FORT recently had the opportunity to talk to our first Beauty from CW’s “Beauty and the Geek.” Described as a 25-year-old model from Elk Grove, IL, Tori seemed to fit the stereotype of a woman only concerned with outward appearance. Why did Tori refuse to study before her challenges, and why did she blow up at her partner Sanjay, a self-described virginal computer science major, for not being supportive enough? As we often find in reality television, the answer lies in a platitude: you can’t judge a book by its cover.
So how did you come to be on the show? Had you watched the previous seasons?
No, I didn’t know much about the show. The only thing that I caught one time, I think it may have been like the second season, when they were winning the money or something, and my sister said, “that’s Beauty and the Geek!” So I had no idea what the show was about. I get a phone call asking if I can come in for an interview, and I was like, “Oh yeah, sure, Beauty and Geek.” (laughs) I’d heard of it, but I’d never seen it. And I know Ashton Kutcher, and I love his TV shows, so I went in for the interview. I got the concept of it being beauties trying to show the guys how to be hip and cool, and the guys helping the girls out with brain-work, just like, a lot of studying.
I didn’t know it would be that bad, the way they portrayed me, as being very dumb. And I’m far from that, I’m very intelligent. I’m a young woman, trying to make it out here on my own. I live in Orange County, I live on my own, I take care of my things, and I pay my bills and have excellent credit—and here I am, on national television -- dumb! Just dumb! It’s funny how they didn’t show where I studied. Yeah, I choked in elimination, but I studied! They showed I just went to bed--yeah that’s crazy, I studied! The teleprompter, I read that right like two or three times, but they didn’t show that. They just showed the dumb girl getting put into elimination. I admit that I choked, but give me the benefit of the doubt.
That was actually one of my questions for you, because obviously a lot of times they don’t show everything, but I was wondering if there was a time you studied—they really made it look like you didn’t study at all, like right before the interview.
My brother called me—he said “Tori, why didn’t you study? Why did you go to bed?” I promise you, I went to bed at about 1:00 in the morning. I studied, I don’t know why they didn’t show it. It’s horrible!
The premise of the show is that the women consider themselves to be beauties but not necessarily brains. It sounds that like that doesn’t really describe you. But do you still think that your looks are your best asset?
My best asset is my heart. I’m a very kind and happy person. They portrayed me as being a big crybaby, but I’m outgoing, I’m just a loveable person. That goes along with my beauty, and I’m intelligent -- I’m very intelligent, I know a lot of things. I went to school, I graduated from high school, I went to college. It’s strange how they made me out to be a really dumb girl. I’m annoyed, but I’m OK with it because, because hey -- I signed the contract to do this, but I really was just hoping that they wouldn’t show me in a bad light, like I’m just a nobody, because I don’t want this to mess up my career. I don’t want people to think, “Oh, we don’t want her to do this or that, because she doesn’t know jack!” Which is so not true!
If you know me, if you get to know me, if you know the kind of person I am—my family, my friends, they knew me from the get-go, when they saw this show, they said “Oh my God—you don’t even have to tell me, that show was so edited!” I’m a hard-working person. I get out there and I get it, and I do my thing. And I’m so outgoing, it’s just like, on the show it seemed like I was just really insecure about everything. It was horrible! The house wasn’t a good thing for me. Nobody was talking in the house. The only person I really communicated with was the cook, Belle—she was really nice to me. I ate really well, she fed me really good. Sanjay was not very supportive of the whole thing that I was going through.
Originally you picked Sanjay because he was funny - did you continue to find him amusing, or was that just the first night?
It wasn’t because of that blender thing. They didn’t show the part where he’s really into basketball, like the LA Lakers, and I like the Clippers, so me thinking, so he likes basketball, so I think that we’d get along real well, we’d talk about it and we’d have a good time, and he’d be somebody that I’d communicate well with in the house. They didn’t show that! Why would I even pick someone that does a blender impersonation? Come on! When I watched it, what they showed of me was horrible. It was the bad side, they didn’t show the part of me that’s intelligent, and smart, and funny, and cool, and always happy. They just showed the part where I was dumb and looked like I didn’t know nothing! People choke, I choked!
