Isabelle Du ’07 and Dennis Hour ’06 have been a couple for more than two years, started a business together, laugh at each other’s jokes, finish each other’s sentences and even share clothes – more on that later. In short, they are a terrific team. Or rather, as contestants on the fall 2014 season of the television show The Amazing Race, they are, indeed, an amazing team.
And after crisscrossing the globe as one of 11 teams on the mad-cap CBS reality game show, the alumni duo say they are one mighty duo.
“We’ve done so much teamwork together, we’re closer than ever. We were so inspired by the experience,” say Du, who graduated with a degree in public relations/advertising and works as a fashion model.
No spoiler alerts here
But as much as they say they drew from that experience, the couple – or #TheDatingCouple, as the show’s producers labeled them – is keeping mum on the specifics of the grueling challenges and antics that is the show’s stock in trade. The race challenges were taped this summer and will air on CBS beginning Friday, Sept. 26. The network website hints that the teams trekked through 20 cities and tested their mettle in myriad ways, from sheep herding to cliff rappelling.
Hour, who graduated with a business degree and an emphasis in accounting and works as a financial analyst, will only say this about that — “Hungry. Tired. Sleepy.”
As big fans of the show who’ve seen every episode, they knew that was all part of the game. So the Tustin residents prepared as well as they could. In addition to an extreme workout schedule, they also ran to the supermarket with full backpacks, speed-assembled Lego sets to hone their puzzle-solving skills and even browsed through Where’s Waldo? books to train their eyes to quickly spy out hidden details.
Bickering on the road
What they couldn’t predict was how much they would bicker during the taping.
“Don’t judge us when you watch,” Hour says with a laugh. “We got pretty riled up.”
No permanent damage was done, though. The couple say the creativity they tapped into to manage the stress of the Amazing Race now serves them in other projects. Most fun has been a fashion photo blog, www.myboyfriendsclothes.com, written by Du, whose fashion modeling credits include Cosmopolitan and Elle, as well as campaigns for Mossimo and Urban Outfitters. In the name of reduced consumption, Du adopts items from Hour’s wardrobe and then demonstrates how they can do double duty and be worn by him or her.
A little whacky? Hour shrugs and nods.
“I don’t know how to pose for the photos,” he says.
“We’re still on this crazy high from (The Amazing Race),” Du says. “I feel like we want to do more.”
Learning from family
While relishing the fun and entertainment of The Amazing Race and its aftermath, both Du and Hour say their determination to make it onto the show – the couple previously auditioned three times – winds back to their families’ struggles to leave war-torn countries under dangerous conditions far greater than anything faced on a reality television show. Du’s parents fled Vietnam by way of a Malaysian refugee camp; Hour’s escaped Cambodia and almost certain death by the Khmer Rouge.
“We’re persistent,” Du says. “It goes back to our parents. If they weren’t persistent, we wouldn’t be here.”