Murtz On The Scene: Exclusive Interview With The Amazing Race All-Stars‘ Brendon Villegas & Rachel Reilly


In the last 14 years, I have conducted many interviews with reality personalities from practically every show. I can tell you with certainty, that this interview with Brendon Villegas and Rachel Reilly (or “Brenchel” as they have been affectionately dubbed by their fans) is the most explosive and the most shocking. I caught up with the married couple a week after the finale of The Amazing Race All-Stars to discuss their third place finish on the show, their issues with country singers Jennifer Wayne and Caroline Cutbirth and why winners David and Connor O’Leary had such a problem with Brenchel U-Turning them. This is one you do not want to miss.

Murtz Jaffer: Brendon, when you saw that you were up against Dave and Connor and Jen and Caroline, did you think that you had it in the bag?

Brendon Villegas: I think with Amazing Race you never think that you have anything in the bag because there is a lot of luck involved. Even as skilled and navigation-savvy as people may be, I don’t think you ever have it in the bag. I think we both felt like we definitely had an advantage because I definitely think Rachel and I were more athletic than either the two teams we faced in the finale. And knowing that it was in Vegas when we found about the clue, we believed that we definitely had a very, very strong chance of winning.

MJ: Rachel, this is the second time you and Brendon have made it all the way to the final leg but ended up finishing in third. Do you think it is just bad luck?

Rachel Reilly: Yes, it’s the worst because we make it to the final leg (this is the second time for us) and we are the only team that has ever made it to the final leg twice and then when push comes to shove in the final leg, you have to race just like any other leg. Everyone starts off at the same starting point and we all finish at the same finish line. That’s the thing with the Amazing Race. It doesn’t matter how hard you have worked the entire season to get there. You will start the final leg at the same point.

BV: I think we took third two different ways. The first time it was our mistake and this time it was a mistake that was out of our hands and that is the frustrating part, when it is outside your control. With Big Brother, Survivor, stuff like that, you lose because it is you most of the time. With something like Amazing Race, when it’s a loss at the hands of somebody else, that’s what is hard to accept.

MJ: Brendon, is it better to lose one way than the other? Is it better to lose when it is inside or outside of your control?

RR: In control.

BV: In control, because as hard as it was the last time that we messed up… I felt like it was easier to let it go and accept it at some point. It’s hard because you just keep wishing and thinking you could have done this, you could have done that. We think about that. I have the same mentality afterwards here because you think about, ‘man we should have just jumped a cab’ but we tried. We tried everything and it was very, very hard. I think at the end of the day you think about all these things you could have done differently but that may not have even mattered in the grand scheme of things. Because, at the end of the day, we were still at the hands of the taxi driver and that is what really killed us.

MJ: Was the competition tougher this season or the first time you raced?

RR: The first time we raced, 100%. The competition, the first time we raced was so much harder. They were so much more aggressive. The teams were there to win a million dollars and they were there to play the Amazing Race. There wasn’t, you didn’t see these alliances with people. You saw people playing for themselves. It was so frustrating as a fan of the show and a viewer to watch people play in all these alliances because, it’s like you came here racing for a million dollars and you are in an alliance the final leg, like what is wrong with you?

MJ: Rachel… this season your edit really seemed to change. At first it seemed like the other teams were just ganging up on you because you U-Turned Dave and Connor, but then in the final episode, it made it seem like you were the villains as you threw dirt into Dave and Connor’s hole and the country singers accused you of pushing them in the airport on the way to Vegas. Do you think you guys were the heroes or the villains this season?

RR: Well, I don’t even know but let’s first clear up this whole dirt incident. We did not throw dirt in their hole, we literally were digging and we were minding our own business. We did not maliciously scoop a chunk of dirt and throw it in their hole. If we wanted to do that we would have done that. So why the hell would we waste our time throwing dirt in Dave and Connor’s hole when we are racing for a million dollars? Like that was not our intention and I can’t believe that CBS and The Amazing Race would ever edit it like that because that’s absolutely absurd.

