Digital Spy spoke with Vanessa and Ralph about that all-important injury, their feud with Brendon and Rachel, their relationship status, and which unusual item Vanessa thinks Amazing Race teams should pack...
Congratulations on getting so far! Was it frustrating just missing out on the final leg?
Ralph: "That actually was my goal for us, was to make it to every leg. But due to the circumstances, we obviously got as close as we could. But yeah, it's frustrating - we wanted to be there racing in Hawaii."
Vanessa: "Yeah, I think when you're in a situation like that, if you don't wholeheartedly believe that you're going to make the final leg and you don't wholeheartedly believe that you're going to win this thing, then you shouldn't be there to begin with. And it was just one misstep - pardon the pun - that I think came between us and a million dollars."
But at least you did still get to go to Hawaii!
Vanessa: "Yeah, we did!"
Vanessa: "We saw sea turtles!"
It seemed pretty close between you and Brendon and Rachel at the end of the leg - do you know how far behind you were?
Ralph: "We've heard everything from 30 minutes to less, but we know that we were fairly close. I couldn't tell you exactly how far behind we were."
Vanessa: "It was disappointingly close!"
I guess that's almost worse.
Vanessa: "Um, you know, no I wouldn't say it's worse. I mean, a W in the column is a W and an L in the column is an L. Either way you slice it, if we were two seconds behind or 30 minutes behind, it's still behind."
And obviously you didn't get along with Brendon and Rachel - what was it about them that made you clash?
Vanessa: "We just had differences of opinions that, you know, things that we discussed here and there and everywhere. It just didn't happen - we just were not congruent personalities!"
Do you have any regrets about the arguments?
Vanessa: "Yeah - I mean, in hindsight I don't think I would have made the nose comment! It was mean. You know, when you see first-hand how mean you're capable of being, it makes you kind of wanna curtail that - not make people feel the way I make people feel."
Did anything surprise you, watching the show back?
Vanessa: "I don't know - nothing really surprised me."
Ralph: "Nothing really surprised me. I mean, I just wanted to hear, I was really interested in hearing the comments from the other guys when they were doing their interviews - seeing what they were saying about us. I did like all the nicknames though."
Vanessa: "I loved the nicknames, yeah!"
Vanessa, you pushed through the Japanese gameshow challenge even though your ankle looked so bad. What was going through your mind?
Vanessa: "Honestly, I've had broken ankles before, I have a screw in it, I've torn an Achilles tendon, I've broken other bones on the top of that foot - I had this false sense of security that because I have that screw in there, it wasn't going to break. And yeah, it hurts like hell, but a little bit of ligament damage never killed anybody! I just wanted to finish, I just wanted to finish. I didn't want to go out quitting after everything we'd done, after everything that Ralph had done, and to stand there and be in that position where you just completely let somebody down, I wasn't going to do it."
Ralph, you suggested that you should just take the penalty. Did you ever consider that, Vanessa?
Vanessa: "We considered it very briefly. We took a break, Ralph checked my ankle, and I went back to it. That's not how we want to go down - we don't want to go down quitting, come on!"
Ralph, you looked quite worried about Vanessa...
Ralph: "I mean, being a personal trainer and having been a paramedic for many years, I mean I knew what she was going through. I understood what she was going through. It was just one of those things - I didn't know how much it hurt. There's no way anyone in the world could have made that decision but her, and at that point in time, yes, the race was a concern, but so was her ankle. What do you do? She's the only one that could have finished it, and she did. Unfortunately we were delayed and maybe it cost us, maybe it didn't, who knows. We could play 'what-if's all day long. I was concerned, and for a lot of different reasons. I hate losing! But at the same time her ankle was obviously more important at the time."
Vanessa: "Yeah, I didn't think so!"
You did seem proud when Vanessa finished, Ralph.
Ralph: "I mean, she was a champ, she [toughed] it out. Until you're put in that position, you don't know how you're going to react and I don't know how many other people would have finished that and not given up."
What was your favourite moment from the Race?
Vanessa: "Africa. The safari in Africa was something that I've always, always, always wanted to do and if somebody stayed still long enough for me to tell them I would tell them. I love elephants - I have elephants all over my house and to see one in that situation just living its life, and we're just driving through the Ngorongoro Crater, I think I was about to cry. It was beautiful. It was beautiful and the people were amazing. The scenery was gorgeous. Everything about it made me want to move there for a year."
Ralph: "Along with Africa - that was obviously a wonderful place and everything that Vanessa said - but for me it was really important to be in Japan. I mean, I think everyone kind of got the sense with the show last night that when we got to Memorial Park, that was an incredible experience to just stand there and pause and take note of history like that that has taken place in the world. Japan was awesome as well."
Vanessa: "There's a series of tattoos on Ralph's arm - he has a geisha, he has a samurai warrior, he has a Torii gate. It's just kind of funny - 'Can we use the Torii gate on his arm and grab the clue from there?' So you can tell Japan was really something that hit him hard. It was cool."
Apart from your ankle problems, Vanessa, what was the hardest part of the Race?
Vanessa: "You know, I could have been more physically prepared. Running isn't really my strong suit and you're going with somebody, you're going with Ralph, who's just a physical anomaly, and it's just frustrating to be so out of shape! Again, something else I remedied! I've lost like 20lbs since the Race and I'm in much better shape now."
You did have that fight in Bavaria, going up that hill...
Ralph: "Yeah, about that..."
Vanessa: "You know what, and they showed it on cbs.com, they didn't air it on the show - but I was mad for a reason! A reason. The reason is he was lost and he wouldn't get directions in Italy. And then we missed the train we should've gotten and we were on a train with everyone else. And yeah, I was frustrated! I made him sleep on the floor!"
How has your relationship changed since being on the Race?
Vanessa: "We're actually not together right now - we broke up."
Ralph: "We haven't been together for a while now."
Vanessa: "Since about a couple seconds after the plane landed!"
I'm sorry to hear that! Will you be keeping in touch with any of the other racers?
Ralph: "Actually, I'm pretty good friends with the twins and I just got back from seeing one of them, and Elliot's band is doing well. But yeah, there's a few of us cast members that are really cool that I connected with - we did when we were on the Race, but I don't know if Vanessa is going to stay in touch or what her plan is."
Vanessa: "I suck at keeping in touch with people regularly - there are people from high school and college and life that I suck at keeping in touch with, but you know if I'm ever in Vegas, you better believe I'm going to hit up Danny! If I'm ever in New York, yep, I'm going to hit up Joey! If I'm ever in Arizona or I guess Seattle I'll hit the boys, the twins. But you know, if I'm in LA, I don't think I'm going to be making that phone call to Rachel!"
What one piece of advice would you give people going on The Amazing Race?
Vanessa: "Work out, for Pete's sake!"
Ralph: "I wasn't going to say anything!"
Vanessa: "Working out, to be physically fit and physically ready for it, is probably the best advice I can give you. Even though I think the federal agents were probably the most fit people - well, of course Danny and Joey - but they were very, very fit people and we still kind of got past them."
Ralph: "As far as advice is concerned, what was really fun about it is you really can't prepare for it. I mean, you think about, 'What should I pack? What shouldn't I pack? What do I need to do?' and they throw stuff at you that there's no way in the world you would have ever thought of. You have to just be prepared, you have to be very easy going in many aspects, and you just have to be ready to lay it all out there."
Vanessa: "I say bring a wig - pack a wig! I'd be ready to shave my head. Bring a wig, you don't know what's going to happen!"
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