“We Just Wanted to Have a Good Time and Win” – Reality News Online’s Exclusive Interview with The Amazing Race 20's Joey “Fitness” & Dannyby Teeuwynn Woodruff -- 03/28/2011
Reality News Online: Hi, Joey “Fitness” & Danny! Thanks for talking to Reality News Online today!
Joey: How you doin’?
RNO: Do people really need to call you Joey “Fitness”?
Joey: People call me Joey when they’re talking to me, but if you read online and on the website, I’m Joey “Fitness.”
RNO: What made you decide to apply for The Amazing Race?
Joey: We’ve known about the show – not that we watched it numerous times, an episode here and there – and then we heard that they were casting. We thought, “You know what? You win a million dollars.” They were looking for a Jersey Shore type team and me and Danny fit the profile perfect.
Then we actually started becoming fans of the show. We watched five full seasons and we really thought we had a shot to win the million dollars.
RNO: You guys really should have been out the very first leg. Did you know Misa & Maiya went the wrong way and hadn’t checked in yet when you got to the mat?
Danny: When we were doing the empanadas I realized when they walked away that they didn’t have their bags with them. The entrances were kind of confusing in that place. When they had to go back to the car to get their bags I told Joey, “Hey, let’s not give up. Let’s keep going.”
When we finished the empanadas and ran outside we literally ran right behind Misa & Maiya. We were wondering what the hell they were doing. When we got to the Pit Stop and Phil said we were in tenth I had to do a double take.
RNO: So you ran right behind them and then they ran somewhere else again without going to the Pit Stop?
Danny: I don’t know what they were doing. They were just standing there and we ran right behind them.
Joey: When we saw them out there we thought maybe they had gone to the Pit Stop and were walking back. We were confused, but we ran there anyway. When Phil told us we were still in it to win a million dollars we were ecstatic. We were like, “Thank you, God!”
RNO: Getting to this past leg, the teams all traveled together this leg and then ended up waiting at the fire temple in Azerbaijan for it to open – what was it like there?
Danny: It was really different than what I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never been out of the United States before. So, going on the show, everything was new to me. Showing up to a place like that was definitely out of the ordinary. It’s not like you see that in the middle of New York City every day.
Joey: We were leaving the last leg in second place so we actually thought we had a jump on the other teams when we got there. We saw the sign that I think said “Opens at Sunrise” and all the teams were able to catch up. We thought we’d have an advantage going into the leg then we saw the other teams coming in and we knew it would be equalized again.
RNO: You and Rachel & Dave both decided to go for the Fast Forward. When you saw another team was going for it did you consider not trying for it – because that was a very risky move?
Danny: We were the first team to leave the temple. When we ripped open the envelope we totally disregarded the Detour. We had no clue what it was – we saw the Fast Forward and we were set on going for that.
We were the first ones out of there heading for the Fast Forward area. We had no clue that there was any other team going for it. Then our cab driver was kind of lost. He couldn’t find the Fast Forward area. I looked back and couldn’t see another team so I told Joey, “It’s alright. We have plenty of time.”
Then suddenly Rachel & Dave’s cab goes flying by us. Then finally our cab followed him. They got there about a minute or two before us.
RNO: Danny, you said you don’t like to read instructions. Do you think not looking carefully at the Fast Forward instructions hurt you at all?
Joey: I yelled at Danny to go look at the diagram and he said, “I don’t read instructions – I’m a guy.” He figured out that you had to stack the hay 10 x 3 x 5 and we had a pretty good work ethic there. We were just tossing the bales down and doing it as fast as we could.
The next thing we know we hear Rachel say she’s done. We heard them screaming and they were all happy. We were totally shocked because, honestly, we thought we were doing it way faster than them. We only had one or two stacks of hay left to do. It was really close.
So we said, “$#*t! What are we going to do?” We climbed down the ladder and had to go back and do the Roadblock.
RNO: How much time do you think it cost you trying for the FF and not getting it?
Danny: It took us about an hour to do it, so it really set us back. Then the biggest problem that we had was our cab driver was working by himself – as opposed to the other teams [cabbies] who went to the Roadblock – they were all following each other. Our cab driver was all by himself. He had no clue where the helicopter area was. So it took us forever to even get over to that area.
The cab really hurt us bad. You hear about it in past seasons all the time. A cab driver can really kill you – and it did.
Joey: If we would have seen Dave & Rachel leave before us [for the Fast Forward] we might not have done it. But we were the first ones out of there so we were pretty confident that no other teams were doing it.
In previous seasons and earlier in this race you only see one team going for the Fast Forward at a time – it’s never a battle between two teams. So when we saw Dave & Rachel pass us in the cab we knew it was going to be a battle.
Danny: Three teams were allowed to try for the Fast Forward at the same time. It would have been alright if another team would have tried for it too.
RNO: Were you more upset that you lost the Fast Forward “to a freakin’ girl”?
Joey: I think I was the one who said, “We can’t get beat by a girl.” Then when we were beat by a girl it was like, “S#*t, we got beat by a girl.” I definitely tip my hat to Rachel. It’s not like we were so far behind – fair and square they did beat us. So I definitely tip my hat to her.
RNO: Joey, how freaky was it being in the helicopter crash simulator?
Joey: Honestly, I’ve been around water my whole life. I grew up on the beach. I used to surf; I used to do some life guarding. I’m always around the water. So I was pretty confident I’d be the one doing that.