We were not there to throw dirt in someone’s hole; we were there to race for a million dollars. If I wanted to throw dirt in his hole I would have literally grabbed a shovel myself and started scooping dirt into his hole while he was shoveling. If I am going to be a villain, I’m going to be a villain. I am not going to be a beat-around-the-busher. If I am going to do something to maliciously mess someone up then I am going to maliciously mess them up. It was not on camera. It was Jen saying I pushed her and she is a trifling, little manipulative girl. What if I go around defaming her character…

BV: Rachel, can I talk? You can tell that Rachel is still a little upset about this. So Murtz, honestly, we were digging frantically. Our car left in seconds from the airport and then we showed up to the dig in third. We already knew that we were at a disadvantage. We were trying and I was frantically digging. I don’t think any of the other teams have ever dug a hole in their lives. My father is a bricklayer, so I have dug plenty of trenches… plenty of ditches… I know how to dig and I dig fast. I was digging a lot faster than they were. You guys saw this in the season… it became like a junior high school or middle school mentality where all they wanted to do the entire race is try and make us look bad.

So with that what better way to do it than to say that we are doing things that we are not doing? Just to try and make us look petty and make us look stupid by them saying that we are throwing dirt in their hole and that Rachel is pushing the girls. The girls at the airport tried to cut in front of us in line and we were like ‘no.’

RR: And they got pissed because we wouldn’t let them cut in front of us. They got pissed when we wouldn’t give them directions. Caroline up in the thing in Switzerland asked Brendon for help and he wouldn’t help her, so she is like ‘fine, I didn’t want to ever be friends with them anyway. They are not part of the Accidental Alliance.’ And they called us aliens, why because Brendon is a Mexican? So they are racist. And I don’t like how nobody addressed that fact that Caroline and Jen are racists.

BV: Rach, Rach… calm down!

RR: They are obviously racists for calling us Mexicans. Well I am sorry they are racists. They are homophobic because they made comments about gay people on the Race. I think I should start tweeting that up. I have a 190,000 twitter followers, would they like that?

MJ: I think this is spiraling out of control!

BV: Yeah, from now on I will address the stuff about Dave and Connor.

RR: Let’s address the real issues. Let’s address the racism and the homophobia. Let’s address the fact that Caroline and Jennifer are little gigolettes and they were sticking their boobs in old men’s faces at the airport, sixty-year old men to give them money. Do you know what they were doing while Brendon and I… let’s start about this… While Brendon and I were at the airport doing research, Caroline and Jen were getting drunk in another room with sixty-year old men who took their bags to them at the end of the leg in Las Vegas. So what they are prostitutes too? That ís 100% the truth.

BV: Okay, she ís upset so I’ll tell you how it really is.

RR: That is what happened! That is exactly what happened!

MJ: Okay, Brendon just bottom line it for me.

BV: Yeah, so essentially with the country singers and Dave and Connor, the whole time they were trying to make us look bad because obviously they got mad. They got pissed that we U-Turned Dave and Connor. They wouldn’t accept our apologies, were rude to us, they went out of their way to like make us feel like outsiders. In the challenge when we were up in Switzerland and I was doing the milk challenge, they were all hanging out and Rachel had left her jacket in the car. She asked the other guys, Dave, Jamal, Jen and Jet if they could stand like ten feet back from where they were in like the doorway so she would be a little warmer because apparently they all stayed together and everybody went out of their way to make sure they didn’t. They were like ‘no, sorry.’

And it’s just like stupid stuff like that and that’s what it was the entire race. So when you see in the finale that they are saying that we are pushing them… that’s not on film. We are throwing dirt in their hole… but that’s not on film either. You get to wonder like really what it is about. It’s about these self-entitled rich white people who think that we are different from them.

RR: Because we are of another race.

BV: Rachel let me talk, I am talking! You hear them say that they are not our kind of people. At the end of the day really what does that mean? It means that I didn’t grow up in Orange County, I didn’t grow up in Salt Lake City with all the white people, I am Mexican…

RR: And your grandfather isn’t John Wayne…

BV: Yeah we come from different set of values. The whole U-Turn thing. You see Leo and Jamal handle it like champs, we handled it like champs our last race, but all of a sudden you had Dave and Connor racing the entire race…

MJ: Actually Brendon that was my next question. The Accidental Alliance couldn’t believe that you U-Turned Dave and Connor, can you explain the methodology behind the move?

