They capped off their inexplicable run on Big Brother with Jordan Lloyd emerging as the season 11 champ and Jeff Schroeder taking home the prize as America’s Favorite Player. But before the ink was even dry on their BB checks, America’s reality sweethearts signed on to compete in the 16th edition of CBS’s The Amazing Race, which starts Feb. 14. With 11 other teams, eight countries and five continents standing between them and the ultimate prize, the couple who hadn’t even had a chance to take a vacation together faced a whole new set of obstacles. Jeff, 31, and Jordan, 22, sat down with PEOPLE to talk about their new challenge. — Reagan Alexander
Were you fans of the Amazing Race before signing on?Jordan: It’s kind of funny. I’ve been part of two reality shows and I had never watched either one before. I had to YouTube it, just like I did with Big Brother and figure out what everything meant, like ‘detour,’ ‘roadblock’, and all that other stuff. Jeff: I had watched it a couple of times, but I wasn’t a die-hard fan.
Did your experience together on BB help you, or hurt you?Jeff: I think it helped us, and played to our strengths. I’m sure that brothers and sisters, or mothers and daughters had issues after a week of being together non-stop. What was a strain on other teams was a positive for us; we didn’t have to worry about being together all of the time, we were already use to it.
Did traveling together put too much strain on you two, or do you think that it actually made you stronger?Jeff: It was definitely a strain… Jordan: (interrupting) I think it made us stronger! Jeff: (laughs) Let me finish. It was definitely a strain on the relationship, but it definitely made us stronger. The fact that we went through the hard times that we did is a testament to our relationship. This show really pushed us to the max, and it was tough, but we’re still a couple, we’re still here, and it show’s a lot that we’re still together.
Do you think you two are lucky that you made it through this without going for each other’s throats?Jordan: (laughs) I think the main problem was that I was too laid back about things, because I’m not that competitive, and Jeff is so competitive. We didn’t really meet in the middle, so it went from one extreme to another. Jeff: I need to turn it down, and she needs to turn it up, (laughs) but there were moments when I did want to strangle her, and I’m sure there were times where she wanted to kill me.
Was there ever a point where things got so hard that you two almost threw in the towel?Jeff: There was one point, but as much as we joke around about strangling each other, and argue, we were never, ever going to throw in the towel. We were never going to quit by any means. I don’t think it was ever an option for either one of us. Jordan: Yeah, but it was the only time though. It was the worst ever, and I was about to cry but I didn’t want to look like a baby.
If you had a choose between slop for a month, and a Race food challenge, which would you take?Jordan: I’d eat slop. Before we went in, I told Jeff that I would do all the height challenges, because he’s kind of scared of heights, but that he had to eat all of the gross stuff. I can’t stand anything fishy, or oily, and I can’t eat a bug, and I know that Jeff will do it. Jeff: I would take care of eating weird stuff, but if there was something that had to be jumped off of,(laughs) it was going to be Jordan.
You two went from being locked in a house for three months with a bunch of lunatics to traversing 5 continents and eight countries in a race against other cutthroat teams. Are you two just gluttons for punishment?Jeff: (laughs) No, but I look at it as an amazing story, how Jordan and I met, and how things have been working out between us. It’s definitely something to tell the grandkids type of story, and hopefully things keep working out the way they have, because as crazy as it’s been, it’s a serious relationship. I love the way things are and I wouldn’t trade it or change it for anything.
Jordan, when Jeff says that it’s a story, ‘to tell the grandkids,’ what goes through your mind?Jordan: (laughs) That he’s being nice today, he’s being real sweet! Normally when I talk like that he’s like, ‘Jordan, take it easy!’
Tell us: How far do you think Jeff and Jordan will go on the Amazing Race?