Exclusive: Jonathan Prater dishes on 'Beauty and the Geek' betrayal
By Christopher Rocchio, 04/07/2008
Jonathan Prater feels he was backstabbed and betrayed by one of the beauties he thought he knew best.
As a result, the 26-year-old system administrator/technical consultant from Colfax, CA became the fourth contestant eliminated from Beauty and the Geek's fifth season during Tuesday night's broadcast of The CW reality series.
On Monday, Jonathan talked to Reality TV World about why he felt Tiffany betrayed him and how it didn't take karma very long to repay the favor; why none of the fifth-season cast members were big fans of the "beauties versus geeks" twist; and what he learned from participating in the show.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when Tara chose Joe as her partner instead of you?
Jonathan: When I wasn't picked, I just thought all the girls hated me. But that's not what the reality was -- what I found out later. Some of the other girls filled me in later. Do you want to hear about that?
Reality TV World: Yeah.
Jonathan: It turned out -- as we can see in the episode -- Tiffany was originally supposed to pick me. What happened was, all the girls believed Tiffany was going to pick me. I was actually the first person chosen in the [beauties'] meeting, and that was by Tiffany. Then at the stairs ceremony, all the girls still believed she was still picking me and that's when she switched to Jim -- because Jim was originally the one who was supposed to go home.
Because Tiffany did it that way, none of the other girls got a chance to pick me. Randi, for example, said she probably would have picked me if Tiffany had switched to Jim during the meeting. Cara told me there were a number of girls that might have picked me as well.
Reality TV World: During Tuesday night's episode, Tiffany said you were her original partner choice, but she had a "gut feeling" that made her pick Jim instead. Have you talked to Tiffany since then and learned what that "gut feeling" might have been?
Jonathan: She gave me a bunch of BS about how they were soulmates and stuff. But the reason why I say this is because -- you've watched the episodes that have been shown, the first four episodes?
Reality TV World: Yeah.
Jonathan: Do you remember how Jim asked for a kiss and she refused to give him a kiss?
Reality TV World: Yeah.
Jonathan: Well she gave me that kiss on the first night in the mansion. She found out that I had never had a real kiss from a girl and when I told her about it, she insisted on giving me my first kiss. So I let her. I thought I had a connection with her sort of like Matt did with Leticia.
[Tiffany] was always telling me things about how she thought I was the best-looking guy in the house and how good I made her feel. I helped her study for the girls' [elimination room] in Episode 2, and I protected her from going into elimination. Then she told me she would return the favor the next time the guys were vulnerable.
Then what do we see her do in Episode 3? I'm the first name out of her mouth about who should be going in. I think it shows what type of person she is because she says one thing and does another. If Jim is her soulmate, why would she refuse to kiss him but insist on kissing me -- the guy she ends up ditching at the last second?
Reality TV World: So have you buried the hatchet with Tiffany at all?
Jonathan: I haven't talked to Tiffany since we finished filming.
Reality TV World: Do you fault Tiffany for your elimination?
Jonathan: I fault her because it's one thing if she didn't pick me, but she did it in a way that prevented anybody else from picking me too.
If she contacted me and apologized and stuff I'd be willing to consider what she has to say. But I'm certainly not going to be the one to contact her and find out about stuff. She really betrayed me multiple times.
Reality TV World: So when Tiffany and Jim were subsequently eliminated, did you see that as vindication?
Jonathan: I actually like Jim a lot, so I felt bad for Jim. But I felt Tiffany got what she deserved. Karma.
Reality TV World: After you were eliminated, Matt commented that he didn't think you "did enough to convince everybody he was here for the right reasons." What's your take on that comment? Do you agree with that?
Jonathan: No. I talked to Matt on the phone after that episode aired and he apologized and said that was taken out of context.
Reality TV World: After the football game, some of the beauties said you were "creeping some people out"...
Jonathan: The episode reviewers seem to be taking that out of context. What was said was, Kristina and Cara were saying I was negative during the football game. I guess because I complained too much. Cara said it was "kind of creepy" I was being so negative. She didn't say I was creepy, she just said the negativity was creepy.
I just want to clear that up, because some people online keep saying I'm "creepy Jonathan."... Cara said I was odd, and then Cara said my negative behavior was kind of creepy, but didn't call me creepy.
Cara apologized. I actually went out to dinner with Cara and Greg last Thursday. Cara apologized for that remark and said it doesn't even make sense -- saying that being negative is creepy. She said she was sorry about that and didn't remember saying it.
Reality TV World: How were you cast for Beauty and the Geek?
Jonathan: I saw on the website there was going to be an open casting call in Emeryville, CA, which is just a couple of hours away from where I live. So I decided, "Why not?" I've watched the first four seasons and always thought, "That show's perfect for me." So when I finally had the opportunity to tryout, I did so.
They kept asking me back for follow-ups, I became a finalist. The I got on the show. It's actually a really long process. The casting process takes longer than the show does.
Reality TV World: What attitude did you take in approaching the competition? Did you come up with any sort of strategy?