BV: Absolutely because when we got to the U-Turn board, Dave and Connor were right behind us. When we last saw them, they were getting ready to get on the donkeys (which we knew only took us like ten minutes at most to complete even with us falling off). So basically we only have like a ten-minute lead on them and we saw them all season come to a task and get out real quickly. We knew that if we didn’t stop them, there was a good chance that they might pass us on the next roadblock. The Cowboys were nowhere in sight, so at that point, if we had used the U-Turn on the Cowboys we would essentially have been helping everybody behind us. We would have burned our only U-Turn and we would have had no advantage.

People also forget this. In our very first season, Season 20, we only had one U-Turn. If we didn’t use that U-Turn, then we would maybe not have gotten another chance. People were acting like we knew there was a second U-Turn coming up…

RR: We didn’t know and on top of it, my point to Dave and Connor (which they never showed on the episode either because apparently Brendon and I are villains which we are not) was that in Season 19 when Ernie and Cindy didn’t use the U-Turn, the snowboarders ended up winning that leg and Ernie and Cindy were ahead of everyone that entire leg. And I said that seven times on the show and I said it in seven different interviews. So let’s talk about editing with Caroline and Jen saying that I pushed them, I never pushed them.

BV: I know. We got that babe. We got that.

RR: I am just so mad! Why didn’t they put on the episode that Caroline and Jen were drunk with sixty-year old men? The reason she thinks I pushed her? She was probably drunk. She was probably falling over her own feet drunk because she was drinking the whole night. That’s probably exactly what happened and that is a 100 percent not a lie.

They were literally drunk at the airport. Drunk, like not just tipsy, not like they had a glass of wine… they were drunk at the airport. They got on the airplane and they are like, ‘hey we are so drunk right now.’ And me and Brendon were just like well good, I hope they stay drunk.

BV: That is true.

MJ: Wow!

BV: What Rachel is saying about the girls is that the entire Race (and this was something that we felt like really takes away from the Race) is that you had all of these girls, these two girls at every single place we went to getting money from old men and I mean for me that just takes away from the ethics and the Race mentality. It’s supposed to be a race. I know they put rules in place to try to not give any team an advantage but in this situation they do because as far as those girls go, they pull their shirts down, they walk up, they flirt with old men, the old men give them money…

RR: They go and drink for four hours in a private lounge with the old men. I’m not even kidding you. They were drunk and like it was not like they were like tipsy. They were drunk.

BV: Rachel let me explain this. So Murtz, before we left for Vegas we got into the Sky Lounge whatever in England. So we went in there and did all our homework. It turns out that the girls got into that lounge too, so we spent like four or five hours in there. Plus we knew so much about Vegas anyway. But anyway aside from our personal knowledge, we had done our preparation. They had been in the other lounge but apparently rather than doing research they were just drinking the whole time.

RR: With sixty-year-old men.

BV: Yeah.

MJ: I don’t even know how to follow that up.

BV: Well to see them do as well as they did in the race in the All-Star season was very disappointing, because they shouldn’t ever have been there. There is no way. This was an All-Star season.

RR: They shouldn’t have been in an All-Star season. They got two non-elimination legs and an express pass.

BV: So three non-eliminations.

MJ: Rachel, what did it ultimately come down to on the final leg? Was it just the bad cab driver that you had?

RR: Well, it was 100 percent the bad cab driver. If that guy would have switched cabs with us, we would have gotten to the airport first. Because Caroline and Jen got to the airport first, they got to the Mirage first. If we would have gotten to the airport first, then we would have gotten to the Mirage first. We would have finished our lettering first and we wouldn’t have had to look for a cab to get to the Henderson Airport. I really think if that guy would have switched cabs with us, we would have won The Amazing Race this season.

BV: The taxi was the death of us. Even before that when we ran out of the airport and jumped in the cars and took off… we left in second but then showed up to the dig in third. So we were already put at the back of the pack right off the bat.

