By Chris Huqueriza
dot429 interviews partners Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell on their experience winning the 21st season of The Amazing Race and their impact on the LGBT community.
Known for their reality show before appearing on The Amazing Race, called the Fabulous Beekman Boys, the program focuses on how to become farmers and how they launched their lifestyle brand, Beekman 1802, while owning a farm in upstate New York.
Brent is a physician at Mount Sinai Hospital who formerly worked for Martha Stewart Omnimedia. Josh worked in the advertising industry and is a New York Times bestselling author. Before participating in the Amazing Race, Brent was full-time on the farm while Josh commuted to New York on the weekends.
We talk to the Beekman Boys about about their future, their experience as a gay couple winning the race, and their upcoming wedding.
How was your experience participating in, and then winning, the Amazing Race as a gay couple on the program?
As a couple in a long-term relationship, we realize that the most important thing for any couple is to have shared experiences that bond you which is certainly what made us say 'yes' to running the race.
Did you ever feel a weight of responsibility to the LGBT community from being a gay couple on national television?
We feel a responsibility to represent any community that we are part of - whether it's the LGBT community or our rural farming community in upstate NY. A television audience forms an opinion in a matter of minutes and often those opinions carry over into their everyday lives. We tried to run the race with as much integrity and camaraderie as we could while still being competitive.
How has the show's fanbase reacted to your win?
Overall, the response has been great. Everyone loves an underdog champion. There have been some people who complained that we were not "physical" enough and should not have won, but these people probably don't realize that winning the Race requires as much emotional intelligence as it does physical strength.
You wrote a message to a bullied boy named Colin, and got others from the Amazing Race to participate as well. What inspired the act, how has the reaction been, and how did Colin feel about your outreach?
We were inspired by a letter that Colin's mother wrote to us via our website, beekman1802.com. She explained how she and Colin had watched the show together and that our "come from behind" victory gave him hope that life's obstacles can be overcome. The response from the other racers as well as fans of the show has been overwhelming, and Colin's mom reports that he still reads through the comments left by people [on the site] whenever he is having a bad day.
Do you hope to do more anti-bullying initiatives in the future?
When you feel passionately about something, you should use whatever platform you can to speak about it.
What are some other causes you're passionate about?
We believe very strongly that there needs to be more support for local agriculture and for re-investing in the communities in which we live.
With your winnings, have you both been able to leave the city behind and move back to the farm to be together as you'd hoped?
We are now both living on the farm and working together to grow our company Beekman 1802.
How has your exposure on TV led to other projects for you?
We have never lacked for opportunity. We look for it everywhere.
There are rumors of a season 3 of your show, The Fabulous Beekman Boys. Any news of that? And you had mentioned it may center around you two getting married. Does that date depend on the show, or are you moving ahead with plans regardless?
Discussions have started regarding Season 3 of the show on the Cooking Channel. If the show proceeds, it will likely include our wedding, which is planned for June.
Beyond the show, what's next for you two?
NASDAQ has called Beekman 1802 ''one of the fastest growing lifestyle brands" in the country, and we are working hard to both keep and expand on that. We'll be opening a new storefront in Sharon Springs, NY this spring. Our next cookbook, Beekman 1802 Heirloom Desserts, debuts in September and we'll be touring around the country for that.
For more information on the Beekman Boys and their brand, visit their site here.