Last night saw the end of King George‘s reign on The Amazing Race Australia: Celebrity Edition. Competing with his sister, Pamela Mladenov, the pair’s journey came to an end in — somewhat ironically — George Town, Malaysia.
We caught up with the Australian Survivor alum and Pam to talk all things Amazing Race, Australian Survivor, and more.
What Went Wrong for George and Pam on The Amazing Race Australia
Chatting to The Latch over the phone, George Mladenov says that “there were a series of events” in last night’s episode that worked against him and Pam.
“Sometimes the race comes down to luck,” he explains.
The team found themselves on the back foot from the start of the episode, after “a really slow driver” put them behind the other teams. George says that in the end, it was “critical for the entire leg” of the challenge, because it meant that they lost any “margin for error” that they might have otherwise had.
By the time they got to the next stop, Darren McMullen and Tristan Dougan had taken the last option for “Eats”, leaving George and Pam to tackle “Treats”.
“This might not surprise you, but I would’ve loved to have eaten bull’s penis!” George exclaims. “Unfortunately, Darren and Tristan got the last penis station, and rather than doing a challenge that would have been delicious, as far as I’m concerned, ‘coz I like eating those South East Asian delicacies from the many stores we have in Bankstown, we went to that finesse-style dessert challenge where we left last.”
Although Pam “made up about half an hour’s worth of lost time” at the Road Block challenge, their bad luck returned in the next task. Harry Jowsey and Teddy Briggs found the dragon lantern before George and Pam did, and the rest was history.
“Once we fell behind, we just didn’t have time up our sleeve to catch up,” George says.
The Difference Between The Amazing Race and Australian Survivor
Having competed on Australian Survivor: Brains Vs Brawn and Heroes Vs Villains, George entered The Amazing Race Australia with a level of experience that some of the other celebrities didn’t have. However, there’s a key difference between the two reality competitions that made the Race a completely different beast from Survivor — control.
“In Survivor it’s a game of what you can control, and you can control everything except the elements,” George says.
If you’re able to “embrace the sheer difficulty of the elements”, George says, then it won’t impact your game. In fact, you might even find that you thrive.
“When I reflect on Pam and my contribution to the race, the harder the race got, the better we did,” George says. “Pam is an everyday, suburban hairdresser from Western Sydney, and growing up in Bankstown, you learn that if you don’t fight for something, you don’t get it. And that resolve carried us through when the conditions were tough.”
He continues: “When the elements were confronting, we would always go from the bottom of the pack back to the middle.”
The difference in the two shows, George says, is that The Amazing Race offers contestants a reprieve from those elements at the end of each leg of the race. Every time they’d make it through an especially difficult leg of the race, the game would reset.
“In some ways deep down, I just wish it was tougher,” George says. “For the 12 or 16 hours that a leg is on, it’s intense stress and pressure, in a foreign country where, you know, things are confronting.”
It was in these moments, George says, that his Australian Survivor experiences came in handy.
“It gives you a lot of perspective on what’s important, and what you need at a certain moment in time,” he explains. “And this might sound like post-Survivor trauma, but for me, that’s a tiny bowl of rice, and water. Aside from that, what more do you need?”
George says that he found himself wishing that the game didn’t reset, because he and Pam “thrived when the conditions were hard”.
“Pam, did you want to add anything? It’s not the George deep dive!” he exclaims.
“No, it’s true!” Pam says. “We did have a lot of things, particularly early on in the race, that weren’t going to play to our strengths, or we did have a lot of bad luck, but we made the best of every scenario, and we were able to scrape through a lot of the time.”
As the race continued, Pam says that they figures out how to “work as a team”, and that when they did that, they “actually had the potential to really turn things around”.
“Like George said, at the last moment finding a lantern, that was just our bad luck on that day,” she says. “And that’s okay! We’re okay with that.”
Pam Was Excited to Join The Amazing Race Australia With George
Eagle-eyed Australian Survivor fans might remember Pam’s reality TV debut on Brains Vs. Brawn, when she joined George for the season’s final Immunity Challenge. She’s watched on as her brother has become one of the biggest names in Australian Survivor, and was happy — albeit a little intimidated — to join him for The Amazing Race Australia: Celebrity Edition this year.
“I went into it really open minded,” she says of the experience.
While George is known to the public for his bold, strategic gameplay and his larger-than-life King George of Bankstown persona, to Pam, he’s simply her brother.
“Yes, George has built up this big persona, and he’s done so well on Survivor over the years, but at the end of the day, George is my brother,” she says. “He’s been my brother for my whole life, and I think I know George a lot better than the public might perceive him sometimes, or how the other teams might perceive him.”
There were ups and downs for Pam over the course of the race, and “definitely a lot of hard moments” along the way. Through it all, she was happy to have George by her side.
“George was always able to remain really calm and level headed, and I did find the pressure quite difficult at times,” she says. “But I think having someone like George there to pick me up and push me through in those hard times, that was exactly what I needed, and I think it made me as an individual a lot more strong and resilient.
She continues: “As the race went on, I kind of found my groove a little bit, and found that I [could] do a lot of these things that I thought might be too hard at the start.”
Calling it a “once in a lifetime experience”, Pam says that the camping leg of the race in Malaysia was “such a special, ‘pinch me’ moment”.
“As hard as the race had been, I’m here on the side of this beautiful beach with George, we are on The Amazing Race, this is actually happening,” she recalls. “I think a lot of the other teams really struggled to see that moment for what it was. For me, that was a real turning point, to just be really present, and whatever happened, to just soak it all up.”
What’s Next for George and Pam
Just this year, George has competed on Australian Survivor: Heroes Vs Villains and The Amazing Race Australia: Celebrity Edition, and he’s not slowing down any time soon.
“My book comes out in about five weeks, it’s called How to Win Friends and Manipulate People,” he says.
Describing the book as “a window into [his] mind”, George says the book reveals the “tools and tricks of the trade” that he’s learned throughout his life, “so people can apply those in everyday situations in their lives”.
“I thought, ‘What better way to help people out there than by sharing some stories that are entertaining, but also valuable, in terms of making sure that the odds can get skewed in their favour and they can get that win in a situation’,” he says.
“Manipulation isn’t a scary word,” George explains. “It happens everyday, but if you positively manipulate people and you look for that win-win situation that works for both of you, even if you’re getting your preferred outcome, it works.
“That was the secret to my Survivor gameplay — every time I offered a deal to someone, it worked for them,” he continues. “Was I the main beneficiary to that deal? Of course I was, that’s why I offered the deal. But they took the deal because it also worked for them. If people can take my tips and take my advice, it can benefit them in their workplace, or their community group, or whatever facet in their life, in a family dynamic, I want them to have that knowledge, and I want them to read my book!
As for Pam, her hairdressing salon in Bankstown is keeping her busy.
“That’s my passion and my first priority always, I love my job,” Pam says. “But if had said to me one year ago, ‘This year, 2023, you’re going to go on The Amazing Race’, I would’ve laughed and probably just thought, ‘That’s never gonna happen!’
“I’m very open minded to what the future holds,” she adds. “I’m a massive Survivor fan also, and I’ve always said that’s something I would love to do and to give it a go. I think Survivor is the ultimate test, and having had my brother George do so well at it both times, I’m sure he could teach me a thing or two!
“So, we’ll just have to see what the future holds, I guess!” she says.
The Amazing Race Australia: Celebrity Edition airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm, only on 10 and 10 Play on Demand. Miss an episode? Catch up on 10 Play.
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