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The Amazing Lynn and Alex

The Amazing Lynn and Alex


West Hollywood gay couple Lynn and Alex divided Amazing Race fans, but they managed to finish in the top five. They dish to about coming out on TV, befriending senior citizens Meredith and Gretchen, and--of course--their rivalry with Rob and Amber

If the message boards at Web sites like are any indication, fans of The Amazing Race either loved or hated West Hollywood gay couple Lynn and Alex, who were among season seven's top-five race teams before a confused cab driver (who took them to the wrong castle in Jodhpur, India) cost them the race. Some people found them funny; others thought they were bitchy. And for everyone who thought the boyfriends were just being competitive, there was someone else who thought the duo was too obsessed with taking out Survivor alums Rob and Amber.In any event, Lynn, 30, and Alex, 22, brought a sense of fun and goofiness to this edition of the show, and, speaking from CBS's New York offices, they had lots of stories to tell about their adventures--including Alex's long-delayed coming-out to his Muslim father.Congratulations. Lynn: Thank you. Well, it would be more congratulatory had we won.You made top five, and that's nothing to sneeze at. Now the burning question on everyone's mind is: Did you guys not get anything for coming in first place in the third leg? Because it seems like everyone else snagged cars and cash and trips for coming in first. Alex: I know--it's a gay thing. [Laughs]Lynn: No, we absolutely did not win a prize. The only thing we got out of that was the confidence to know that we could actually win this race, which made it even more devastating when we didn't make it into the top three, even. But, you know, we tell America, "Hey, if you guys feel bad for us, feel free to send us a prize, care of CBS!" [Laughs] Gay cruises, whatever.Alex: We knew before we went on the race that some of the legs would have prizes and some wouldn't. So that was predetermined. I just couldn't believe I ate four pounds of meat and didn't get a prize.Lynn: And I had to dry-heave, watching Alex do that, and I didn't get anything! [Both laugh]Let's talk about the "beef-block," because that seemed very undoable. Four pounds of meat, a lot of it cow organs, was a lot to swallow. A lot of people were impressed by Alex eating all that meat, especially since you don't seem like you're normally a hearty eater. Alex: Lynn and I sort of have this thing with eating off the bone, as you saw on the bus ride on Arequipa [Peru]. We couldn't believe we were eating that lamb off the bone. [A woman on the bus sold lamb cutlets to various Racers.]Lynn: I haven't eaten off the bone for like 10 years.Alex: I knew there would be a food challenge, and Lynn and I both decided before we left that I would do anything regarding food and Lynn would do anything regarding heights--Lynn: Or driving.Alex: Because I'm afraid of heights. Or driving. And so when I got to that challenge, I just sat down and I just knew in my head that I had to finish, and I could not say, "I can't do this." Because the minute I said that, it would be over. Just like it was over for Rob. So I just kept eating the whole time. You only saw me puke once, but I actually puked 10 times.Oh my god. Alex: I filled an entire bucket.Lynn: And he would take a bite, and he would throw up. And I--there was never a minute during that Roadblock that I didn't think Alex was going to finish it. I knew, as soon as he sat down, that he was going to do it.Alex: Once I put my mind to do something, there's just no getting around it. I was finishing that; there was no way I was going to take a penalty.

