In their heyday, the New Kids on the Block were one of the biggest acts in the music industry. Recently, they have enjoyed a successful comeback complete with new albums, sold out tours and even themed cruises.
Over the years, Jonathan Knight, a member of the super group, has revealed how difficult it was to blend in on stage and perform with the other guys (including his brother, Jordan). For decades, he has struggled with, sometimes, debilitating anxiety. In one interview with Oprah, he was so visibly upset that his entire body was trembling.
It was a surprise, therefore, that he chose to participate on The Amazing Race. Knight acknowledged this during an interview with ETOnline and said: “I think a lot of fans were surprised that I did the Race. It was totally outside the box and outside the normal of what I would do but a big part of me doing that was just to overcome some fears and to challenge myself to put myself out there and go through the audition process.”
With his partner, Harley Rodriguez, by his side, Jonathan competed on the hit CBS reality competition and said that the experience helped him learn to cope with some of his anxiety: “I’m a very shy, reserved person, very anxious person. So I will say it gave me a lot of confidence.”
What made him do it? He said: “I woke up one day and I was like, ‘I’m 46, it’s time to cut the crap, there’s no reason to let my nerves get the best of me.'”
When confronted by the possibility of showing anxiety in front of cameras, his response shows how far he’s come in terms of accepting who he is and his condition. He explained his thought process by saying: “It was just kind of like, I am at a point in my life where I’m comfortable in my own skin and I can allow myself to be vulnerable. And if I’m in a situation where I have a meltdown and it’s on TV, I’m fine with that, I’m human.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean he didn’t have some reservations about the whole thing. He added: “There were times though, maybe a month before we left on the Race, where I would be lying in bed and I would just have shortness of breath getting myself so anxious and worked up.”
Some might wonder how being on a television show like The Amazing Race is any different than being on tour with New Kids on the Block but he explained that it’s easier to blend in when he’s in a group with four other guys. Since the other members of the band are so outspoken, he usually let them carry interviews.
It was entirely different, therefore, to have the cameras focused on how he performed as an individual and with his teammate/partner on The Amazing Race and even Knight’s manager noticed his newfound ability to speak for himself and share his opinions.
Knight’s openness about his journey on the show (and the process leading up to it) could be really inspirational for the 18% of the United States population that suffer from an anxiety disorder. Undoubtedly, many people sitting at home will be able to identify with his struggle.
The Amazing Race airs Friday nights on CBS.