In seven seasons of The Amazing Race Canada, we can safely say we’ve never seen a team like Dave and Irina. The married couple caused waves with their fellow racers and viewers throughout their time on the show, stealing cabs and answers while never being afraid to showcase their own brand of confidence and swagger.
Add in several first-place finishes, smack-talking and a penchant for taking time-penalties, and these two were definitely the team to talk about each Wednesday morning following a new episode. Sadly, their journey came to an end on Tuesday night’s penultimate episode, in which the four remaining teams travelled to Nova Scotia for some apple sorting, herb-tasting, and lyrical off-roading.
In the end, apples proved to be Dave and Irina’s downfall when they couldn’t quite complete the sorting Detour in a timely manner. That allowed Anthony and James to catapult to a first-place finish heading into next week’s finale, with Sam and Sarah and Joanne and Lauren following suit. That left the “villains” in last place, where host Jon Montgomery promptly eliminated them.
We caught up with Dave and Irina the morning after their big episode to talk about being this season’s baddies, what they thought about Meghan and Marie’s comments, and why this couple still considers themselves the strongest team to ever run the race.
Good morning, sorry about your elimination.
Dave: That’s okay, it was a choice, we felt bad for the other teams and we wanted to give them a chance to win some money.
So you’re still embracing the villains title?
Dave: We’re embracing it but it’s also a little bit true. We’re being humble and we don’t need the money and they’re going to get better use of it than us.
Have you guys made amends with any of the teams or walked away with any friendships?
Dave: Yeah actually; Jet and Dave. We keep in touch. Dave is actually in Cyprus right now where we live and we just missed each other but we keep in touch. They’re cool guys. It would have been a crazy season to race together. It would not have been perceived as nagging or whatever everyone has perceived it as—we wouldn’t have had to carry the season on our shoulders. It was Dave and Irina’s season plus the other teams. Some people don’t even know the other teams’ names.
Irina: Even when pictures of the other teams are posted the comments are all about us. It’s crazy.
At what point did you realize that you were being perceived as the show’s villains? And why embrace it?
Irina: We knew we were going to get strong reactions. I was aware that we both have strong personalities and we’re not exactly your typical Canadians. Average Canadians won’t be able to relate to us so I knew the outcome more or less, but I never thought this was going to be anything as big as what it became. People that never even watched The Amazing Race Canada are now watching it because they saw the comments online and were intrigued.
Dave: She’s wearing a crown right now. A tiara—no joke. People are saying how she didn’t want to do the challenges…
Irina: Queen Irina. I’m embracing it.
That’s part of it, right? You guys were true to yourselves until the end?
Irina: Definitely. I think we’re the only team that was actually true to ourselves and showing the whole spectrum of human emotions.
When we spoke with Meghan and Marie they felt because of the way Irina, you played the game, you were setting women back. Do you want to respond to that?
Irina: Yeah I have something to say about this. I guess it’s like as feminists that’s their claim against me? As feminists, let the women decide what they want to do with their lives. Whether it is to do all the challenges themselves and work really hard or to let your husband take care of you and do all the challenges for you, feminism is about giving women the choice. To be free to do whatever you want. Work hard or not work hard. Be a housewife or become a lawyer. Whatever you want to do. It’s about this freedom.
Dave: Who said being a feminist or being a strong woman means they have to be a firefighter?
Irina: Or when women are attacking other women for their choices. You’re saying my life is not okay?
Dave: There’s nothing wrong with their choices, we support them, but they should support our choices and Irina’s choices of wanting to be taken care of. A lot of women want to be taken care of and there’s nothing wrong with that. That doesn’t mean she can’t—she’s smarter than me, she’s capable.
Irina: And that’s one of the things I teach at Irina the Academy, how to empower your man.
What’s Irina the Academy?
Irina: Basically, I’m teaching women how to get through relationship struggles and how to bring a real relationship to its best potential. A lot of girls reach out to me and love their relationship, but have struggles like they suspect their husband is cheating on them or the attention is fading and the guy doesn’t give as much as he used to. So I basically help women to use tips and tricks on how to bring the love back and live their best lives with their partners.
Dave: And she’s f—ing good at it. She gets so many recommendations and messages saying she saved their marriages.
You’re obviously very passionate about each other so what has the race meant for your relationship?
Irina: Honestly, we’ve already been spending so much time together one-on-one—we actually have a pact that we don’t spend a night apart. Ever since we met, which was almost four years ago, we’ve been spending every night together. We pretty much knew ourselves and our relationship, and were prepared before going onto the show.
Dave: And our show is like Amazing Race. We’re doing a world tour right after this and touring 20, 30 countries all around Europe. I think she learned [a lot] about herself; during the whole time on the race she said, ‘I hate it, I don’t want to do it, I want to quit.’ But when she came home she said…
Irina: I want to learn to do all these things because I never left my comfort zone or challenged myself the way the show challenged me. It’s a whole new discovery of what I can do. I want to learn to surf, I want to learn all these things because what’s the worst that could happen? Before I was afraid of all these things.
If you were given the opportunity, would you do the race again?
Irina: Tough question. Dave would do it. He liked not having to make any decisions and they told us where to go…
Dave: I love the fact that you’re disconnected from the world and it’s actually like a vacation. Plus the competitor in me. We won the most amount of legs—no one left can beat us now because we won four—so that’s a good win for us. We also won most-hated couple in the history of the show, which we love because we love awards, and then winning all the face-offs.
Irina: The most beautiful couple!
Dave: Oh yeah, all these things.
Irina: It would take a little convincing. It’s not about needing the prize money, it’s the experience. I was so stressed on the show. We were arguing every day. I wanted to know why he was doing this to me, why we were on it. That’s part of why he was doing all of the heavy lifting for me because he felt so bad that I was so stressed. He was telling me to put the shovel down. But once the show was over I was like, ‘Wow. That was awesome.’
The Amazing Race Canada wraps its seventh season on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 9 p.m. ET on CTV