We dig, we finish ahead of the girls, we leave in second and then we magically show up to David Copperfield in third again. That driver (who was not a cab driver), we didn’t pay him, as far as we understood she couldn’t speed, she couldn’t go any faster than the other cars. She put us in third place. So when we got to David Copperfield we are in third. We even opened the box, nobody else did that, so we had an advantage there but it really didn’t matter because finishing slightly ahead didn’t matter because when we came out and ran to get in this taxi. It was extremely slow and there were no other taxis around.

It was almost unbelievable, so she really was the death of us because she acted like she had never driven a car before. She stopped on the freeway… almost drove us into a median on the freeway… she was driving so slow it was dangerous. And when people think that we were yelling at her and that is why she was driving slow, from the get go we were encouraging her like ‘come on we are in a race’ and we were nice, we were gracious. It was the second leg of her driving where it was just getting worse and worse.

RR: She went 30 miles on the freeway, on a 70 mile hour freeway, she went 30 miles.

BV: We really wanted to dump her because we knew that if we didn’t get another cab that that was probably going to be it. We looked, there was no cab and it was so far off the strip. We were driving over to the Mirage and there were no cabs, there were no cabs anywhere. It’s Vegas. Cabs don’t hang out off the strip. We were driving back over, she even dropped us off at the side of the hotel. Not even in the right spot. So we had to run. That’s how we missed the clue box because we came running through the employee entrance and it turns out that the box was right on the other side of the wall of the employee entrance and that’s why we couldn’t see it.

RR: And we were not villains. I just want to make that point known. We were not villains!

BV: Honestly? At the end of the day, we raced our hearts out. I think we raced fairly. We didn’t do anything unethical. We didn’t do anything illegal. We followed the rules, but I felt like you have people in life that try to spend all their time telling you what great people they are and how they are so good and how this and how that. And The Amazing Race is just like that. It’s a reflection of life. Dave and Connor and the country singers… they try to act like they are the sweetest people in the world but as soon as they don’t get their way, as soon as something goes against them you see their true colors come out. And that is what happened this season when Dave flipped out and was saying horrible stuff about Rachel, horrible stuff about us and the country singers were…

RR: He said that I was scary looking and he is sixty-years-old. That’s not fair.

BV: And he has never once apologized. He has never once reached out. Even on twitter they are retweeting like mean stuff about us.

RR: Even Connor. The night that they won, Connor rubbed it in our faces that they won just because they were still mad about the U-Turn. The night that they won, they just won a million dollars and we just lost and he rubbed it in our faces that they won, and Brendon and I were like, are you kidding me?

MJ: Right, but doesn’t that in a way, Rachel, doesn’t that justify the fact that you U-Turned them? You ended up using your U-Turn on the team that ended up winning. So I don’t really understand when people say, ‘why did they use it on them?’ Obviously you used it on the strongest team and they were the strongest team.

RR: Exactly, it justifies it but I am just saying that they are so entitled that he just won a million dollars and we just lost. They talk about us not being good sports. They just literally, the night that they won a million dollars, rubbed it in our faces. He said to me ‘I don’t care I just won a million dollars, Rachel, because I U-Turned him.

BV: The salt in the wound was hearing from all other racers and the ones that we were friends with and we get along with is that when both of those teams finished on the mat they were talking crap about us. And it’s like you just won a million dollars yet you are still talking bad about us. So you are not a poor loser, you are a poor winner, which is even worse than a poor loser.

MJ: What do you think the biggest misperception people have about The Amazing Race is and the biggest misconception people have about this season as well?

RR: I just think that Caroline and Jen and Dave and Connor are bullies. They are bullies. That is the biggest misperception. We are not villains, we are not villains, we were playing strategically. When I cried in England it was because I was so broken down that we were going to get eliminated. When I cried at the final leg of The Amazing Race, (I didn’t even cry first of all let’s just put that out there), I teared up because we just lost, I knew we lost, who wouldn’t tear up when you put your entire souls into something?

