Cat O'Brien and Jesse O'Brien are a team of Foster Parents on The Amazing Race: Australia v New Zealand.
Though they constantly raced at the back of the pack, never finishing higher than 3rd, their "never quit" philosophy served them well and secured them a place as fan favorites, as well as allowed them to hang on a lot longer than anyone thought they would. In Dubrovnik, Croatia, their biggest weakness, their lack of physical strength, meant they were unable to keep up with the other teams in the physically intense leg. They fell to last place after failing to count the steps up Watchman's Tower on the first climb, and received the last departure slot the following day. They were unable to climb out of last place, and finished 5th.
This nurturing couple is used to caring for others. Will they be able to put themselves first and bring home a win for their children?
Cat (38) and Jesse's (36) lives revolve around their ever-changing family. "We have three children, Michael (13), Carmel (10) and Joel (8); and Freckles the cat who is more like a miniature lion; and we occasionally have foster children and by occasionally we mean most of the time," says Cat.
They met 21 years ago and Jesse says he knew he was going to marry her the first time he met her. "Cat is funny, smart, kind and embracing. And obviously she's smoking hot!" he admires. Their family reside in Hamilton.
The couple applied for the Race to prove to their children that anything is possible. "I would most look forward to crossing that finish line and winning that money because of what it would mean for our kids. It would afford us opportunities we wouldn't otherwise have. The underlying motivation is our kids," says Cat.
This is not Jesse's first time on the small screen. He came fourth in NZ Idol in 2005 after withdrawing from the 2003 competition to be at the birth of their daughter, Carmel. He still writes and performs music, under the names "DarkroomJesse", "The Darkroom Project" and "Jesse & The O'Briens".
They‟ve been overseas a handful of times, though Cat hasn‟t travelled in the past ten years due to the demands of raising young children.
Jesse acknowledges they're not "team brains" or "team bikini", but believes they have as much chance of winning as any other team. "It's not just about being fast or fit or strong. There are many things in our lives that we've done purely through being ourselves, and nothing else. We count on that," he says. Cat adds: "If you can foster kids, you can do anything!"
The Amazing Race: Australia v New Zealand
|Cat & Jesse's Race History|
|Episode||Leg||Destination(s)|| Detour Choice|
|1||1||Australia → New Zealand||No Detour||Jesse||8 of 10|
|2||2||New Zealand → Cambodia||Shrimp / Shoot||Jesse||5 of 9|
|3||3||Cambodia → Thailand||Climb Up / Drill Down||Cat||7 of 8|
|4||4||Thailand → Namibia||Pipe / Poo||Jesse||4 of 7|
|5||5||Namibia → Russia||Cossack / Coat Rack||Cat||6 of 6|||
|6||6||Russia||Boil / Build||Jesse||4 of 6|
|7||7||Russia → Portugal||Wet / Dry||Cat||3 of 5|
|8||8||Portugal → Croatia||No Detour||Cat||5 of 5|||
- Ben Waterworth & Noah Graves at Survivor Oz (10/02/2014): "The Amazing Race Oz - Cat & Jesse O'Brien Interview"
- Michelle Pearce-Denovan & Ben Powell at Reality TV Warriors (03/11/2015): "Podcast #58 – Interviewing, O'Brien Style"
|The Amazing Race: Australia v New Zealand Teams|