From the get-go it seemed like Navy sailors Zainab and Monica just couldn’t catch a break on The Amazing Race Canada (Tuesdays, 8 p.m. ET, CTV). Sure, in theory they had all the luck when they avoided elimination twice (once in a non-elimination leg and then again in last week’s keep-on-racing leg). But overall they had this monkey on their backs that just seemed to prevent them from ever pushing through to the top half of the pack.
On Tuesday night’s latest edition of the show, the duo proved the third time isn’t always a charm when they were finally eliminated. Following a brutal U-Turn by Courtney and Adam, Zainab and Monica were the last to arrive on the mat yet again, and this time host Jon Montgomery had to eliminate them from the race.
We caught up with the heroic duo to chat about karmic retribution (they did U-Turn Todd and Anna, resulting in that team’s elimination), why they were never able to pull ahead, and why they should be considered if The Amazing Race Canada All-Stars were to ever happen.
What went wrong?
Zainab: We got U-Turned, which is a bummer but with that said, it’s part of the game and no hard feelings against anyone. Obviously it stings and it may sting for some time but it’s understandable. We used the tool to get ourselves ahead in Leg 3. It’s all a part of the game and we’re just super grateful for the experience.
Was it karma coming into play?
Monica: Yes, I do believe it’s karma. I know it’s part of the race but I’m a strong believer in karma and Zainab knows that. I was all about it throughout the race. If something bad happened, if something good happened. When good things happened we wouldn’t have wanted to gloat either because we know how karma is. It’s a big thing when it comes down to the race.
Did you think twice about using the U-Turn in Leg 3 or was that something you really felt like you had to do in the moment?
Monica: Personally it made me regret the U-Turn because had we not done that to Todd and Anna then Courtney and Adam would have been out since they came in second-last on that leg, and they were the ones who ended up U-Turning us. So… it would have made things a little bit easier.
It seemed like you guys had a monkey on your back, and you just couldn’t pull ahead on this race. Why was that?
Zainab: Throughout the first two legs of the race, they were self-drive legs and we got bad directions a lot of the time. With editing a lot of it doesn’t make the cut so I’m not too upset about that but in a lot of instances it was a simple, A-to-B direction and we somehow were sent in the wrong direction. Time is of the essence — one red light, one stop sign can drop the race off completely. That was kind of a bummer and that showed even more in Indonesia when we ended up in fourth place and we kicked butt because we were good with the cabs. We got good luck, we learned some key words on the plane, and that really, really got us some good cab service!
Did you experience a mental breaking point at all?
Monica: We were able to keep our heads afloat because Zainab and I are both spiritual. We had a lot of tough times but there were times where I would just pray on it and things would get better. There were times when I had minor breakdowns but then I would remember what’s important and we would try to stay positive at all times. That’s what kept us going—our faith.
Has doing the race inspired you to be more of a hero in your own communities?
Zainab: The term “hero,” I’ve never considered myself a hero… the fact that we were chosen for this? I still pinch myself every morning. It’s hard to believe that we’re even having this interview right now. This is just such a surreal experience and all I’ve ever done is try to be my best self and try to serve my country to the best of my ability. The fact that that’s being recognized in the way it is, I’m incredibly grateful and humbled by the experience and will continue to be.
If The Amazing Race Canada: All-Stars were to happen, what would be your argument for returning?
Monica: We know a lot more about Chevrolet now, so we could drive around faster? [Laughs.] We know a lot more about cars and direction so we can kick butt when it comes to the challenges. We’ve never given up in general and like Zainab mentioned, it’s going from A-to-B and I really think we could do it again. It comes down to luck and you know what? It will come around.
Who are you rooting for to win?
Zainab: We think about it a lot and the teams selected this season, more than any other season, are much more competitive. Everyone brings a different skill to the table and this is anyone’s game. But if we were to put our money on one team we would probably say Dylan and Kwame. They have great spirit, great attitude and are obviously competitors as athletes. They also have really good karma because they are good people and I think that will get them very, very far on the race.
Anything to add?
Zainab: We just want to thank The Amazing Race Canada for the experience. I don’t want to sound cliché but this is something we’re going to remember for the rest of our lives and we are so thankful. The experience has changed me in the sense that I feel revived. We all have these moments where we’re like, “What are we doing with our lives?” and I’ve hit my 30s and I’ve just become completely revived from this experience. I feel like I can do anything at any time and just grab life anyway I want to, and just enjoy it.