Regardless of how you feel about them, you can’t deny that Corinne Kaplan and Eliza Orlins went out on “The Amazing Race” with a bang. The “Survivor” alums’ elimination on Wednesday’s episode was one for the ages, as they had to share the mat with Rachel Reilly and Elissa Slater, who nipped them for eighth place — this after saying how much they hate the Reilly sisters and will block them on social media when the sisters wouldn’t let them steal their cab earlier. The frustration was palpable and the bitterness was immediate. There were eye rolls and they had to walk off to cry and reiterate how much they hate the Rachel and Elissa.
But the truth is, Corinne and Eliza tell Gold Derby, they do not hate the Reillys. Plus, you may have already noticed that they haven’t blocked them on social media. Check out our exit interview below to see why they reacted so intensely, the origin of Eliza’s fear of motorbikes, and why they will gladly fill your “reality TV villain” quota.
Gold Derby: What was it like watching the episode?
Corinne: It’s devastating. It’s really, really hard. It was hard watching Eliza when I was there. It’s hard watching it back, remembering the emotions I felt when I was there. All you wanna do is turn back time. But as far as I can tell, and Eliza and I have talked about this, there wasn’t anything else we could’ve done. It was just dumb luck; it was our time.
Eliza: It’s funny. I’ve been dreading watching this back for 11 months. I remembered it as this just horrifically devastating day where I just was an epic failure and I had let myself down and let Corinne down, and all my friends and family will be watching it back. I think I built it up so much that it was actually less bad than I had remembered it. [Laughs] In my mind, it was just so epic of a failure and watching it, I was like, “Yeah, we weren’t great, but we just got unlucky. We had a bad day and I did the best I could.” I still cried, but it was still less bad.
Corinne: When we are doing it, we can’t see the other teams a lot of the time. We don’t know where they are, we don’t know what place they’re in. So watching it and seeing, oh, a lot of people struggled on the motorbike, a lot of people thought the basket was really heavy, everyone’s hands was cut up from the oars. There was so much of it that, more to Eliza’s point, it was like we’re not the only idiots! Other people struggled too, but you don’t know that when you’re in it.
GD: And Eliza, you only took 10 tries on the motorbike. That’s not that many.
Eliza: Well, that’s what it said. I was surprised. It certainly felt like more! But if you think about the fact that Jamal [Zadran] got it in six and Elissa got it in seven, and they just had much better cab drivers and got there much quickly. … Maybe if I had more time, we would’ve done better.
GD: Why are you so deathly afraid of motorbikes?
Eliza: Having traveled the world, I have had many opportunities to ride a motorbike. I have traveled extensively through Asia and Southeast Asia, and every time I’ve had the opportunity to go on a motorbike, I’ve chosen not do; I would go on the back of someone’s motorbike. I’ve watched loved ones and friends get into horrific crashes on motorbikes. I watched one girl flipped over a motorbike, put both her arms down and break both her arms. She had to be airlifted out. This was on an island in Thailand. I just don’t have a death wish. I just never wanted to learn how to ride a motorbike. Now, of course, I wish I had learned. I just think they’re awful.
GD: Corinne, how do you think you think you would’ve done? It seemed like everyone except Colin [Guinn] struggled with it before they got the hang of it.
Corinne: So there were a couple of things at play. Much like Eliza, I promised my mother when I was a little girl that I would never get on a motorcycle or any kind of motorized device like that. I work in healthcare, and they’re called donor-cycles. It’s just a matter of time before you wipe out on one. They’re very dangerous. So I’m just as scared as she is. But in addition to being scared, I also have no balance. When I was on “Survivor” for [my medical clearance], they make you stand on one leg, close your eyes and try to touch your nose with your finger. … The doctor asked me to do it and I said, “Oh, I can’t do that.” And he said, “What? Just try.” I said, “No, I definitely can’t do that.” He said, “Just try it, Corinne. Everyone can do that.” I said, “I can’t,” and I can’t. I have the balance of someone who’s wasted with an inner ear infection. There’s no chance, I promise you, that I would’ve been better, so I was thankful that she was willing to do it.
GD: Your elimination at the mat with Rachel and Elissa was quite something. How much of your reaction was your frustration at being eliminated and how much of it was because of Rachel and Elissa?
Corinne: I know that it’s really fun to say that the reason we were so upset was specific to the fact that it was the Reilly sisters, but the reality is that it wouldn’t have matter if I had lost to my favorite team, Chris [Hammons] and Bret [LaBelle]. At that moment, it’s happening in slow motion. You know your journey, everything you worked so hard for, is all over. … It’s hard to explain because it feels like it happened in the blink of an eye, like we woke up and all of the sudden we’re standing on the mat and all of this is over. It was a feeling that I cannot describe. I am not a crier and my parents were like, “We can’t watch if you’re gonna cry.” I welled up on that mat because I had put everything I had into it and it just meant that everything I had was only good enough to get me to the fourth leg. And that is a horrible feeling. It’s a disappointment in yourself. It doesn’t have to do with who’s standing on the mat next to me. But Eliza might’ve felt differently than me at that point.
