Random Reality: Josh Clinton Interviews The Amazing Race 12's Shana Wall and Jennifer McCall

The fifth team to get eliminated from The Amazing Race 12 this week was best friends, Shana Wall and Jennifer McCall a.k.a. “the blondes”. They made it clear that they planned to use their sex appeal on this race, but I had the chance to talk to them both about that and many other subjects including how their fighting affecting them in the race, and of course, the decision to use the “U-Turn” on Jason and Lorena. They really had a lot to say as they attempted to set the record straight. Here is what they had to say…

Josh Clinton: Hey girls.

Shana Wall: Hello.

Jennifer McCall: Hi.

JC: How are you doing?

SW: We’re a little sad today, but otherwise good.

JC: Alright, cool. So I wanted to start first by asking how you became friends?

SW: Jen and I met through a mutual friend a few years ago. She is also married to one of my oldest friends that I have known since the first grade.

JC: Awesome. Were you both fans of The Amazing Race before you got on the show?

JM: Absolutely. I had seen almost every episode and The Amazing Race is by far my favorite reality show.

SW: I’m a huge fan of The Amazing Race and am thrilled to have been able to participate in the show. I’m a big fan.

JC: Cool. I’m interested to know what the longest you two have been together before you did the race? Did you do any traveling together before this?

SW: We did not do a lot of traveling together, we did a lot of traveling separately. So this was probably a lot more new to us than the rest of the teams.

JC: So have you spent a lot of time together elsewhere?

SW: We definitely spend a lot of time together, but we never traveled together before.

JC: Okay. Going into the race, were either of you worried that fighting during the race might cost you?

JM: Not at all. When Shana and I went into the race, we understood what each other wanted, we agreed on our strategy, we both help each other out in bad situations, we lift each other spirits, and we both depend on each other when we were at our lows. And that is what we did.

JC: Yeah. Did you plan to use your sex appeal as strategy in the game?

SW: When we said that we were going to “flirt our way through the competition” or said we cared about what we looked like or all of those things, that definitely was part of our strategy but not in the way people probably think. We were using our looks and the way people perceive us to have people think that we weren’t a threat. To have people have their guards down around us a little more, thinking that all we cared about were our looks. We played that up, put on our makeup, and talked about how that is all we cared about intentionally in front of people. We knew they weren’t going to take us seriously and knew they weren’t going to think that we posed a big threat. That absolutely worked in our favor, worked exactly how we thought it would for the first couple of episodes until people realized. We were masking our athleticism, the fact that we had traveled extensively, and that we are smart. People just underestimated us, and then they became very aware of those facts after the first couple of episodes when we came in sixth and then tied for second in the second episode. They realized that we were a force to be reckon with and we were contenders to deal with. At that point, our strategy changed a little bit because that was no longer effective.

JC: Right. At the beginning of this season, it looked like Ari and Staella were being set up to be the villains of this season. How did you think you were going to be portrayed on the show?

JM: Well nobody wants to like the blondes. I don’t think anyone wants to like the blondes in any season. I even think the beauty queens, up until the 7th leg, weren’t really liked. I think that we were targeted as the villains as well. We were projected as these good looking, LA girls, that lived the high life. That is not who we are really. That was all a story told by the show that worked for them, and that’s how the setting was set.

JC: So you don’t think you were portrayed accurately on the show then?

SW: No, we don’t.

JM: Well no…

SW: Not extremely. We weren’t slandered on the show or anything. We said the things we said, we did the things we did, but definitely the perception of us is not the reality of us.

JM: I mean, yeah, they would ask me if I thought I was the prettiest girl on The Amazing Race, and I said yeah, but I don’t think I am at all. I don’t tell people that I am this gorgeous girl. I’m not like that. I’m really a humble, honest person. But on this race we are supposed to be gorgeous and looking great. Yes, I try to look the best that I can, but that’s because I’m trying to better myself. Better who I am, what I’m all about, and how I feel about myself. But all of that helps with my confidence. But I understand. Looking at Shana and I, I would have thought the same perception as well. The story works with us, it really does.

SW: I think we both went into it thinking we wanted to look our best, we wanted to look our best all the time, but we wanted to look our best on the race, but our best came from having no makeup on and not caring. That all goes out the window once you start racing. The vanity just goes. We never put on our makeup other than some lip gloss. We just didn’t. We were racing, racing, racing. You’re not showering and you don’t smell good or look good. You just don’t care.

JM: You’re a mess. I mean my dad called me, because he said he never saw me look so bad.

SW: Right, it’s a race you can’t think about it.

JM: Yeah, I told my dad it’s race, you are not supposed to look good.

SW: Our minds are boggled how Dustin and Kandice were able to put on their makeup. We didn’t have a mirror, all of that just went out the window.

JM: Yeah, and any little bit of downtime we had went towards researching or looking or running or…

SW: …washing our clothes or whatever.

JM: We just didn’t have time for that.

JC: Yeah. Why do you think an all-female team has never won The Amazing Race then?

JM: I believe that’s the case because the strength and agility of a man and a woman team is hard to compete with. I think that me and Shana could have won this race. I think our biggest downfall was not what was perceived on the show, in that we were arguing all the time, but really it was because we just couldn’t get anywhere. Men generally have really good sense of direction, and I must say at the beginning of this show, Shana and I were kinda alienated from the other teams. But we put ourselves in that place. We didn’t want to align with anyone, and just kinda kept to ourselves. But men have a comradery and the men in the teams kinda bonded together. Jason bonded with Azaria, who bonded with TK, who bonded with Nathan. It’s kinda hard when you have teams bonding like that and can help each other get through until the pit stops. Then, you have us doing it all on our own. I’m not trying to say that this is in all cases, but women can’t really navigate as well.

