Minus the benefit of facing off against another couple in an elimination challenge, a surprise twist of a direct elimination left power-couple Natalie, a 22 year-old waitress and Hooters promotional model, and John, a 22 year-old MIT graduate working on his Master’s thesis, as the sixth team eliminated from Beauty and the Geek. Adding insult to injury, they were eliminated by their arch-rivals, Sam and Nicole, who themselves were yet another twist to the game. This is shaping up to be one twisted season!
Hi, Natalie and John!
Thanks for speaking with me!
I’ve got to say I’m really disappointed to be speaking with you today, as I thought you two were going to be unbeatable in elimination challenges and win this whole thing.
John: Thanks for saying that.
Natalie: Thank you.
How did you become interested in appearing on Beauty and the Geek, and had you watched previous seasons of the show?
John: Yeah, I watched Season 3 with all my friends, and they all thought I’d be good for the show, so I went to the open casting in Boston, and it seemed like it would be really fun and a great experience. So, that’s how I got involved.
Natalie: I never saw any of the shows previously. Well, I saw the last season once I heard about it. I was actually working at Hooters, and the casting people showed up at Hooters to talk and see if anyone wanted to be on the show. They saw me, and they talked to me and said they’d really, really like to see me audition, and I was like, “Yeah, sure! Why not?!” I thought, “I like geeks. I find guys with glasses attractive, and guys who are smart, like maybe I can meet a guy.”
Well, there were a whole bunch of geeks there, weren’t there? [laughs]
Natalie: [while John is laughing] There was a good amount!
Was your experience on the show what you envisioned it to be?
Natalie: No, but yes. Not really. I didn’t know what to envision, necessarily. I wasn’t sure what to think so much about the show.
I suppose if you hadn’t seen it before you wouldn’t have any preconceived notion of what was going to go on.
John: It was more amazing than I expected it to be. I thought from watching previous seasons, there’d be a few people that I just really wouldn’t get along with, but I thought everyone was pretty great—was pretty nice. It really helped the experience and just getting to spend time with people. I think you can kind of get a lot from the experience by just talking with people and not just the challenges. I think a lot of that is kind of lost over the editing.
So, John, what is it that makes you a geek?
John: So! I am an electrical engineering and physics major at MIT, and I have a 5.0 [GPA], and so to keep my perfect GPA, it takes a lot of studying, a lot of time. I’m kind of constantly studying and working. But, you know, if it’s something you love to do, I mean, I love circuits, and I love my work, and that’s why on Friday nights you like to be reading engineering magazines.
That doesn’t really make you a geek. That just makes you smart. And, keep that hair out of your eyes, and you won’t be called a geek ever again! [John and Natalie both laugh] Does that sound like a mother or what? [laughs]
Natalie, wouldn’t majoring in computer science and abnormal psychology make you a geek, too? [John laughs wildly]
Natalie: Yeah, I’m a computer geek, I guess. I am not so much a geek overall in any sense. I’m very social, and I’m very outgoing. I don’t know a lot about certain things, obviously. With computers, I do know. I’ve always been really good with computers, and my dad is actually geeky and in computer science. So, growing up, I was always around computers and playing with them. I guess I just like being around computers, but anything else, you ask me, and I’m like, “Huh?”
You both seemed well-matched as partners and were a strong, competitive team. How did you help one another out and complement each other as partners?
John: I think that Natalie was very supportive of me. I mean, you know, you’re very nervous going into challenges. It was good not to have extra pressure from her. Also, I think that Natalie was able to give me good feedback when I was doing things. For example, for the massage challenge, she definitely gave me some tough love and was like, “No, this is bad. This is bad.” I think that helped me, you know, and made me be successful because I got some really good feedback that I could use to be better in that challenge.
Natalie: John, after every challenge I ever did, he just came up to me and looked at me and said, “You did great! You did awesome!” Even if I felt that I didn’t do anything or even if we both know I didn’t win or I wasn’t going to, he always made sure to compliment me and uplift me and say, “Hey, you know what? You still did a wonderful job. You did a great job, and you gave it your best.” That made me feel really good that he wasn’t upset with me, or I didn’t feel I was letting him down by anything that I did—that he knew I was trying and giving it my all, and that is all he cared about.
Initially, if you had a chance to have partnered with someone else, whom would you have chosen?
Natalie: If I was partnered with someone else, I’d probably choose Jesse.
John: Yeah, I would probably choose Hollie or Erin.
Is there anyone with whom you would have had a difficult time being partnered—now that you’ve seen everybody?