Eliza: No, I’m in agreement. I think we would’ve been so devastated no matter who it was. If you actually look at the content of what we were saying — “We hate them! We’re gonna block them on social media! We’re not gonna party with them after this!” — it’s not anything that’s personalized to them. I know I was like, “It hurts even more because it was to them,” and there was the cab thing earlier, but it’s more of the frustration and disappointment of everything. We didn’t have anything against them and we don’t have anything against them. We were texting with both of them yesterday; they’re our friends in real life. It was just the heat of the moment at being eliminated, and it sucks. That’s really what it comes down to.
GD: I watched your extended mat interview and it was a lot more calm and level-headed than what they included on the show because obviously they’re going to play up the drama.
GD: Corinne, you said something interesting in that. You said you thought “Amazing Race” would be more vacation-y. Did you actually think that?
Corinne: Yeah! I’ve traveled the world also and I thought, “Well, you’re gonna get to take it in.” It’s funny because as soon as we went to Tokyo on the first leg, people were like, “Oh, did you try the sushi?” I cannot stress this enough: You’re just doing whatever “Amazing Race” tasks are at hand. There is no extra fun. There is no relaxing part of it. Even on this leg, Eliza and I would sit in the cab and constantly run drills — “Let’s define these words in this language so we can talk to cab drivers. Let’s talk about what happens if this challenge arises.” There was no relaxation at all. I gotta tell you: I had not watched “Amazing Race” before we got cast. I was not a fan of the show. I understood the premise and I thought it sounded awesome. It is awesome, but it is not all what I thought it was going to be.
Eliza: I knew how difficult it would be. I feel like I was much more equipped to understand what we were getting ourselves into. A lot of close friends of ours, including Francesca Hogi from “Survivor” and my friend Ami Cusack, who I was on both seasons of “Survivor” with — they both initially applied for “The Amazing Race” and they were like, “Oh my God! Wouldn’t it be so much better to race?” And I was like, “No way! I would be stressed out the whole time. I would be in a total state of panic.” I feel like I knew how horrific it would be, but I just thought it’d be horrific but I’d be better at it.
GD: I don’t think anyone who watched you on “Survivor” would be surprised that you were happy to assume the mantle of the villains of the season and ruffle feathers. I found that really refreshing because most people don’t embrace that. Why was this your tactic on “Race”?
Eliza: I feel like for Corinne, that’s a no-brainer. That’s just who she is. That’s why she’s one of the most notorious villains. She’s iconic for being a villain on “Survivor.” I think I’m less of a villain but more outspoken and snarky. But when I was cast with Corinne, I was like, “Oh, OK, I see what our roles are here.” But knowing Janelle [Pierzina] and Britney [Haynes] from “Big Brother,” I kind of thought, “Oh, they’re also these snarky, hilarious, a little bit villainous kind of mean girls.” And they changed so much. They were like, “No, no, we’re dedicated to not saying anything mean. We’re setting an example for our daughters.” So I was like, “Oh, OK, so we really have to step up.” [Laughs] Somebody has to do it!
Corinne: I say this all the time, but when people say, “You’re so lucky you got cast on ‘Survivor'” or “You’re so lucky you got cast on ‘The Amazing Race'” — bitch, I’m not lucky! I’m good TV! I know why I was hired and I have no interest in going on a show to pretend to the world that I have somehow turned a corner, I am this truly good person. I’m not! Nothing about me is inauthentic. Everything that I do or say, it’s how I act in real life. It’s just that most people who get on TV really don’t want their true colors to show.
I also think there’s a villain and there’s a bitch. Eliza is actually much more of a villain. She’s the one that comes up with yelling loudly during karaoke to mess Victor [Arroyo] up. She’s the one that wanted to stay in front of the tuk tuk. I’m more of a bitch. I’m the one that you see in a lot of the deleted scenes calling the Afghanimals unattractive. I go through life and I don’t have a filter. To me, the two of us combined with those aspects makes for very interesting TV. I can’t speak for the viewers — and the “Amazing Race” fans are kind of weird — but I feel like, do you want to watch a team that does well, is completely perfect all the time and just meditates? Or do you wanna watch a bunch of people who are sh—talking for most of the race? I would rather watch the latter, so I like to give people what they want.
GD: There’s a lot of entertaining deleted material with you guys, like when you likened the Afghanimals to the gen pop area of a Vegas club.
Corinne: Yeah, I don’t understand why that stuff doesn’t make TV, but that’s where I shine!
GD: Would you guys do “Big Brother”?
Corinne: I wouldn’t necessarily rule it out. Eliza has a very professional career that doesn’t really lend itself to making career-limiting moves. I think going on “Big Brother” — the fact that it has alcohol and hooking up and stuff — is not a great look if you’re a true professional. I would say I am too, but probably less so than Eliza. I’m not ruling it out, but it’s certainly not something I’m seeking to do.
Eliza: To live in a house with 24/7 cameras and be cooped up there with no books, I think I would lose my mind. And I would lose my job for sure! I cannot spend 90 days there.