Lynn: Especially since Rob quit and was trying to get everybody to quit, that was even more motivation not to.Alex: So I just had to finish it. And with our race, a lot of the tasks were mind over matter; it wasn't about strength.So now if Lynn was supposed to do the driving, Alex, how did you wind up behind the wheel, driving stick, for the tree-clearing Roadblock in Botswana? Alex: Oh my god, because we were frantic! When you open a Roadblock, it's like a riddle, and I was so frantic at that time--because I was so afraid the brothers [Brian and Greg] would catch up with us--that it said, "Who's ready for a real roadblock?" Every other team got it except for me; I was all, "Oh, I'll do it." [Lynn laughs] So stupid. And I had learned how to drive a stick for [a total of] two hours before, my sister had taught me.Lynn: We were mortified, basically. He had literally driven for two hours in a stick shift, pretty much his whole life.And with your right hand, too, as opposed to the Land Rover, with the steering wheel on the opposite side. Alex: Oh, yeah! And I thought, Well, this could be it. Either I drive the stick shift and I make it, or we lose the game. So just do it. And when Lynn was there to support me and coach me through every single step--I mean, literally, through every single step. Like, "Put the clutch in, pull it out," I mean, that's when I thought our relationship really shined 'cause it really showed how we support each other and can do anything together. Such as drive a stick.Alex, according to the Web site, you were not out to your family before doing this show. Alex: And honestly, I put it off and put it off and put it off my whole life. I was out to my family--I mean, like, my mom knew, my sisters knew, aunts and uncles, we all knew--but my dad's from a different culture, so we sort of protected him by not telling him.Lynn: He literally has been in Egypt since the first episode aired; he hasn't even seen one episode. And Alex ended up having to call him last week, basically, to let him know, "Hey, look, when you get back from Egypt--"Alex: I mean, I put it off until the very last minute. And it was my mom's and my choice. Finally we got to the point where I said, "I have to tell Dad now. I'm cornered. I'm not going to do interviews and lie. I need to tell Dad, and this has to happen now."How has the response been so far? Alex: Uh, the response has been tough, as I'm sure it is with lots of families, especially families who aren't 100% American. But my dad and I are working through it, and it's getting better each day. Last week, it wasn't good at all, and this week it's getting better. So I'm optimistic about it. My dad has seen Lynn's and my relationship since the very beginning. He's come over to our house; we have one bed.Lynn: And he was always very supportive through our relationship when he didn't know for sure. I mean, he knew, but it wasn't in his face. He gave me his prayer beads at one point, and he's very gracious, and he's constantly giving me presents and inviting us to family events.Alex: It was so obvious, it was something we just didn't talk about. And that's something that both of our families are really good at, like if you're not talking about it, it's not happening. He'd come over and there would be one bed! There would be pictures of us together hugging and holding hands. It was just something we had to talk about, so he reacted the way I'm sure he thought he needed to, which was to get upset. And now we're working through it.I noticed that you guys hug a lot on this show, but you never kissed. There was a lot of controversy surrounding the previous season of Survivor since they cut out one of the lesbian contestants kissing her partner. Was this something you were told not to do, or just something you chose not to do on your own? Lynn: We were making out, tongue kissing, the whole way. [Alex laughs] I don't know why it's not in there! No, we kissed and things like that, but we're just not big on PDA. No reason for it; it's just not us. I mean, we hold hands in public and things like that, but we're just not especially affectionate in public.Alex: I mean, we live in West Hollywood, and we don't kiss on the street.But it's one thing to be walking down the street and another thing to finish a leg of the race. Certainly some of the straight couples kissed once they hit the mat. Alex: It just wasn't something that you thought about. We never thought, Oh, we need to kiss more, or We're not kissing. That was just our natural reaction. We would hug and be affectionate with each other that way. But you don't think on the race about what you're doing, because there's no time to.Lynn: I think the show has been very reflective of how Alex and I are very supportive of each other and how strong our relationship is. I didn't feel at all that they were apprehensive about showing us showing physical contact or anything like that.In looking at the show now, how do you feel about the way it was edited? Is there stuff that you wish had made it in there? Lynn: I actually think that they edited it very, very well and it's very reflective of how we played the race. I think we come across a little bit less competitive that we actually were on the race, because they really focused on how much fun we were having and how we were joking and laughing. But a lot of it was very intense and we were very competitive and we were very serious. I think that was the only element that didn't really come across. Maybe it looked like we were too helpful of other teams and maybe we didn't take it seriously enough, but we were actually giving it 100% and were very intense. When it came down to doing a Roadblock or a Detour, we were 100% serious, there was no messing around. But when we had time to breathe, we used that breath to laugh.Alex: The one thing I thought wasn't conveyed on the show--because the editing on the show is amazing; I mean, that's how I remember the race, and if they took something out, it's on didn't show how close we were with all the other teams.Lynn: Oh yeah, you literally become a family with these teams. Well, all of them except for one. We were very close with the teams, they were our friends, they were people that we will be in contact with for, I would imagine, forever. We shared an experience that was very special.Alex: And also, I think they cut out a lot of the fighting that happened between some of the other teams. I mean, Lynn and I didn't fight on the show because we made a very conscious decision not to.Lynn: And we just don't fight in life.Alex: There was a big fight [within] some of the teams, there was fighting in between the other teams, and they cut that out.Lynn: Alex and I got into a huge fight with Rob and Amber at the airport, which was totally cut out.Alex: And we got into a fight with Joyce and Uchenna, who were real good friends.Lynn: Joyce actually had an argument with me, because she misunderstood the rules, and we overtook her on a road because she misunderstood the speed limit. And when we got to a gas station, she let me have it. But once she understood the rules, she apologized.Alex: They cut out some fighting and they cut out the true friendship bond, especially that we have with Meredith and Gretchen.Lynn: Absolutely.Alex: I mean, we were on a train with them for 24 hours. We just loved them to death.Lynn: She was like our sister. I was going to say "our mother," but she was like our crazy sister.I was going to ask you about them, because there's a shot in India where they're in a rickshaw, and there are two men in front of them who might have been gay or might have just been affectionate. And they were both sort of, "Oh, look, it's a gay couple," and just completely agog. [Alex laughs]Lynn: The thing about Meredith and Gretchen is that Meredith, before coming on this race, had kind of a negative perception of gay men. He had never really been in the company of them or had any exposure to them. And he actually came up to us at one point in the race, him and Gretchen both, and he told us that since meeting us and spending time with us and getting to know us, that we have completely changed his perception of gay men. It's taken the negative connotations absolutely away. And that he realized that we were just regular people who love and have a good time. It was very profound, very emotional at the time. When he told us that, it made everything worth it. It was really, really special.

