The sixth team to get eliminated from The Amazing Race 12 this week was a brother/sister team, Azaria Azene and Hendekea Azene. They dominated the race early, but were unfortunately eliminated too early due to a simple mistake that could happen to anyone. I had the chance to talk to them both about that mistake and many other subjects including what they thought of Nathan and Jennifer basically getting mad at them for not letting them win a leg of the race a few weeks back. Here is what they had to say…
Josh Clinton: Hey guys.
Hendekea Azene: Hi Josh.
Azaria Azene: Hello.
JC: How’s it going?
HA: It’s going good.
AA: It’s going okay.
JC: Good. Were either of you fans of The Amazing Race before you got on it?
HA: Yes, I was a big fan. I loved The Amazing Race.
AA: I watched The Amazing Race and thought it was a good show, but I don’t really watch that much TV to begin with. So fortunately Hendekea…
HA: Yeah, I basically roped him into doing The Amazing Race.
JC: Okay. Hendekea, did you watch The Amazing Race: All-Stars then?
HA: Yes, I did watch that season.
JC: Okay. Well it seemed like you and Azaria had a lot in common with Boston Rob and Amber during that season as they dominated early in the race, but then met their demise way too early, just like you and Azaria. Did you see any similarities with them?
HA: You know, I think that Rob and Amber are obviously fierce competitors and it’s just a honor to even be compared to them. There were some similarities, but I think the dynamic between me and Azaria was very different than the dynamic between Rob and Amber.
JC: Yeah. Hendekea, why did you want to do this race with Azaria?
HA: Since I love the show and wanted to be a part of it, the first person that I thought of to team up with was my brother because he has played soccer all of his life. He has been really competitive and is obviously athletic, so I felt like his competitiveness would kinda light my fire and get me going and push me when maybe I didn’t want to be pushed. In addition, because he is my brother, we could be more open with each other and not worry too much about “what does this mean about our relationship?” like a lot of boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife couples had to deal with.
JC: Right. Azaria, how did Hendekea finally convince you to do this race?
AA: Well if there was a reality TV show that I wouldn’t mind being on, this would be it. I couldn’t see myself doing Survivor or any of the other shows out there, mainly because this show is more focused on a team’s performance and their performance is going to dictate what the eventually outcome is going to be. Basically, a team starts and they go until they win or they lose. So it was pretty easy for me to be convinced and the opportunity to travel and all of that stuff.
JC: Yeah. So after the first few episodes it seemed like you were early favorites to win this race. Did you consider yourself favorites to win the race?
AA: I don’t think we ever looked at ourselves as favorites. I think that we realized early on that at any moment we could lose. I mean if you look at the first episode with the donkeys. Nathan and Jennifer almost lost, and Ari and Staella eventually lost because they had a bad donkey. So it’s being aggressive, but also knowing that you are always going to balance the fine line of moving on to the next stage and going home.
JC: Yeah, exactly. You are both obviously very smart. Did you think that your education would help you at all on the race?
HA: I don’t think that knowing how to solve a derivative is going to help you on The Amazing Race. Of course, there is book smarts and street smarts and it’s good to have a combination of both on the race. But I don’t know how much engineering really helped us on the race. I think it was more teamwork and being really methodical about doing research and asking people questions and getting directions from locals. I think that was more important.
AA: Yeah, the type of engineering I do involves facilities. So yeah, there wasn’t anything particular that I could say helped, but at the same time I had felt that I had common sensibilities that helped me on the race.
JC: Yeah. So far one of the most memorable moments on the race was when Nathan and Jennifer were upset with you finishing first and not letting them win that leg of the race. Did that seem as ridiculous to you as it seemed on TV since the object of the race is to win?
HA: (Laughs). Kinda. But we’re actually in the race, so I understand where her frustrations are coming from. Obviously, we were like “what are you talking about?” What if they would have said that “you have just won $100,000 for winning that leg of the race”? I would have been upset if I just gave them the win and they won that money. So obviously we were there to push ourselves and see how far we could go, and we weren’t going to let someone else win a leg when we could. But at the same time I knew that they had come so close so many times and it was just her own frustrations that kinda came out.