Brendon and I are like students of the game. We studied the game. We watched hours and hours. We ran four miles every single morning. We would go to an hour of yoga and we would weight train. We prepared for this Race. We studied this Race. We were students of the game. I dedicated my entire life to it. I quit my job so that I would do well and perform on The Amazing Race. We were not villains, we went into this very strategically and we went into this season with the goal to win, knowing that we might not win and that was okay but we were going to give it everything that we could give it. We were going to put our whole entire souls into it. And that’s what we did in every single game that we played. We put our entire souls and our entire everything that we have into this game. And that is why you get upset at the end if you just know that there is nothing you can do. That’s why we got upset and I think that that’s the common misconception. Brendon and I trained for this game, we worked really hard to play this game and to do well at this game. Between studying and training and everything, it takes up your entire life when you are going on these shows. Whereas like Caroline and Jen just show up and Dave and Connor, who knows what they even did but the point is that we did U-Turn them and they hated us so much because of it They don’t want to hang out with us and they think we are such bad people… the only thing that we are doing is trying to be strategic and play a game. We never once had a personal attack on any of them. We never once did anything personal to them or any of the teams. I helped Margie and Luke.

BV: If you want to get a good understanding of the race in general, you have to really talk to all of the racers. There are a lot of racers in general that are just going to say ‘oh I like everybody I don’t not like anyone…’

RR: There is not one team, except for Dave and Connor that like Caroline and Jen. Every single team this season hates them.

RR: Rach, can I talk please?

RR: Sorry go ahead.

BV: Jen and Caroline made no effort anytime during the race; you can ask all the females in the. Race, to talk to the other girls.

RR: Caroline and Jenn don’t like girls…

BV: They just went out of their way to try to stroke the egos of the guys and get as much help as they could as possible. And like I said with Dave and Connor… Dave every two seconds it’s about his age, about his Achilles tendon and everybody heard it a lot on the show, we heard it ten times as much on the Race.

I get it and we appreciate it. Yeah I think you should be given consideration. Yeah I think it’s amazing that you have overcome cancer and I get it. But you are coming on a Race where you want to be treated like everybody else. Like why do you get upset when you are treated like everybody else? I don’t quite understand it.

MJ: And real quick Brendon what do you think is the biggest misconception that people have about this season?

RR: We are not villains. Brendon and I are not villains.

BV: Rachel! I think you said that 300 times! Just stop!

RR: Well that’s the big question!

BV: The biggest misconception about this season is that, I guess what you see is not always what you get. People see the show and they think that is the way it happened, this is how it happened, this is blah, blah blah. There is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes that people don’t see and people don’t know. A lot of people’s misconceptions is based on editing. That’s funny because we had a lot of support and a lot of people hated Dave and Connor because of Dave’s behavior and constant behaviors for like three episodes where he continuously talked nonstop smack about us. Then they win and they try to make it look like we are throwing dirt and we are pushing and we are being villains and then all of a sudden everybody is fine with Dave and Connor winning.

It’s viewers realizing that sometimes they have spun the editing in a way to make you feel a particular way about a person and sometimes that is correct but a lot of times it’s not. This season, like Rachel and I kept thinking that we were getting a good edit but we realized we weren’t getting a good edit we just didn’t give them any bad material to work on.

We weren’t fighting, we weren’t arguing, we weren’t being mean to people. So it wasn’t like we got a good edit. We just didn’t have any bad material for them to put at the forefront of the episodes. And that’s why I say with Dave and Connor… of course they wanted to show them behaving that way because they expressed to everybody that they such a sweet down to earth group of people but they are not.

The majority of the time, they are the greatest people on earth, but as soon as things change and it don’t go their way and they don’t get what they want, they turn into these spoiled brats and then they start talking smack about you like middle-schoolers. When we were in our last season, we had Ralph and Vanessa and the border patrol guys and they kept talking a lot of smack, but from them we expected it. That’s how Vanessa came off. That’s how the border patrol guys came off. With the country singers and Dave and Connor, they try to come off like they are not those types of people. So when push comes to shove, that’s how they act. Like if you are going to be that way then don’t try to act like you are an all around good person.

MJ: Rachel, what is your relationship like with the other teams now and specifically Jen and Caroline?

RR: I would never do The Amazing Race again.

BV: That wasn’t even the question Rachel.

RR: And if I saw them on the street I would walk the other way.

MJ: Let me ask that again. Rachel what is your relationship like with the other teams now and specifically Jen and Caroline?

RR: If I saw them on the street I would walk the other way (and they would probably be drunk on the arm of some eighty-year-old man).

