'The Amazing Race' "Cousins" team member Jamal Zadran talks (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/11/2013
The Amazing Race "Cousins" team of Leo Temory and Jamal Zadran finished in fourth place during the first part of Sunday night's two-hour finale, missing out on the opportunity to compete in the final leg as one of the 23rd season's Final 3 teams.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Jamal discussed the pair's The Amazing Race adventure. (Leo was unfortunately unable to participate in the call due to work requirements).
Below is the first half of Jamal's interview. Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion, and go to our The Amazing Race show page for more interviews with the season's Final 4 teams.
Reality TV World: How far behind Nicole and Travis do you think you finally arrived at the Pit Stop when you got eliminated?
Jamal Zadran: We were about 10 minutes behind, and you know, Leo and I didn't give up. Because knowing the Race, anything could've happened. They could've gotten lost. So we still ran hard and were about 10 minutes behind.
Reality TV World: You guys got lucky with that non-elimination leg beforehand. How would you have felt if you got eliminated right then and there, and is it almost more heartbreaking to get eliminated just before the Final 3?
Jamal Zadran: I think if Leo and I would've gotten eliminated on that tenth leg, I think it would've been a little bit easier to swallow just because it was our fault, and double guessing looking for those shears took about six hours. And knowing that we had two legs in order to win the million, the fact that we're really close to getting into the Final 3, who knows what would've happened in the Final 3.
I think that's harder to take in because things can happen unexpectedly, and if we would've made it to the Final 3, I always think about that -- like, what if? What if we would've done something? I mean, we would've put a lot more pressure on the other teams, which might've thrown them off their game. So that's why they didn't want us in the Final 3, but it's much harder definitely to lose a leg before the Final 3.
Jamal Zadran: Yes, I got married. When I was doing the show, my wife preparing for the wedding, so I kind of felt bad for her. She did all this planning, and once I got back, I got married and it was a beautiful ceremony in Los Angeles at a banquet hall. And so it was a good time!
Reality TV World: Congratulations. So obviously there wasn't anything romantic going on between yourself and Ashley and Ally. Was your now-wife cool with the "Race Wives" jokes and such? Some viewers were a little surprised to hear you were engaged based upon what was shown this season of your relationship with the Ice Crew Girls.
Jamal Zadran: Yeah. No, I got the blessing from my actual wife prior to going on the Race. She said, "Go out there, have fun, and if you need to flirt, go ahead and flirt. I'm not going to take anything personally or I'm not going to be sensitive about it." The best thing about having a wife like that is she has total trust and 100% trust in me, and I do the same with her.
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So we know that at the end of the day, that's my true love. I love her and she loves me. So as far as what we did on the Race with Ally and Ashley, calling them our "Race Wives," it was more as being fun with them and them having some type of companion throughout the Race to help them and be close with.
It just made the Race that much more better, to have somebody that you can relate to that's close to your age and that's from the same area you're from.
Reality TV World: When I talked to Rowan Joseph and Shane Partlow earlier this season, they weren't thrilled with how you guys ran the Race. They said you cursed at them, cheated them out of money and lied a lot. They basically suggested you ran a pretty dirty race. So I just want to get your side of the story on that.
Jamal Zadran: Let me explain that! Because I did read that and I was very, very upset. Because Leo and I, we won't cuss at somebody unless we have to -- unless someone's [yelling at] us or hitting us.
So I know what happened. The first leg of the Race, when the Bingo players were playing, I saw them go to all 10 different teams and just sort of make this type of agreement that if you win, give us the Express Pass. If we win, we'll give it to you. And they sort of did that to every single team.
I'm just looking back and they told us that we're two males and we have a good chance, and they were basically begging everyone. The second leg, when Leo and I didn't win, they just completely stopped talking to us. They were kissing up to Tim and Marie, which is fine -- that might have been their strategy, to try to get that Express Pass, because it might've helped them a lot more.
But for Leo and I, that wasn't our style of game. So once we were on the ship to get a clue, we figured out the thing that the captain said. And then they asked us, "Hey Leo and Jamal, what's the clue?! What's the clue?! What is it?"
And I was like, "Yeah right! Now you're going to ask us for help after I see you begging everyone else for the Express Pass and now you act like you don't know them?" But I did not cuss at him as far as any kind of swearing or anything like that. That's absolutely not true.
Reality TV World: Besides Ally and Ashley, what other teams were you close to on the Race, and as far as the other teams went, did you feel they were all kind of picking on you guys? When I talked to the girls, they suggested the teams were picking on you. But when I talked to Jason and Amy, they said the only reason you guys got U-Turned twice was because most Racers hated the way you two kept behaving and it had nothing to do with gameplay.
Jamal Zadran: No, I mean, for Leo and I, Ally and Ashley, we got along with them. [Brandon Squyres] and [Adam Switzer], we got along with them. I mean, after we got U-Turned by [Tim Wiyninger] and [Daniel "Danny" Merkey] from Oklahoma, we were still okay with that. We were still close friends and we still talk to this day.
After I got U-Turned by them, I mean, you have a certain amount of money. I had no money to buy water yet we're on this long train ride. I ended up finding water, but I ended up giving it to Tim. This was right after getting U-Turned.
So that sort of showed him, "You know what? These guys, I don't know why we U-Turned them." But we're pretty much cool with everyone except with probably Amy and Jason and Travis and Nicole.
And we did get picked on just because we were, probably, the strongest team there and the biggest threat that they saw. So in order to get a team that's really strong out, they ganged up and they did whatever it took to try to get us out, which is [unfortunate] because you want to see a race with what you're capable of doing and not what four teams and four brains can do together to get two brains out.
So just to see that happen the way it went down, I mean, giving excuses like, "Oh, we U-Turned them because they lied." I mean, (laughs) if the last three episodes showed anything to America as far as who were the true liars, who were hypocritical, who had a certain set of code of ethics and yet never followed it and yet wanted everyone else to follow it. It just didn't make sense.
So for Leo and I, we were just being ourselves, competing at a high level. The other teams took our competitiveness as being sneaky. When we would get an earlier flight, they'd be like, "Oh my God, the Afghanimals are up to something."
Yeah, we're trying to win a million dollars! We're going to try to get an earlier flight than what five other teams are on. We're going to take that gamble. So that was our philosophy -- have fun, compete at a high level, and enjoy and respect every culture and country that you go to.
Above is the first half of Jamal's interview. Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion, and go to our The Amazing Race show page for more interviews with the season's Final 4 teams.