Jonathan: I went in to win. But at the same time I went there for the experience too. If I just wanted money, I would have gone on a different show like Survivor, where you can make more money anyway. I wanted both the experience and my attitude was if you win, therefore you've experience everything the show has to offer and you can possibly learn as much as you can.
My strategy was to do the best that I can and get to know everybody. I wasn't too worried about alliances or anything like that. But maybe in retrospect, I should have avoided stepping on any anybody's toes. It was kind of more like a Survivor this year with the "versus" format...
Reality TV World: That leads well into my next question. What was your reaction when host Mike Richards revealed you'd initially be competing as geeks versus beauties?
Jonathan: None of us liked that twist.
Reality TV World: Personally, why didn't you like it?
Jonathan: Because I wanted to be paired with a beauty. That's why I went on the show -- so we could learn from each other and also it always looked like a lot of fun too.
Reality TV World: You just said everyone was against the twist, did you think it took away from the show's "social experiment" mantra?
Jonathan: Yeah, because I think it pitted us against each other. So we weren't as focused on learning and were more focused on the competition. Tiffany's a good example. She kisses me and is telling me all this stuff and building me up and then behind my back is trying to send me into elimination. It wouldn't be that way if we were paired up, obviously.
That doesn't excuse certain people's bad behavior on the show, but at the same time I think the [fifth-season] format encouraged that sort of behavior.
Reality TV World: Which beauty would you have liked to have been partnered with and why?
Jonathan: I think I would have been happy with a number of the girls. Actually, I talked to Jillian last night and we kind of decided we're going to be unofficial partners since we were both eliminated after the same challenge and neither of us was paired up. We're going to consider ourselves partners.
Reality TV World: Were there any beauties you didn't think you'd work well with?
Jonathan: Well, knowing that Tiffany backstabbed me so much, it's probably just as well that we weren't paired up since she's totally two-faced and untrustworthy.
I definitely would have rather of been paired up with anybody. Even [Beauty and the Geekfourth-season runner-up Sam Horrigan] -- the male beauty from last year -- I would have liked to have paired up with him rather than going home. (laughing)
But Tara had told me she considered me to be one of the smartest guys in the house. But I didn't realize she had said all the negative stuff about me in the interviews. So it seems like she was really nice to my face but apparently didn't like me -- talking behind my back. I think I could have helped any of the beauties do well -- even if they didn't like me that much. I think we could have been a strong team, but obviously, it's better to be paired with somebody who likes you back.
Reality TV World: You said you went on the show for the experience.
Reality TV World: Do you think participating in the show really had an impact on the way you look at other people who are different from you?
Jonathan: Um... I think it shows that everybody has different strengths to offer and we all have different weaknesses and we can learn a lot from other people different than ourselves to reduce our own weaknesses. I think that's kind of what the show is normally about. This season, of course, was a little weird.
Reality TV World: Do you think the show taught you anything about yourself?
Jonathan: Yeah. I haven't had a lot of social experience in recent years. So I got a lot of experience and then it kind of helped me learn better how I should approach various social situations in the future. I think I have better tools now.
Reality TV World: Personally speaking, which pair would you like to see win the competition?
Jonathan: Um... I'm real close with Matt, so I'd like to see him win. It seems like he has the biggest transformation to make I think -- of the guys that are left.
Reality TV World: So what's next for you?
Jonathan: I've done some television. I was actually on for three hours on the local morning show -- Good Day Sacramento -- on Thursday. It was a lot of fun. I did an interview and then I did additional segments throughout the rest of the morning. On Friday I did Reality Remix with Kennedy, and that episode is gonna air tomorrow. I'm making lots of interesting new friends and contacts -- and even have gotten a couple of girls' phone numbers.
Reality TV World: What about with your career?
Jonathan: The job and school's kind of on hold. I've been taking online classes and I plan on in the next year or two enrolling in a university to get my degree in Japanese. Right now, I'm kind of focused on the Beauty and the Geek stuff and taking advantage of opportunities it has brought for me.
Reality TV World: Okay Jonathan, thanks for taking the time today...
Jonathan: There's one other thing I'd like to mention if you're interested.
Reality TV World: Sure. Go ahead.
Jonathan: It's something that home viewers don't know. I did the best of all the guys in the Episode 1 phone-number challenge. I got 14 phone numbers, which is actually the second most total. Tara got 18 numbers and I got 14. That was actually more than all the other girls and twice as many as the guy who got the second most, which was Tommy I believe.
Reality TV World: What was your secret?
Jonathan: Well I had a really good strategy that I employed, which was rather than asking the girls for dates I talked about inviting them to a party. Apparently, that's the strategy a lot of the girls used. A lot of the guys were stubborn -- I did try to strategize with them before the challenge, but a lot of them were kind of stubborn about how they wanted to approach it. I think that's one of the reasons why -- as a team -- didn't do as well as we could have. That was actually the main reason why I was sent into elimination that episode -- the girls said I was their biggest threat.