BV: That may be true, Murtz. Honestly we are friends with everybody. I don’t think there is a team that we don’t like. Of course Dave and Connor and Jen and Caroline… in the beginning of the season they were trying to like act like they liked us because they realized we have a huge fan following. So you’d see them on Twitter saying ‘oh Rachel is a strong girl.’ And then Dave is starting to, not even apologize but just like, oh they are strong team and stuff like that on twitter but never apologized. They never apologized once for anything they said or related behavior or anything. If they have ever apologized, it wasn’t to us.

And I guess to me that was the most surprising. I thought a guy who explained to us that he is sixty-years-old, a hundred teams would at least act like a sixty-year-old at some point. And I guess that was just disappointing. But we are great friends with pretty much everybody. Meghan and Joey, John and Jessica, these are people that we have seen since the Race, outside the Race and hung out. Flight Time, we have seen. Big Easy. The Afghanimals. And the Afghanimals are perfect examples. They are a team that was mixed up in that Accidental Alliance but did not act like Jen and Caroline. Because Jamal and Leo, if you go back and watch it, you’ll see that they are in the mix but they are not joining in and going crazy and like slamming us because that’s not who they are. You know what I mean?

MJ: Who are you more likely to have over for Thanksgiving dinner… Jen and Caroline or Art & JJ?

RR: Art and JJ, and actually Art and JJ and Brendon and I are actually friends now, go figure.

MJ: And Brendon, were surprised about how few physical tasks there were this season? And do you think this was so that teams who weren’t as physical as you would have a fair shot?

RR: In the final leg?

MJ: I think in general. I don’t think it was a very physical season.

BV: No it wasn’t and that is where we kind of disappointed by a lot of the tasks because we were, I am not going to lie, don’t get me wrong, sewing a T shirt was one of the hardest tasks that they have had to do on The Amazing Race but it wasn’t what we expected from an All-Star season. We expected them to pull out all the stops. Make us sky dive through a water fall or just unbelievable things. Things that were out of this world and crazy. I mean we could sew a shirt here in LA if we wanted to.

MJ: And my last question now. Rachel, it’s for you. At the end of the day, what do you think the best part about doing the show was?

RR: I’ll always say it’s a cool show. Brendon and I won some money. I have travelled around the world twice now with my best friend. Brendon and I have so many memories and so many things that we could never do on our own. Some people would pay to go on these trips but at the end of the day like it is just an amazing experience.

And I think that that is the coolest part about being on The Amazing Race, that you get to go and sample so many different cultures and there are so many different experiences that you get to do. And I think that that’s something that everyone can take out of The Amazing Race. Not only did Brendon and I not ever get eliminated from The Amazing Race but we have gotten to do every single leg of The Amazing Race twice. We’ve done twenty-six legs and it’s just, it’s so crazy to us to think that we’ve actually gotten to do every single challenge that we have ever had on The Amazing Race. So it is a really cool experience. We won a trip to Australia, we won some money and when it comes down to it, that’s how you go on. You go on because you want to win but then at the end of the day it’s also about the experiences and the journey and the adventure to get there.

MJ: Rachel final thing that you want to say to Dave and Connor and Caroline and Jen?

RR: I’d just say good job. Dave and Connor did run a good race and personal feelings aside, they raced very well and there is nothing that I would want to say to them except they did a really good job and that is unfortunate the way that everything turned out and we are not villains. So stop saying we are villains and stop acting like we threw dirt in your hole and stop acting like we pushed you because we didn’t. We absolutely never did that; nobody can prove it and we absolutely never did it.

And I would not ever do that to someone on the Race because I am athletic and I believe in sportsmanship. I have been on these shows, this is my fourth reality competition show and I have never acted in a way like that, so why would I do it now? I literally have never played dirty like that. It’s my fourth competition reality show, why would I do that now? Why would I push you? I have never pushed anyone on any show.

BV: Alright babe, this is really long-winded. Just stop.

RR: Okay.

Coordinating Publicist: Your publicist says she has to go to a meeting!

MJ: I am good too, guys thank you so much Brendon good luck with school. Rachel good luck with Reality Relapse.

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