The southernmost tip of Argentina — aka the end of the world — marked the end of the road for professional reality stars Rob and Amber Mariano. The couple — who met on Survivor: All-Stars, were engaged on the Amazing Race 7 and married on yet another reality show — seemed to be the team to beat on CBS' The Amazing Race: All-Stars, winning each of the first three legs. But following a fluke series of unfortunate events (one of which involved the spelling of "Philippines"), they lost their lead and came in last. TV Guide spoke to the pair the day after their elimination aired. As you might expect, they vowed "Romber" may be down, but never out.
TV Guide: "Romber" losing was a huge surprise, especially after you won three legs in a row. Do you think you were getting a little too comfortable?
Amber Mariano: We were definitely on a high, excited about doing so well. But we also know that The Amazing Race isn't necessarily a race from start to finish. Each leg is its own race. So we started each day with a new outlook: "Here we go!"
Rob Mariano: Yeah, I don't think we got comfortable. Honestly, we were frustrated because there's a lot you really don't have any control over. Like the crapshoot challenge that you have to find your letter in a stack of 1,600. There's no skill to it. There's no anything besides luck that's going to make you find your letter before somebody else finds theirs. It's random.
Amber: You can't prepare for that. It has nothing to do with strength or smarts or anything.
TV Guide: Did you shed a tear during the letter-sorting? It looked like your eyes were red.
Amber: [Laughs] They were probably just red from not sleeping for the past week.
Rob: Yeah, I wasn't crying. Believe me.
TV Guide: What, Rob doesn't do tears?
Amber: Sometimes. But he didn't cry then.
Rob: I don't think I've cried since I was, like, 7.
Amber: We smiled the whole way to the finish line because we knew we were eliminated. It wasn't a surprise to step on that mat and have Phil tell us we were in last place.
TV Guide: How much time was there between your finish and Charla and Mirna's?
Rob: Maybe 10 or 15 minutes.
Amber: Yeah. Before we even opened our letter we knew we were the only ones left.
TV Guide: Correct me if I'm wrong, but in your last leg of the race you took Uchenna's directions, stole Charla and Mirna's cab, and then lied to them about the clue box. Was this karma coming back to bite you in the butt?
Rob: Let's set the record straight: I didn't steal Uchenna and Joyce's directions. I simply came out of the airplane bathroom and the flight attendant handed me a piece of paper. That's not my fault. If it's anybody's fault, it's Uchenna's fault for asking for directions and not standing and waiting for her to hand them to him.
Amber: Yeah. Rob didn't even know what he was getting when he got it. But he just took it.
TV Guide: Why would the flight attendant hand you something someone else had requested?
Rob: I have no idea. We all got on the plane at the same time and there were a bunch of camera people there.
Amber: Plus the flight attendant doesn't know that we're in a race. She probably thought we were all traveling together
TV Guide: And what about the cab?
Amber: We figured out where all the cabs start coming in, and figured, "Let's start walking in that direction."
Rob: Charla and Mirna said, "Oh, we should call a cab." But they never actually called a cab. The whole story is this: Whenever we arrive at an airport, some teams get stopped and have to go through customs. It's completely random. Originally, we were the first ones out of the airport, but then our camera guy gets stopped. So now we're the last ones out of the airport. When we got out, there were no cabs left, so I immediately took Amber and started walking up the only road coming into this place. Charla and Mirna started walking literally 10 seconds behind us. So that was made up.
Amber: And even if it was their cab, there's nothing written in the rules that says you can't take another team's cab. Rob and I play by the rules, and the rest of the game is up to you.
TV Guide: Rob, when did you realize your mistake in spelling "Philippines"?
Rob: When I saw it on television. Because despite what you saw on TV with the voice-over where Phil says teams must spell the words correctly, that was never communicated to us.
TV Guide: OK, let's switch topics. When do you plan on taking the trip you won to Whistler, Canada?
Amber: To tell you the truth, we were there last February and absolutely loved it, so maybe we'll go back next winter sometime when it snows really, really good.
TV Guide: Are you going to keep your other goodies — the motorcycles, the home gym?
Amber: We haven't thought about it too, too much. But I have a hard time picturing Rob and I on off-road dirt bikes.
Rob: Maybe we'll trade them for jet skis or something.
Amber: Because we live by the ocean, we've always talked about getting some jet skis, so maybe that's what we'll do.
TV Guide: We got a glimpse of your home on Rob & Amber: Against All Odds. How many bedrooms do you have?
Amber: But one of the bedrooms is not a bedroom, it's like an office. It's a perfect house for the two of us.
TV Guide: Not to sound like your mother or anything, but are you planning on putting any children in those other bedrooms?
Amber: We definitely would love to. One day. So, we'll see. When it happens, it happens.
TV Guide: How have you spoken to Susan and Patrick? Their letter was brutal. They said, "I hope this finds you lost, hungry and in last place"!
Rob: It's funny because when we read the letter, Amber and I looked at each other and were like, "Who are Susan and Patrick?" They're mad at us, but we had no idea who they were. We had to come home and look them up on the computer.
TV Guide: How does it feel to be a team people loved to hate?
Both: It's great.
Amber: We loved it. It works for us. That's why we are where we are today.
Rob: The bottom line is that when Amber and I go on TV shows, it creates a stir. And every reaction, whether it's positive or negative, does one thing, which the TV networks see, and that is, it brings in viewers. So as long as that's happening, we're doing our job.
TV Guide: How much were you guys paid to do TAR: All-Stars?
Rob: We can't talk about specifics. But we got paid a lot of money.
TV Guide: Unlike the regular race, where I'm assuming people don't get paid.
Rob: I can't comment about other people. But CBS made it very well worth Amber and I coming back.
TV Guide: How worth it? Are we talking Lexus sedan worth it, or Toyota Camry worth it?
Rob: Well worth it.
Amber: We have smiles on our faces.
TV Guide: So what's next for Rob and Amber?
Rob: We actually have a very big project coming up. It's going to be frustrating, but we can't talk about it now. But I promise you when you hear it, you will know about it and remember how big it is.
TV Guide: Does this project involve cameras following you?
Amber: We can't really say anything.
Rob: It's not what you're used to seeing us doing, but it's going to be big.
TV Guide: Does it involve a television network?
Amber: You're prying.
TV Guide: It's what I do. But I'll back off. Mary said you taught her to swim at the elimination station in Acapulco.
Amber: She's always been afraid of the water, but I think she always had it in her, it's just a matter of somebody making her face it. I used to teach swimming lessons when I was in college, so I got her in the water and taught her how to survive in the water. Hopefully she'll teach her kids. It is an important skill to have.
TV Guide: Rob, did you teach anyone how to play poker while at the elimination station?
Rob: No. I just tried to take their per diem money. But we had a good time. We had fun there.
TV Guide: So far TAR hasn't left South America. Is there any place you would have liked to have gone?
Rob: We went all around the world the first time. The only continent I haven't been on is Australia, so I would have liked to have gone there.
TV Guide: Amber, what did you think about the way Eric talked about Danielle's boobs all the time? I thought it was really honorable how, when they did a comparison, Rob never spoke of you that way.
Amber: I'm not sure how Danielle feels about it. But if it was me, I'd be a little bit uncomfortable. But who knows, maybe she's completely comfortable with the way he just puts them out there like that. If she's OK with it, then I won't think anything of it. But I know if I were in that situation, I wouldn't appreciate it very much!
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