Proving that there’s more to the Chippendales team than just a couple of pretty faces, Jaymes Vaughan (@JaymesV) and James Davis (@James_MNE) showed fans of The Amazing Race their competitive drive, their incredible stamina, and their ability to don the infamous cuffs and bow ties when the situation called for it. Fighting their way into the Final 3 teams racing for the one million dollar prize, Jaymes and James escaped straight jackets, delivered pizzas to hungry New Yorkers, and raced their way into a second place finish at the last leg. The Yak recently had a chance to chat with the dynamic duo from Las Vegas about their drive for the grand prize, their supportive families back home, and what the next step is for this pair of pals.
The Yak: Congratulations on making it to the Final 3 during the race. It was great watching you both, and we were all pulling for you to bring home the win! We were big fans, and you did a great job at representing yourselves and the Chippendales.
James: Thank you!
Jaymes: Thank you so much! That means a lot, and I really appreciate that!
The Yak: After watching all the episodes now, what is your overall feeling about the race?
Jaymes: We had an amazing time on the race! We met some absolutely amazing teams. They had some inspirational stories. Look at Dan and Amy and everything they accomplished in life. The fact that Amy has become an amazing world-class snowboarder. Trey and Lexi – the love and support that they showed for each other. Josh and Brent were an amazing couple. We really met some amazing people on the race, and I feel like we came back with a family of 22 in our Amazing Race family. We love everybody that was on the race with us. We had a great time with everybody, making wonderful memories.
The Yak: James, have you had a chance to give your new car to your mom?
James: You know, I have not. We haven’t received the phone call yet. We’re wondering how it works. Do they mail it out? Do they ship it to us? We haven’t gotten the cars yet, so we’re still waiting to see how the prizes actually happen. I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet that we’ve won these prizes. I’m sure my mom is going to be so happy once she gets her new car, she’ll probably do a back flip! [laughs] Jaymes: We’re pretty dang-gone excited!
James: I’m so stoked about giving her this car.
Jaymes: I can’t wait to see the look on his mom’s face when she gets the car! We didn’t get the million, but one of our goals was to get his mom a car and we accomplished that. Another thing we can do, I can give my car to my parents to sell, so we can help pay for his expenses. We did win something. We didn’t leave empty handed, so we feel great that we did accomplish something for our families.
The Yak: It was nice to see you both working so hard, not only for yourselves, but for your families as well. Speaking of your families, Jaymes, how is your dad doing?
Jaymes: My dad’s a fighter. He’s in a new treatment for his cancer… sorry, it’s hard to talk about this, as I get upset really easily thinking about it… He started a new course of treatment with chemo and radiation, and he’s doing the best that he can to be the first person to take this incurable cancer and say, “Yo, it is curable! Check it out! I beat it!” My dad is a Marine, he’s a fighter, he’s hardcore, and he’s gone through this with an amazing attitude the entire time, and I feel like he might really be the first one to beat this thing! The best we can do, as family and loved ones, is to give him the means to take care of it, and that is by financially telling him to stop working. My dad is still working. It’s ridiculous. He goes to work, leaves and goes to chemo. He goes back to work, leaves and goes to radiation, then goes back to work. You’re not supposed to do that! So, I’m trying to do everything I can to help him. We’ve set up a website for him, www.forgetcancernow.com, and we’re trying to spread the word about it.
James: Every little bit helps. People think a dollar doesn’t matter, but the power of one dollar is big. It all adds up and makes a huge difference.
Jaymes: I still have faith, you know, that we were put on this show for a reason. I think it was because we were supposed to achieve that goal of me going to my dad at Christmas and saying, “Here you go. Stop working and get better!”
The Yak: What was the hardest challenge you faced during the race?
James: Man, I had so many… you saw me struggling with the Bondo, you saw us struggle with the bamboo, you saw us struggle with the abacus lady. For me, mentally, the flag challenge at the end was the most demanding, just because of it’s proximity to the end. You’re at the end, this is the last thing you’ve got to do before you get the million, and the pressure is on. You could have cut the tension with a knife. I have to say that was the toughest challenge of the race. Honestly, we had great notes on all the greeters.
Jaymes: We wrote down everything, down to the fingernail paint color they had on.
James: We had every other details, except for “Hello” and “Goodbye”, so we knew the flags of the countries…
Jaymes: We were even looking at the mat to make sure it was the same mat every time at the Pit Stop. We took notes about everything, and we had a whole notebook full of notes. We knew “Thank you” in every language, but we didn’t know “Hello” and “Goodbye.”
James: A tip of the cap to the Amazing Race crew because they slipped that one by not just us, but everybody. Everybody was struggling with that challenge. It was extremely hard, especially when it’s at the end like that and your adrenaline is pumping and you want to get it done as quickly as possible, yet it’s something you just could not get done in 10 minutes.
Jaymes: I just want to brag about my best friend here for a second. You know how much taxi trouble we had in New York, it really got us behind, and we got to that flag challenge pretty late. James was actually able to complete that flag challenge faster than anyone else. We just got there so far behind. Leave it to a Chippendale to figure out, if we don’t know these “Hello” and “Goodbyes”, then lets make some algebra out of it. X and Y are going to equal Z, so he just went through and did it like a mathematical equation. He figured it out, so I just wanted to brag about him and say how proud I am of him that he did accomplish that. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get anywhere fast enough.
James: Honestly, it was mere minutes. It was an epic finish to an epic race, I feel.
The Yak: It was a great season! It was a nail-biter right down to the very end.
James: We were biting our nails, too!
Jaymes: That guy in Indonesia [at the Pit Stop] was probably biting all of his long nails off!
The Yak: Did you get close to any of the other teams and have you kept in touch since the end of the race?
Jaymes: Oh yeah, we’ve got an entire Amazing Race family! We are forever part of the Amazing Race Season 21 family. Nobody will understand this experience like they will. Are you kidding me? We all keep in touch.
James: You really get to see who people really are in these crazy situations, and we met some real genuinely great people to the core. We’re very fortunate and blessed with the teams that we had.
Jaymes: Absolutely! I can’t wait for that Beekman Boy wedding, and we’ll get to get back together and go congratulate them. I’m so excited for them!
The Yak: Did you do anything special when you found out that you had been cast for the race?
James: No, but we were very hesitant at first. We actually had decided not to do it. We were just a little concerned with reality TV, and we thought people would see us as just “those Chippendales.” We thought they might wanted to portray us negatively, and we have families that watch television, with nieces and nephews that look up to us, so we didn’t want to put ourselves in a situation where there could reflect negatively on them. We should have paid attention to the fact that Amazing Race has won all these Emmys for a reason because it’s true to life. If you did it on The Amazing Race, you really did it in real life.
Jaymes: We were just a little hesitant of that, but you know, then my dad got sick and there was no more hesitation. We thought, “We’ve got to go win this million dollars. Whatever it takes. Let’s go do it!” We went and did it, and thank God, the Amazing Race won all the Emmys that it does because it’s true to life. If it happened on camera, it happened for real.
The Yak: What’s next for Jaymes and James?
Jaymes: The main focus right now is helping my dad. Also, James has got his band, My Name Engraved. They just had a new EP that came out, and they have more stuff in the works coming. My new single, called “Tonight”, will be out at the end of the year, but right now, it’s about taking care of my dad. Everything else can wait. We have our whole lives to work and make money. Right now, it’s about my dad.
The Yak: Thanks so much for your time, you guys. We wish you all the best!
Jaymes: Thank you so much! Have a wonderful day! We appreciate it!