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Latest to hit the pavement on “Beauty and the Geek” was Drew Sawa, the 21-year-old trekker (thank you very much CW for perpetuating the “trekkie” label) from Milwaukee who taught his model-pretty counterpart how to split her fingers into a Vulcan greeting. Sure, I could pepper this introduction with witty Star Trek puns and parodies, but wouldn’t you prefer to know where Drew weighs in on the raging debate over whether Star Trek is better than Star Wars? Then join me as we set our phasers to phun and boldly go where no interview has gone be -- sorry. It just takes over sometimes.
How’re you doing?
I’m doing well, very well. Not bad!
I’m a Star Trek fan myself, so I have to admit that you were my favorite this season.
Well, thank you! (laughs) Thank you very much!
First off, I’d like to know how it is that you have never come across a female Trekker before. There’s all those people in Las Vegas getting married in their Starfleet uniforms, after all.
Yeah, Chicago doesn’t have a lot of them. Neither does Milwaukee. At least, none that I really came across.
Are you looking for a woman that is into Star Trek as deeply as you are, or would you prefer someone with different interests from you?
I’m not particularly looking for someone who enjoys Star Trek, just someone who could tolerate it. (laughs)
So how did you come to be on the show? Had you watched the previous seasons?
Yes, I have seen season 1 and season 2, and I enjoyed them both. I saw on the CW website – well, back when it was the WB – that they were doing a casting call for Beauty and the Geek 3. So I did what it told me to do, create a five-minute videotape of myself talking about why I should be on Beauty and the Geek. My fraternity helped me create my audition tape and my application. They have questions like, “What would someone say about you? What are your interesting quirks?” And I thought, “I have no clue. I’m going to give this to someone who actually would say something about me. I gave it to my fraternity to see what they would put.
There’s actually a quirk section, and I remember thinking, “Oh yeah, I have this quirk and that quirk.” Then when I actually got it back and there’s like fifty quirks! I was trying to figure out who wrote what quirk. (laughs)
The premise of the show is that the men consider are brains but are backwards, socially. Is that how you see yourself?
(without hesitation) Yes.
Yes. (laughs) Not as much now as before, though. I wouldn’t go out to bars that often. My Friday nights consisted of watching “Stargate.” The new ones always came on Friday nights and they were – (thinking) -- or Monday. They switched it back and forth. Regardless, I would be watching a TV show or something.
Has that changed since the show?
Yes! Yes, it has. Friday nights consist of going out and doing things now rather than staying at home and not really doing anything. (laughs)
That’s a big change, really. Do you feel like you always had that in your personality and just didn’t know how to act on it? Because there are people who enjoy staying in at night, and would not enjoy going out just for the sake of going out, and it sounds like you’re not one of those people.
Yes. It’s one of those things that I had in my personality, but I just never went out and did it. It just seemed like too much work to really go out and enjoy a beer with some friends and whatnot. I’ve found a way to blend my personality and be more appealing and attractive, whether it be for relationships or friendships. It’s one of those things where now I can take my personality and blend it and it works very well, as opposed to before the show, when it was kind of awkward. I hope that makes sense. (laughs)
When it comes to the women - were they what you were expecting?
Initially, yes. Initially, they were what I was expecting. As time went on, their brilliance really showed through. These girls are really smart. A lot of people make fun of the girls saying something dumb, but when you have a camera on you 24/7 they’re going to catch those quote-unquote blond moments. Even the guys have their fair share of blond moments. It’s those kind of things that they really catch, because it’s funny. That’s what they use to show that the girls are dumb – at least, that’s the initial concept. But even when you’re watching the show, they don’t really show the girls to be dumb. The girls are smart. They know what they’re doing.
Erin, for example, is an accomplished vocal teacher. I feel like you can’t get that far in any profession unless you have some brains.
