INTERVIEW: 'The Amazing Race's Kate Lewis, Pat Hendrickson talk
By Christopher Rocchio, 11/12/2007
Kate Lewis and Pat Hendrickson knew it would be difficult for them to compete in some of the more physical challenges facing them on The Amazing Race's twelfth-season course, which is why their mental blunder while searching for bikes was tough to swallow.
As a result, Kate, a 49-year-old Episcopal clergy member, and Pat, a 65-year-old ordained deacon, became the second team eliminated from The Amazing Race 12 during last night's broadcast of the CBS reality series.
On Monday, the married Episcopal ministers from Thousand Oaks, CA talked to Reality TV World about what impact their faith had on the way they ran the race; how Pat took a Dr. Doolittle-type approach to mobilizing their stubborn donkey; why being the second team ousted was just as bad as being the first team booted; and how the experience calmed their competitive natures.
Reality TV World: How were you cast for The Amazing Race 12? Was it your first time applying for the show?
Pat: It was our first time applying for the show, and it was at the encouragement of a friend. We went ahead and sent in a bio and some pictures and they contacted us and said they were interested. We proceeded like everybody else did.
Pat: Oh yeah, from the very beginning... from the very first season. Kate: Yeah, we never missed an episode and we loved the show. We always sat there on our couch -- like everybody does -- going, "Oh I could do that. I could do that."
Reality TV World: How did you prepare yourselves both physically and mentally for the competition?
Kate: Believe it or not, we did get a personal trainer. I know it doesn't look like it... Pat: Well, I'd like to point out we only had four weeks from the time they told us we were going to be on it. Kate: Yeah, we had about four weeks and we got a trainer and started working out. We just did the best we could in a month to get physically stronger but we had a long way to go. Pat: It's pretty obvious -- especially watching last night was worse than the first episode -- how bad an out-of-shape we were... Kate: (laughing) It was pretty bad...
Reality TV World: Did you do anything to prepare yourself mentally?
Kate: We looked on the Internet, and we studied and we got books and we tried to sort of learn a lot about a lot of countries. Turns out there's two-hundred-and-some-odd countries in the world, you know, what can you do? So trying get actual information and put that in our heads wasn't useful. We tried to... what did we do? Pat: I think we felt... Kate: The excitement and the adrenaline... Pat: Yeah.
Reality TV World: Had either of you previously done a lot of international traveling? Do you know any foreign languages?
Kate: We don't have a [second] language. Our Spanish is just barely enough to get by. We mostly traveled through Europe. I think that was about the extent of our traveling. I've been to Brazil. Pat's been to Romania... Pat: We had just taken a trip to Turkey. Kate: We just got back from Turkey. So we've had some -- mostly European -- travel, but never been to Southeast Asia.
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Reality TV World: What were some of your first impressions on your fellow racers? How did they react to meeting you?
Kate: I mean the first thing we noticed about the other racers is that they were mostly younger than us (laughing). Pat: Yeah (laughing)... Young and fit. Kate: We realized we were going to have physical competition. Pat: Yeah. Kate: And I'm sure they were looking at us like, "Who are those old ladies?"... Pat: "Who are those old ladies?" Kate: ... and, "Are they really going to make it?"
Reality TV World: Were there any teams you initially butted heads with? Any teams that you got along with really well?
Pat: Nobody that we really butted heads with from the start. We connected really quickly with ["Dating Couple" Lorena Segura and Jason Widener]... ["Dating Couple" Jennifer Parker and Nathan Hagstrom] at the airport. Kate: We all exchanged money together. Pat: Yeah, and ["Newly Dating Couple" Rachel Rosales and TK Erwin]. They kind of reached out to us in support kind of thing. Kate: A lot of people were really sweet to us. They called us, "The Ladies." I'm sort of thinking under their breath they meant, "The OLD Ladies." But they called us, "The Ladies," which I thought was a nice little sign of respect (laughing). Pat: It was really sweet when we hit that first hill in Ireland and the first group is coming down and we're heading up. TK yelled out, "Come on Ladies! You can do it! Don't give up! You got it!" Kate: It was really sweet. Pat: That was really sweet. Kate: They didn't think we were a threat so they could encourage us (laughing).