John: I guess with the wisdom of hindsight, I think it might have been hard to be partners with Rebecca just because I’m not sure what her relationship with Sam would have done to our relationship as partners. It might have been okay, but I’m not sure. So, I’d probably say her.
Natalie: I’m not really sure. Maybe, Will or William. Either of them. I guess maybe not Will, maybe more William just from the last episode of how he is handling Jen. I feel even though I’m not athletic like she is, I feel if there was anything else that maybe bothered him with me like it did with her. You know, like she did with him that I feel like he might give me, you know, the same attitude towards me, and we’d have the same conflict.
What did you think about the Sam and Rebecca romance going on?
Natalie: Well, as I commented on the show, I said Rebecca was thinking of birds chirping around her head and cornflakes (?) around his. I felt like Rebecca was taking away from why she was there, and she was focusing more on Sam and falling for Sam. Sam is still in the game. Sam is smart. He never didn’t not study, and he basically was just out there. I mean, he’s like a guy. He’s, “Hey, there is this hot girl who wants me.” And, go for it, whereas, the girl, you know, is more emotional, and, “Oh, I’m into this guy.” Then, she just forgets what she was there for and what she was doing.
John: I think that the relationship probably was detrimental to her relationship with Hollie, so I hope that Rebecca doesn’t have any regrets about how things went. It would be a shame if she felt like disappointed that she could have gotten to known other people better, and that hindered it.
Since this show is about transformation and personal growth, what were you hoping to get out of the show?
John: I was hoping to be able to approach people and have more confidence approaching people, and I think that I was able to make some strides toward that. It’s like the prom challenge. People’s reaction to that was great. Like with my makeover, I felt more confident, so I think that was something I got out of the show.
Well, you just took my next question away, [John laughs] but let me get Natalie’s response to that one.
Natalie: There were actually a lot of things I was trying to get out of the show, not just learning from the geeks. I was hoping the geeks would teach me other things that I don’t know. I actually like to learn. I love to learn about new things. I was hoping to get something from each geek and each beauty—something that I didn’t know. I was hoping that the beauties would teach me more about, you know, different, I don’t know, even makeup, or this or that, or cool hair things, or something that I didn’t know. I also was hoping that the geeks would teach me whatever they were studying—that they could give me an inside to what it is, and maybe one day I could have a conversation with someone else about that from what they were teaching me on the show. I was really hoping to get a lot out from each individual, like learning from different people
So, John, I was going to say that after your makeover, you definitely no longer fit the stereotypical geek look. In fact, you were selected as the prom king, and the students couldn’t believe you were a geek. Did you feel changed inwardly as well as outwardly after your makeover, and did it give you a new-found confidence that you’ve carried forward?
John: I would say it did. I knew that I wanted to change my look going into the show, and I knew that would change the way people would perceive me, but after the makeover where I walked into the room and was talking to the beauties and Mike Richards was there, I felt different, and that was something that kind of shocked me, and I wasn’t prepared for. It definitely made me feel different, and I think it gave me more confidence.
Having been on this show surrounded with the stereotypes of beauties and geeks, how do both of you feel now about how society, as a whole, treats people based on their looks and ignores their inner person?
John: That’s a very interesting question because I was really struck during the debate challenge because I felt like there was a lot of judgment and animosity from the crowd toward the girls, and that shocked me. That was something that I never really thought about and how tough that must be. So, I think thinking about stereotypes that aren’t the one you are living in was interesting. I mean, after the show, I think that people are going to kind of put anyone into a little box for whatever stereotype they want, and I guess you have to just not care about that and be okay with yourself.
Natalie: Right. I know with some people there are stereotypes. I’m human. I’ve stereotyped before, and I learned you don’t get anything out of it. When you stereotype somebody, you’re blocking them. You’re blocking to learn anything from them. You’re blocking anything else you think you know of them, so you’re never actually getting to know the person. I feel that if someone puts themselves in the other person’s shoes, maybe the person looks really dumb, or maybe the person did answer that question wrong or something, but think about maybe if you were in that situation. Even though you might have known the answer, you might have gotten nervous and scared up there, as well, and you might not have done so well, either. You wouldn’t want somebody to judge you or stereotype you on that.
Yes, and we all misspeak, but we’re not on TV where it’s being recorded so they can use it against us. [John laughs]
I was a little sad watching that because I thought these are all the same people some wouldn’t give a second look, and now all of a sudden it’s, “Oh, they are so hot!” I don’t know. There’s something about that that’s just kind of wrong.
Both: Right. Definitely.
How did you feel about the twist this year with a male beauty and a female geek, and how did that affect the group dynamic within the house?
