Hayley and Blair lost the $1 million on The Amazing Race after she blew their sizable lead with a major blunder at the Reunion Tower Roadblock. If you ask fans, though, it was karma for her constant nagging at Blair the whole season to listen to her. So, does Hayley think she pestered him too much? And does Blair have the patience of a saint? Find out below — and why they don't think they would've won with their lead.
So Hayley, what went wrong on the tower?
Hayley: [Laughs] I saw this little thing in the parking lot, and it was race colors, so I just thought that had to be it. I was like, "It's gonna be something really small, not something obvious." I had such attention to detail that I looked for the littlest things and not something big and obvious! That's what did it in for me, being too particular.
So you didn't see the flags at all even though they were huge and flapping in the wind
Hayley: You know, I caught a glimpse of those, but I thought, "Eh, that's nothing over there," because of where it was. It was like an abandoned area, so I thought [the parking lot] was perfect. It was right on top of a building. It has race colors. Honestly, from where I could see, it looked like a clue box. ... I think we had a 20-minute lead on [the other teams], maybe more. I know we saw them pull in, but I don't think they saw us after that. I wish I could say it was strategy that we wanted to leave them before they could follow us! [Laughs] But it wasn't! It was just a mistake.
When did you realize it wasn't right? You had a hard time trying to get to the parking lot.
Hayley: That was the thing. There was like a locked gate and there wasn't really a way to get through, so we kept driving around this building, trying to figure out a way to get into that parking garage. Then I just knew it had to have been wrong. It was just taking way too long. It was way too complicated. Nowhere in the race had it been that difficult to get to somewhere.
Why were you asking Blair to direct the cabbie when he wasn't up there with you?
Hayley: [Laughs] I was trying to tell him where I thought it was, like, "It's in this building. Do you think this is the road?" We're each other's right-hand man, and I would look to him for anything and everything because I trusted his judgment. I just figured if I was telling him where the building was, he could give his input on where he thought we could drive to get there. It was in a little city area and there were a lot of side streets and parking lots. You could see the building, but you couldn't see how to get there. Just navigating around was difficult.
Blair: The whole race is set up for teamwork. Roadblocks are just those things where your teammate is off alone and someone might get a harder Roadblock, someone might get an easier one, but this was one of those Roadblocks where we couldn't use teamwork to work through it. I just remember wanting to figure exactly what she saw and where it was. We knew it had to be close to the railroad tracks. That was in the clue. We were riding up the railroad tracks. Realistically, if we had just driven down the railroad trails like an eighth of a mile, we would've found it.
Hayley: [Laughs] Yeah, we were right there! But we went and drove way out of the way. I think our taxi driver hated us that day.
How defeated were you guys seeing that Jenny and Laura worked together and they both passed you when you had a healthy lead on them?
Hayley: You know, when it came down to it, I don't even know if we would've won with our lead because the selfie challenge was hard for us. They didn't show us doing it, but we took a long time. We were too busy taking in the moments and enjoying the scenery on the race and we would forget about taking selfies. We'd get somewhere and we were just in awe. ... When we would take selfies, it would be at airports or on trains. That was when we would think about it. Our selfies were kind of bland!
That's exactly what Jenny and Jelani said.
Hayley: Yeah! Our selfies were just us on a plane or on an airport floor, so we were like, "What airport floor do you think that is?" Or "Blair, when did you have a mustache?" "When did you wear that hat?"
Blair: Unfortunately, that was way too often! That was the problem. We were upset we didn't win for sure. We're very competitive people. We said it the last couple legs, but we started picking up tons of momentum and figuring each other out more and trusting each other's instincts more. That really showed. ... We start as a team, we rise and fall as a team, but we made that last mistake. We were hoping that the leg would be really long and we could work our way back into it. I'm speaking for Hayley when I say this, but just making it to the final leg and racing for the $1 million, I think realistically that's all you can hope for starting out. There are so many ridiculous variables and things that can go wrong.
Hayley: Exactly. You saw what happened to Steve and Aly. We thought if we made it to the final three, we'd be there with them, and it was a tire that did them in essentially. Any little thing can happen. For us, after the first two legs, we felt so down and so defeated, so to make this comeback that we did, we couldn't be prouder.
What did you think about Tyler and Jelani talking about how they didn't want you guys to win? What did they have against you?
