“We had very ambitious plans that fell through,” Xiao, 25, exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, September 20. The product manager explained that he and Rehfuss, 26, originally wanted to take a train “up the west coast from California to Seattle” for the occasion.
“One of us took a little bit too long to book it,” Xiao admitted, explaining that train prices were too high by the time they got around to finalizing the trip. “Planning’s definitely not a strong suit.” Despite the minor setback, the duo is still set on doing something special.
“I think now we’re gonna probably either stay in California and go to Catalina Island for a night or maybe go down to Mexico,” the Maryland native told Us.
“We’re still new to California so I feel like even just doing [a] staycation or [exploring] little areas around Los Angeles is, like, very exciting to us,” Rehfuss added.
The reality TV alums told Us last month that they were moving across the country together. “You know, those [New York] rent prices. We couldn’t stay,” Xiao quipped at the time.
Last October, Us broke the story that the pair were dating, despite having a platonic relationship in the Big Brother house.
“I think that we both really felt the chemistry once we got to [the] jury house and could really connect with each other,” Rehfuss revealed at the time. “We would stay up late talking every single night and we just really developed a bond.”
The New York native and her boyfriend decided to put their connection to the test by competing in season 34 of The Amazing Race together, which premiered on CBS and Paramount+ on Wednesday, September 21.
Xiao told Us that the experience was like “a crucible” for their relationship, as they had to “go through something that’s tough” and “come out stronger through the other side of it.” He and the AI engineer agreed that the experience taught them valuable lessons about each other.
“I have a better understanding of what Claire is like in different situations. … We still bring [the lessons] to our everyday life,” he said.
Rehfuss, for her part, admitted that The Amazing Race viewers will see them struggle a bit on the reality series.
“I won’t lie, there were some low points in the race,” she said. “It just is a very stressful situation. Derek and I are both very competitive, very intense people.” Her partner added that they couldn’t help but fear how the show would portray their dynamic at times.
“At some point in the race, me and Claire were talking, and I was, like, ‘You don’t think we’re gonna be edited as, like, the fighting couple, right?’” he joked.
Rehfuss replied, “I was like, ‘Another couple has to be worse, right? Like, assuredly.’”
With reporting by Sharon Tharp.