There Is No ďIĒ in ďTeamĒ Ė An Interview With Cindy from The Amazing Race 4by Phil Kural -- 06/23/2003
Friends/dating couple Russell & Cindy were eliminated after getting train tickets to the wrong town in Austria. Not only that, but it seemed like they were plagued by bad luck the whole race and a lack of communication with each other. Find out what Cindy has to say about her teammate, Russell, what she thought of the race and if they really did have an alliance with other teams.
RealityNewsOnline: Instead of dancing around the subject, and trying to make the question sound like Iím not really trying to ask it, are the two of you still dating? Are you even still friends?
Cindy: Have you seen the show? Look. It comes down to this. I never had a problem with Russell. This was the only display of disrespect Iíve ever encountered with him. When Phil said,Ē Go,Ē the Russell I knew was gone. I instantly was removed from the equation. Nothing is more frustrating than being blocked from something I am more than qualified to do. As far as individual tasks, Russell was excellent, as I knew he would be. He was efficient when asked to match the picture to the appropriate mask during the masquerade ball, and quick to bungee off the tower. (But then again, maybe his speed up the tower was just to avoid me following to cut the rope). To answer your question, as far as partners? I was looking for a team player.
RNO: Whose idea was it to try out for The Amazing Race and what exactly where you trying to acquire from the experience?
Cindy: I was the culprit who started towards jumping in full force. On one level, I felt this race was a perfect vehicle to break away from my projects that are a full time job, leaving me somewhat isolated from other facets of life. Secondly, I thought it would be fun with Russell, since we had always had a competitive way with each other, always trying to push the other to do well in everything we do as individuals. He agreed full on. Ironically, prior to being considered for the race, we just started talking about needing some sort of change with our lighthearted relationship, and at the time Russell was up for seeing what develops. I have a creative mind, and fantasy generates cool projects. So, I think what started as my little fantasy of the movie, Jewel on the Nile, turned into, Throw Mamma from the Train. Keeping in mind, this was a reality show, where at least in the movie, Momma got kissed before he through her ass off the train. Hey, at the end of the day, Iíve conquered fears, pushed my limitations, and opened my heart in front of millions. With this said, I can honestly say I didnít lose, only gained, because I took chances, and for that I live life.
RNO: I know that sometimes I had dubbed you as one of the worst racing teams ever. I was not trying to be mean, but it seemed like every time you had a lead or finished a task quickly, you would still lose the lead you had. What was your racing strategy and what do you think needed to be changed most about it?
Cindy: First of all, donít be down dubbing any more. Meanie. As far as, ďseeming we had the lead and still losing the lead we hadĒ no kidding! I agree. Iím as baffled as you are for some of it, but also, poor choices were made, trusts were given to the wrong guys, and somebody wasnít hearing any reason. But that is not enough in a race such as this. Sometimes the experiences are hurry up and wait, but when itís time to move, one must be a little clever. There is no time to think youíre being clever by playing a double spy with your own partner. These things will cost you dearly.
RNO: Do either of you feel that an alliance would have helped you advance in the race?
Cindy: I canít speak for Russell, but for me it was not as necessary as everyone made it. Under extreme conditions, sharing a room to stay warm and save money on a cold night. What else? All I know is, I travel and juggle quite a bit by myself, and I always found it difficult for me to get a group of people to agree and decide quickly on going to the same place, let alone for a million dollars. Some people in this world will kill for five dollars, what makes me the expert on the other teammates, and whom to ally with? If you choose to take allies, play with allies, and then eventually trick them at the appropriate moment to advance yourself, you need to be completely in sync with you own partner, or your new-found ally will use that weakness to trip you up.
RNO: Was there any team that you did have an alliance with that the viewers did not see?
Cindy: I would say half wanted to ally with Russell, and the other half wanted to ally with me. With that nutty choice in mind, it would only split us on whom to trust, therefore my vote was not to ally with anyone. This was not the case for Russell. As you saw he allied with Reichen & Chip. Reichen, who just got done blocking the door so others couldnít get in. Jeff & David, who just got done stating they allied with Chip & Reichen but they secretly wonít honor it. Sorry guys, but common sense told me to just focus on the target and not the distraction of the ally. As far as Russellís strategy, you will have to ask him.
RNO: Letís face it; the two of you had a huge personality conflict. What is it about each other that brought you together and decide to date? Did you realize you may not have been that compatible, or was most of the fighting just stress from the race?
Cindy: Iíve never had seen this type of behavior from Russell, until the race. So, Iím going to have to blame it on the stress, lack of sleep, food, and water. Oh, and the desire to win a cool million.
