The Amazing Race’s Christie & Jodi Prove They’re No Dumb Blondes
Houston-based flight attendants and friends Jodi Wincheski, 40, and Christie Volkmer, 38, joined the Amazing Race 14 in hopes of giving blonde contestants a better name and winning a million dollars. But when they left the competition, they realized they had done so much more for themselves than they could have bought with the prize money -- and in the process set a pretty darn good example for Jodi’s 11-year-old daughter Riley. --Carrie Bell
When the race first started your team was positioned as the hot dumb blondes, but by the end it was obvious that the stereotypes were just not true.Christie: I thought we represented ourselves very well. We put all our personality differences aside and worked together as a team. I’ve had about a million flight attendants contact me to tell me that they were very proud of how we represented ourselves and flight attendants everywhere. That means the world to me. Jodi: I think originally we were supposed to be stereotyped as flight attendants, blonde hair, big boobs, whatever. But that’s not who we are at all. We never intended to use flirting as a strategy. I’m glad that throughout the course of our time on the show got to see who we are as .
Watching the episode where you were eliminated, it seemed like you were hot on the tail of the stuntmen. Just how close was it between last and second to last that day?Jodi: We missed it by two minutes. We could see them getting on the mat. We were so close. Christie: That made being eliminated more frustrating. We started that day in second place out of the airport but our taxi driver took us to the wrong village after we told him we wanted to go where the tree was.
Do you believe you would have lasted at least another round if it wasn’t for the unplanned detour?Christie: Had it not been for the bad luck of getting that taxi driver, I honestly believe we would have come in second place because we knocked our tasks out so fast. Jodi: That’s the part of the race that is the toughest. We, unfortunately, had some really bad luck on the last couple of rounds. There are some teams that are not necessarily making the best decisions but are getting by because of very good luck. There is definitely an aspect of skill to the game, but there is also an aspect of luck that plays a part and it’s out of your control.
Jodi, you mentioned that you hoped running the race would show your daughter Riley that she can do anything she wants to do.Jodi: I want her to be independent and strong. I want her to believe that there is nothing in life that she can’t do. The word can’t doesn’t come into play in this house. I think it was important for us to watch the show together, and she is proud of me and that makes me feel great. She started crying last night at the end. She was crying because I was talking about her on television and I was crying. We were one big mess of tears.
What was the most difficult element?Jodi: For me personally, bungee jumping was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I was terrified and you have to make yourself step off of it. After I did that jump, I knew there was nothing else we wouldn’t be able to conquer. Christie: My worst experience on the race actually happened while we were being sequestered in Thailand. My uncle Jim Brown, who lived in Omaha, was like a father to me and he passed while I was away. I wore his name on my wrist and it was all edited out and it really hurt me to see that. It was a really difficult time for me.
You said that by the end it wasn’t about winning and that you couldn’t buy the experience you had for a million dollars. How does the race change you?Jodi: It gives you a personal sense of empowerment. You can get by on your own in a foreign country not speaking the language, having no money, having no sleep -- that’s huge. It also brings to light how important everyone is at home, how important your family is and health is. We also realize how lucky we are in the United States. We have so many advantages that they don’t have in other places around the world even in a bad economy.
Have you been recognized from the show?Christie: I have only had like two recognize me. I wore a lot of hats and my hair braided. I don’t look like I did on the race when I’m at work. At least, I hope I don’t. Jodi: I think every time I have been on a plane since the show started airing at least one person realizes I am one of those flight attendants. The best part by far are the children. It is a family show and … it is showing kids that there is a big world outside of their neighborhood and their school and their life. I went to the rodeo and this little girl who was about 5 years old recognized me and all she wanted to do was hug me. She would hug me and then stand back and her parents would ask me a few questions and then she’d come and hug me again. It melted my heart.