Brother-and-sister team Victor and Tammy Jih traveled more than 40,000 miles through nine countries on three continents (not counting the treks during the final episode!) to win the 14th season of The Amazing Race. "It's still so surreal," Tammy tells In Touch about winning the $1 million prize. "It's fantastic to finally be able to share this with our family and friends," says Victor. While the win hasn't necessarily sunk in yet, Tammy does know exactly what she's going to do with the money. "I've had my eye on a pair of black peep-toe Christian Louboutins," she admits. "Other than that, I have to pay off my law school loan."
For more from Tammy and Victor, click here.
Was it hard to keep it from your family all season?
Tammy: I had a lot of fun keeping it a secret. It was driving our parents and other brother nuts. Every day, my parents would call and try to trick me somehow. They'd say, "Oh, I saw on a spoiler that the Race goes to China. Was it cold in China?" And I'd say, "'I'm not telling you. I don't know if it was cold in China or not." I had a lot of fun with it.
Do you feel like you lucked out going to China?
Victor: There was a lot of pressure associated with China, as well as relief. Our parents spent all of our childhood fighting with us to learn Chinese, since we were born in the United States. So we knew that it would be so embarrassing in China if we screwed up. But, on the other hand, it was just great. It was such a relief to be able to be comfortable, to joke around with people and to feel like we were doing our parents proud.
Tammy: I think our parents have been vindicated, and they know it.
At what point during the race did you know you really could win this?
Victor: Not until right before the roadblock. Because, being a fan of all of the seasons you know that —
Tammy: — anything can happen.
Victor: Anything. And all of the other teams on this race had their strengths and weaknesses and every one of them was fiercely competitive. I always thought we had a shot. My sister and I fought a lot of times because she just always wanted to not come in last. And I was like "No, you have to believe we can win." But I didn't really believe that we had a shot until I saw the finish line.
How has the race changed your relationship?
Victor: I think Tammy now knows that she should always listen to me.
Tammy: Clearly, Victor has not changed.
Victor: I'm joking.
Tammy: Who are we kidding? We've known each other our whole lives and we've interacted a certain way our whole lives. Four weeks out of 27 years is not going to completely change things. But I think that the race gave me a newfound respect for Victor and it also taught me that if I want him to think of me as an adult I have to act like an adult. And I also can't expect him to always make the decisions and always bear the burden of what comes with that.
Victor: I really learned that The Amazing Race is not about one person winning. It has to be about two people winning. And I think we were lucky that we were able to learn that lesson early in the race, otherwise I don't think we would have done as well as we did. I've always known Tammy was very capable. I've always known she's great at things that I'm not good at, and sometimes I have to get out of teacher mode — being nine years older than her, I'm just used to being a coach or someone who's training her. Trying to switch out of that mode and being constructive was something that I had to learn.
Besides winning, what was your favorite moment on the race?
Victor: Tammy face-planting in India.
Spoken like a true big brother.
Tammy: If you spend a week with me, you'll see me face-plant or walk into a bush or ride my bicycle into a parked car.
Victor: But all joking aside, I thought that it was appropriate that we started the race with this impossible physical task on Cheese Hill and ended the race with this impossible physical task with carrying the pigs. It was hard for Tammy — she had blisters. To watch Tammy be able to do something that she never in a million years thought she could ever do, was just awesome. And I think it was a great way for the race to end for us.
Tammy: My absolute favorite was doing the karaoke task in taxi in Thailand. I just had so much fun. I was dancing up a storm and I really didn't want it to end. And the Thai lady-boys just made it such a blast.
Victor: It's even funnier to watch on TV and see Mike and Mark not know that they were trannies.
So, what do you think is going to be your next amazing race?
Victor: Well, Tammy has claimed the Galapagos trip for her and her boyfriend. I was already uninvited.
Good thing you have some money, now you can buy your own tickets.
Tammy: Maybe we can race around the world in our new ocean sea kayak.
Victor: I think I'm going to look into a modeling career with Speedo. [laughs]