Hayley: We worked very well with Jelani and Jenny. Laura and Tyler, we didn't really work well with them. Watching the show and seeing how much they talked about us and other teams, that's kind of how they were the entire race. I honestly kinda feel bad for them if that that's all they did. I mean, we're really not that exciting people to talk about!
Blair: Speak for yourself!
Hayley: [Laughs] I mean, I think they felt threatened by us since they had to talk about us. I would feel threatened by us too. We finished higher than them quite frequently. I think we ran an overall better race than they did, and they dealt with it by talking about us.
Hayley, do you think you nagged Blair too much?
Hayley: Yeah, I do think I should've gone easier on Blair. At the time, I just felt like I was disregarded. I get it. Blair's first impression of me was me not doing so great in the mud run. I think I was able to prove myself later on. Unfortunately, those things came later. I know Blair will agree with me on this, but I did a lot of the physical challenges! [Laughs] ... We weren't getting along at first because we didn't know each other and we didn't have a chance to know each other. Our brief instances I felt like weren't enough. But once I got to know Blair, I realized that Blair's just a natural leader. That's how he needs to be in his medical and military careers. He needs to be a person who takes charge and goes with it. Once I got to know him, I realized he wasn't being disrespectful or being malicious or writing me off.
Blair, what was it like from your end? I think everyone's in awe of your patience.
Blair: [Laughs] Yeah, I remember saying this on a casting video or something ... that clichéd answer of, "Yeah, I'm going to be introduced to a stranger and we're gonna have to figure out each other's strengths and weaknesses." That was the party line. I figured it might take until the airport to figure it out, but it was a work in progress the whole time. It was figuring out what's worth arguing about, what is her strength in any given situation, what is mine. We tried our best to be compatible. I said this at the end, but I trust Hayley and her instincts to a very impressive degree. I'm still a little confused in certain situations, but correct me if I'm wrong, Hayley, but just being in stressful environments when we needed an answer quickly ... that's very anxiety-ridden. Some of the times I think it came out in a different way for Hayley, raising her voice at me. I remember thinking the first few times, "Man, how can I do a better job making this not happen?"
Hayley: Right. And that's how I felt too. I didn't want to be yelling at him. I was like, "Man, how can I make him see I want to have a role in this too?" If you watched the show, teams like Laura and Tyler, Tyler was the one who did most of the stuff for their team. It was like that on a couple teams with the guy taking more control than the girl. I'm not like that. It doesn't need to be a 90-10, 80-20 relationship; I need it to be 50-50. I want to pull my own weight and make sure that he knew I could keep up.
Blair, I loved your "Still looking" deadpan when Phil said, "You guys were looking for love." So what did you think of the twist?
Hayley: [Laughs] That was so funny! I thought the twist was great. ... Blair and I are huge fans of the show and have been for a long time. Being fans, we know the show is based largely on relationships. Seeing people paired together at a moment's notice, it's awesome to see if you do need a solid relationship going into it or if you can meet on the fly and go with it. I think our season really proved that the blind dates can work really well together.
Blair: I think it spiced The Amazing Race up. After 26 seasons, you're gonna have haters, traditionalists who don't want to see the basic structure of the show altered. But you have to get with the times a little and spice things up. I think it did exactly that. Maybe there won't be another blind date edition, but at least it opens the doors and gets people thinking to be more creative with the structures of the team. I thought it was genius and I was glad to be part of it.
What are you up to now?
Hayley: I'm working on my masters. I'm still a pediatric nurse. Blair and I get along great. We're best of friends. Blair is definitely someone who's gonna be in my life forever.
Blair: Life really hasn't change aside from seeing my ugly mug on the TV screen every Friday night. I'm still a doctor in the Navy. I wanted to make the finale party with other contestants, but I had a medical conference in New Orleans this whole weekend. But I got to hang out with Jon Knight for his concert, so that was pretty cool. I think Hayley and I had a rough go at the beginning of the race. We were at each other's throats. The story line that we created — having to constantly fight this uphill battle with our relationship but making it very, very far and getting to a point where we had a mutual respect for each other and forgave each other for our faults and commended our strengths — makes for good TV. I think a lot of our fans recognize that. That's what they like about us. They wanted to see us succeed. I think we did succeed, but not all the way to the end, which is unfortunate. We understand there's a lot of stress on the race that brought out a side of us that normally wouldn't happen in real life. We're just working on a better friendship outside of the race and we're doing a really good job of that.
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