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The Amazing Race 15: Exclusive Interview with Maria Ho and Tiffany Michelle

Posted on 11/03/2009 by Gina in The Amazing Race and Cast Interviews

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Maria Ho and Tiffany Michelle from The Amazing Race 15


by Gina Scarpa

This week, on The Amazing Race, teams headed to Amsterdam, where a road block and detour became frustrating for many teams.  At the road block, one team member had to climb a belltower and count all the bells before moving on.  While most teams finished quickly, Ericka was stuck there and was reduced to tears before finally figuring it out.  At the detour, teams had to choose between learning a traditional dance or playing a traditional game.  The game, which was an offshoot of golf, was too difficult for Maria and Tiffany and they ended up having to quit the race.  Today, the poker players spoke to RealityWanted in an exclusive interview about their experiences on the show.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: What made you want to try out for The Amazing Race?
A. Maria: I can't remember.  Tiffany, do you remember?
A. Tiffany: I think I mentioned it but it was a pretty mutual thing.
A. Maria: We play poker professionally.  We already had this natural bond that we formed through that.  We thought, "What's our next adventure?"  We're very competitive and we wanted to take the skills we learned in poker and use them in a different arena. We applied like everyone else and it just so happened that they picked us.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: In the beginning, you hid the fact that you were poker players from the other teams.  Do you regret hiding that from the other teams?
A. Tiffany:I don't think we have any regrets about what we did.  Maria and I made a specific strategic plan.  We had seen past races where people have had animosity towards people who had money, like Rob and Amber Mariano in season 7.  We felt like it was important to be seen in the best light possible so that we could get allies.  Our careers are full of a lot of things besides poker.  I work with a charity that works with homeless youth in L.A.  We do a lot of charity work, volunteering, fundraising.  Nobody wants to have a target on their backs right away.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: You just found out on last night’s episode that Sam and Dan are gay.  Would you have preferred to have known that up front?
A. Tiffany: We actually knew from day one!  When we first saw them, we sized them up and said, "Well, they're obviously the token, hot gay team this season."  They told us personally back in Vietnam, so we had known for quite a while.  We naturally gravitated towards each other and had a little love fest but we weren’t trying to have their children!  We just platonically love them as brothers.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: Did teaming up with Sam and Dan benefit your team more or did it benefit you both equally?
A. Maria: I would say that it benefited both of us equally.  I think that it was based on genuine friendship.  They helped us out and we helped them out.  We never had to ask.  When Tiffany went up that belltower, he just gave her the number.  It just became a situation where we never even had to ask.  We just offered it when the situation called for it. 
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: Golf is hard enough but that golf game in Amsterdam looked close to impossible!  Was it the sport or the weather conditions that made it so miserable for you?
A. Tiffany: I think it was a combination of the two.  It wasn't regular golf.  Maria and I are pretty proficient at regular golf.  Obviously, we were working with these mini soccer balls.  By the time that we had gotten to the field, the winds had picked up to about 50mph directly in our faces.  Sam and Dan and Megan and Cheyne didn't have to deal with that.  Megan had said that she never could've done it without Cheyne and his strength.  I think it was combination of things.  It was very physical and for over 3 hours, we went back and forth to the detours in soaking wet clothes.  At one point, the EMTs had to assess Maria to make sure that we didn't have hypothermia.  
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: When Mika didn’t complete the water slide, she and Canaan still went to the pit stop.  What made you decide to quit instead of check in at the pit stop?
A. Tiffany: We didn't even know where the pit stop was so you have to complete the challenge to find out.  If you can’t complete the road black, it’s a 4 hour penalty.  If you can't complete the detour, it's a 24 hour penalty.  We weren't really quitting.  We just didn't even know.  We wanted to check in and have some finality. 
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: Do you think you would have fared better if you were able to ring the bell and go do the dance?
A. Maria: Oh yeah!  All the guys rang the bell and it took most of them more than one try.  If Tiffany and I had had that physical strength, the dance seemed like the faster of the two detours.  After the wasabi bombs, I could've eaten that herring no problem. 

Q. Gina, RealityWanted: What was the best part about the experience of being on The Amazing Race?
A. Maria: I think the best part was... very few times in life do you get to say to yourself: "I want a test to see what I'm made of and I'm going to do something to push me to my limits."  The race provided that for the both of us.  We've never been put in a situation like this and it was really nice to be able to see what we're made of and have faith in our capabilities.  Another big part would be the bond that Tiffany and I have now over this experience.  We only had each other to lean on and we were each other's support system.  At the end of the day, this relationship that you have with the other person is really paramount to doing well in the race.  We're closer than ever! 

The Amazing Race airs Sundays at 8pm ET on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)
Follow Gina at twitter.com/ginascarpa


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