PHIL Keoghan, the host of The Amazing Race, is nothing short of amazing. No question. How else do you pull off 29 seasons of a show that isn’t studio-based and is unscripted. Did we mention Emmy Award winning? The host of The Amazing Race takes us behind the camera for a glimpse into the chaos between the airport and back. Runways might just be for ‘running toward’ for this TV host.
After visiting over 120 countries, you probably perceive travel a little differently from most people…
I think what I take away from it is the understanding of the fact that we are different but that is okay. Wherever I go, I like to respect the customs and culture of the place. So I say to people that it’s not much different than visiting someone’s house and them asking you to take your shoes off. It may not be that way in your house, but you’re a guest.
How many passports have you been through so far?
Initially, I was on my mother’s passport. And then, I think, I got my own when I was about six. At the time I was living in the Caribbean, in the island of Antigua. I remember we were trying to get a passport quickly for some travel with my parents and we couldn’t get access to a New Zealand passport, so I ended up getting a British passport for about six weeks just for this one trip.
Nowadays, I always have two (passports) when I’m working on The Amazing Race — one for travel and another for getting visas. So…gosh, I must have two dozen passports at least so far (laughs).
Do you pick up an artefact or collectible from each place?
My keepsakes are boarding passes that I’ve collected from the last 20 years!
You’ve had some fans who want to be on the show from as early on as 10-years-old. Is there a special fan moment you recall?
A positive and feel-good show tends to correlate to a lot of lovely fans. And so, I have great moments where I get stopped at airports and fans want to take a picture. Or if I move too quickly, people tend to think that I’m running on the race and they yell out to me: ‘Hurry up Phil, you don’t want to be last!’
What has been a highlight while in India? We heard you got stuck behind an elephant once!
When I was in Mumbai, we were doing a piece with the police cricket team. Playing with them was memorable. One thing I haven’t done yet is watch a T-20 match in India, so that’s next on my list.
How long does it take you to pack a suitcase?
(Laughs) I can tell you that I make my family quite nervous, because I pack very late before a trip. For the show, I have a wardrobe person who polaroids every single outfit that I wear. So I don’t have to think about what jeans go with what shirt.
Is there a prep routine you have developed to gear up for all the madness while shooting?
We start our research of the places well ahead. I also try to get as physically fit as I can before a trip—running, cycling and working out. Also, I don’t drink when I’m on the road. Except for a lot of water of course.
You shoot 12 episodes in 21 days. Do you ever sleep?
I have found a way to be able to sleep whenever I can, and absolutely anywhere. I mean, even in the loudest of noise. I just breathe deeply and shut everything out and drift off, and it’s the best feeling ever.
AXN airs Season 26 -28 of The Amazing Race every Monday to Friday, at 9 pm. Season 29 is slated to premiere in India next year.
— Sonali Shenoy