Brendon and Rachel say other teams underestimated them on ‘The Amazing Race’
Brendon Villegas and Rachel Reilly may not have won “The Amazing Race,” but the engaged couple from “Big Brother” are just happy they made it to the Final 3 -- especially considering several of the other teams had it out for them.
“People definitely underestimated us as a team and I felt like people didn’t like us because we had just won ‘Big Brother,’” Rachel tells CTV.ca over the phone.
“They just didn’t act like they had any faith in us that we were going to do well and I think we proved we were good enough competitors to be in the Final 3.”
Brendon, a PhD student at UCLA, and Rachel, an event hostess, finished third, after runner-ups Art and J.J. and winners Dave and Rachel on Sunday night’s Season 20 finale.
The couple says things may have turned out differently in the final leg in Honolulu, Hawaii, if they hadn’t misread a clue.
“Our million dollar mistake was unfortunately taking the cab and not walking, not reading the clue correctly, and that’s what Phil (Keoghan) says a million times, ‘Read the clue, read the clue,’” says Rachel.
“I think that really took the wind out of our sails,” adds Brendon. “Rachel was having a hard time recovering from it, she just wanted to throw in the towel because we were pretty much done, but I just wanted to truck on and finish the ‘Race.’”
Brendon and Rachel met and fell in love on Season 12 of “Big Brother” during the summer of 2010. They both returned to the 13th edition of the series the following summer, where Rachel was ultimately crowned the winner and took home the $500,000 grand prize.
While scheming and backstabbing goes hand and hand with “evicting” your teammates on “Big Brother,” Rachel was surprised when the other teams targeted her and Brendon on “The Amazing Race.”
“We were just expecting something different (because) we thought people weren’t mean and they were all friends,” says Rachel.
“The challenges and everything were tough but I think the added factor with the teams having animosity towards us the entire way through just made it worse for us. They kept getting in Rachel’s head and she would let them bother her and for me, that’s hard because I can’t do anything about it,” says Brendon.
One team in particular that had some choice words for them was dating couple Vanessa and Ralph, who finished in fourth place behind Brendon and Rachel.
“A lot of the comments Vanessa made I thought were just so mean and they were so unnecessary because this isn’t a game about voting each other out and belittling each other, it’s a game about running the ‘Race’ with your partner,” says Rachel, who admits she was very happy when she and Brendon beat out Vanessa and Ralph to make it into the finale.
“Oh my God, it felt so good. That was one of the best parts,” says Rachel with a laugh.
Even though they were used to the cattiness after competing on “Big Brother,” Rachel says nothing could have prepared them for the other aspects of “The Amazing Race.”
“The ‘Race’ is more of an endurance competition. You’re constantly sprinting and it’s go, go, go. You are never in one place for too long so you’re never sleeping and you’re never eating . . . it’s just such a different experience.”
Rachel says she and Brendon were approached to do “The Amazing Race” on Sept. 15, 2011, the same night she won “Big Brother.” This didn’t leave them much time to prepare physically -- or mentally, which she admits played a factor in some of her more tearful moments.
“Thank God for waterproof mascara,” says Rachel with a laugh. “I don’t think I was emotionally prepared because I think I was still in ‘Big Brother’ mode . . . I think if I were ever to be in that situation again I don’t think I’d be as emotional and I think I’d enjoy it more.”
Brendon says unlike on “Big Brother” where players compete individually, on “The Amazing Race” every decision made and every moment spent is with your partner, which made for a few tense moments along the way.
“We both agree Italy was our hardest leg. We got into a big fight and then the salami challenge was horrible and that’s when we hit the wall. From that point forward I feel like we did a lot better together,” says Brendon.
But despite a few disagreements, Rachel says running the “Race” did strengthen her and Brendon’s relationship.
“One thing we always say is that above anything else, we always need to put each other first and this just proved even more we have each other’s back . . . just traveling around the world, these are memories we will cherish and share forever and all these opportunities we’ve had, we’ve done these things together.”
The couple now intends to take some much-needed down time. In addition to buying a home in L.A., Brendon and Rachel are focused on their upcoming nuptials, which they say they would like to hold in Canada.
“We love Canada!” says Rachel. “I can’t say where but I will say it is a fun place.”
And with two reality series already under their belts, does this mean a televised wedding could be in the works?
“We will never say never,” says Rachel with a laugh. “Anything to help with the cost -- weddings can be so expensive.”
About Sheri Block
Sheri Block has been covering entertainment for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to covering Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding in London, Sheri’s highlights have included going on tour with “Canadian Idol,” being a stand-in on “Canada’s Next Top Model” and meeting Colin Farrell at the Toronto International Film Festival.Follow her on Twitter!