. I was getting out of a relationship, and for me, it wasn't awkward that it was a blind date. Because at the end of the day, I was in it to win it, and I was hoping my partner was too. And luckily, Jackie is and was.
Click here to read the first half of Jeff and Jackie's exclusive The Amazing Race interview with Reality TV World.