It was a pressure situation.
It’s a lot of pressure. It’s a lot of pressure, the house, like, watching us, and me thinking I’m going to make a mistake, I already know it, because I have so many people watching me in the room. What really set it off, and I knew it was going downhill, was when I went into the first challenge and I did poorly, and my geek was not happy with me. I knew right there, everything is going to crash.
So can I ask you about the men—were they what you were expecting?
I didn’t expect them to be that bad. They were beyond geeky. I’d never seen that before. Only on TV, but I’d never seen it in person. It shocked me to see them dressed that way…
And it was real, it wasn’t a joke?
When I went to school, there were guys that were nerds or whatever, but they didn’t dress that bad—that was horrible. It was really horrible. It was really nice meeting them, and I think they were really sweet, they just want to be loved and they just want to let everyone know they’re normal.
I could not believe how many of the men had never heard the term "booty." Considering that Sanjay was supposed to be a "rap fan" (as he put it), was that real?
That he was a virgin?
No, that he had never heard the term “booty”?
No, that is so weird. There’s something he said on the show that I barely knew about, and I was like, “Huh?” Did you get that? That he thought it was pirate treasure or something? So he was reciting some song, and I was like, “You have to know what booty means.” You know that song, (singing) “Booty booty booty!” When I met him it was hard for me to believe that he was really a geeky geek. It seemed like he was there for the show. For the money, too.
What about when Sanjay launched into his comedy routine about racial profiling, they showed a clip of you gulping. What was going through your mind when you heard that?
What did he say again? I didn’t see that part on the show.
He told a joke about racial profiling, and the punchline of the joke was that the person who knew Osama Bin Laden was his dad. You looked a little uncomfortable.
Me, I come from a family that accepts everybody, and I don’t see race. It’s really sad to see people call you out as a black girl, or a white person. I grew up in an all-white neighborhood. We were the only blacks in that neighborhood. I went to a predominately white school, and the area I was in was all white, and I’m comfortable with whoever I’m around. It bothers me, and I’ve always hated that people are always portrayed as racial beings. I don’t like when people talk about it, I just don’t think it’s a good thing. I hate when people say, (in a pompous voice) “I’m pretty sure what’s going on now is that the black girls get kicked off first because they’re black.” It may be that I was kicked off because I was black. Maybe the other girls in the house didn’t want me to be successful. Maybe they didn’t like me, I don’t know, I don’t care, but it’s sad if they’re really like that. It’s so upsetting and it’s so sad to know that somebody is prejudiced. I’ll have to watch that again, I don’t remember him talking about that.
He made the joke about racial profiling and nobody laughed. That was pretty much it.
It was a long time ago, it was like six or seven months ago. I’ll have to watch it again.
But I think it’s just stupid. Get over it—we’re all different races—(in a sassy voice) oh well! I love being what I am and who I am and what I’ve become. I’m very comfortable in my skin.
It sucks that I didn’t get a lot of airtime. Especially with my geek, like after the comedy show, I wasn’t shown with him, there was a lot of stuff that I did. I was chilling with him. Why wasn’t I seen a lot more than the girls who were like acting like sluts? That’s totally fine if they want to put me out there like a dumb girl, I don’t care, because I am who I am, my family knows who I am, and my friends, and that’s all that matters—and God! God knows who I am, he knows all about me! So that’s all that matters.
It does tell you what you need to do to get more screen time. The ones who get the screen time are the ones who are acting kind of slutty.
Yeah, that’s true!
Not that I’m advocating that!
Hey, I totally agree with you. It’s just that there are people out there that deserve the same amount as the next person. I don’t know, the stuff that I’m hearing…if you check out the [Internet websites], they’re saying things like, “Beauty and the Geek picks on the black woman.” What is that all about? I’m serious! And then they’re saying things like, “Tori, what a moron. She’s uneducated, she can’t even read, she’s illiterate.” I’m like, what is this all about? They don’t even know me and they’re judging me, and they’re so wrong! But that’s okay. They have their opinions. I have my opinions about celebrities and all that, so that’s okay. That doesn’t hurt me. When you get to know me – if you ever get to know me – you’ll love the hell out of me.