JC: Right. So was the only reason you finished last on this leg was because of the mix-up with getting business class tickets?
AA: I mean that was a four hour loss right there.
HA: Yeah, it was huge!
AA: There were a couple of other things that happened that might have contributed to 15 or 20 minutes here or there. Going back to all the other legs of the race, there are always 10 or 15 minute things that we could have done differently that could have advanced us further. But yeah, the flight destroyed us.
JC: Yeah. Hendekea, how upset did Azaria get at you in the airport?
HA: (Laughs). Well they didn’t show the first half of that. I was upset. Basically Azaria came up to me in line, we were behind TK and Rachel, and said “I have this information” and I was like “oh, okay”. Then it ends up getting out. So at that point I was upset at Azaria for dragging me all around the airport, so I was kinda like fussing at him and nailing him for his mistake. So what you saw on TV was him defending himself. So he was getting all defensive, because I was pissed at him for the decision he made. That was him being defensive. I was okay with it. I was like “whatever, this is Azaria. I’m used to it.”
JC: Yeah. You said there were some other little things that you could have done better to maybe save yourself a few minutes besides the ticket mix-up. What were those things?
HA: Well one thing was when we got to Croatia our taxi driver drove us to the wrong pier. He ended taking us somewhere. He didn’t even know where we were supposed to go when he said that he did know. So that cost us some time. Then things at the airport like us getting out of line, us trying to call Polish Airlines and it not working out. Little things like that.
JC: Right. The last 10 minutes of the show is supposed to be dramatic and they usually edit the show to make it look like the final two teams are closer than they appear. So how far behind were you actually to Nicolas and Donald?
AA: I think we were like 10 minutes behind them.
JC: So it was that close then?
HA: Yeah, it was close.
AA: Yeah. I’m a little surprised that they had difficulties. It just really burns to know that we were so close. We were there and one thing killed us. Like I looked at Don carrying the stones from the wall, and he’s an older guy and I don’t know if they knew what they were going to have to do, but he was going really slow. I was running the entire time. The rocks weren’t light, though. They were pretty heavy. To know that they had trouble finding a taxi. It was in an obvious location. We knew exactly where to go. I don’t know, it’s just a tough pill to swallow.
JC: Yeah, it seemed like it would be tough to take. Were either of you surprised that there hasn’t been a non-elimination leg of the race yet?
AA: Yeah. Part of our decision behind not getting on a non-business class flight was because we didn’t want to take the risk of getting like a 24 hour penalty and get further behind. Particularly, if there was going to be a non-elimination leg.
AA: So we took the later flight and thought maybe we would catch up, and if we didn’t catch up and finished in last place…
HA: Maybe it’s not the end.
AA: Yeah, maybe it’s not an elimination. We were being practical about it.
JC: Yeah, that’s a good way to look at things. Did either of you learn something about your partner on the race that you didn’t know before the race?
HA: I would have to say that I learned more about myself. Going into this race, I knew I wasn’t the fastest or the strongest and I expected this to be a physical challenge that maybe I could keep up with. I found that maybe I’m not as strong as the other competitors, but there are other things that I do have that compensate for that. So I feel a lot stronger about my own abilities now.
JC: Right. What about you Azaria? Did you learn anything about Hendekea from this race or maybe about yourself?
AA: I didn’t really learn much about myself.
AA: I knew me pretty well. I will give Hendekea credit. She came out and had a lot more fire and vigor than I thought she would have. I definitely had my doubts to start out with. Even before we left it was a tough month or so when we were both communicating back and forth, here in Los Angeles and me in New Orleans. But she came out and she did well for herself and I’m proud of her.
JC: Alright, very cool. That is all I have for you, so thanks for your time and good luck with everything.
HA: Okay, thank you.
– 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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Tags: Celebrities, The Amazing Race