Did you guys kind of go into this knowing you were going to be "the gay couple"? Alex: Yeah, Lynn and I knew when we were in the finals that, if we were cast, we were going to be that gay couple. And we were really excited about it.Lynn: We are so that coupleAlex: We were excited about it because I believe Lynn and I have a really unique relationship, and I thought we were different from any of the other gay teams they had on the race. So I wanted to share our relationship with the viewers and I also wanted to stand out as a different type of gay couple, 'cause there's a whole array of gay couples, there's not just one type. I was really excited to represent our community, because I think we have a strong relationship.Lynn: We definitely have a strong relationship; I don't think we break the mold of the gay stereotype or anything like that--Alex: [Laughs] I wasn't saying that!Lynn: But I definitely was proud to show our relationship to America. I was proud to show our relationship to my family and to Alex's family, so that they could see for themselves just how well we work together. Being gay is such a small part of who we are. It's who we fall in love with, but it's a small aspect of who we are. And we don't define ourselves by our sexuality, just the way that a heterosexual person doesn't define himself by being heterosexual.I know he and his mom didn't last as long in the race, but did you guys become friendly with Patrick at all? Lynn: Patrick is a great guy. We didn't have a chance to form a really, really strong bond with him, but for the little bit that we spent with him, we thought he was a good guy. I know it certainly comes across differently on camera, but we were never with him when that type of thing would happen. We just saw them as a good little couple, with a sweet relationship. You know gay guys and their mothers--Alex: We knew another gay guy was on the show once the race had started, but we didn't know who it was.Lynn: And in fact, for a few days, we thought the other gay guy was Rob, because we didn't know who he was. He was this really handsome guy with fixed teeth and a big ass, and he was hot. We thought he was the other gay guy, until we realized he was the asshole from Survivor. [Alex laughs]Alex: But when we stayed the night on the beach in the first leg in Lima, that's when we really spoke with Patrick and bonded with him. I think they cast it so we would fight with him.Lynn: I do think that, exactly.Alex: But instead, we were really good friends on the race.Lynn: Although he did call us--Alex: Prancer and Dancer.Lynn: Prancer and Dancer, that mean, mean name. That was hilarious.Alex: So that was great. I liked Patrick, and I was sad to see him go so soon.Lynn: Do you like Team Prancer and Dancer, or do you prefer Team Birdcage?Alex: I prefer "Lynn and Alex."I was calling you guys "The Happy Boys" because that's what Ryan and Chuck, the Southern guys, called you. Lynn: We loved that! Those guys--I will be perfectly honest, we absolutely misjudged them. Before we had actually had a chance to interact with those boys, we were very judgmental. You know, hillbillies, blah blah blah. And they ended up being great guys, completely funny, very smart, totally clever, witty. When we were hanging out with them at that beach that night, they were hilarious. They were so funny, they were such nice guys, we were sad to see them go.There were some people in the office who wondered about Megan and Heidi, since they live together and one of them is a single mom who doesn't have a job. We thought they might be stealth lesbians. Lynn: If there were any lesbian teams, I'm gonna say Debbie and Bianca. OK?Alex: I can't believe you just said that.Lynn: If there's any lesbianism floating around, it's floating around Debbie and Bianca, because they are too close and too foxy, and they both have the same color pubic hair, right? We shared a hotel room with them.Alex: Yeah, we did share a hotel room with them--Lynn: And the curtains matched the drapes!Alex: And then our cameramen, all they wanted to do was talk about how hot those girls were and the fact we saw them naked.Lynn: They were great girls. And Heidi and Megan were so busy getting it on with Brian and Greg that they didn't have time for each other.Alex: Heidi and Megan are some of the most positive people I've ever met in my life. They could be drowning in lava, and they'd be, "I love this!"Lynn: "And I look great!"Alex: And they live in L.A., so we still talk to them, and they're very sweet.Let's talk about your vehicle problems, which seemed to be legion. Lynn: Didn't it? I felt like it was fixed! [Alex laughs] But I'm telling you, every time we got into a boat or every time we got into a car, it would break down. And we're not the best guys to be working on a car when it breaks down. I mean, I can barely put gas in it. But we did pretty well, considering that we must have gone through three Land Rovers.Alex: Oh yeah, we went through three Land Rovers, and