LGBT fans of
The Amazing Race got good news and bad news for
the show’s new season, which premiered February
28. The good news is that after the overpopulated,
uninvolving “Family Edition,” the Emmy-winning
reality show is back to its pulse-pounding, tried-and-true
two-person team formula. The bad news is that this
season’s gay racers, longtime friends John Lowe
and Scott Bragington-Smith, were the first team to go.
Advocate.com caught up with the amiable pair, who are both
single and live in Massachusetts, two days after their
elimination episode aired.
Advocate.com: How did you come to be on The Amazing Race?John: We did an open call at Provincetown during Fourth
of July weekend. After that, they asked us to do the
tape and callbacks and everything.
The show was auditioning people in P-town over Fourth of
July weekend? Sounds like maybe they were shopping
for some fun-loving gays. John: Right. [Laughs] I always wanted to
be that person, to kind of challenge myself to do all
the scary things, so we went for it.
If The Amazing Race were going to stage a Detour
challenge in P-town, what would it be? John: You’d have to climb up road ladders
attached to the Provincetown monument. Or you’d
have to dress up in drag and get a couple dollar tips.
What was the highlight of the experience?John: The helicopter. [In one challenge, teams rode in
choppers over São Paulo, Brazil.] We told each
other before that we would do anything that we
wouldn’t normally do in our own lives. The second we
saw the word helicopter, we were both like,
‘We’re doing that, we’re doing
that.” Scott: I’d say the same. And
John being able to get over his fear of flying and do
it was so great.
Before the race, how long had it been since you’d
flown, John?John: Eight years. I haven’t gone to
people’s weddings before, and I’d drive
to Florida every winter. I’m still afraid of flying,
but I think now I’ll do it, whereas before I
What’s your biggest regret about the race? John: We should have gotten out of the cab
earlier and gotten into a different cab. If we had
gotten in another cab and the guy had known where that
location was, we would have gotten there a lot faster.
Scott: I think the real thing that affected us was not being
able to speak the language.
What was your biggest fight on the race?John: Scott wanted to stay in the cab and I wanted to
get out. The other thing we disagreed on is that I
wanted to talk to anyone who would walk by the window
of the cab and ask them if they knew how to get there.
Scott didn’t want to ask everyone that walked by.
At one particularly stressful moment, you imitated
Barbara Eden as Jeannie. Is that a longtime
in-joke with you two?Scott: Oh, yeah. John: The first time we did
it, we were lying on the beach and I wished that a
bodybuilder would come to the beach. About five minutes
later, this unbelievable, steroid-y bodybuilder came
walking over the dunes, and he could have sat
anywhere, and he sat next to us.
What was he wearing?John: He wasn’t wearing a Speedo. He was wearing
a Rock Hudson bathing suit. Scott: A
square-cut. John: I didn’t care what it
was called. I wanted him to take it off.
Did you speak to him?Scott: No, I was too shy. We were in shock that it
Going into the show, did you think about the fact that
you’d be representing gay people on TV?John: I think we discussed it, and then we decided we
were just going to be ourselves.
What happens to you after you’re eliminated?John: Everyone goes to a special secret location and
waits, because everyone goes to the finish line.
Is that time at the secret location a fun time?John: It’s a roller coaster of emotions, because
you got into the race to win, so you have to deal with
that on an individual basis, I think.
What teams did you bond with on the race?John: The Frosties, for sure, because we got to spend
the most time with them during the race.
Did that one Frostie lady actually pee her pants, as she claimed?Scott: Yeah, she did.
You didn’t have to get in the helicopter after her
and sit in her pee? Scott: [Laughs] Everyone keeps asking
that. John: We were in a different
helicopter. Scott: I think she’s going to
be a spokesperson for Depends now.
Have you gotten recognized on the street yet? John: We got recognized on the streets of
Manhattan yesterday, and we had a trucker pull over
and yell to us and say that he recognized us.
What did you do to prepare for the race? John: It was all about the backpack. Trying to
think of what to put in the backpack. I thought that
was the most important thing, and now, looking back, I
think it comes more from within yourself. Scott:
Spending more time at the gym would have been good.
I’d also say, if you were planning on doing it,
don’t pack that much. You don’t need it.
And learn more languages.
How did doing the show affect your friendship?John: I think we learned everything there is to learn
about each other. Scott: Overall, it was a
What about the experience was different than you thought
it would be? Scott: I thought that the pit stop was going to
be the Hotel Unique. When we got there and found out
there was more, I was totally unprepared for this
never-ending situation. John: I never thought of
the other teams revolving around us as we were doing
things so mentally I wasn’t prepared for how that
would kind of frazzle me. I just kind of thought it
would be Scott and me racing along.
What’s your favorite souvenir from the race?Scott: I got like little shells, little pieces of
buildings, little things like that that I found along
the way. I really made it a point to try and take in
everything that I could. John: My favorite
souvenir is knowing that the strength in my life comes
from myself and not anything outside of myself. It’s
not what kind of car you drive or any of that stuff.