Yes. That’s true. Consistently, I keep bringing up the subject because I’m in business, and there’s a lot of talk about people who have large sums of money. People are always talking about Jessica Simpson, saying she’s dumb and whatnot. But if you think about it, people with a lot of money aren’t dumb. In order to maintain that wealth, then you have to be doing something right in order to attain that, or else you’d lose it. All the girls there are really smart.
Did you and Erin ever consider taking the money in the first episode?
Yes, we did consider it. We actually had a pen and paper when we were upstairs because I think I still had my notebook from the library challenge. Basically, we were writing down numbers and talking about it, trying to analyze what our chances were. You know, “Really, what are our chances here?” We were really thinking about it, and it came down to almost a purely mathematical decision. Erin knew that I wanted to stay here, and so it’s almost as if – I feel kind of sad, making her stay, and nothing really happening. We didn’t win.
You were more into staying?
Yes, well Erin had never seen seasons 1 and 2. Erin and several of the other girls had never seen the show, and they didn’t even know what Beauty and the Geek was, or what the premise of the show was. It was just that their modeling agency or whoever told them, “Hey, you should do this. It will look good.” Okay! What a concept. That was the reason why that some of them did it, but they didn’t know the concept behind the show.
It was fun, though, and everyone had a blast, so I can’t complain.
It seems like the women I have talked to have had a lot to say about the other women in the competition. What’s your take on how the women were interacting?
For the most part, poorly. (laughs) They show on TV how the women interacted with each other, and for the most part, that’s pretty much how it went. A lot of them were always arguing with each other and talking about random things that the guys would have no interest in. To a large extent, there was superficiality, especially early on. So that’s kind of what’s going on.
From here on out, I have a fear for Cece that she’s not appreciating the experience, and that she’s not getting out of the experience what she’s supposed to get out of it. She’s not learning anything. To some degree it’s kind of sad, and I’ve talked to a couple of other people about it too.
Was that just her personality, or is that the way she goes in and tries to dominate a situation?
Cece is a very intelligent person. A lot of people think that she’s playing dumb. I cannot confirm or deny whether or not that’s true.
She comes from the perspective where she feels like she’s perfect, so that has a domineering feel to it. She’s like, "Hey, I’m here to win. I don’t care what anyone else thinks about me.” It’s a just-push-through concept. You really saw that last night where after she’s had a couple of drinks, she starts bad-mouthing Niels, and everyone – even Megan, who was somewhat close to Cece -- even Megan was uncomfortable about that.
How far into Star Trek fandom do you delve? Do you argue whether the Star Wars universe inhabitants would kick Star Trek’s denizens’ asses, or vice versa? Have you seen those debates that rage on the Internet?
(laughs) I have seen those, and I don’t delve into that because it’s primarily for people who want conflict. It’s harsh. It’s for people who want to say, “What I think is better than what you think.” That’s kind of like getting in between a hardcore Packers fan and a hardcore Bears fan. It’s really the same thing. “Bears are better than the Packers” and “Packers are better than the Bears” and you’re just like, “I’m going to walk away. I have a couple things to do, I don’t really want to watch you guys go at it.” (laughs) That’s really what this whole Star Trek vs. Star Wars feud is like. They are both good shows in and of themselves. There is no basis for comparison among the two. Sure, they’re both sci-fi, but they’re completely different universes.
So Nate being in a Star Wars tribute band doesn’t make him your mortal enemy or anything.
No, no. We’re actually good friends. I just talked to him yesterday. We get along very well, he and I. There was never any conflict between us about that stuff. I enjoy Star Wars, but I still prefer Star Trek.
I guess I’m wondering whether all of you were “geeks” in a similar fashion – I mean, Mario has a tattoo, and Nate is in a band. Even if it’s a tattoo of a Nintendo controller and a Star Wars tribute band, neither of those are usually associated with geekdom because they show a willingness to endure pain, and the ability to go on stage. It seems like the term “geek” is a catch-all for…what?
