Exclusive: 'The Amazing Race' "Former NFL Cheerleaders" Tiffany Chantell and Krista Debono talk (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/08/2015
The Amazing Race's "Former NFL Cheerleaders" team of Tiffany Chantell and Krista Debono were eliminated during Friday night's broadcast of the CBS reality competition's 27th season.
Tiffany and Krista became the eighth team eliminated from the around-the-world competition after they arrived at the Race's eleventh Pit Stop at Nam Van Lake, home to Macau's famous Dragon Boat Race, in last place.
The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan told the girls they were "so close" to staying in the Race. They were disappointed about not making the Final 3, however, they were proud to have come so far and prove people wrong.
Below is the first half of Tiffany and Krista's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: After Justin Scheman and Diana Bishop were able to check in at the Pit Stop, do you have any idea how long after them you arrived? The show made it look like things were super close.
Krista Debono: It was.
Tiffany Chantell: It was.
Krista Debono: It was super close. We were five minutes behind them, but the thing was, we actually were at the Pit Stop first in our first taxi, which they didn't show. So, we were there and all of a sudden, he kind of took off and dropped us off at a bank. And then we had to get another cab and go back to the Pit Stop. So we were originally there, but when we got back the second time, we were behind them.
Reality TV World: Yeah, we saw you girls calling a taxi driver an "idiot." I was going to ask about that, like whether the driver was a jerk to you or you were just voicing frustration.
Tiffany Chantell: I think it was out of frustration.
Krista Debono: Yeah.
Tiffany Chantell: Just because when we saw where we needed to go and told him, like, "Where are you going?! Stop!" And he wouldn't, and then the way the road was working, was there was a divider.
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So the only way you could turn around is to go all the way around. So no matter what, we couldn't get out of the cab unless you ran in the middle of the highway. So we were stuck in traffic. And so when we got to the bank, we were just frustrated.
Reality TV World: Just to clarify, heading to the Pit Stop then, were you completely certain you were in last place or did you still have a little hope a team might be behind you?
Krista Debono: So, I just always feel with the Race, we always kept in the back of our minds that anything could happen. Because there's so many times that people gave up and then you see somebody get lost. So we always went into every single Pit Stop with the mentality that, "Listen, something could be going on."
So we just jetted, like, as fast as we could, no matter what. We had no idea about [Justin and Diana's] penalty, but even if we knew about it, we still would've raced like we were trying to get there first again, so.
Reality TV World: After watching last night's episode, did you feel like Justin and Diana caught a few breaks, like they were lucky to survive considering all the problems they faced? And were you sort of shocked they made it to the Final 3 after that leg?
Krista Debono: I don't think that they really got any breaks at all because if they wouldn't have gotten a penalty, then I think that would've been a break. But I think that the Race made the right decision, and since [the ferry] was 25 minutes closer, they even gave them that time. I mean, sometimes it just comes down to luck, you know? They got there faster.
And their taxi got lost too. They went to the completely wrong place as well when they were right there, so I can understand the frustration. But, I mean, all these people were saying all of these crazy things, like, it was rigged and all this for them. And no. Uh uh.
And if you think about it, during every leg, there would be a team that does get lucky. We've gotten lucky with certain things. And I think that they just dominated so much of the Race on their own that they never needed to get lucky before.
Tiffany Chantell: Yeah.
Krista Debono: So it just worked out in their favor.
Reality TV World: Krista, you broke down crying after your fourth attempt at that water show. I feel like we went from Tiffany giving you a pep talk to you standing on top of the platform above the water smiling and laughing. We didn't see what actually made you stop crying and change your mood. Was it something specific Tiffany said that we didn't see?
Krista Debono: Yeah, I mean, it's just so hard when you do a Roadblock because you're completely by yourself and you don't have anybody with you. It's just kind of a camera in your face, and I was so completely overwhelmed by everything, and I knew everyone had left.
After [Tiffany] spoke to me, it completely calmed me down to the fact where I was -- I just knew that the time was going to be it. And, I don't know if she didn't talk to me, if I would have gotten it on that try.
I think it would've been over, because I just needed that extra push, you know, for someone just to support me and say it was going to be okay. It really just completely changed my whole mindset after that speech. So, she's a good motivational speaker.
Tiffany Chantell: (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Tiffany, it must've been brutal for you to watch. Not only was your best friend upset and struggling, but the Race was also slipping through your fingers and it was entirely out of your control. What was going through your mind at that time?
