The first rule of “The Amazing Race” is to always read your clue. Janelle Pierzina definitely did not do that on Leg 6, thinking she was looking for a literal Rolex watch during the Roadblock in Uganda when rolex is just the punny nickname of a chapati dish comprised of rolled eggs. So she spent what felt like half the episode walking around a Ugandan market, dropping her and Britney Haynes to last place.
Their final glimmer of hope to stay in the game, the Head-to-Head Battle, didn’t shake out well either, with Britney losing the drum task to her one-time “Big Brother” enemy and now close pal Rachel Reilly.
So why didn’t Janelle take another gander at her clue? And when did Britney find out how clueless (no pun intended) Janelle was? Find out below!
Gold Derby: What was it like reliving that last week?
Janelle: Oh, my God, it was the best case scenario for watching the episode. We were together in New York City, we were having some drinks and surrounded by friends and fans.
Britney: We were at a party, so we couldn’t really watch it. We could, but we couldn’t. There were tons of fans and … it really took the edge off.
GD: Janelle, I guess the biggest question is, why didn’t you read the clue again instead of searching far and wide for a watch?
Janelle: So I did read the clue. [Sighs] Oh, I don’t know. You know, we were in last place and you’re panicking because you’re just trying to do things as quick as possible, so I wasn’t really thinking clearly. My mission in my mind was, “Whatever it takes, Janelle. Find a freaking Rolex dealership and don’t give up.” I had the clue in my hand, but I don’t think my brain put it together. And I literally ran everywhere. Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere, looking for a Rolex. And I actually did find a Rolex dealership and that’s when I was like, “Oh, OK, oh shoot” [when nothing happened after I found it].
GD: How long would you say you were walking around for before you realized?
Janelle: Oh, I wasn’t walking; I was running! I was running everywhere I could. I ran like six miles. Literally, like the camera guy was dying. I ran all the way around the marketplace over and over, looking everywhere.
GD: Did you not see any other teams?
Janelle: No, we were the last ones and they all [eventually finished].
GD: Britney, what were you thinking the whole time while you were waiting with the other racers and they all completed it?
Britney: To be honest, I stood there for a long time without knowing that’s what she was doing. I can’t see her because she ran off. I thought she was gathering ingredients. I saw the other teams go and buy their ingredients, so I thought that’s what she was doing. So for the longest time, I thought she was having a hard time finding certain ingredients or whatever. [Production] had to actually tell me that she wasn’t finding ingredients because I thought she was, so of course at that point I wanted so badly to tell her. And I was warned, like, “You cannot help her. If she comes over here, you cannot say anything to her. It’s part of the rules that you cannot say anything to her.” So two different times she came up to me, once to get money and once that you saw on the show. And I just wanted to be able to say something, but they had warned me that I couldn’t. I wasn’t upset with her at all. It’s a mistake that happens. This happens on ‘The Amazing Race’ all the time. At least once a season you have one of these moments.
I mostly just felt bad because Janelle and I had made a game plan for the leg that I would do the challenge, but then we were in last place and I freaked out and I asked her to do it. I basically threw her into that. I felt badly that number one) I didn’t do the challenge like we had talked about, and number two) I just felt like I couldn’t help her. I watched her run around. You just felt helpless.
Adding insult to injury you didn’t start the task in last place because Rachel and Elissa [Slater] were behind you and had to do the Speed Bump first.
Britney: Yeah, we saw Rachel and Elissa finish their Speed Bump, and they passed us, so I knew we were definitely last then.
GD: Janelle, when you finally realized it wasn’t a watch, did it play out like we saw on the show? You went up to a stand asking for a Rolex and he handed you the ingredient list.
Janelle: Yeah! Literally I was like, “Do you know where there’s a Rolex?” And he gives me my clue! [Laughs] I’m like, “No freakin’ way.” Oh, my God.
GD: How much did the traffic earlier in the leg affect your mindset, not just by setting you back? Every other team was done counting the steps before you even made it to the tourism office.
Britney: It really threw us off the whole leg. I think we were ultimately an hour and a half behind.
Janelle: Yeah, when we got [to the tourism office] in last place, which we didn’t expect, it just set a tone for the rest of the leg. Like we were just freaking out. We were the only ones there and our outfits and scarves were the only ones there. We’re like, “Shoot! How did everyone get here before us?” Because we figured everyone had taken the same route, but no one else went through the same traffic we went through. Once we realized we were last, I think we felt like we couldn’t stop and think because we had to catch up.