You’re absolutely right. A lot of people would associate geek – geek is a popular term. It’s a term that’s created by culture, and it isn’t a definitive term. It’s a term that’s constantly adapting to pop culture, exactly. Pop culture is really what defines a geek. Take a look at Star Trek, because that was in pop culture at one time, and now – not as many people enjoy Star Trek as used to. It’s not as popular as it was. So whatever is “out” in pop culture is what defines a geek. Whatever is “in” is considered cool, and what’s the opposite of cool? It really becomes a philosophical argument there.
Do you think they had an edge over you in the competition?
Whether or not they had an edge up, I don’t think they did. Because it’s one of those things that anyone could kind of do. Mario is considerably older than Nate and I. Nate’s 22 or 23, I think.
You guys are both college-age, right?
Yes. I’ll be graduating in May, so I’m almost done with college. Nate is still at Harvard, and I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with Nate. I’ll have to double check on that. Regardless, it’s one of those things where someone like Nate – they study really well. It really comes down to the personal challenges. For examples, Niels knows a lot about radios. He has a degree in electrical engineering, but they did not win their challenge. And Nate, he works out a lot. He was coming in with a very strong background in this past challenge.
There were some creative challenges for the geeks. Which was worse, being faced with a naked woman during the drawing challenge, or the first challenge when you had to ask strangers to rub lotion on your back?
Out of those, which was the strangest?
Which was the worst or the hardest?
The worst one was the very first one, even though there was no elimination. Getting someone to rub suntan lotion on your back, when you’re not even close to the beach, you’ve got cameras all around, and you’re in L.A., and people think that you’re with “Punk’d” or something – that’s tough. The comedy routine was very difficult. I was shaking up there. I was so nervous getting up there. I was also still getting used to the cameras around me and whatnot, it’s different.
Erin said on the show that the two of you are from different worlds. Did you feel like Erin learned about your world?
Yes. Yes, I do think she learned about my world. I think she grew. She grew a lot relative to a lot of other people. I think she did, and Andrea. Up until this point, I think Andrea has grown the most because she played a lot of chess and a lot of poker with us guys. She was almost like one of the guys. They didn’t show the chess playing, which is kind of sad. Some of the girls didn’t get along with her, so the only comfort she got was from the guys. The guys welcomed her, of course, because that’s what we do. That’s what our personalities are like. We welcome people into our circle of guys.
Did you gain any insight into Erin’s world?
Yes. When she told me about how to walk on the catwalk, I got a lot of insight it really takes to be a model. It made me appreciate that line of work much more. Even watching her take the time to put on all these random pieces of makeup on and get ready for the morning, that pushes more appreciation on to that same career.
Looking back, was there a Beauty that you would have rather been partnered with?
To be honest, no -- because if that was the case it would change my experience. Erin is great. Erin is phenomenal. The only thing I regret is not complimenting her more about how well she was doing. That’s the only thing I regret about the show, is not complimenting her more.
That’s so sweet.
She really was phenomenal.
The guys seemed to get along, but the women were a catty dramafest. Who started it? I think you know where I’m going with that question.
Um. (laughs) I think the answer is obvious.
What do you think of Cecile?
A relatively superficial person.
How about JennyLee and Nate? Did you witness any romance blooming there?
That caught me from left field. I did not see that.
Do you know if they’re still involved together?
I really don’t know. I haven’t asked. (laughs)
Was there anything that happened that you wished had made the edited show? Anything we as viewers did not get to see?
There were a lot of different cute things that occurred that they didn’t show. (thinking) There’s a few things that I thought, “I wish they’d put that in.”
But as far as your “edit”, did you wish they had included anything?
No comment. (laughs) Sorry.
That’s fine, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable. What was the best part of the experience?
The people were definitely the best part of the experience.
What’s the scoop on your personal life? Do you have a girlfriend now?
Are you looking?
Indirectly. Right now I’m focused on finishing this semester strong. I’ve got a lot on my plate, and if I get a girlfriend, that will be another large entrée to the dinner which is my life.
Thanks for talking to us, Drew, and many thanks to CW for letting us talk to a pop culturally-defined geek. Live long and prosper, dude.