AS The Amazing Race Australia nears its half-way point, the girls once dismissed as just pretty faces are proving a challenge.
Best mates and part-time models Sam Schoers and Renae Wauhop ( pictured) didn’t expect their blondes-without-brains cover to be rumbled so early in the competition, after they became the first women in any of the Race franchises in the world to win the first leg of a race. ‘‘ We were hoping they’d dismiss us as just dumb blondes who didn’t know anything [ about motors], but that kind of blew our cover and showed we were bits of tomboys,’’ Renae says. The pair joined the race because Sam had always vowed if she entered a reality TV show, she wanted to live and die on her own merits. ‘‘ If you do a TV reality series, you want to do one where there’s no judges, no voting [ and] it’s not a popularity contest. If you are going to make it to the end, you do it on your own wits and strengths,’’ Sam says.
When joining the race became a reality, not even Renae’s fear of heights and flying could deter Sam from taking her along.
Her faith was repaid when Renae took up the first challenge – abseiling down a light tower at the MCG.
‘‘ She freaked, but she did it,’’ Sam says.
That hasn’t stopped her having to talk her friend down from similar scenarios as the race criss-crosses the continent. Renae is also terrified of flying.
‘‘ I can’t fly too well. My hands get sweaty and I freak out,’’ Renae says.
‘‘ Sam’s a former flight attendant, so she’d explain what was happening to make me a bit more comfortable.
‘‘ When words failed,’’ Renae says with a laugh, ‘‘ sleep was her salvation.’’
The super-fit friends have played to their strengths so far. They’ve busted tiles martialarts style with aplomb, nailed a four-wheeldrive challenge and built a giraffe feeder.
Sam has bungy jumped and both have managed to overcome the challenges of a limited knowledge of geography with humour and a touch of luck.
‘‘ I had a cringe moment in episode three when they showed me asking, ‘ Where’s Hong Kong? Is it in Singapore?’ straight after I’d had a little rant about just how intelligent we were,’’ Sam laughs. ‘‘ That’s just funny. That’s us, I wouldn’t change it.’’
Regardless of where they finish, Renae and Sam reckon they’ve already won in other ways – their friendship is stronger.
The Amazing Race Australia, Southern Cross, Monday, 8.30pm