I mean each one we were just adding up as $70,000, $140,000--Lynn: We were not a great advertisement for the stability of the Land Rover. I mean, we literally lost the transmission on one, popped a tire on another--Alex: But that's just part of the game. Lynn and I knew that a boat breaking, cars breaking down, that was just bad luck. And you may be able to work your way out of it, or it may cost you the race.Lynn: Luck is definitely an element of the game. And it's also reflective of traveling in other countries. That happens, those boats are notorious for breaking down.Lynn, there's been some commentary on the Web from people who took offense at a few things you said in the heat of the moment regarding Johannesburg ["This is like--Compton."] and Uchenna and Joyce's carrying skills ["They were like, born to do that" regarding the African-American couple's skill at carrying items on their head], and I wonder if you wanted to address that. Lynn: Absolutely. The reason that I was frightened in South Africa was not because of the color of these people's skins, it was because there was so much poverty and so much crime. And what you don't see is, as we're driving through this neighborhood, three security cars are coming behind us. And so we knew, as more and more of the production security started coming behind us, that we were in a very dangerous area. And Johannesburg is notorious for crime and violence, and it was very frightening.Alex: Lynn and I were not only lost, but we were in the worst part of town, like the downtown area. We had driven right into downtown away from the airport, so we were pretty frantic and we were pretty scared.Lynn: And people are running up to the car, and what you don't see is that a crowd started to gather around us and people were very aggressive. And it was very frightening. And the comments I made about Joyce and Uchenna, I thought it was hilarious! I don't think it's a bad thing at all; in fact, I think Uchenna thought the exact same thing.Right after you said that, they cut to him talking about his Nigerian heritage-- Lynn: I wouldn't be offended if one of the Roadblocks had been "Decorate this room," and if I had done a killer job and Uchenna had run off and said, "Damn, he was born to do that."When Brian and Greg's Land Rover flipped over and you stopped, they said later that you and the people who were with you in your Land Rover really made a difference. There was some discussion on the Web about whether or not it was a big deal that you guys stopped and that Rob and Amber didn't. Alex: And that's the difference between running the race and watching it from your couch. We knew in that moment, when we saw Brian and Greg, these are people who you traveled with for a month, these are cameramen you've worked with.Lynn: These are your friends.Alex: And they were hurt, they had broken ribs. Brian and Greg weren't hurt, but the other people with them were, including their guide. And so we pulled over and our guide actually helped; we called for help, we gave them water, she bandaged them up. It took a good 20 minutes for the medic to get there.Lynn: And the thing about it is, when you're racing, yeah, all you're thinking about is a million dollars, a million dollars. And when something happens that is so real, it takes you out of the race and you're in reality. And in reality, you have to stop. There's just no question. There was no doubt in our minds that we had to stop, there was no one on-site. People were hurt. It was very real, and it was very dangerous. And those were our friends. We would have even stopped for Rob and Amber, and they're not our friends. It's just something you do.Alex: And even Rob said this is a race, and when people are hurt, that's not a good thing. He didn't stop, but--Lynn: Not only did they not stop, they did not slow down, they didn't roll their window, they saw it as something advantageous, and they just went for it. And I think that that epitomizes their game and who they are.It became clear pretty quickly that you were sort of obsessed with Rob and Amber. Do you think that they distracted from your focus of the overall race? Lynn: Actually, we were not obsessed with Rob and Amber. I think every team was angry that Rob and Amber were there. They already had their chances at a million; in fact, they [each] had two chances at their million, and they actually won it [Amber won Survivor All-Stars]. The only problem we had with Rob and Amber is that they had all this recognition everywhere we went. They would get so much help from people because they had notoriety, people knew who they were. We had help from people, but not at all at the level that they could obtain, because they're recognizable, they're celebrities in those countries. And we felt that was a little bit not a level playing field. But we were certainly not obsessed with them. We were the only team that was vocal, and that was not intimidated by Rob and Amber, and so we told them exactly how we felt