Natalie: From the season premiere, I knew that even from the minute they step into the mansion and my look, it pretty much shows from the beginning that I was not very welcoming of them at all, and I never wanted them to be there, actually. I felt that it was very unfair to have a male beauty. I felt that it was going to bring a lot of harder challenges because it’s one thing to compete against other beauties. You’re equal. You’re all females. You all have different qualities, yes. Some people there are a little bit smarter than others in certain situations, but overall, we are all there, and we have about the same fairness. Whereas now we have a male in here, and even though he’s sort of like a beauty, he’s still a male. He can still be dominant in some other areas that females aren’t.
And the same is true of Nicole. She is still a woman.
Natalie: Right. It was unfair with Nicole, as well.
John: Yeah. I think the twist could have gone either way. I think one of the things about it is that I feel that Sam didn’t really portray any vulnerability. I feel that you knew like what the other contestants wanted to get out of the experience and why they were there, and I never got that sense with Sam. That was kind of difficult. I mean, I feel that Nicole fit in very well with the guys. She hung out with us and was very open to the whole experience. She reminded me of a lot of the girls I know at MIT, so that seemed very natural.
Well, and my next question was going to be if you thought it was playing on a level field with having Sam and Nicole competing against the rest of you, particularly given Sam’s profession?
Nicole: Right. Exactly. I don’t think so at all. Competing against him or, you know, having the geeks compete against Nicole. I mean, for the geeks, definitely when they are doing the gift basket or the sewing. If the geek’s a girl, it’s just kind of one of those things, you just know kind of know how to sew. [John agrees] So, I felt that was a little unfair. A good amount of the other challenges I felt it was unfair to have them there—like Metro-Man. For being a superhero, it’s hard for any woman to portray a superhero because we don’t have muscles. We’re not muscular. We don’t look like we are dangerous, and so it’s very hard for us to pull off that we could actually fight crime. It can’t be just how we look. We have to really try to act it out or make it crazy so that it could be believable, where it is very easy for a man to just walk out when showing his muscles and being all muscular. I mean, like, yeah, I can kick anyone’s butt.
Or impregnate someone. That was sick. I mean seriously. Metro-Man versus Vinity? Come on! [All laugh] His deal with impregnating women? It was just oh, my gosh! That was almost enough to turn the TV off after that.
Natalie: What are you? Metro-Slut? [laughs]
I’m curious what type of strategy one uses to win this thing. It doesn’t seem to necessarily be about growth--or lack of growth in Jen and William’s case--but rather to eliminate the greatest competition. What are your thoughts about this?
John: Oh, this is funny! I’ve watched all three previous seasons, and I told Natalie on day one: The best strategy to win this game is to fly under the radar and then come on strong at the very end. It seems like that seems to be a winning combination, and, then, when I got second in the rap, and we were in the elimination round one, it was, “Well, so much for flying under the radar!” [laughs] It seems that that has been a winning combination in the past, and it seemed it could be a winning combination again this season.
I’m still mad about the way you were eliminated on last night’s show. What are your thoughts about that little twist with a direct elimination, instead of the elimination room quiz type thing?
John: Right. It was a tough way to go. I mean, especially when Natalie and I felt we did well in our challenges that week, and we felt like we’ve been through elimination before, and we could do it again. I guess it was particularly disappointing, too, because I can understand their logic in choosing us, but it’s hard to go when you want to stay and another team is kind of having doubts and thinks they might want to go. That’s kind of tough to take. But, so it goes.
Natalie: Definitely. The elimination was very, very unfair. I mean, we studied hard. I felt that our studying was pointless and very useless in that matter. I wish they would have told us that hey, there might be one elimination that will be just all of a sudden where two people choose, because that could affect a lot of things, as well—if they had told us ahead of time, you know, to be more prepared. Overall, I knew as soon as they said, “Oh, it’s just one team. Oh, yep, Natalie and John.”
The writing was on the wall for that one. They could have ended the show a lot earlier.
What was the most challenging aspect of the show for both of you?
John: I think one of the challenging parts is doing things you’ve never done before. It definitely makes you nervous, and it’s tough, but that’s the reason you’re there. The rap is difficult because you’re in front of an audience. I actually found the gift basket challenge to be pretty difficult because I’m just not used to doing that kind of thing.
So, were you out of your comfort zone a lot with those things?
Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I was definitely nervous before those things, so it was helpful to know that I had Natalie’s support. The thing about it is you’re really nervous going in, but afterwards, you’re like, “Oh, I got through it. That wasn’t so bad.”