Reality TV World: Did you form any alliances with any of the other teams?
Pat: Well, short term. Kate: We did try a bit to form an alliance with ["Father/Daughter" Ronald and Christina Hsu]. On the leg you saw last night, we stopped a little bit in the morning on the way to the airport in Shannon and got some information off the Internet together. That was the short-lived alliance. It didn't work out for us for very long, and that was about it for alliances.
Reality TV World: Did you have any problems during the first leg of the race? Some of the other teams had a lot of problems trying to mobilize their donkey. What approach did you take in getting your donkey to move?
Pat: I take pride in being an animal person (Kate laughing). Kate will tell you, we have a backyard full of birds that come and feed, and I'm out there talking to them all the time, or the lizards or whatever. Kate: You sound like a doddering old lady when you say that (laughing)! Pat: (laughing) I just when at it with confidence and looked at [the donkeys] that were left out there and had a feeling about a certain donkey -- just watching him stand there before we went up to him -- and everything just worked. Kate: We were really sweet, quiet and nice to our donkey.
Reality TV World: Before the second leg began, you made a comment that was probably pretty refreshing to a lot of long-time reality television viewers. You said: "We are religious people but we have no allusions that God cares whether or not we win The Amazing Race." What prompted you to make that remark?
Pat: Yup... Kate: I think we've all seen sports figures and teams and stuff like that praying to God that they will win a game, and to me that's just ludicrous. Pat: I think some of it is we were probably answering a question somebody asked about our faith and how that played into the game or whatever... Kate: We've seen people on reality shows praying that God's going to help them do something, and I just think that belittles God in so many ways.
Reality TV World: It's funny you say that, because there have been a lot of former reality contestants who have made comments like that. What would you tell those contestants that look at their religion that way?
Kate: I think most of the time when we talk we like to give our experience and just say, "This is how it is for me." Rather than try and correct somebody. I would just say, "That's not how I experience God. It just doesn't make sense to me." For us, God is with us, God is present. We prayed our daily offers as much as we could on the race -- but we didn't do it on camera -- and it wasn't that we would win the race, it was that we would remember where our ground is. Where our feet belong.
Reality TV World: That leads well into my next question. During this past summer's Big Brother season, Christian houseguest Jameka Cameron...
Pat: Oh yeah...
Reality TV World: [Jameka] told the rest of the cast that everything was already pre-determined and God had already decided who was going to win the competition before the season even began. Is that something you would disagree with?
Kate: That's not our experience of God. Pat: That's not our experience. That's not our faith tradition, you know, pre-destined. And so we just... Kate: We just don't believe like that. We believe differently. Pat: Yeah, and we can only speak from how we believe and what we believe. Kate: But we watched [Jameka]... Pat: And it was kind of painful, because from our standpoint, it gives the view of Christianity that turns some people off. Kate: It appears to be superficial... Pat: Right... Kate: Our divinity is a much more vibrant, difficult, strong, robust religion that just sort of what [Jameka] was portraying. We're just trying to give a different picture -- but like I said -- it's our experience. We come from our experience, and we try not others.
Reality TV World: During the "Hunt It" Detour challenge, you witnessed firsthand some of the bickering between Ronald and Christina. Were you surprised to see father/daughter team argue so much?
Pat: We didn't anticipate it because there was no reason to... you know, that this is an automatic father/daughter thing. I think we were a little surprised and actually... Kate: It was painful... Pat: It was hard... Kate: It was hard to watch. Pat: We had a lot of concern for Christina, and what that was like for her.
