Interview: Beekman Boys Josh & Brent discuss their ‘The Amazing Race’ win

12.14.12 5 years ago
Over the past three nights, HitFix’s “Amazing Race” exit interviews have covered the 4th Place Twinies, the 3rd Place Longhorns and the 2nd Place Chippendales, but we’ve finally reached the winners of this season’s million dollar prize.
And, to hear many fans discuss it, Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell were the most surprising winners in the show’s history. The goat farmers and stars of Planet Green’s “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” (now airing in repeats on Cooking Channel) were saved by at least one Non-Elimination Leg and by near-countless examples of the fickle finger of “Amazing Race” fate. They won exactly one Leg during the entire season.
Of course, the Leg they won was the only Leg that counted and even that didn’t come easy as Josh’s confusion with pizza toppings nearly doomed The Beekmans early in the finale, only to open the door for Josh’s redemption on the season-closing Roadblock.
In their exit interview, Josh & Brent discuss their capacity to overcome adversity both in life and on “The Amazing Race,” particular as it relates to pizza delivery. They discuss their relationships with Natalie & Nadiya and also with unlikely airport allies Abbie & Ryan. And while Cooking Channel has yet to formally order a third season of “The Fabulous Beekman Boys,” they make their pitch for what that season would include.
Click through for the full interview…
HitFix: What do you think it illustrates about the virtues of “The Amazing Race” that it’s possible to go 11 Legs without winning anything and then winning the million?
Brent Ridge: You know what? I went to undergraduate and medical school at UNC-Chapel Hill, so I’ve always been a big Michael Jordan fan and he’s got this great quote. I might be paraphrasing it, but it’s something like, “It doesn’t matter how you play at the beginning of the game, it’s how you play at the end.” And I don’t think there’s sportsman who knows more about winning than Michael Jordan, so if it worked for him, it works for us.
Josh Kilmer-Purcell: There were a lot of smart racers on the Race this season, but we’re long-time fans of the show and we know that the Race is all about not being eliminated before the final Leg. That’s the real key. You can win every single Leg up until the last one and you still haven’t won. We knew coming in that our strengths were our life experience and intellectual capability and they weren’t necessarily being able to run the fastest or beat anyone in a foot-race. So we just played the game that we learned over the years, which was not to be eliminated until you have a chance at winning.
Brent: I think that’s one of the great things that the Race demonstrates, is that to be a winner in the Race or to be a winner in life, it’s not all about just brute strength or just having one overly developed skill. You have to be a very well-rounded person and I think that’s what took us to the finish line.
HitFix: You guys were competing with a bunch of younger teams, some of whom had never even left the country. In what way was “worldliness” an advantage for you guys?
Brent: The team that that made the biggest difference for was Trey & Lexi, who had never left Texas, and I think that, yes, there were some obvious disadvantages to that, but I think there were also a lot of advantages to that, because a lot of times when you go into something with a certain degree of naivete, you’re not as analytical or as prone to overthinking a situation and I think that definitely helped them along the course of the Race, because Josh and I often, to our detriment, would overthink a situation.
HitFix: Going off of that, was it an advantage or, in the same way, was it a disadvantage that you guys were familiar with living life on-camera and being aware of how to go about your business on-camera without being self-conscious?
Josh: I think that was an advantage for about the first 30 seconds of the Race, the fact that we were comfortable wearing a microphone or had been in front of the camera, that helped in the very beginning, but as soon as Phil says “Go,” it’s all about the Race and nobody stops and mugs for the camera or is shy about it. There’s just no time for that, so I don’t think that really had much impact at all.
HitFix: Were the other teams at all aware of your TV show?
Josh: No. None of them had seen it. I don’t know if that was good or bad. But the TV show did help us at one point in the Race. In Norway, we had a layover in Oslo and we were going from Oslo to Amsterdam and we couldn’t get on a plane because all the flights were full and we went up to the checkout counter and “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” just happened to be showing in Norway while we were running the Race and the ticket agent said, “Oh my gosh, you’re the famers!” and we’re like “Yeah!” and so she got us a seat on the plane. It’s funny how that worked out.
Brent: Our one shot at fame.
HitFix: So you guys are huge in Norway? 
Brent: Apparently!
HitFix: Going back… You guys are winners and nobody can take that away from you. How would you assess your performances in the earlier stages of the Race that maybe weren’t as strong?
Josh: I would say we did our very best. Our strategy really was to do our very best at every task in front of us, to help our neighbor whenever they needed help and to not quit and that’s how we went in and that’s how we approached every Leg and some we did better at and some we did worse at, but we could certainly not have done better at any of it. We did our very best.
Brent: We really did give it our all on every Leg.
HitFix: One of the things I found very interesting is that you guys *did* get sorta down on yourselves at certain points, but you were able to resist going that extra step into wallowing. Was there a low point for you out there?
Josh: That’s actually a very keen observation. You’re the first person we’ve talked to who’s actually picked up on that. I think that particularly in the last five years of our relationship, we’ve had so many ups and downs in terms of losing our jobs and almost losing the farm and whatnot. Has we not had to go through that experience and kinda have to reinvent ourselves, I don’t think that we would have been able to roll with the punches as well as we did in the Race, because it really gave us a sense of resilience and fortitude that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. I think that that’s really what happened to some of the other teams. The teams were kinda all over the map for a lot of the seaso. Up until the very end when Trey & Lexi really started to dominate, the teams were kinda all over the place in terms of where they were finishing and I think it’s really difficult if you’ve been a team who’s been up in first place and then all of a sudden you’re down at the back of the pack. What that does to you psychologically can be overwhelming, but I think that because we stayed in the middle of the pack or towards the end of the pack the entire Race, we kept the same vantage point the whole way.