GD: You still had a shot with the Head-to-Head, but everyone finished in the same order they arrived in.
Janelle: I mean, of course they did. Rachel lost, she had an hour and half to think about it. You’re looking at a puzzle and you’ve already played it. Hell yeah you’re going to beat the next person behind you, and if you don’t, you’re an idiot.
GD: Britney, did you take it because you hadn’t done the Roadblock and you felt bad?
Britney: Yeah, totally. I think I’m good at puzzles and I could do it. I felt confident about it, especially stacking puzzles. I was like, hell yeah, I can do this. So I was confident, but also there was also a part in the back of my mind like, “OK, Janelle has had all the pressure of this leg. Time for Britney to step up.”
GD: How hard was it to go up against Rachel and Elissa?
Janelle: It was hard. We like Rachel and Elissa and we have a mom bond with them. We had hung out with them a lot through the course of the race to that point. But knowing it was going to be one of the two of us, it sucked. I wish it would’ve been anyone else. Not that we didn’t like any of the other teams, but we really like the Reilly sisters.
And all the “Big Brother” teams were intact up until that point.
Janelle: Yeah, exactly!
GD: You both did well in comps on “Big Brother,” and Janelle, you’re known as a comp beast. How did the “Big Brother” comps compare to the “Amazing Race” ones?
Janelle: They’re so different. I feel like “Big Brother” is a lot of mental comps because there’s not a lot of space to do them. This was a more physical challenge. They usually take a bit longer. “Big Brother” is very mental and memory-based, and it’s usually puzzles. It still helps having so much experience doing competitions.
Britney: I agree with Janelle. The comps are just on a larger scale. Obviously in the “Big Brother” house, the comps are confined to the backyard, so they do a good job of making the most of it; you’ve got a couple comps that are about stamina and outlasting people. But the “Amazing Race” competitions were more physical and less of the small-scale and mental competitions.
Janelle: Yeah, like there wasn’t a lot of memory or memorization. I’m so good at that.
That’s not usually until the final leg with the memory task.
Britney: Yeah. But even if you’re like cooking a fish or learning the alphabet, you’re probably running four miles to get the fish before you cook it. You can’t just say, oh, I’m going to cook. It’s a long way to get to the cooking. You have to navigate a huge area. You have to run a really long way with your backpack on. It’s still really physical even if the task itself isn’t physical.
I feel like you guys had a pretty good grasp on the game and how it’s different from “Big Brother” and “Survivor,” which are more social game-based. There’s no backstabbing or manipulation of that sort on “Race.” What was your approach to “Race”?
Britney: I think we did try to play, I guess, what you can call a social game. We got along with the teams. There wasn’t backstabbing. I felt like everyone was really nice. It wasn’t like “Big Brother,” where it’s every man for himself and it’s super cutthroat. There’s all these layers to these different relationships people have with each other. And on “The Amazing Race,” it was just way more straightforward than that. The teams got along. Yes, when it came down to a U-Turn or whatever, you don’t want to be U-Turned, and you want to be in a good place with teams so they won’t U-Turn you. But that’s really the only part of “The Amazing Race” where you really have to develop a social game for.
And sometimes it’s just survival. If you’re second to last, you’re going to U-Turn the team behind you.
Britney: Exactly, no matter who it is. Frankly, people make those U-Turn decisions based more than on social games. They’re making it based on how well you’re performing on challenges. It’s a lot based on your performance and who they think is a threat. It’s only partially socially, so the social game doesn’t have as much of a presence.
GD: Would you guys do “Survivor”?
Janelle: I’m so high-maintenance! [Laughs] Like I struggled on “The Amazing Race.” You’d have to wear very little makeup and a ton of sunscreen — oh, my God. Help me now!
Britney: I am not high-maintenance, but my struggle with “Survivor” would be the first night when it’s cold and raining. I don’t do well with cold. The first night it’s cold and raining, I would be struggling so much.
Janelle: I grew up camping and I used to be super outdoorsy … so I would be really good camp-wise, I think. We’re both “Survivor” fans.
GD: I’ll take that as a maybe.
Janelle: I would 100 percent do it. I’m not gonna lie. [Laughs]