Tiffany Chantell: Honestly, and like I said on the show, the only thing that was hard is when you're doing a Roadblock, you feel that all the pressure is on you. Because if you mess up, like, everything is blamed on you and you feel that. And at that moment, that never even crossed my mind or throughout the whole race.
I was just more upset because I've never seen Krista struggle in our seven years of friendship, so that was just a new side that I saw of her. And it was just making me upset. And then when I saw all the teams leaving, at that moment, I just knew that Krista and I were done -- that we were going to go home. And I wanted her and I to finish out strong.
I felt that if we finished out strong, even though we were going home, that's all that mattered to me. I didn't care how many times it took her to get the fish. I just felt, as two women, not giving up on something that they're struggling with and completing the task and making it to the mat, I felt that was most important.
Reality TV World: Krista, what exactly happened with the Roadblock? From a viewer's perspective, of course they zoomed up on the golden fish and made it seem like they were so close to you.
Tiffany Chantell: Yeah, it was that camera angle too.
Reality TV World: Yeah. Were you just not diving deep enough or you couldn't see underwater?
Krista Debono: Here's the thing, and I cannot wait to explain this, because I just keep seeing it so much. On TV, when I watched it, it's so easy for someone to be like, "Oh, I would've gotten this. It's so easy." So when I was outside of the water and the water was calm, I could see exactly where they were -- all of them. So that's why I kept saying, "I got it, I got it. This is fine."
So as soon as you jump in, these turbo jets turn on, the water gets wavy, and there's bright, bright lights, not to mention the cameramen underneath the water filming. So I would feel, like, feet on me and I didn't know what was going on.
So, my eyes were open. I was looking. I mean, I'm a good swimmer, it had nothing to do with that. But every time I saw something, a light would look like a goldfish because of the bubbles and stuff too. So I would go and maybe grab a light, and it wasn't that. So, I just couldn't see it when I was in the water.
I knew exactly where they were, but when you're in it, it's just a completely different thing. And also, I don't think people realized I was part of a show, and the added pressure from the screaming from the performers, it was so overwhelming with the theatrics, and it was giving me anxiety.
So that was adding to it. The whole situation itself was just not working out in my favor. And it was so frustrating because like I said, I saw exactly where they were. I just couldn't get to it when my eyes were open under the water. I couldn't see a thing.
Tiffany Chantell: And people also don't see that the other teams who caught the fish, they were on the edge, like when they came up for a breather. They were on the edge of the pool, I guess they call it.
Krista kept going back to the ship, so that's why in the beginning, people were like, "Oh, it's right there!" But she was on the opposite side. No one went to the ship besides Krista to, like, get air. Everyone went to the edge.
Krista Debono: And once they went to the edge, they could see [the fish]. They all happened to be on the edge.
Reality TV World: I think it's safe to say you girls were underestimated in the Race. Did you even underestimate yourselves a little bit heading in? And did it upset you that you got stereotyped? The first team out of TMZ girls said something like, "I at least thought we'd be smarter than the "Cheerleaders."
Krista Debono: Yeah, that's a big reason why we did this. I've been a fan of the show forever and I think a lot of people thought we were recruited as just two girls. But that's not the way it was. We came on this show because we wanted to do this; We wanted to be here. We're strong.
And as soon as we got there, you know, we got the eye rolls. Like, TMZ said straight out to us, "You're going home" on the first leg. And then the whole thing happened with the TMZ girls that we saw, you know, they were talking about us.
And just to prove people wrong -- but not only that, I feel like we proved it to ourselves. Because like we said, in the beginning, that first leg was so much harder than we ever thought it was going to be.
Tiffany Chantell: In a way, it's not even about proving to other people anymore. We proved it to ourselves, so that's what matters most to us. We just feel like we won, personally, and now, everyone else can see it too. But that's really what matters. We definitely got a lot of flack from people, but now we showed we're contenders and we made the Final 4!
Krista Debono: All of the other teams even said that. When they saw us, they were like, "We actually know you girls stepped it up and we're proud of you." Every single team said that to us. All of the people who were eliminated, we heard through the grapevine that every time a team got eliminated, they were like, "Oh, it's going to be the 'Cheerleaders!'"
And then we just kept [surviving] and they were like, "What's going on!? The girls are still in it?!" So it was nice to prove people wrong, but like I said, it was for ourselves too.
Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Tiffany and Krista's exclusive The Amazing Race interview.