Stacy Bowers and Kerri Paul weathered four Legs of “The Amazing Race,” including two Legs that hinged on Stacy conquering her fear of heights to jump from planes or rappel down buildings.
What did the Mississippi Cousins in on Sunday’s (March 18) “Amazing Race” episode was that old standard: Bad directions. The Cousins had completed a Roadblock ahead of struggling Jamie & Nary, but faulty navigation left them in last place just minutes later.
In our exit interview, Kerri discusses her confessed navigational difficulties, Stacy talks about her fear of heights, Kerri tries to explain why she’s afraid of dolphins and the cousins explain how pre-Race training paid off in a moment we didn’t see on TV.
Click through for the full interview:
HitFix: Could you guys talk me through what happened after you left the Roadblock in Bavaria? It was hard to tell from Sunday’s episode…
Stacy Bowers: What happened was that when we had left the Roadblock, we had stopped and gotten directions. Despite the fact we had shown the people exactly where we needed to be, they directed us to the castle. When we saw the castle, we were like, “This is definitely not it,” so we had to stop again and get directions again and that was the story of the night, you know? Just bad directions all the way around for us.
HitFix: How much did you guys feel like that set you back, time-wise?
Stacy: Well, that cost us the game. I would guestimate we weren’t very far behind Jamie & Nary when they did finish ahead of us, but it cost us some valuable minutes. I think we were off-course for maybe 10 or 15 minutes, but that seems like 10 or 15 hours when you’re living in the moment, but it was what killed us.
HitFix: At the beginning of episode, we saw Kerri lamenting her navigational skills. How did you guys end up in the situation where Stacy was driving and Kerri had to be navigating?
Stacy: We got in the situation because in the previous Leg, Kerri had problems driving the European standard vehicles, so she felt more comfortable with me driving. Then that day, it was just snowy and the roads were really slick and really bad and so Kerri, she just did not feel comfortable at the wheel at all that day.
Kerri: A lot of people don’t know, but Stacy, she’s lived in Italy and she’s lived all over Europe, so that’s pretty much her forte, driving in Europe. She’s done it before and so we felt like we were gonna go with the sure thing versus me driving. I’m a very intelligent person, so I felt confident in navigating, but I won’t say that that’s my strongest suit, but I thought that I could still handle it. And even though Stacy’s driving, she’s helping to navigate as well, so we just felt that we were better with her in the drivers’ seat for that Leg.
HitFix: So Kerri, were you maybe overstating your navigational issues earlier? I think you said you could get to the mall and that was it?
Kerri: I think I was kinda being a little coy, but I’m really not the greatest person with maps. I’m not gonna say the generalization that it’s a woman thing, but I think that in my dealings, the women that I know, we’re better with landmarks. Men are better with a map or a street, I know my husband’s like that. I am a landmark person. I’m a visual person. I have to see, like “OK. Turn at the big blue building” versus “OK, turn at 2nd Street.” It’s just the way that my brain works. I can’t say that I’m the best navigator, though, but I don’t think that I’m worthless. Like I said, it’s definitely not my strong suit.
Stacy: I think Kerri was on-point when she said the only place she knows how to go is to the mall. That was a true statement, in my opinion.
HitFix: I wanna follow up on that interaction. Stacy got a little upset at the end of Sunday’s leg. What was that moment like for you and how did you guys feel like you worked together for the rest of the Race?
Stacy: For me, it was just devastating, because as more minutes go by, the longer you’re lost, the less optimistic you become, but you’re fighting with yourself to stay optimistic, to keep a positive mindset. It’s not really like me to get so frustrated. It’s not really in my makeup, but it was frustrating for me, because after everyone’s giving us terrible directions and then the somewhat decent directions I needed to retain so we can get there, you know? That’s kinda frustrating to me, because to the end, I believed Kerri and I could it, we could make it. Regardless of what odds were against us, I knew that if any two girls can overcome all odds, it’s Kerri and I, especially Kerri and I working together as a team.
Kerri: But I think a big thing for us is that when you’re racing, you’re racing and rushing. I think a lot can be said for slow and steady. Slow and steady wins the race and I always believe that’s true, because when you’re trying to get directions from somebody, they rattle it off and then you’re like, “OK, thanks!” and then you run off and I felt like a lot of times we were doing that and we didn’t really retain the information or didn’t really fully understand what they’d even said and that causes you to go find another person. And there is a language barrier and, I’ve said this before, I don’t feel like we even knew what we were looking for, specifically. I feel like if we would have known that we were looking for a barn or a stable, that would have made it easier, but it was very hard for us to understand the locals and where we were going, let alone what we were looking for. If they had said, “Oh, you’re going to that barn over there,” that would have been a much better indicator of “OK, this is where we need to be” versus us looking through the town part when it was more like in the country area.