HitFix: Were there rules? Like, “OK, we can be negative for five minutes about this, but then we have to shake it off” or anything like that?
Brent: I think there’s unwritten rules just in our relationship. I know how to push Josh just far enough to keep him motivated and keep him hungry for it, but not push him over the edge. 
Josh: And I know how to pull Brent back to make sure he’s thought it through.
HitFix: Brent, you were a little hard on Josh after the pizza challenge in that final Leg. Was that entirely motivational?
Brent: Absolutely. At that point, you’re in the Final 3, that’s when it’s for real and I remember when we were in the pizza challenge and we’re always very good at deciding who’s going to what in the challenge and then sticking to that and so when I said, “OK. I’m going to memorize the addresses and keep those committed to memory. All you have to do is choose the right pizzas.” And he got so confused trying to choose what was the right pizza. Like, “Was that mushroom or was that sausage?” That’s actually what messed us up, that we delivered the wrong type of pizza to the address. It was really… I must say, that was the most infuriated during the entire Race, because the pressure was on at that point and literally every second mattered.
Josh: And I’m gonna hear about it for the next 20 years.
Brent: That’s not true. 
Josh: But I’m hearing about it now.
Brent: As you could see, in that cab ride, Josh owned it and said, “Don’t talk about it again.” And I said, “OK. I’m not gonna talk about it again.”
Josh: And here you are talking about it.
Brent: We were asked about it. I had not brought it up.
HitFix: And Josh, after that task, how glad were you that you had the chance to kinda get redemption on the flag challenge?
Josh: Well, I’m glad I didn’t mess that up, too. Of course, at the time, I wasn’t thinking like, “I need to redeem myself.” I was just trying to get it done. We’re both very glad that that was the last challenge and that it played to our strengths and that really got us the win.
HitFix: It was hard to tell from the last couple episodes, but from your point of view, the hostilities with Natalie & Nadiya, were they joke hostilities? Or genuine hostilities?
Brent: You know what? They were genuine trash-talk. And by that I mean that it was no different from being in any sort of sporting event. The Twins are ultimate competitors and they’re ultimate sportsmen and the best sportsman tries to bring out the best competitive spirit in their opposition, because nobody wants to compete against a lose. So that’s what the Twinies did. They Twinies lit a fire underneath us with the trash-talk and it made us better competitors and I think it made them better competitors, too.
HitFix: So that means that there are no hard feelings about the “Evil Gays” comments and whatnot?
Josh: Absolutely not. And I would so love to clarify in as many places as possible that the Twinies do not have a single homophobic bone in their bodies. 
Brent: They actually just spent the weekend at the farm with us and we had a great time.
HitFix: So it was just heat-of-the-moment trash talk and nothing personal?
Josh: As the Twins like to say, they said, “We were evil the whole Race. It wasn’t directed toward any one particular person. We were out to win and whoever we had to beat down to win,” they were gonna do it.
Brent: This is, to me, another great sign of their sportsmanship, you saw how excited they were when we won. They said they were happy that if they had to lose their spot, at least they lost it to the winner, so to me that’s a sign of a really great sportsman. 
HitFix: I was also happy to see how enthusiastic Abbie and Ryan were for you at the end. They were just jumping up and down and smiling so broadly. How unlikely did that bond seem to you guys at the time?
Brent: You know what’s very funny about that situation is that in the midst of it… What people don’t realize is we were 14.5 hours behind the other teams, so by the time we landed in Moscow, they were finished with that Leg of the Race and I don’t think there’s ever been a time in the history of “Amazing Race” where there’s been that much separation between the teams and so it really was us against the world at that point. So there really was a lot of bonding in that situation. When it came down to that Double U-Turn, where they had to go and do the other Leg, they didn’t have the benefit of seeing us kinda have that moral dilemma or that discussion amongst ourselves about how we were feel with the fact that they were going to be eliminated. So from that point until the time when we ran into Gotham Hall and saw them cheering for us, we actually thought that they probably hated us, because we knew what fierce competitors they were and we thought that they would see us as having betrayed them somehow. So it was really gratifying for us to see that they were still cheering us on and that there were no hard feelings about that.
HitFix: And what do you see this experience and this success meaning for future potential seasons of “The Fabulous Beekman Boys”?
Josh: They’re currently reairing Season 2 on Cooking Channel on Thursday nights at 10. We’re in talks with the network on hopefully a Season 3, which will hopefully also revolve around our wedding if the timing is right.
Brent: For people who are familiar with the show and watched it for the first two seasons, so much of what was happening in those first two seasons was 1) Whether we were going to be able to save the farm and 2) Whether we were ever gonna be at the point where Josh could quit his job in the city and we could be back together again, because we’d been living apart for five years. So now, obviously, having won “The Amazing Race,” Josh is going to be able to move to the farm full-time, which obviously sets up an entirely different dynamic. 
Josh: Like, “Am I going to stay?” Not if you keep bringing up the pizza thing.

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