The Amazing Race: Exclusive interview
Meet the winners of The Amazing Race 13
Nick and Starr (the highly dynamic brother and sister duo) are riding high after coming first in TV's most-famous reality marathon, The Amazing Race. tvnz.co.nz caught up with the Spangler siblings to find out about life on the show, winning The Amazing Race and why their stint in New Zealand turned into a very special experience.
tvnz.co.nz: How are you both feeling?
tvnz.co.nz: What was it like traveling over 40, 000 miles for 22 days?
Nick: Incredible. Starr and I were fans of the show from the very first season. Just to be able to participate on the race was an incredible experience. The one thing that I always told Phil the host when he asked me 'what are you guys looking forward to the most on the race?' and I said, 'honestly Phil I just want to complete the journey'. I want to make it all the way around the world'. I would have been happy just crossing the finishing line but being first was even better!
tvnz.co.nz: What was your favourite leg of the journey?
Starr: I really enjoyed Cambodia. It was beautiful and different and just the people, the culture; It was the first place Nick and I were really able to look at each other and said, 'wow, we're on The Amazing Race'. We had boats, and trucks, and tuk-tuks and it was the first time everyone really had the language barrier and it was awesome.
tvnz.co.nz: What was the most challenging part - physically, emotionally or mentally?
Nick: Oh gosh. To be honest, I think visiting Russia was probably the most difficult thing for Starr and I. First off because Americans don't have the best reputation in that part of the world so any time we jumped in a cab it was very difficult to have a congenial relationship with the driver. But also the language barrier - that was probably where Starr and I hit the wall the most and just could not communicate with our driver so we had a leg in Russia that was very, very difficult. And it was probably the closest Starr and I came to really breaking down.
tvnz.co.nz: How did your sister and brother relationship grow over the race?
Nick: It's just been awesome. Once we finished the race it was this incredible experience that we got to share with each other and we had to keep it secret that we'd won while the rest was airing. It's been a lot of fun.
Starr: I actually moved to New York to live with Nick after the race for a year and I just moved away from him. Since the race we really have been together all the time so it will be very difficult to not to have him so close to me - we really have kept up a great friendship and he's definitely one of my best friends.
tvnz.co.nz: At what point during the race did you think 'we've nailed this, we're going to win'?
Starr: I was always extremely positive from the start to the end when Nick and I sent in our applications I said 'Nick, we're going to be on the race' and once we were on it I said 'we're going to win and once we were on that final leg at the airport I said 'we're going to do this, we're going to win'. Did we ever really think we had it in the bag? No but I just believe that positive thinking really helped.
Nick: I never ever believed it. You can see if you watch the race that any small difficulty can suddenly loom in front of you and send you from first place to elimination, so I guess I was the pessimist on our team. I just always assumed that thee worst would happen and I truly never believed we were going to win until we read that final clue that said go to the finishing line. Go, go, go; and when we jumped in a cab I finally thought 'Oh my god we're about to win'.
tvnz.co.nz: You must have felt euphoric?
Nick: Oh yeah!
tvnz.co.nz: What was your secret?
Starr: Nick and I push and pull together. When Nick was feeling down, I would cheer him up and when I was feeling down he would pick me up. In every challenge we were positive with each other even when it got tough and we were frustrated. We were never upset at one other it was just let's get it down and figure it out and I think that approach to the race was different than a lot of people. I think that was our secret, there was a great respect that we had for each other.
Nick: I think Starr and I just really understood that no matter what's going on between you and your team mate, you're united in a common goal of trying to move forward and trying to come in first place and both of us really understood that. We may have disagreed about a direction to go in but we always knew in the back of our heads that we had to go forward together so I think that really helped.
tvnz.co.nz: What was each others most annoying habit when travelling together?
Nick: Starr was so frantic anytime we were traveling. If things went out of control like we couldn't communicate with the driver and he was lost, she would break down and she would want to make brash decisions like get out of the cab and get in a new one or pull over and try and find someone to help. She would always say go, go, go and she was always so frantic trying to go faster and faster. But I think in the race you have to step on the brakes a little bit so that you don't make a mistake.
Starr: However, there were times that I told us to pull over and we needed to and I made the guy stop and I was right because we had to stop.
Nick: That is true!
Starr: Where I was extremely aggressive, I found him to be a little bit too passive. But now and again that is the push and pull that we had on the race and that's what moved us forward.
tvnz.co.nz: What did you learn from the experience seeing the world in the way that you did?
Nick: To be honest, one of the greatest things I learned is that you can get by a lot by a big friendly smile. The one thing that can unite us is good manners - a please, a thank you and a smile and then everybody gets along. Even if a cab driver is lost or can't understand you if you're still nice to him and try and relate to him in some way then things are going to be ok because he's not going to get frustrated. I think that's one of the greatest traveling things that I learnt.
tvnz.co.nz: What are you going to do with the prize money?
Nick: I've actually spent a good deal of mine already! I've bought an apartment in NYC for my girlfriend and I and we've just moved in the past couple of days and we're trying to get in to our own little home. I now own a piece of real estate which is incredible at my age.
Starr: I haven't decided what I'm going to do with my mine yet. I will be buying a car so that will be my first big purchase but I don't have anything crazy planned. I am going to Europe for three weeks so that will be a nice vacation which I wouldn't have done if I haven't had the funds to do it. I'm not sure yet.
tvnz.co.nz: If you could take away one snap shot from The Amazing Race experience - what would that be?
Nick: To be honest and you may think I'm only saying this because I'm talking to New Zealand TV! but there was a moment when we were in New Zealand and we were up at the top of Mount Eden. Starr has just finished her task and we were so excited and it was the beginning of the morning and it was raining lightly but there was this perfect double rainbow arching over Auckland.
We could see the entire thing because we were up so high and Starr and I just had this moment where we stood there and felt like we were standing on the top of the world! We were like on the other side of the planet and we're looking at this gorgeous site. It was really incredible and that's definitely a moment I'll never forget.
Starr: I was actually going to say the exact same thing. That is definitely a snap shot I will remember forever.