Gina and Sylvia are two 30-something stay-at-home moms from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, who are constantly on the go. Whether it's changing diapers, helping with homework or cheering on a little one at a soccer game, the pair have been busily taking care of their families and haven't had much time to focus on themselves.
While both moms attended the University of South Carolina, they met and became friends at a baby shower. Instead of pursuing careers outside of their home, they both decided to become at-home moms, and they've been close ever since. As Gina and Sylvia experience the joys and frustrations of motherhood, their children, whose ages range from 16 months to 9 years, have already shared many memorable moments together.
THE AMAZING RACE gives "Team Soccer Mom" the chance to experience an adventure away from their families before they head back to the chaos of daily life. "Our lives revolve around kids, carpools, diapers, cleaning bathrooms, laundry, etc.," says Gina. "I personally have had very little opportunity to travel. Everything I do on a daily basis is about my family, I want to do this trip for me."
Sylvia agrees. "I want to do something for me. I love taking care of my children but it's a job that requires one to devote themselves totally to someone else." She adds, "I'm also doing it for my daughter. I want her to see me do something special. I don't want her to think that all I did was sit at home!"
While they're on the road, both Gina and Sylvia have photos of their families with them so they can keep them close to their hearts during the tough days that lie ahead. With their easy-going, Southern nature, they think they have the charm and sensibility to come out on top. Plus, to them, the challenge is nothing compared to being a mom with a hectic family schedule.
Sylvia has three children, Charlie, Allison and Henry. Her birth date is January 17. Gina is mother of two children, Hunter and Abigil. Her birth date is September 23.
Q & A:
How would you describe your previous travel experience?
Gina: I personally have had very little travel experience. The Caribbean and a handful of states. That's one of the reasons I'm so excited about this trip.
Sylvia: I haven't done much traveling as an adult. As a child, I traveled with my mom to Peru (she is from Peru). But the older we got (my siblings and I), we didn't travel with her; she went alone. After I was married, my husband and I went to England.
What is the most stressful aspect of traveling?
Gina: The most stressful aspect of traveling, I think, will be the language barriers. It's going to be frustrating and scary at times, being unsure of where you're going and unable to communicate. That is a vulnerable position to be in.
Sylvia: On this Race, the most stressful aspect of traveling has to be our limited resources. We can't just check into a hotel or whip out a credit card and get out of town, or hop on a plane. Not to mention the language barrier!
What is the most important item in your backpack, and why?
Gina: I packed two pictures of my husband and children. They are my inspiration. I really want them to be proud of me.
Sylvia: I'm carrying a photograph of my husband and our three children. They are my inspiration. They are the reasons for most everything I do.
Why did you want to be on THE AMAZING RACE?
Gina: I got married at 23, right out of college. My husband and two children are my life. I love them more than anything and wouldn't change a thing, but I want to do this Race for me. Everything I do on a daily basis is about someone else. I need to prove to myself I can do this.
Sylvia: My world is filled with my children and my husband, and I'm really happy with that. This is something that I'm doing for myself, because I want to. I wanted to show my children that they, too, can do anything they want in life, that their world doesn't have to have limitations.
Have you and your partner traveled together before? If so, what was it like?
Gina: All of our previous travel experiences consist of--you guessed it--vacations with the kids. We load up the minivan and take our five children anywhere family-oriented and driveable. It is very chaotic at times, but we're hopefully making great memories for the kids.
Sylvia: We've taken short trips. We've never traveled outside the country. I have a minivan that will fit the two of us and our children, so our trips have always been short and fun and within driving distance.
What do you fear most about competing in THE AMAZING RACE?
Gina: My fear would be to be presented with a challenge I may not be successful at, therefore letting down my Team. What I really hope to discover about myself is not my fears, but that I am stronger mentally and physically than I ever gave myself credit for.
Sylvia: I think I fear letting my partner down, and myself. I want to push myself emotionally and physically. I believe I can do it. I don't want to disappoint myself or Gina. So, I guess I'm fearful of my own limitations, and finding out what scares me, or what pushes my buttons.
What strengths and weaknesses do you bring to the Team?
Gina: Physically, I am not as strong as Sylvia. I also think I tend to get impatient. My strengths lie in the thinking clearly and studying the angles in the decision-making process.
Sylvia: I think I can be strong physically. I tend to be more of the risk-taker. I communicate well. I think my weakness is that I can be more emotional. I sometimes have a short fuse.
What strengths and weaknesses does your teammate bring to the Team?
Gina: Physically, Sylvia is definitely the stronger of the two of us. She also can talk the two of us in and out of anywhere we need to go. She is funny and charming. People love her! Her weakness would have to be not paying attention to the details. We balance each other well; we let each other lead where they are strongest.
Sylvia: Gina brings rational thinking to our Team. She's a great problem-solver. She's smart. She's strong. She's a great leader. We balance each other well. I tend to be stronger, physically. That is mostly just because of her size.
What will you miss the most from home (besides your bed)?
Gina: What I will miss more than anything is not material; it is people: my husband and children. Everything else seems relatively unimportant. It's only a month. You can do anything for 30 days.
Sylvia: I will miss my three children and my husband most of all. I believe I will learn to appreciate my house, my van, my backyard, etc. I think we all take for granted the simple things that as Americans we have. Living in our country is truly a privilege.
What languages do you speak?
Gina: Only English and a few Spanish words.
Sylvia: English and about ten Spanish words!
What destination are you hoping to visit?
Gina: I would love to go to Greece or Italy.
Sylvia: I would love to go to Peru, specifically Machu Pichu. My mother is from Peru, and I have family there. I want to see this magical place that I have roots in. I haven't been to Peru since I was a small child. I have just some vague memories.
What country do you feel best prepared for?
Gina: I really don't feel more prepared for any one particular place. Obviously the English-speaking countries will be easier to get around. I'm just going to take each destination as it comes and give it my best.
Sylvia: None! I haven't traveled the world. This is going to be a great adventure, and one that I'll never forget!