Reality TV World: Do you think it will hurt them later in the race? Did they ever mention if being on the race was a way to strengthen their relationship?
Kate: We're all for people strengthening their relationships... Pat: But having not been there to see anything else that happened [on the race], we really don't know. We haven't seen it either.
Reality TV World: How close to Ronald and Christina were you during that Detour challenge that proceeded the bus ride to Ransdorp? Why did you miss the regular bus? Did you initially get lost trying to find the bus station?
Pat: We didn't finish anywhere near before them. Kate: We were last. Pat: We were [looking for our bikes] for two-and-a-half hours (laughing)!
Reality TV World: Wow. So you just had trouble finding your designated bikes?
Kate: It was ridiculous. It was just stupid (laughing).
Reality TV World: How long did you wait before that minibus picked you up?
Pat: Oh my God, another hour (laughing)? Kate: It was another hour... Pat: (laughing) It just became a comedy after that.
Reality TV World: So I take it hen you arrived at the Roadblock, Ronald and Christina had already left?
Pat: Oh [ya], they were long gone. Nobody was there.
Reality TV World: The broadcast really didn't show much of your Roadblock. About how long did it take you to complete it? How many jump attempts?
Kate: Ditch jumping... Whoever made-up ditch jumping!? What is that?
Reality TV World: Which one of you attempted it?
Kate: I did it.
Reality TV World: How many attempts did it take you to complete it?
Kate: My first attempt I didn't make it. My second attempt I REALLY didn't make it, I fell right in the middle and I dissolved into tears. I sort of thought I might quit, and Pat supported me 100%. Because she said to me, "Honey, I'll stand behind you no matter what," that made me give it another go. I did get across on the third time I think... Fourth time? Pat: Fourth or fifth... Kate: Fourth or fifth (laughing)!
Reality TV World: I think I already know the answer to this, but at that point, did you know you'd be the last team to reach the Pit Stop?
Pat: Yeah... Kate: We knew we were last, but the clue [prior to the second leg's Pit Stop] said, "You MAY be eliminated." I had this 1% hope that they would just love us so much that they would throw in a non-elimination leg (laughing).
Reality TV World: Do you know how far behind Christina and Ronald you were in arriving at the second Pit Stop?
Kate: No. Pat: I don't know (Kate laughing)... I don't think I want to know.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised to be the second team eliminated?
Pat: To be really honest, originally it was just like, "We cannot be the first ones off. I don't care what we have to do. I don't care if we have to kill ourselves. We cannot be the first ones off." So we accomplished that... Kate: But then being the second off was just as bad (laughing)! Pat: Then we realized being the second one off was just as bad. Kate: No good... Oh my God. If we could have gone to five or six, we would have felt better. Pat: If there's any perception that we would like to change of what's being [written] on the blog sites and everything, it's that we were just sort of... Kate: Along for the ride. Pat: ... yeah, along for the ride. Anybody that knows either one of us would tell you there's probably not two more competitive people in the world. Kate: We were actually trying really hard (laughing)! Pat: The fact that I let myself get into a [physical] shape where I really wasn't competitive was just sort of devastating for me.
Reality TV World: What was the toughest part about competing on The Amazing Race? Was it the physicality of it?
Pat: Oh sure. Kate: Yeah, the physicality. Pat: And we knew that would be a large part of [the race], but we also knew there's the parts that take brain smarts, the parts of being able to figure things out... Kate: That's why not finding that bicycle was devastating for me, because I was convinced in challenges like that we could do well. And we just didn't. It was awful. Pat: In the first leg -- being as long as it was and as physical as it was -- it took a lot out of us. You just don't recover...
Reality TV World: Do you think competing on The Amazing Race strengthened your relationship?
Pat: Oh definitely...
Reality TV World: Why do you think that was the case?
