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Amazing Race's Jenny and Jelani: We Sucked at Taking Selfies

Plus: What you didn't see on the show

Joyce Eng

Jenny and Jelani can still look at themselves after coming in second on The Amazing Race - they just can't look at their selfies. The blind date couple had the lead in the final selfie memory task, but their selfie ineptitude did them in. "They encouraged us to take selfies during every leg. We definitely tried to do that, but they were just all at airports and stuff like that," Jenny tells TVGuide.com. "That came back to bite us. We sucked at taking selfies." See how far behind they were at the end and why they got along much better than you saw.

Amazing Race's Laura and Tyler: We had no idea we were in first place

How far behind Laura and Tyler were you?
Well, at the task, it looked like we were right next to each other, but we couldn't really hear what [Laura and Tyler] were doing. We didn't monitor what was going on with them. I think they left 10 or 15 minutes before we did. We never lost hope. There was never a moment where we thought we were done. We were always optimistic that we could catch up and that it would happen. We didn't even know we were in second until Hayley and Blair showed up. We thought the Pit Stop could be really far away and we could've had a shot to catch up. You don't throw in the towel until you see Phil.

You had three minor setbacks: the football, you took the wrong turn after you got off the tower and you had trouble with the selfie challenge. Can you pinpoint one thing to blame the loss on or do you think it was an accumulation of everything?
I don't think we could really pinpoint anything because we were in first place when we started the selfie challenge. I think Tyler and Laura just ran a better leg. Sometimes it's just chance and luck too. I'm sure if we did the same leg 10 times, it'd be a different winner each time. We have no regrets. We were just so happy to have been able to race around the world and to have gotten 12 legs under us. We were grateful for that. We don't think about the specifics.

Why did you have so much trouble with the selfies?
Tyler, throughout the race, we called him the King of Selfies because he was so good about taking selfies everywhere. Like, in the middle of challenges, he would just pause and take a selfie. Jelani and I didn't do that. I think the only times we took selfies were in airports and taxis. [Laughs] When we felt like we had actual time to take selfies. For us, that was difficult because most of our photos were just in an airport. That messed us up. We were like, "Which airport was this?" We were trying to figure it out based on the clothes we were wearing. We couldn't figure it out based on the background like Tyler and Laura could. That slowed us down. They encouraged us to take selfies during every leg. We definitely tried to do that, but they were just all at airports and stuff like that. That came back to bite us. We sucked at taking selfies. We knew the last challenge tests your memory. I had a diary and I would write down every single location and I would memorize everything, which is why unlocking the locker was easy for us. We just didn't ascertain that the photos were going to be a huge part of it.

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Laura told you where the flags were. Would you have done the same had you seen them first?
Laura and Tyler were our best friends on the show. We were always talking about us being in the final three. I wouldn't even call it an alliance. It was more so that we got along really well and the four of us hung out a lot. When we got to the tower together, we were like, "Let's do this together." At that point, we knew Hayley had completed the challenge - we just didn't know she did it wrong! We were like, "We're competing for second and third at this point. We might as well help each other out." If I had seen the flags first, I would've told her. I wasn't even really sure where [the flags] were; that's why I told the cabbie to go left. When we got to the final challenge, we thought we were competing for second and third. But we weren't gonna let that affect us. Toward the end of that, we saw Hayley and Blair running in and we were like, "Oh, my God!" We thought they were already at the Pit Stop, holding a million bucks in their hands.

What did you think of the blind date twist? Would you wanna see it again?
I don't know. For me, I'm very grateful that I got to meet Jelani and become really great friends with him. I think he's a really cool person. We talk all the time. Every time I'm in New York, I visit him. Every time he's in L.A., he visits me. But I think the whole premise of The Amazing Race of people with a pre-existing relationship racing is what drew me into it in the first place. It's testing your relationship with whoever you're racing with.
Jelani: I think it's interesting pairing together people who don't know each other, not necessarily blind dates. It's nice to see people who don't know each other compete against people who do know each other. I don't think it needs to be a romantic thing.

They were really trying to make the blind dates happen. Do you think it was coincidence or luck that the top three were blind dates?
I don't think it was luck. There were very strong individuals on each of those teams and they were able to come together and work together well. I think it just so happened that those three blind date teams were made of strong people. Not that the other blind date teams weren't. There is certainly a lot of luck on the race, with cabs and stuff like that, but I think we were all strong racers in the end too. ... The Amazing Race isn't an ideal format to find love or whatever. We both went in there and our first focus was to try and win. Everything else was secondary.
Jenny: I completely agree. We didn't meet at the start like, "Hey, you ready to hook up?" [Laughs] It was, "Hey, you ready to race?" It was like, "Let's be a team. Let's be partners. Let's get through this one leg at a time." And through that you form a friendship that I think is much more interesting on a deeper level than if it were just about a blind date and finding love.

You had a rough start at the beginning, but you were pretty much on the same page by the end.
[Laughs] We really weren't that bad! That was just Bangkok! That was one thing, one really horrible day for us. I think that sticks in people's minds, but we got along so well outside of Bangkok. I think you remember the bad stuff more though and they probably showed us arguing more because that's more interesting and dramatic.

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You were no Hayley and Blair.
No, no! [Laughs] And Jelani and I talked. We talked all the time. All the producers were like, "Oh my God, you guys talk so much." We would talk about everything from the race to our families and friends. It was a month-long chat about everything. We really did become good friends during the race.
Jelani: Arguments are inevitable. You argue with your friends and family. That's just the nature of life. I don't think any of them were born out of hate, like "I hate you!" We're both competitive and we both want to win and try to succeed at that. We have different opinions about how to go about that and in the moment, it can get heated. But when we weren't racing, we were hanging out and just talking. That's the stuff you don't see.

What are you up to now?
Back to work. Still doing sports [agent work] and keeping up with that.
Jenny: I actually haven't been a lawyer for quite some time. I'm actually a full-time beauty and fashion blogger with my blog Good, Bad and Fab. I've had it for four years. I'm shooting a short film next month and I'm just exploring some things in media. Right now I'm on a road trip with two of my girlfriends and we're in Nashville this week.

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)

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