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Joe & Ian Talk Meeting, Getting Engaged & Competing Together on The Amazing Race

Joe & Ian Talk Meeting, Getting Engaged & Competing Together on The Amazing Race

Joe and Ian on The Amazing Race season 35

The gay couple of The Amazing Race season 35 tells Out how they really met each other, the story behind their engagement, and what their strategies were for competing on the show.

We’ve seen lots of iconic LGBTQ+ contestants on The Amazing Race over the years, and now it’s time for us to root for gay fiancés Joe and Ian in season 35.

At 35 years of age, Joe is a head of business development for a commercial real estate tech platform. He is originally from Rockland County, which is a 30-minute drive north of Manhattan. Meanwhile, Ian is a 40-year-old director of new business at a marketing startup who moved from Ohio to New York City.

In their intro package for The Amazing Race, Joe and Ian talked about meeting at the gym, eventually getting engaged, and being fans of the show before they even got together. In an interview with Out, the couple spilled even more tea about their backstory and revealed their strategy for competing in the long-running CBS competition series.

“We met in the summer of 2019, right before New York Pride, actually. It’s kind of a funny story,” Ian told Out. “I was having my ‘hot girl summer’ and my best friends were coming in to stay with me in New York. It was my first New York Pride being a resident in the city. But I met this one [Joe] at the gym literally a week leading up to Pride. So when he was tagging along with me everywhere for every moment of the day during every Pride event, my best friends were not terribly happy that he was with us everywhere we went. But it all ended well!”

“But we did meet at the gym,” Joe added. “I know, eye roll. But our offices were right next to each other at the time, and there was a gym right there, and we worked out during lunch hour. [There weren’t]. that many people during that time, so we continuously noticed each other for quite a bit.”

Cut to a few years later, in 2022, and little did Joe know that Ian was getting ready to get down on one knee and propose to him during a trip to Thailand. Ian said, “We got engaged at the end of November in Thailand for my 40th birthday trip. He was a little shocked.” Joe added, “I had absolutely no idea. Apparently, every single one of my friends and family members knew about it for the better part of a year.”

“I’m a massive planner and also have Midwest kind of values-ish,” Ian elaborated. “So I asked Joe’s parents, made sure they were okay with it, talked to his family. I felt like I was taking the right steps. It was in planning for about 12 months prior to the trip.”

During the trip, Joe and Ian found themselves at a natural park located in a remote area of Thailand. It had been raining for the past 24 hours, but right as Ian felt ready to propose, the skies suddenly opened up and the sun came out. “Kind of cheesy,” Ian noted, but it also felt like the perfect moment for the proposal. “It was 6 a.m. and I had no coffee. We walked outside and I looked haggard,” Joe pointed out. “We had to redo some photos a couple hours later, I’ll say that much.”

Before they met each other, both Ian and Joe had already been fans of The Amazing Race for many years. As the 2020 lockdown hit the US just a few months into their relationship, they found themselves bonding over some of their favorite shows, which included The Amazing Race and Survivor.

“We got really into those and ramped up our mutual commentary from the couch,” Joe said. “We were like, ‘Oh, I can’t believe they’re doing that and not this. It’s right there.’” When it came to rooting for someone, Joe and Ian quickly agreed that their favorite contestants were the people who could also have fun on the show.

“What we weren’t on the same page about were who would do what challenges,” Joe explained. “If there was something that we’d have to eat, who would do that? We’ve definitely gone down that rabbit hole of an argument. Even before we kicked off the process of getting on [The Amazing Race], we were talking about that. Who would do what, who’s better at which challenge. As we watched it, we were already kind of strategizing around what we would do.”

In fact, Ian started to keep a literal tally ­– on Joe’s phone – consisting of different types of challenges and which of them would do them. Ian said, “We kind of always knew we were going to apply. It was just not a matter of if, more a matter of when. So when the beginning of last year hit, we were like, ‘You know what? Let’s just do it.’ We’re coming off of this engagement. We’re about to take this massive life journey together. Why not test ourselves and put ourselves in these crazy kinds of social experiments to see how we fare? And yeah, it was an experience of a lifetime.”

When it came to their competitive edge for season 35 of The Amazing Race, Joe argued: “I think that we’re definitely New Yorkers at heart. We’re very fast-moving, we’re very fast-paced at everything, and we certainly carried that into the race.” But when Ian joked that moving at a fast pace could be considered a pro and a con in the competition, Joe added, “Yeah, tune in to find out both sides of that story!”

Overall, Ian explained that they know each other very well, which is perhaps their biggest strength beyond any planning or preparation. “We’re each other’s biggest fans,” Joe noted. “We really needed to be there for each other through the highs and the lows, to maintain the excitement and the positivity, and to remind each other why we’re here and how lucky we are to be participating in this incredible journey.”

Watch Out’s full interview with Ian and Joe in the video below. And make sure to tune into The Amazing Race season 35 premiere this Wednesday, September 27 on CBS.

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Bernardo Sim

Bernardo Sim experiences and explains queer multiverses. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.

Bernardo Sim experiences and explains queer multiverses. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.