HitFix: Stacy, you had to face multiple heights-based challenges during the Race. How did you feel about those challenges and how are you feeling about heights these days?
Stacy: No way on this planet did I ever think that I would jump out of a plane or even descend down a building. But I went into the challenge scared as heck. Exactly what you saw on TV, multiply that by a million and that’s how I was really feeling. I think that the moment that was the most like, “OK. This is real. Either I’m going to live or die” was when they opened the door on the plane and there was a little cloud floating in the doorway and I was like, “Oh my gosh. I don’t know if I can do this.” But I just feel like that reassured me that I’m the strong woman that I envision myself in my head to be. I feel like Kerri and I, we face these challenges and we can face our fears with the mindset of, “We are as strong or stronger than what we visualize ourselves to be.” I hope that’s what’s reflected to everyone else. Now on the same token, I’m not jumping out of any planes any time soon. I’m about to ride a plane, but I will not be opening any doors on the plane.
HitFix: And Kerri, did you feel like you had any similar phobias that you were either looking forward to confronting or dreading confronting?
Stacy: I didn’t have any phobias, but had some things I really wanted to do. I love doing aerial stunts. I think I’m addicted to adrenaline. So I think going on the Race, I was looking forward to doing those types of things. That was one of the disappointments of when we got out, because I wanted to be able to do more and to see more, so I think that was the hard part for me.
HitFix: So are you jealous that Stacy got those two particular Roadblocks?
Kerri: No, I’m not jealous. I’m happy for her that she got to do it. I know that my life does not stop with “The Amazing Race.” There are many opportunities for me to go and jump out of an airplane and actually I was supposed to do it last summer, but I couldn’t for whatever reason. I think it’s good that she got to do it and face her fear and I think it was great that other people to see it and it was an inspiration to others. So, no. Definitely I think it’s a good thing that Stacy did that and it’s helped her kind overcome that fear.
Stacy: Dan, I think you should ask her if she’s going to face her fear and go swim with dolphins this summer.
Kerri: That is my fear! I forgot about that! I really thought, like, “Oh God. If they make us get in water with dolphins, I’ll freak out.” Like if maybe we went to Jamaica, we might have to do some kind of dolphin stunt. That was my fear.
HitFix: Um, Kerri… Why are you afraid of dolphins?
Kerri: I have no idea. Nothing ever happened to me with dolphins. I think they’re really cute animals, but I think it’s because they’re smarter than you. I think it’s because I’m a control freak and in the water, you’re not top-of-the-food-chain anymore. They’re smart and cunning and we’re humans and we rule the Earth, but in the water? We don’t rule and I think that’s what throws me off a little bit. Yeah. I’m a little weird in that respect.
HitFix: And Stacy, you have no problems at all with dolphins?
Stacy: Oh, no. That was one of our agreements. We were like, “OK. Before we go on the Race: Stacy’s doing all the water and Kerri’s doing all the air. And that’s it.”
Kerri: Yeah. We were tricked. We were tricked into her jumping. When Stacy decided to do the rappelling, I think Stacy was thinking, “OK, you did the other one, so it’s my turn” and going for turn and that’s how that ended up happening.
Stacy: Yeah, it wasn’t like I wanted to do it.
HitFix: As a last question: Give me a favorite moment from the Race that we didn’t get to see on TV…
Stacy: Definitely, Kerri and I both will agree, it was changing the tire in the first episode. We left the vineyard in first or second place. I know we had passed other people highway going to LAX and as soon as we get to the airport what happens to us? We get a flat tire. What’s ironic about that is that a week or two before we left for the Race, Kerri’s dad had us practicing outside in the heat, in the blistering sun, changing a Mahindra tractor tire. When we changed that tire, you can tell that we changed it to perfection, because we had a lot of practice in doing it.
Kerri: It’s one of those things, my whole life, my dad is a teaching dad. He’s definitely a “Teach a man to fish…” Growing up, it was all girls. We had one boy, but I think my dad was like, “I’m going to teach my daughters to be independent.” You know how you have those parents who are always trying to teach you something and you’re like, “Dad, no! I don’t want to hear it!” But that was one of those times where I could actually say that I’m so thankful that he made sure that we were adept at changing tired, because it really came in handy.
Stacy: With the whole tire-changing thing, he just kinda suckered us into changing the tire so we could go and plow the garden.