RNO: What are your thoughts on Reichen & Chip? Did you feel that they were playing dirty or just competitively? Were you one of the teams that wanted them to be one of the first teams eliminated?
Cindy: I thought they played the game well. I think they went places I wouldnít have gone as well. I did feel they could be a threat, because they were on the same page with each other. I also worried about any team that Russell gave power to over our joint decisions. As you observed, when I was heard, and correct, info went from my mouth to Russell ears and then immediately shared with others teams in the Gondolas, as well as the bus station, where I quietly told him the first bus was the way to go.
RNO: [This question was originally intended for Russell, before we knew only Cindy was available to answer.] Russell? Did you feel bad for the way you were edited to look like you constantly were on Cindyís case and never let her make any decisions? Was it actually an accurate portrayal?
Cindy: You need to ask Russell this question when he returns from his trip. Inquiring minds want to know.
RNO: Cindy? On the flip side, do you feel that you were able to make enough decisions for the team, or were you happier sometimes just letting Russell make most of the decisions?
Cindy: Of course not! I am an extremely independent person, and would never rely on anyoneís choice without weighing all options. Iím a team player, and my mistake was not seeing ahead of time that we were not exactly a team. My voice was never heard; he wasnít even listening. As you can see, it didnít get us very far. This also would reflect our weakness. This would be the times you saw me rolling my eyes, as if to say, ď What purpose does this serveĒ but loss of time, giving info that might give us an edge, not to mention showing other teams our weakness, a disregard for his teammate. I still am baffled by his alliances, when clearly there was no alliance with me. Up the mountain, I insisted at the beginning it was only 10 minutes the other direction down the road, but again a futile attempt as we hiked up 1000 ft. through the snow and back down to the same road leading us back to the hotel, which cost us a good hour.
RNO: Of the challenges that you had the opportunity to participate in, which one was your favorite? Was there one in particular that the two of you were not particularly thrilled with doing?
Cindy: Favorite? For me, the Rescue Mission! Least favorite? Nothing I can think of. For Russell, I think he would say the Tower [was his favorite]Ö something heís wanted to do since he was twelve year old.
RNO: The mistake that cost you the race was not your fault. The tape showed you clearly said "Gmunden" and the ticket person gave you tickets to "Gmund." Do you think it was fair that the producers didn't make an allowance?
Cindy: This was the luck of the draw, part of the deal. I do think it was strange that the man selling us the wrong ticket wasnít open to refunding our money when I clearly pointed out his mistake, to the point we had to ask for help from the travel agent in the train station to insist he refund us our money back. This process alone cost us 10 minutes.
RNO: Which team did you feel closest too? Was there any team that the two of you tried to stay as far away from as possible?
Cindy: I really canít say, I got to know some of the teams to the point where I can easily say we will be friends for a very long time to come.
RNO: Did you believe that you had beaten Steve & Dave to the pit stop, or had you already given up at that point and figured that you were last?
Cindy: I think we knew, but tried to maintain hope. Watching their response on TV, when Dave and Steve realized that they were still in the game, made me laugh, even after feeling gutted by my own loss.
RNO: What are your plans now? Do either of you want to use your stint on The Amazing Race to try and further your careers or are you happy with the way things were going before the race started?
Cindy: I canít speak for Russell, but I fell behind on my work from this, and I donít see how a race could further my career in any way. Although you do put every facet of your life on hold, Iíd like to add, if I could do this once a year, I gladly would.
RNO: Did you watch previous seasons of TAR? I made reference that you reminded me of Lenny & Karen from the first season. Do you think that is a fair comparison, or was there another team that you felt you related to a little more?
Cindy: Being that I never saw the show until the season before ours, It would not be fair to say. I think it is fair to say Iíll never miss a show again!
RNO: If the opportunity came up, do you think that the two of you could do the race again together as a team or was once enough?
Cindy: I feel Russell probably learned from this trip. Choosing to be a lemming is not to ones advantage. I think heíd be more accommodating if I held the bag of power next time around. By power, Iím referring to the money, the clues, and the maps. Actually, with the switch in power, I think that Cindy & Russell team would be MUCH more entertaining to watch.
RNO: Is there anything you would like to add to all your fans that are reading this?
Cindy: We have once around that we know of in life. Jump in. Live it, even if it means having a little egg on your face.
RNO: Thank you both so much for taking time out to answer my questions. I wish the two of you nothing but good luck now that the race is over and itís time to settle back into your normal lives. Thanks again!
Phil Kural is a senior at Temple University, and can be reached at email@example.com.
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