Thursday, October 23, 2008

Before the Race with... Marisa & Brooke

Marisa Axelrod & Brooke Jackson
4th Team eliminated,

This past April, as The Amazing Race's eleven teams prepared for their upcoming adventure, I had the opportunity to sit with each one. As I met team after team, I was often impressed by their skills and determination. Yet only one team would ultimately bring home the $1 million prize.

This past Sunday, we saw the fourth elimination of this season (following Arthur & Anita, Anthony & Stephanie, and Bill & Mark.) Marisa Axelrod and Brooke Jackson are two best friends from South Carolina, who brought to the race a blend of Southern charm and dogged determination. As I sat with them this past spring -- on the day the teams got their first glimpses of each other -- I asked about their friendship, and just why they thought they would win The Amazing Race.

Must Hear TV: How do you two know each other?

Brooke Jackson: We’ve been friends for 4 years.
Marisa Axelrod: We met at football game, where we were wearing the same outfit.

MHTV: Was it a pink outfit?

MA: No, it wasn’t pink. It was jeans and little black boots and a black top. The same exact outfit. Brooke had her hair all curled, and the same kind of makeup.

MHTV: You do look a lot alike.

MA: We get people thinking we’re sisters a lot.
BJ: You’re not going to be able to miss us. All of our outfits are hot pink. We match the whole time.

MHTV: So on the Race, you two are going to stand out and make a statement. What will that statement be?

BJ: We’re a lot rougher than we look.
MA: We are the sweet southern belles who smile and giggle, but when it gets down to it, we’re competitive. We’ll fight and do whatever.

MHTV: When you talked about outfits, will this trip require you bringing a lot of clothes and makeup that will take up a lot of space in your pack?

MA: The night before we left we spent the night together. I don’t know where I thought I was going. I had five pair of Prada shoes, Gucci perfume, makeup, everything. So we condensed it down.
BJ: We’re not going to be worried about looks.
MA: Not at all. I think that’s going to shock a lot of people too. They’re going to think Brooke and I are these two blondes.
BJ: They’re going to think the whole time we’re freaking out because we can’t get our makeup on.
MA: But they’ll be surprised. She went to Spain, and knows how to speak Spanish. I know a little Swahili, and speak a little Hebrew from going to Israel a few summers ago. So we’re not dumb.
BJ: They might think we are.

MHTV: Can you use that to your advantage? The blonde girly girl thing?

MA: Let them think that – that’s one of our strategies.
BJ: We’re a lot tougher. We’re very deceiving and aggressive. We are these sweet little girls, but this is a race and we want to win.

MHTV: Have you sized up the competition? Who will be your friends, or your enemies? How do you think you can beat them?

BJ: We did spot two guys, we think they’re younger than us. [Andrew & Dan] We think we can flirt with them and form a little alliance.
MA: I think the guy in the red [T-shirt] and his mom [Dallas & Toni]. I think the guy is hot. And his mom, she’s a sweet little mom.
BJ: And she can be our mommy on the trip. I’m sure there are people who are not going to like us. I’m not even afraid to go in the guy/girl relationships, and… [After all], there are going to be the ones who are going to be fighting.

MHTV: Are you willing to flirt with the guys on other teams in front of their Race partners?

Both: Definitely.
MA: I think that’s one of our advantages. Brooke is a graphic designer. She’ll pay very close attention to reading the clues and all the important details. As far as me, I dance and am very athletic. I am kind of the blunt one. I don’t know whether that’s a good or bad thing. I use my mouth when I shouldn’t. I’m not afraid to do things like that, and she’s not either.

MHTV: Will you use your feminine wiles to get ahead?

MA: Oh yeah.
BJ: In certain countries, they worship blondes. So we’re hoping we go to some of those countries.
MA: We’re very friendly. You’ll always see us smiling -- unless we miss a flight.
BJ: Then we’ll cry. That’s one of the weaknesses. We’ll bust out a tear in any situation.

MHTV: Have you traveled together to foreign countries before?

BJ: We’ve never been out of the country together. We came out here to California for a week together before this.
MA: We don’t live together but are pretty much together every day. We’ve never had a fight. Ever. If Brooke yelled at me I think I might start laughing.
BJ: I never fought with any other friend either.

MHTV: So what if you get freaked out by having your first fight, and get distracted? How will you resolve conflict between you?

MA: Communicating is going to be the main key for us. And encouragement. We’re definitely going to encourage each other.
BJ: We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
MA: Exactly. And I won’t have to say anything. We look at each other and know what each other is thinking.

MHTV: What do your families think about you two competing in The Amazing Race?

MA: They are so excited. I think our moms are a little nervous.
BJ: We talk to them like ten times a day, so the idea that they won’t know where in the world we are, what we’re doing, where we’re sleeping at night -- they’re kind of freaked out. But they’re really excited for us.
MA: I think we’re going to shock a lot of people who think we could never bungee jump or skydive.

MHTV: Have you practiced anything? Have you trained for the Race?

MA: We’ve been running, working out. Brooke learned how to drive stick shift. We’ve watched about five seasons of show and taken notes. We’ve definitely prepared both mentally and physically. I think this is more of a mind game. I don’t think you have to be that physically fit. It’s more about how your mind works, and thinking out of the box.

MHTV: That’s true, because in past seasons some of the older competitors have gotten very far. You’re among the youngest not only this season but ever. Will your youthful strength be one of the things that carries you to the million dollar finish?

BJ: We’re hoping that it’s our strength and energy.
MA: We have a lot of energy.

MHTV: Anything else you have to predict about the Race?

Both: Only that we’re going to be the first all-girl team to win!

Season 13
Sundays at 8 PM Eastern

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