They’re back – and millions of people tuned in to see them.
Last Sunday’s season premiere of CBS’s “The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business” averaged 9.14 million total viewers and featured a cast filled with fan favorites who were eliminated from earlier seasons of the reality-show race, including Louisville natives Kent Kaliber and Vyxsin Fiala, along with sisters Jennifer Hoffman and LaKisha Hoffman, former University of Louisville athletes.
“Considering we didn’t even know that (CBS was) going to call us back (for another season), it was something we didn’t even think about – we said yes,” Jennifer Hoffman recalled. “It was never a second guess. It was just, yes, we’re going to do it again.”
Hoffman and her sister first competed in the show’s 14th season, winding up in fourth place. “I didn’t really learn much (then) about my sister that I didn’t know (already), except you’ve got to understand their little intricacies all over again, you’ve got to know what bothers them. I definitely wouldn’t recommend (competing on “˜The Amazing Race’) for couples therapy,” she laughed.
Hoffman would, however, recommend vying for the $1 million prize in the race around the globe for those who are interested in seeing the world up close and in person.
“(Competing successfully) is based on how well you guys communicate “¦ and sometimes it is based on luck,” she said. “(There are) just so many different elements to the show – and you’re traveling all over the world. Sometimes you have to take a step back and say, “˜This is a reality show competition, but I’m still traveling all around the world and experiencing these different cultures. Wow.’”
Kaliber and Fiala – the dating Goth couple also known as the “Pink & Black Attack” for obvious reasons – finished fifth on season 12. “Our first “˜Amazing Race’ was an absolutely incredible experience,” Kaliber said. “At the time we were cast for it, both of us were waiting tables in Louisville. Vyxsin was at Ramsi’s (CafÃ© on the World) and I was at Texas Roadhouse. Though we didn’t win, it turned our lives upside down. We received numerous modeling opportunities … we were doing reality TV updates for the TV Guide Channel, there were numerous cameo TV appearances and now we are getting ready to race (again).”
The first experience didn’t exactly bring the pair together, said Fiala, but it was “something that was amazing and illuminating for both of us. To watch (each other) thrive and undertake things that were new and scary, we were just extremely proud and supportive of each other.”
Since their first go-round on the televised journey, the Louisville natives have been living and working in Los Angeles. They’ve also dealt with a number of personal tragedies they believe will assist them on this second race.
Fiala lost a grandparent in 2010 and Kaliber’s father died unexpectedly last year. “That’s why this race is much different than the last one,” said Kaliber, who changed his name from “Kynt Cothron” to “Kent Kaliber” in honor of his dad. (“Kent is an English-inspired name, and it made my parents very happy, so it needs to be there unchanged and unaltered. A new chapter began in my life and my name reflects that.”)
Competing in a previous season of the race occurred “when life was fun and blissful,” said Kaliber. “This time there’s a lot more important to me than the money. The other teams will be very driven by the money, obsessed by the cash. They’ll screw anybody to get the money. “¦ (My dad) is my driving force. I’m not greedy for money, I’m greedy for my dad.”
To prepare for round two, Fiala and Kaliber started each day with an 8-mile run and ended it by playing “The Amazing Race” video game for the Nintendo Wii. “Our strategy was to work our bodies with the exercise and to work our minds into “˜Amazing Race mode’ by playing the video game, which simulates “¦ the race experience,” Fiala said. “All of these teams are incredible competitors. The one thing that binds them is all of us have lost. That put it in perspective that anyone can “¦ win.”
“¢ “The Amazing Race” airs at 8 p.m. Sunday on CBS.
“¢ You can also see some of “The Amazing Race” fan favorites – including Kent Kaliber, Vyxsin Fiala and Jennifer Hoffman – at the Carl Casper Auto Show, which runs Feb. 25-27 at the Kentucky Expo Center. Go to www.carlcasper.com for more information.
Category: Cover Stories
About the Author (Author Profile)
Angie Fenton is Managing Editor of The Voice-Tribune, a Blue Equity company. She is also an entertainment correspondent for WHAS11′s new morning show, “Great Day Live!”, which debuted August 22 on Louisville’s ABC affiliate. Additionally, Angie is an entertainment correspondent for the Saturday Morning Show with Ron ‘n’ Mel Fisher on 84WHAS (840 AM) and has served in the same capacity for Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks; Breeders’ Cup; and Circuit of the Americas during the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in November 2012. Angie also serves as an emcee, host, voiceover professional and on-camera commercial talent.
Angie has a bachelor’s and master’s in English from Central Michigan University and began her career as an adjunct professor at her alma mater. She is the youngest of five — four of whom were adopted, including Angie, and none of whom are biologically related. She is also a Michigan native who moved to Kentucky in June 2002. Angie is owned by two dogs — Herbie and Yoda — and feels lucky to have loved and been loved by many more, including Pooch, Jessie, Onyx, Jack and Big Bud, who took his last breath on Christmas Day 2012.