Natalie: The most challenging? One of the challenging things was when you get close with other people, and then they get eliminated. That was hard. It was hard to see them go. That was one of the hard parts, and I saw Hollie and Josh go and Erin and Jesse. That was tough.
How difficult was that having to compete against one another with one of you being eliminated?
Natalie: Erin and I kind of knew ahead of time that it was going to happen. We were pretty aware of that, and we knew that Sam and Nicole were going to chose two teams, and we thought it was pretty obvious that they were going to chose both of our teams. So, we studied together, and we kept the best, and we studied a lot together, but we also tried to spend a lot of time hanging out with each other, just in case, you know, this could be our last time—instead of just studying the whole time.
Natalie: If it’s up against each other, I mean, it doesn’t matter at that point if one of us wins, and one of us still supports the other. We weren’t trying to study to beat each other. It was more of a let’s make the best of this and hang out and spend more time if this is our last time together hanging out.
What’s a favorite moment you’ll take from the show?
John: [Chuckles] Of course, when I won the prom, that was just great to see people’s reaction to that. I’ll never forget that. I also really liked that first moment, that first day, when we got up to the house, and we were all kind of in the hot tub together—all just talking, getting to know each other like that. I think that just really set the pace for the whole show for me, and I think it was great.
Natalie: I feel the most memorable would be definitely the first time at the mansion when we were all getting along. Some of the girls I thought they might be thinking they’re divas or they might be thinking this or that. Turns out they were absolute sweethearts—really funny and great to hang out with. I loved it. I loved seeing John win being prom king. That was awesome. But, I also loved the challenge where one of my tasks was painting on John’s body [John laughs heartily]. That was amazing because when they said to do the ear, I was like, “So there’s an ear here because all I see is hair. I think he might need x-rays!” [laughs]
Who would you like to see win this?
John: I would say I’d like to see David and Jasmine win. I think the fact that David told Jasmine she was his last choice, and she kind of sprung back from that. I think that they really made the best of it and didn’t let that ruin their whole experience I think says a lot.
Natalie: I feel that Shay and Joshua should win. I feel they work really well together. They’ve been learning a lot. They’ve been trying really hard. They’ve been studying a ridiculous amount, and they’ve really put effort into it. I feel with Dave and Jasmine that Dave has progressed a lot, and I’m very happy that they’ve progressed as a team, but Jasmine, herself, I feel that because she hasn’t studied—hasn’t really ever picked up a book to read it or any of our study materials. I felt that she’s clicking really decent with Dave as a teammate, but I feel she hasn’t changed overall in learning and helping progress in her ability to learn anything else new other than what she already does.
What’s ahead for both of you?
John: Well, I am working in San Jose for an analog circuit company right now working on my Master’s thesis, so I’m continuing with that. I still love circuits.
That made you sound geeky!
John: What’s that?
That made you sound geeky: “I still love circuits.”
John: [All laugh] Why, thank you! I think I would like to try to take up surfing because there are people at work who do it, and I think I might try to get them to teach me that. So, that would be fun. Does that sound geeky?!
No, that does not. That sounds Californian, so there you go. [John laughs a lot]
Natalie: I would like to continue to progress in modeling and acting. I want to move to LA some time next year. Erin and I talked about it on when we were on the show about moving to LA together, so I’m hoping that she’d still like to, and try to pursue it along with still trying to be in school so, therefore, I have a back-up or something if it doesn’t work out.
Are there any final thoughts you’d like to leave with our readers?
John: I’d like to thank everyone for watching, and it seems like from reading online people liked our team, and I like the support. I was really kind of amazed at people’s reaction to the prom challenge, so I really appreciate everyone who has been supporting us so far.
Natalie: I love reading the comments. It makes us feel a lot better, especially to see yourself doing something a little ridiculous on the show, but then when you read it, you say, “Hey, we still support you.” Like all right! Thank you!
I really thought you were going win this, so I was really disappointed. And, I shouldn’t be getting this invested in a show because that makes me geeky! [all laugh]
I’d just like to thank you for speaking with me today, congratulations for making it as far as you did, and good luck with your future plans!
Both: Thank you!
Note: What a fun couple to interview, and no wonder they worked so well as a team together, as they obviously respect one another. Although we weren't shown much of it on the show, John has a jovial air about him. He cracked up quite a few times during this interview and obviously enjoys life and does not give any hint to sounding geeky at all. Natalie is a sweetheart and also has a good sense of humor. I was having trouble with static on her end of the line when transcribing this, so anything that comes out weird was not her fault--it's transmission difficulties.
Many thanks to THE CW and Natalie and John for this interview opportunity!
Photo credit: THE CW