SW: Generally speaking, men get around better and navigate better. So that is one of things. I think in terms of the physical aspects of it, Jen and I proved that we were as strong if not stronger than some of the teams with men on it.

JM: Yeah, Shana hoisted that furniture faster than most of the men. Watching the show back, she did it fast at the roadblock at the end.

SW: And I did it by myself. Everyone else switched. All of the guys didn’t do it on their own.

JM: We didn’t know we could switch, but also on the roadblock on the last leg, Shana did that in about 15 minutes. Nicolas was standing there for two hours and 15 minutes. I do think we could have won this, but the navigating…

SW: The navigating really got us.

JC: Right. Lets go back to the “U-Turn” decision. You both had different thoughts on using it on Jason and Lorena. Was there any discussion at all about using it, because it looked like Shana just decided for the team?

JM: Well when we got on the bus, Shana said that we were going to “U-Turn” Jason and Lorena, because they said that there was a “U-Turn” ahead. I had expressed at that time that I didn’t think we should use it on Jason and Lorena. So that started the discussion. Once we got there, and she thought she saw Jason and Lorena behind us, it made a little more sense that we needed to “U-Turn” them, if they were right behind us because they could have easily caught up. But I think Shana has some stuff to say about this.

SW: No, I think that is right. I mean we are in a game and the bottom line is we did it and we stand by it. I think it was the right decision, since we did make it through that episode. Everyone is going to disagree and have their own opinions when are dealing with two separate people, but we had disagreements about a lot of things during the whole show. But we also supported the decisions that we made and didn’t argue any more or less than anyone else. Everyone else was going through the same stuff. Someone had to make the decision, but we gave it 150% and we stand behind all of our decisions.

JM: Also, I could have told all the teams that “it wasn’t me, it was Shana. Shana wanted to do that.” But I didn’t do that. I specifically told Shana that once we decided to use the “U-Turn”, as we were running, I said “I will stick by you and I’m not going to throw you under the bus. I’m going to say that it was my decision as well.” And that is what I did. I didn’t go around saying that it wasn’t really my decision. I didn’t say that. We decided…

SW: You did. You did tell some teams that.

JM: No, I didn’t. After like five minutes of him asking me why I did that, I finally said that it wasn’t all my decision. But only after talking for like five minutes, I didn’t just go and say that to everyone. That wasn’t my intention at all. I just think that when we were in the van, we decided that you can’t get anywhere on this race if you are arguing all the time. We need to make a decision, and at the beginning of this race we decided that if we did scream, one of us would have to give in and we would just have to go for it. I mean, be it on a “Detour” or a “Roadblock” or whatever we decided to do it, we knew we both had to be in on it. And that is what we tried to do the whole race.

JC: Yeah. Would either of you say that you made a mistake on the show? And if you did, what was the biggest mistake you made on the race?

SW: We don’t think we made any big mistakes. I mean, in hindsight, there was this whole “Fast-Forward” that no one saw because no teams chose it. In hindsight, if we had chosen the “fast-forward”, we would have finished first. But the problem was we were the last team to get to the “fast-forward” and it was a hour or so away from the other “detour”. So we chose not to do it, because we figured if we were the last team there someone else probably had chosen it already. And if we chose it and got there and saw that we had to drive some place else, we definitely would have been off the show. After realizing no one chose it, of course, we wouldn’t have done that. We would have chose that and would have ended up in first place. But we didn’t know that, so we did make the right decisions based on what we knew. I think we made all of the decisions we could have made. I think the only thing I would say was the stilts and the counting, the last one, we would have excelled at the stilts and would have done that more quickly than the counting.

JM: I feel like if I could change anything in the race, I would change the comments that I had made on the train ride in Africa. I loved Africa, and I feel like I was culturally and spiritually inspired by Africa. And I think the things that we were saying, were really how we were feeling about ourselves. It nothing to do with the train ride or Africa or the people of Africa. It was taken completely out of context and based on those thoughts I would have rather not even joked around about anything. Shana and I were bantering between ourselves. It had nothing to do with the way they were editing it at all.

JC: Right. Did either of you learn something about your partner that you didn’t know before you did the race?

JM: Absolutely. I didn’t know that Shana was as determined as she was. I didn’t know she was as strong as she was. She inspired me the whole race to better myself and to push myself that much harder. The drive and determination that came from inside of her, I didn’t know where that came from. She had bronchitis the majority of the show, so when you have bronchitis you are tired and she wasn’t eating as much. I still don’t know where she got the fuel from.

SW: Thank you. That’s really nice. The same thing with Jen. She could wrap her brain around things like she drank that camel’s milk. She did that camel challenge and never lost her composure or lose her cool. She did it and drank the milk, and never once complained about it. That milk was brutal, but she just did it and kept walking. Jen said “don’t say the word camel to me!”

JM: We didn’t say the word ‘camel’ for a couple of weeks afterwards.

SW: But she did it and didn’t complain about it. That’s the kind of things that I was impressed by, because I literally don’t think I could wrap my brain around the fact that I had to drink that. So I am appreciative that she did it. She was really good with those kinds of things.

JC: Alright, very cool. Well that is all I have for you. Thanks for your time and good luck with everything.

SW: Thank you!

JM: Thank you so much!

The Amazing Race airs on CBS in the U.S. on Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

The Amazing Race airs on the CTV network in Canada on Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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