about them. And the fact of the matter is that every team felt like that about them. Maybe except for Ray and Deana, but I don't know that it's a good thing to have them on your side.Alex: And the thing about Rob and Amber is that, what people forget is that it goes both ways. I mean, Rob and Amber didn't say nice things about us either. And it's a competition, they were our competition, but as we were getting directions from local people, they were literally getting recognized and hand-held all the way to the mat. I mean, you saw it in South Africa and in India, you saw it on the first leg in Lima, Peru, so as another competitor, that aggravated us. And anything we could do to get under Rob and Amber's skin, we would do it.Lynn: And I would love to see Rob and Amber in a race, had they not been on Survivor for two seasons.Were you flattered when Rob said he would most likely Yield you guys? Alex: I was flattered when he said we were his biggest competition. In the recap episode, there was a part where he told Amber, "We gotta watch out for Frick and Frack--"Lynn: Frick and Frack! [Giggles]Alex: "--because they're our biggest competition." And she was like, "Really?" And he's all, "Oh yeah, they've got their stuff together." And I think we were a threat to Rob, and if we hadn't have lost in India, it would have gotten very ugly.Lynn: I would have looked forward to that. [Alex laughs]So are you invited to their wedding? Lynn: We didn't get an invitation, so I guess I'll just send her a gift certificate to a grocery store or something. The poor girl needs to eat.Alex: We noticed once we were in Africa that Amber had stopped eating, and then we noticed by watching the show that she was really obsessed with losing weight for her wedding, which, you know, any girl should-Lynn: But let's keep it together. Let's not go overboard, Amberexia.Alex: She was getting so frail and weak, we started to call her Amberexia.Lynn: She was so concerned with losing weight the whole time, I'm surprised they're doing so well.Alex: Mm hmm.So now that this is all over, do you look at this experience as something that's strengthened your relationship?Lynn: Absolutely. I think this absolutely brought Alex and [me] closer together. I mean, we saw how we work under pressure, it put us in situations that we would have never been in before, and I think we did very well with that. I'm proud of how Alex and I did, and I'm proud of how he did, and I think we did a good job, and we had a great time.Alex: Lynn's and my relationship was strong before. I mean, we had definitely been through rocky times; we were in rocky times while we were auditioning for the race.Lynn: My father was having open-heart surgery while we were sequestered; I didn't know if he was going to make it or not.Alex: It was a really hard time, just in our relationships with our families. And for Lynn and I to make the decision and have the courage to go on national television and come out not only to our families but the entire world--Lynn: Everyone we ever met in our entire lives. Including my third-grade teacher.Alex: That was a good symbol of our relationship, that we felt secure in who we were and who we are together enough to even go on there.Lynn: Because it wouldn't matter if the whole world ostracized us; as long as we had each other, we would be fine.Alex: Yeah. It strengthened our relationship, but it was like going from a 10 to an 11.Lynn: Aww!So for your gigs as executive assistants [their occupation as listed on the Amazing Race Web site], was taking the time off an issue? Lynn: Actually, we're not executive assistants; both Alex and I are producers.Ah. OK. Alex: We said we were executive assistants because we wanted to get cast on the show. Because if we said we were producers, that would look shady.Lynn: It'd be like casting someone who was already on a reality show!Alex: I'm actually a story producer, and I work in television development, and Lynn and I are really looking forward to--we've developed a show idea that we're pitching to Here TV and we want to pitch it to Logo as well as some of the travel shows. My dad's from a different culture, so I wanted to make a documentary about gay life in other cultures, so it would be called, like, Outing India or Outing Egypt, and we'd go and investigate what gay life is like for someone who lives in those countries. It was phenomenally different, each country we went to.Lynn: South Africa, they allow gay marriage--Alex: Whereas India, as you saw, the men could be really affectionate, and it was that fine line of "Are they gay? Or is it just part of the culture?" And I thought that was really fascinating.Lynn: That was so funny when Meredith and Gretchen had the gay guys in front of them. They were so engrossed with that--I mean, when we got to the pit stop, that was all they could talk about! "Oh my god, we had the cutest gay couple in front of us! I think they're gay gay gay!"
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