Pat: Again, it's really funny because we have our friends -- people that know us and everything -- are just amazed that there was work together going on (laughing). Kate: That we were so nice to each other... Pat: Instead of competing against each other. We just have this tendency to compete against each other in everything we do. Simple little things, like who's writing the better sermon... And so to be able to focus and really do what we said we wanted to do -- which was support each other, not do any finger-pointing, no blame, we were going to work together -- and we did it. So that was like, "Wow! We did it! Why don't we just keep doing that?" (laughing)
Reality TV World: If you had won, what were your plans for the $1 million?
Pat: The first thing I would do is... I work with the developmentally-disabled population. I have a couple of programs that I kind of ramrod with a lot of help from other people. One of the big issues is transportation, to be able to get athletes to competitions, to get them to training sites and things like that. Because people who can't drive, you can't rely on dial-a-ride to get you to places on time and everything. So first thing would have been at least one 12-passenger van, maybe two (laughing). Kate: Yeah, 12-passenger vans would have been our dream (laughing). Pat: That's what we would have done with the $1 million. The rest to help start a non-profit.
Reality TV World: Based on Ari Bonas' post-elimination CBS.com "Elimination Station" interview about not wanting to stay in the house with "old people," it sounds like he wasn't too happy to see you guys arrive at the Sequester house. Was that the case or did you get along?
Kate: Well we THOUGHT we got along well with them. Pat: We thought we got along really well with them. I'll tell you the truth, in some ways -- some of the stuff that we heard, and yesterday was the first day that we heard [Aril call us "old people"] -- it was a little hurtful. Not that they were not looking forward to having us [at Sequesterville], because that I could understand before we got there, but some of the stuff he said after the fact... Kate: Yeah, he called us "gross" [after seeing us swimming in the villa's pool] Pat: The fact of the matter is Ari, we love you. We really do. And we're not angry about that, I'm just surprised that he likes to put himself out there and, "I say what I mean," and here he wasn't saying to our face what he really meant; it was behind our backs. Kate: Yeah, it was surprising he did it behind our backs.
Reality TV World: There's been reports that Staella, TK, Rachel, and Nathan all went to the same high school in Fountain Valley, CA. Did you hear anything about that during the race?
Kate: Yeah, it was on the race.
Reality TV World: Okay, so you were aware about that during the race?
Pat: Yeah, somewhere along the line I think. Kate: What a surprise though, huh? What a weird coincidence?
Reality TV World: Yeah, that is a weird coincidence.
Kate: Yeah, it was surprising. We kind of were worried that they might have a little alliance because of that, but I don't think they did.
Reality TV World: Do you know why Ari and his partner Staella Gianakakos said they didn't want TK and Rachael to win?
Kate: I have no idea what [Ari's] deal was... I'm not sure who he would have said he wanted to win. Pat: There was something he was angry at Rachel I think about, but you know what, I don't really remember... Something happened. Kate: I think something about TK or Rachel, I'm not sure. Pat: The only thing I remember is Kate telling [Ari] to be nice... Kate: He made a dig on ["Dating Goths" Kynt Cothron and Vyxsin Fiala]... Pat: Oh that's right. Kate: ... We just weren't okay with him trashing Kynt like that.
Reality TV World: During that same "Elimination Station" video, the four of your talked about how The Amazing Race was going to be how Ari "came out" to his parents? Was that really the case? There didn't seem to be much mention about that in the premiere.
Pat: I don't want to say because I don't know. Kate: I don't know what he did with that but that was his plan. His plan was to be able to come-out because of the race. And we supported him in that.
Reality TV World: So what's next for you two? Back to your church?
Kate: Yeah, pretty much. We were like, "Are we the only ones on the race that really had jobs?" (laughing)... I've lost 40-pounds, working out on a regular basis, getting in shape, feeling better all the time... Pat: Yeah, our physical shape has really changed. I lost 30 pounds. That's the [biggest transformation] I think we did, is getting physically healthy. We're both sticking with our jobs... Kate: And the work I do, that pretty much fills our days.