Davis High grad returns for another crack at $1 million on ‘The Amazing Race’

mrowland@modbee.comFebruary 21, 2014 

  • ABOUT THE REPORTER
    alternate textMarijke Rowland
    Title: Arts & Entertainment Writer
    Coverage areas: Fine arts, pop culture and other entertainment throughout the Central Valley and foothills.
    Bio: Marijke Rowland has been a reporter at The Bee for 15 years. She grew up in the Midwest and has a degree in journalism from Indiana University. She has covered several beats at The Bee from education to entertainment to employment.
    Recent stories written by Marijke
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    WHAT: All-Star Edition of “The Amazing Race”

    WHEN: 8 p.m. Sunday (Channel 13, CBS Sacramento, airs it at 7 p.m.)

    WHERE: CBS

    ONLINE: www.cbs.com/shows/amazing_race

Modesto-raised YouTube star Meghan Camarena will have another shot at $1 million on the hit reality series “The Amazing Race.”

The 26-year-old Davis High School graduate and her best friend and fellow YouTube personality, Joseph “Joey” Graceffa, will team up again for the globe-trotting series as it presents an all-star season of past contestants starting Sunday on CBS. The pair were contestants on the Emmy-winning show the season before last, when they made it to the final five teams and were eliminated a week before the finale.

Camarena’s appearance marks the third season in a row a Central Valley-raised contestant has made it onto the popular reality competition. Last season, Turlock native and Pitman High graduate Ally Mello competed with her fellow L.A. Kings Ice Crew teammate Ashley Covert. The duo also placed fifth in their season.

As a returning contestant, Camarena and Graceffa will compete against 10 other teams for the prize in the show’s 24th season. The teams will race across four continents and nine countries, covering a distance of more than 35,000 miles. Contestants will travel through China, Malaysia, Italy and Sri Lanka, among other countries.

In previews for the season, “Amazing Race” host Phil Keoghan said Camarena and Graceffa have a popular YouTube following. “They are young and street-smart and savvy,” he said. “And they get on very well. I could see them going a long way,” he said.

The pair was dubbed “Team Cute” during its season. In promo interviews at CBS.com, Camarena and Graceffa said they want to add the nickname “Team Fierce” this time around.

“We said before it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But now it’s a twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You can’t pass that up,” Camarena said.

Camarena, who graduated from Davis High in 2005 and lives in Los Angeles, goes by the Internet handle Strawburry17, where she has amassed a strong online fan base. Since she began posting in 2008, she has gained nearly 630,000 subscribers on YouTube and more than 130,000 followers on Twitter. Her videos and posts cover what she calls “a wide variety of nerd news” from cosplay and gaming to beyond. Camarena and Graceffa also are hosts on Teen.com’s YouTube channel.

The friends said they have learned from the mistakes of their season and plan to play smarter, and not necessarily nicer, this time. “You are definitely going to see a different team here with us. ... We are not looking for friendships,” Camarena said. “Don’t count us out, because we’re here to compete.”

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on Twitter @marijkerowland.

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