After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, The Amazing Race Canada is back, and launched its hotly-anticipated eighth season style on Tuesday night!
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Olympic skeleton gold medallist Jon Montgomery kicked things off as host at Mont Tremblant, Quebec. As always, he was joine dby 10 competing duos, which included the likes of Canadian music legend Jully Black, Big Brother Canada season 9 winner Tychon Carter-Newman, Broadway star Catherine Wreford, Olympic cross-country skier Jesse Cockney and Inuvialuit actress Marika Sila. The teams soon found themselves on the way to Montreal, where they embarked on quests to find clues that saw them climbing the Grande Roue Ferris wheel, singing jazz and getting very into burlesque.
Jully and Kathy have been friends for seven years and have a tight bond
JUNO Award-nominated singer/songwriter Jully and her friend Kathy Hunter, who were racing for their late mothers, were the first eliminated. But they're taking it in stride, and say they learned so much about each other and themselves during their Amazing Race Canada experience.
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HELLO! Canada caught up with them both to talk about how being on the show strengthened their bond as friends and much more.
HELLO! Canada: Can you tell us what your favourite parts of this experience were?
Kathy Hunter: The cast is incredible... We really just have this energy, the family. So meeting everybody for the first time was great. But really being able to cheer Jully on is literally one of my favorite things. There's nothing greater than seeing your friend, your sister, doing something that's... and you're just cheering. All you have to do in that moment is pay attention and watch someone conquer. And it's a really, really incredible... That alone, people should sign up for the show.
Jully and Kathy strategizing during the season 8 premiere
Jully Black: It's so funny because there's such granular moments of triumph and connection, and seeing yourself in other people and seeing other people in you. And especially with Kathy as my race partner, my friend, my sister. Favorite moment... So when we were on the plane, we watched this documentary on a Kenyan runner who was basically doing this marathon, the goal was to do it under two hours. And so it was a whole other thing on TV. It was great. But what you'd see is, you'd see he had these pacers. He had these guys running ahead of him to keep his pace. I just got goosebumps.
And so to have Kathy in front of me... I actually feel very emotional right now. To have her keep our pace when we were running, because I'm a sprinter typically. Right? And so you start to realize, "Okay, wow, we got some distance to run." And there was one moment where we were running, the roadblock was... I was going to climb the Ferris wheel. But there was like a one kilometre run-ish right before that. And so, the power of TV, they don't show that part, where you're running for 1K and you're climbing for... Yeah. But I remember I was starting to feel really tired. And then she just set a pace for us, and she was right ahead of me. And that was a beautiful moment that carried me for most of the show.
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That really shows the strength of your bond and friendship. Can you tell us, too, how this experience strengthened your friendship? What did you learn about each other?
Kathy: If you pay attention, this race, you have a luxury of five weeks of really intensive connections. You have no phone, you barely have TV. You have no music. You have no... It's just us. And I think that something that's always been really powerful about our friendship is that we have given each other permission to guide and to direct and to correct.
And I feel like being out there and being vulnerable, you really get that opportunity to be like, she's cheering for me. She's also looking and saying, "How can I help Kathy be the best version of Kathy?" She's correcting me, she's protecting me, because it is a race, so you've got to stand by your partner. So really that boldness and the vulnerability in our friendship, it really was put to the test. And I'm so grateful for that because I feel stronger after it. It's just so incredible to have... Faithful are the wounds of a friend, and she's my biggest cheerleader and biggest fan, and also that person that is making me better.
Kathy and Jully have been two of each other's biggest supports for years
Jully: I echo all the sentiments that Kathy said, for sure. And to realize that, well, Kathy's always seen me as Jullyann Gordon. That's the thing. Though we met later on in life, she knows my whole career, all the accolades, et cetera. But we met through prayer. We met through our faith and our spirituality. And so it was that much easier to just be like, "Well, this literally is me." That's the name of my first album. Shameless plug. This Is Me. This is what you're going to get in these moments. And it's really intimate. We're spending intimate time together, literally in small spaces. And also to be able to be a cheerleader. People cheer for me all the time. I hear my name more than anybody else's name.
So to be able to be like, "Ah! Yeah!" really top of your lungs and cheer for her, you know what I mean? It's fun. I welcome those opportunities. So I think that will go down in the books, no matter what. And we have such memories. I can just laugh because we know things that other people don't know and will never know. And that's what I think that's going really keep the friendship strong is that we were there. We were there.
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Very beautiful. So in your bios, on the CTV site, when it asked about your pet peeve about your racing partner, you both said, "Ask me after the race." So... now that this experience has ended... who wants to go first?
Jully: Well, it just depends on which dusty Delta we stayed in. There was allergies and there was some dust and there was some snoring. I snored, too, at times, but there was some next level. There was some next level-
Kathy: Melatonin. Melatonin snoring.
Jully and Kathy have also worked together through the 100 Strong & Sexy health and fitness community Jully founded
Jully: And then we had melatonin gummies, so we were going deep into that REM. That's it. That's what I have.
Kathy: I feel like it's reliving them. I don't even know if it's a pet peeve, but I feel like I can get ready in two seconds or less. Don't need [time]. But because Jully has these routines, she needs this time. So sometimes she's like, "Okay, so for racing, we're racing at 5:00, we're setting the alarm for 3:45." It's like, "What? Why?"
And it's not because... And it's not a bunch of makeup. It's like, just routine. Warm water with lemon. It's just the things. And it was actually the same things that actually saved us in the end. It's like, these routines kept us healthy and sane. But it was just like, "Oh gosh. Okay. Yes. One hour 15 minutes before we have to leave." So I guess that's-
Jully: Had to wear the same outfit as yesterday.
Kathy: No choice... We were digging into the same 45-liter bag of two pairs of pants, three shirts. So I feel just that part, I was like, "Oh? Oh, yes. Okay. Well, we are going to be prepared for this day." So that was just not pet peeve, but new for me because I was like, "I need 10. I need 10 minutes."
Franca and Nella, sisters from Edmonton who were in fourth place after the first episode, have travelled to Toronto to visit Jully and Kathy since the season wrapped
Was there anybody in the cast who you really clicked with and who you think you're going to stay in touch with after this experience?
Jully: Oh gosh, we clicked with everybody. But right now our little sisters... I say "our," but I speak for me and no other person. Franca and Nella out of Edmonton. They've already been to Toronto since... The first time they came, no one knew we were on the show, so we couldn't put any pictures and all the things. We hung out with them. Loved them so much. They're my little sisters. One of them has the same birthday, Nella, as my mom, as my late mom, May 13th. And so there was the whole other connection.
Tychon is no stranger to reality TV, having won the ninth season of Big Brother Canada
Jully: Cedric and Tychon, still super close with. We hang out. I go to their games, they come to my show. It's just such a thing. Cassie and Jahmeek, Beverly and Veronica. Well, Veronica's in Vancouver, but we saw Beverly... Everybody's really close. And then we have a WhatsApp chat. We literally have a chat where we talk about everything. So Brendan and Connor, Court and Ali, everybody, Craig and Cath. We're all in there, just like Durrell and Dennis chirping away about everything.
The Amazing Race Canada continues Tuesday, July 12 at 9 p.m. ET on CTV!