Can I talk to you a minute about the interview challenge with Stephen Dubner? Personally, I thought that was a daunting task even for a polished journalist. What did you think when you first heard you would be interviewing one of the authors of Freakanomics?
Right. That was totally fine. I love talking to people. The thing is, I studied the night before and the day of the elimination. I stayed up until 1:00 in the morning studying. They just showed me going to bed. (laughs) It’s so crazy how they didn’t show me studying. Yes, I choked during the eliminations but I studied, and they didn’t show the world that.
So you did prepare for the interview?
I read maybe three or four pages of the book. And a lot of it was just pressure. Everyone was studying it, and everyone was watching me, and it was just really horrible. The thing about the teleprompter was that I did read the teleprompter three times and they just showed me looking like, “Uh.” You know? They just were out to make me look so bad! And now people are [on the Internet] saying, “Tori made black women look bad” and “That’s why it’s so hard for us to get good jobs.” I’m like, “What the hell, are you serious?”
Wow, so you’re responsible for that much, are you?
I know! They really need to deal. I just think that it’s so dumb and ignorant to say something like that. I hope some day the world knows the real story. My friends and family – they love me to death, and they hated to see that happen, but as long as they know me, my family and God, I’m okay with that. Everything works out for the best. Everything happens for a reason, and I had to be the first one to go. There was somebody that had to go, and that was me.
So you said that you didn’t feel that Sanjay was supporting you, but he also told the camera that he was apologizing and you weren’t accepting it. Did you feel like Sanjay was apologizing as he says he was?
When we were at the table? It’s funny how they mixed it up again! He had been telling me, “You can’t base your life off faith.” I told him, “I base my life off of faith because that’s all I go by. I love the Lord, and I’m totally down for him, and there’s nothing wrong with that.” And then he was saying, (imitating Sanjay) “Well, I’m sorry I said that.” They just mixed it up. It’s not how it went.
Sanjay did make me feel bad the night before. They didn’t have the camera on us the night before when Sanjay was talking to me, and saying that I wasn’t smart. He said, “I’m smart and I know what it takes to be smart.” That’s why I blew up on him the next day in the kitchen, telling him how I felt. They made me look like the bad girl. And now people are saying on the Internet, “Sanjay, I feel sorry for you. You didn’t have a partner with you. They should have edited Tori out completely from the show, I don’t know why they even had her on.” Come on! It’s a reality show.
Do you think it all would have gone differently if you had had a different guy to pair up with?
I totally think it would have gone differently. I totally do. Because there were a couple of guys that I did like in the house, that I said a couple of words to, so I think it would have gone differently.
Was there anything that happened that you wished had made the edited show? Anything we as viewers did not get to see?
My happy side! I’m so happy, I’m always happy, outgoing, energetic – and they didn’t show any of that. They only showed me as a dumb, uneducated woman, and it was horrible.
They did catch you at a few low moments.
My family and friends know that I have high spirits, I’m educated, I’m very hyper, I’m excited all the time. I love life and I just can’t wait for the next journey or whatever comes next in life. I can’t wait to go get it, I can’t wait to have it! It’s mine, and I want it! It’s just crazy. I’m so glad I’m talking to you guys, because I was like, “Who do I talk to? I need to get this off my chest.” (laughs)
We’re a big reality site so you’ll get heard.
I have a lot more to say! There’s just so many things going through my head right now, and every thing is coming at me at once right now. I didn’t even want to see the show but I probably needed to. In the house, it just felt like such a weird vibe. There would be two or three girls in the room talking, and I would come in, and a minute or two later they would walk out. Then I was all alone. I was like, “Okay…won’t somebody talk to me?” (laughs)
It wasn’t good. It wasn’t a good experience. I really didn’t get a chance to shine. I wanted to learn more, and I really didn’t get that chance. That’s what really sucks, because I really am a good person, and I know I need to be out there. I have so much in me. So much in me it’s ridiculous. I just need to get it out there.
Thank you very much for speaking with me today, Tori!
Happy New Year!
Thanks for talking to us Tori, and many thanks to CW for letting us talk to a beauty.