This afternoon, I had the pleasure of speaking with Cindy, one half of the most recently eliminated team of Cindy and Russell. Russell was unavailable, and though we tried to hook up, it wasn't meant to be. Here's what Cindy had to say:
On your bio, it says you're an inventor. What have you invented?
Five years ago, I created a child safety system, which we're in the process of patenting and have put a lot of money into. It's not quite ready yet, but I invented it and developed the marketing plan for it. It competes with GPS in a way, but it's used to help prevent missing children, rather than finding them like traditional GPS would. It also gives control back to the parents, because they can use it when they choose to.
Tell me about the train mix-up, and what happened.
The cab driver that took us to the train station advised us on getting to Gmunden, but he got us to Gmund, which is another area with a very similar name. He gave us the wrong town, the wrong train station. I tried to get the money back when we discovered the error, but the guy swore he sold us the right tickets, so that cost us another 15 minutes. By then, we had to get to the other train station, and it was just too late, and very frustrating.
We also had trouble at the bungee jump area. Russell was allying with Jeff & Dave and Chip & Reichen - I myself didn't agree with allying. But when we got to the jump area, Russell pulled out two tickets. You'll notice on TV that he took two tickets out, handed one to Jeff and David, and kept one for us. They got number 7, and we got number 8, which put us a place behind on the bungee jump.
Do you think the number thing sealed your fate?
Well, I think it was a combination - that would have given us the 10 extra minutes that we needed at that moment, but I also feel that between that and the train ticket, it was a lost cause at that point. Unfortunately. It's so erratic.
Did you talk about doing the Fast Forward on that leg, or any time during the race?
Russell and I both agreed that if we played it right, we were physically strong enough to wait for the 3rd or 4th leg if we could. At the train station, I thought "boy, that's too bad we didn't take it, instead of the bungee jump." But from the beginning, we thought we'd wait.
On the train to Gmunden, did you think you still had a chance?
We pretty much knew we were out of it. Trying to keep our spirits high was really hard. Russell was really depressed. I thought it would come down to being 5 minutes apart or something, but it was pretty fatal. We had a pretty good idea.
Watching the show last night, what did you think about the faces Russell was making behind your back?
I saw them throughout the whole shoot. It took all my patience to keep it together. It was not his normal behavior, and it was the first time I'd ever seen him like that. But when you're not eating or sleeping properly, and you're motivated to win a million dollars at all costs, it does strange things to peope.
What was one thing you packed that you realized you shouldn't have?
Flip-flops - the ones you get at North Face. You only need Gore-Tex shoes. I strongly recommend Gore-Tex shoes to keep your feet dry. That's imperative to have, and it's all you need.
If you could do one thing different that you had control over, what would it be?
I would have chosen a different partner. I would have thought about it from a different angle. I was going for "Jewel of the Nile", and ended up with "Throw Momma From the Train", if you know what I mean. For me, it's the saying "when you put passion before principle, even if you win, you lose."
Whose idea was it to do the race?
Did you choose Russell right away?
I was pretty clear about Russell, but I wasn't looking at it objectively, exactly all the pros and cons of bringing him, or him of bringing me. He's not here to defend himself, but I would say neither of us took into consideration these things. We were looking at our schedules, and we could probably both do the show, and we also knew we both had a great time together, we both had a competitive edge, we both liked the same things, we're both well-traveled. We normally had a great time together, but this is a fishbowl, and it changed things quite dramatically. It was a complete shock.
How did you prepare for the race?
Took a backpack, put 40 pounds into it, and ran about 5 days on the beach, and up mountains.
During the final words, it seemed like you were re-examining the relationship. Are you still dating?
No. Like I said when we were eliminated: I saw a lot of what happened when things get put on the line, and that to me is a big part of a relationship. When it's put on the line, you get to see people's character and what their choices are, and if it's not to choose to be on your side, then you really need to examine what you like about that person. So for me, it was pretty cut and dry that I wasn't with the right person.
It came out on our web site that you were in a car accident several years ago that forced a career change. Would you care to tell us about that?
Sure. I used to model in New York and Europe, and had a pretty strong career. Oh, and that supermodel comment? That was Sports Illustrated did a comment from Tommy Armour. We were having dinner, a big group of us, and they referred to me as a supermodel, and we were making a joke of it. But I was pretty successful, and had a car accident when I came out to L.A., and it changed my career rather quickly. A drunk driver hit me, and I had to have operations over the next three years. Interestingly enough, I didn't go to college, so I ended up working in a restaurant. I went from $350 per hour to $8 an hour. I learned how to manage a restaurant, and got into designing and promoting, and created a huge database of 13,000 people. That's how I started my business, because I was able to make contacts and get started, so it all worked out at the end of the day. It's just a different adventure, and so was this. Everyone needs a good adventure, but pack the Gore-Tex shoes.
Oh, and I have one more piece of advice. When they give you the money each leg, split it. You should each carry half the money.
Why is that?
What happens is a lot of people get controlling about things. And in my situation, it was hard to get to the money to sustain my food and water and sleep. It's very important to trust your partner, but you should also recognize what you need for yourself at your own time.
Thanks to Cindy, and to the people at CBS who tried to get Russell on the line for us but couldn't. Cindy, good luck with your invention, and report back to us when it's available for sale!