Boca Raton sisters Morgan and Lena Franklin debut on CBS 'Amazing Race' on Wednesday night
By Paige Feigenbaum,2023-09-26
With their passports in hand and an appetite for adventure, sisters Morgan and Lena Franklin, who were born and raised west of Boca Raton , carefully packed backpacks to embark on Season 35 of “The Amazing Race,” which premieres at 9:30 p.m. ET, Wednesday on CBS and Paramount+.
Although the two marketing executives now reside on opposite coasts — Morgan, 31, calls Brooklyn home and Lena, 29, lives in Los Angeles with her 3-year-old Maltipoo Astro — their Palm Beach County roots run deep.
They both attended Bak Middle School of the Arts in West Palm Beach . Lena continued on to Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts where she played the flute as a band major and Morgan graduated from Atlantic Community High School’s International Baccalaureate program in Delray Beach .
Lena began watching “The Amazing Race” during her college years and got her entire family into the series. When she decided to apply to be on the show, Morgan suggested they partner up. “Morgan and I have a really interesting dynamic as sisters, and it’s probably made for TV,” Lena said.
They credit their active upbringing in the Sunshine State for preparing them for the show long before they applied. They say their involvement in outdoor sports such as softball, tennis, swimming, wakeboarding, biking, and rollerblading kept them physically fit and taught them endurance in extreme heat and humidity and inclement weather conditions, which they encountered in some of the destinations the race took them to.
“Growing up in a super-diverse community in South Florida made us more amenable and understanding of other people and other cultures, which when racing is huge,” Morgan added. “You need to be comfortable speaking to anybody and everybody.”
Their parents — Patrick and Rachelle — still reside in Palm Beach County. Patrick Franklin has been president and CEO of the Urban League of Palm Beach County for 21 years. The organization recently celebrated its 50th anniversary .
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Where did the 'Amazing Race' take the Boca Raton sisters across the globe?
The duo competed against 12 other teams in mental and physical challenges that took the cast gallivanting all over the world, exploring destinations such as Thailand, India, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Slovenia and Washington state after kicking off their epic adventure at the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles in honor of the landmark’s 100 th anniversary.
“There’s no one that you know better than your sibling. I’ve known Lena for all 29 years of her life,” said Morgan. “We shared a room till I was 12 or 13. You know what your partner is fearful of. You know what they love. You know what their buttons are and you know how to support them, which is the most important part of the entire race.”
Boca Raton sisters promise they make a fashion statement in every episode of 'Amazing Race'
They cannot divulge details ahead of the premiere, but the sisters promise they hit the ground running and stand out in the very first episode. “We stepped up to the plate,” Lena teased. “Morgan and I made some really great decisions. … Part of learning how to race is looking at every single activity in front of you and saying yes.”
The women also promise to make a fashion statement in every episode. Growing up, their mom enjoyed dressing them alike, even though they are not twins. They were born two years apart.
“We are in uniform. We are matchy-matchy. We are well-dressed and coordinated every episode,” said Morgan. “It was fun because we’re a team and we wanted to dress like we were a team.”
The prize at stake is $1 million. Although the race has concluded and the winner has already been determined, the audience will have to watch the race unfold each week before learning the outcome for themselves when the season finale airs.
If Morgan and Lena were to run off as the champions, they don’t have anything extravagant planned because of the high cost of living in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, but Morgan said the money would be helpful to “give us a nest egg to really be comfortable and do what we want with our dreams and careers.”
Whether they win seven digits or not, the women feel what they gained from participating was truly priceless.
“It was nice to have my sister there because home is wherever she is basically. We had a slice of home in each other,” Lena concluded. “My sister (and I) raced this race to work on our friendship as sisters, and by the end of the race, our bond is stronger than ever. We went through literally a rollercoaster that went up and down, and on the flipside, she and I have stronger ties, stronger relationships and incredible memories.”
This Wednesday, the sisters will be hosting a joint watch party in New York with fellow racers some fellow racers — engaged couple Joe Moskowitz and Ian Todd and brothers Greg and John Franklin (no relation to the Franklin sisters) — along with their parents and friends. Despite the fierce competition, there was a camaraderie between the teams and they have all remained in touch in group texts.
How the Franklin sisters prepped to be on 'The Amazing Race'
“The Amazing Race” accepts online applications from aspiring racers year-round at theamazingracecasting.com . Go to the website for complete eligibility requirements, but they do specify that they prefer teams of two who have known one another for at least one year and have a relatable story. It’s also necessary that contestants be able to take off from work for the entirety of the filming period.
“The best thing that I can say for anyone who is interested in applying or going on the show is if you decide to put in a casting video, you should just pretend like you’re racing,” Lena said of the importance of starting preparations well before getting offered a spot and signing the contract.
To prep, Morgan and Lena studied episodes from previous seasons to pay close attention to team strategies to see what worked best, what didn’t work, what they should emulate and what they should avoid.
They also tuned in to podcasts hosted by previous racers to gain insight on the physical, emotional, and mental toll of the show, what it was like to have cameras follow them and how they learned to make decisions in real time.
How to watch 'The Amazing Race'
The 35th season begins with a 90-minute premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 9:30 p.m. ET, after the premiere of the 45th season of "Survivor."
The season will have 90-minute episodes for the entire 13-episode season.
It will also be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.
Teams that are the farthest behind will gradually be eliminated as the season progresses, with the first team to arrive at the final destination winning the $1 million prize.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Boca Raton sisters Morgan and Lena Franklin debut on CBS 'Amazing Race' on Wednesday night