It wasn’t that hard. I’ve held my breath under water numerous times. You just have to stay calm, cool, and collected. When you don’t panic you can get out of it pretty easily. I can see where the water would rush in and people would start to panic – maybe they can’t get their seatbelt off or can’t open up the window, but I did it pretty quick. We were just trying to go through everything as fast as we could because we knew we were behind all the other teams.
RNO: Did you even see any of the other teams that leg after you left the Fast Forward area?
Danny: No, we didn’t. We didn’t know where any other teams were. We were just trying to finish [the leg] and hoping to God that maybe it was a non-elimination leg or another team got a penalty or something.
RNO: Often in a leg with a Fast Forward it is also a non-elimination leg. Did you think that would be the case for you?
Danny: I just figured since there was a non-elimination two legs ago I thought this one would be [a non-elimination leg]. But when we saw the Fast Forward we just went for it.
Joey: It seemed like it was very easy this leg. Picking the apples out of the car and scrubbing the guy down were things you didn’t really need skill to do. So we lost an hour doing the Fast Forward because we didn’t get it. We were hoping we could catch up to the other teams, but the tasks were so easy to do. We did them really quickly, but all these other teams were way ahead of us. They finished them pretty fast as well.
RNO: I appreciated your sartorial choices on the race – but did you worry about spending your money on these little extras?
Joey: [Before the race] we were in the store trying to get some clothing for the race and we saw the hats. We said, “You know what? We’re going to buy these hats and if we go somewhere cold we just have to wear them.” And we had the glasses too – we bring those wherever we go.
With the bloggers and all the websites, people either liked the hats or they hated them or they made fun of them or they said they were cute. We were just having fun. We wanted to show everybody that, yeah, we started out with the stereotypical Jersey Shore look, but we wanted to show everybody that there was another side to us.
It’s about having fun, being silly, and enjoying yourself. We were on the race to win the money and have a good time, not to bicker and argue with each other or start drama. We just wanted to have a good time and win.
RNO: Well, I appreciated your hats. What was the smartest thing you did on the race?
Joey: Working together and not arguing. Every team argues. You’re bound to butt heads a little bit, but it seems like from watching the race that most of the other teams argued a lot. There was a lot of dramatics between couples.
Maybe because me and Danny were a best friend team we were able to work together as best friends. We really didn’t get into the drama and fighting. All that stuff is only going to hold you back.
Danny: And the dumbest thing I did was not to listen to my mother and learn how to drive a manual transmission [stick shift]. We know now that it’s a prerequisite to learn to drive with a stick shift.
RNO: Watching the race on TV, what has most surprised you?
Joey: Just right off the bat, we got along with every team – and we definitely got along with Rachel & Brendan – but I didn’t know she cries that much. Just watching her on TV – I’ve heard from people that watch Big Brother that she was a drama queen. Us racing with her, we didn’t see that. They seemed really cool. We got along with them; we worked together with them. But watching them on TV it’s kind of funny because I think this past leg was the only episode she didn’t cry.
Danny: Also, like Joey keeps saying, we got along with everybody. Everybody was friendly with us. They wanted to be around us – we wanted to be around everybody. We had a good time running the race, but I didn’t realize that the border patrol team [Art & J.J.] were so cocky either. If I would have heard some of their remarks while doing the race I think it would have spurred both of us on to really screw them up.
Joey: Yeah, we thought they were cool, and everybody said to us – my family, my aunts and uncles – “We hate the border patrol guys. I thought they seemed so nice, but watching them on TV you get a different outlook on how they were. They highlighted every time they said something cocky.
But they’re nice guys. Maybe they come off cocky on TV, but then in the leg in Italy when they gave Bopper half of their prize money for his daughter, it totally shifted everyone’s view on them. Even my family members were like, “We don’t like them.” They were like, “Wow, that was a really nice thing for them to do. They really are nice guys.”
Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers about your experiences on The Amazing Race?
Danny: The race was absolutely unbelievable. I’ve never been through anything like that in my life. I’ve never been out of the United States ever. So everything we did, talking to people who can’t even speak any English at all or going to a land where we can’t use a GPS – just doing random things I’ve never done before – was absolutely unbelievable.
Normally, me and Joey, our typical thing is to go to Vegas or Miami on vacation. Now, after doing the race, it kind of opened our eyes. We want to go to different places like Paraguay and Germany again.
We were even discussing that we would like the opportunity to be hosts of a TV show to show kids in our kind of society that there is more to the world then Vegas and Miami and they should broaden their horizons.
While we were driving in Paraguay, for instance, we passed like six clubs, and me and Joey were tempted to stop in there because they looked so awesome.
Joey: Travelling the world with your best friend – you can’t beat that. If there ever is an “Unfinished Business” Amazing Race or All-Stars again and we are brought back – we guarantee a win and if we come across a Fast Forward we are honestly ripping it up and throwing it away. We’re never doing a Fast Forward again.
We were in second place. There was no need to take that risk. So, no Fast Forwards ever again.
RNO: Thank you so much for talking to me today. And I did like your hats.
Joey & Danny: Thanks!
You can follow Reality News Online on Twitter and on Facebook! On Twitter, you can get up to the minute notifications on article postings and other reality TV news by following us. So head on over to Reality News Online’s Twitter page! On Facebook, you can become a fan, join discussions, and more!
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Amazing Race articles:
Teeuwynn is a professional author, puzzle, game, and event designer.
For more news about The Amazing Race, be sure to check out SirLinksALot: The Amazing Race!