INTERVIEW: 'Beauty and the Geek's Sam Horrigan, Nicole Morgan talk
By Christopher Rocchio, 12/10/2007
Sam Horrigan and Nicole Morgan weren't confident they'd be able to claim Beauty and the Geek's fourth-season crown once they learned it would be decided by home viewer votes.
Their assumption was dead-on, as the fourth-season's "hunky guy/nerdy girl" twist lost the show's $250,000 grand prize to David Olsen and Jasmine Moore during Beauty and the Geek 4's finale broadcast last Wednesday night on The CW.
On Friday, Sam, a 26-year-old party promoter from Davis, CA, and Nicole, a 25-year-old student from San Francisco, CA, talked to Reality TV World about why they felt they made just as much of a transformation as David and Jasmine; why they thought editing disallowed how home viewers from seeing that transformation; how Sam's first impression of Rebecca Nichols wasn't as positive as one might think; and why he feels he was so strong in all the challenges.
Reality TV World: How were each of you cast for Beauty and the Geek 4?
Sam: You want to start-off with that one Nicole? Nicole: Sure! I got a message on MySpace from a casting director who said that I would be perfect for a reality show she was casting. I was a bit skeptical at first because I didn't know [casting] happened that way -- but she kept giving me more and more information -- and it seemed legit. Eventually, she finally told me what the show was once I had gotten through some of the casting process already. Sam: I was at one of the clubs I was promoting at. Actually, I was partying at this table, and somebody from casting walked up to me (laughing). It was kind of random and unexpected. I was a little questioning about the whole thing, but after talking to everybody I decided it would be a good idea. I'm glad that I did it. I mean it was great...
Reality TV World: What were your first impressions of each other when you initially met outside the Beauty and the Geek mansion?
Sam: (laughing) Go for it Nicole... Nicole: I guess I wasn't surprised because I knew they'd be pairing me with somebody who's my opposite. So I did expect someone who accessorized more than I did... who was more trendy. He was kind of what I expected. We didn't interact a whole lot on the porch. I think we were feeling each other out and it wasn't until we got inside that I could really form a judgement of his personality and understand who he was.
Reality TV World: Okay. How about you Sam?
Sam: I guess I felt like I was off-guard, you know? It was just so... I don't know. Just the whole thing in general, like when I walked up, because I didn't even know I was meeting my partner. I just walked up and they were like, "Oh, this is Nicole, your partner!" (laughing with Nicole) So it was definitely crazy. I mean I knew that -- just like Nicole said -- it was going to be someone who was different from me. You know, I think we understood that we definitely are different, so this was going to be really interesting (laughing).
Reality TV World: Did you think you'd be easily accepted by the traditional "male geek/female beauty" teams when you entered the competition?
Nicole: I was totally expecting that we'd be accepted (Sam's laughing). I don't think that I realized how much people were kind of against the concept for a while. I think Sam did, because he's much better at reading people. But I just thought that... I think the geeks were okay with us, but whenever I had a hard time relating to the beauties, I just thought it was because I was awkward. But in retrospect, maybe it was just that they didn't like our team. So they weren't quite as opening and friendly and outgoing with me as I would expect. Sam: We definitely had an uphill battle from the get-go... the entire time through.
Reality TV World: Yeah, as a viewer, it looked like you weren't very well-received by the other teams. I don't know if that was the case or it was just editing, but it looked like you weren't well-received. So you did feel that vibe a little bit?
Sam: Yeah, I definitely picked-up on it. I didn't realize actually at the time that it was AS bad as it was watching the show now. But it was definitely... I mean it was interesting being on a show which is based on accepting people for their differences (laughing)... I thought that it was so funny!
Reality TV World: Sam, what were your first impressions of Rebecca and when did something romantic start to happen between you two?
Sam: Actually, my first impression of Rebecca -- like honestly -- it's hilarious. After me and Nicole got introduced, we were told by [host Mike Richards] that everyone needed to go pick rooms. So everybody started running off -- running into the rooms trying to get a really great one -- and me Nicole go up the steps, and the one person that actually stuck around to greet us and introduce himself was [Rebecca's partner Will Frank]. So he introduced himself, and Rebecca came over and pretty much just yanked him out of the middle of the conversation (laughing). So it was like, "Alright... well there we go." The impression wasn't that great. But after I actually started talking to her, I realized we had a lot in common and I definitely wanted to spend a lot of time with her.
Reality TV World: Nicole what was going through your head when you noticed Sam and Rebecca were becoming romantically involved?
Nicole: I actually heard people talking about it more than I saw it, because again, I guess I just don't read things that well. People were like, "Oh! Something's going to happen between Sam and Rebecca." And I was like, "Really? What makes you think that?" (Sam laughing) I thought it was cute at first, but then everybody put the bug in my ear. They're like, "You know Sam's not going to be studying as much now that he likes Rebecca." Everybody else started talking about it so much, that it kind of changed my outlook on the whole thing I guess.
Reality TV World: Sam, do you hold any grudges against Nicole for her strategy to get Will and Rebecca out of the house as quickly as possible?
Sam: It was definitely... She was thinking about what's best for our team. I knew that right away by watching it. There was no grudge there. Of course I wanted Rebecca to stay -- but in retrospect -- I think that it probably was the best thing for our team.
Reality TV World: Once Rebecca left the competition, do you think that was a turning point for you two as a team? If so, why?
Sam: Yeah, I guess you could say that it was the turning point. I just started studying like crazy the second I got my material, that was pretty much all I did, was [make] flashcards, highlight everything and read all the way through all the material...
Reality TV World: What about you Nicole? Do you think your relationship with Sam improved once Rebecca was gone? Was communication easier?
Nicole: I don't think our relationship was bad while she was there, but the one thing it showed me was how vulnerable Sam could be. When she left, he was really sad and kept his pillow with him and stuff. I was like, "Wow. Sam's just a regular guy. He has emotions like everyone else." It just made me see more of our similarities because he was affected by it...
Reality TV World: Sam, how did it feel to see Rebecca during the finale broadcast and what's the current status of your relationship?
Sam: It was awesome to see her. I was definitely looking forward to it and I missed her like crazy because we weren't allowed to talk or see each other [in the four months when filming stopped and the finale shot]. So that was definitely one of the highlights of the reunion show. After it finished shooting -- the floodgates are open, and you can hang-out with everybody and all that -- so she actually stayed with me [in California] for a couple of days. We went to Disney Land, we went out to clubs and everything, and it was definitely great. We're actually working right now on planning another trip together...
Reality TV World: Several of the other teams we've talked to said they felt Sam was so strong in the challenges because of your skills as an actor. Do you agree with that? If so, why?
Sam: Maybe to a small degree. I mean honestly, I feel like I studied... I mean, it wasn't like I didn't study. I studied incredibly hard. Anybody that went to elimination, the first thing they would do would be to ask me for my flashcards. Because I would make all these flashcards and study them 24/7...
Reality TV World: Would you say you studied more than the other teams?
Sam: I don't know if I studied anymore, but I don't think -- personally -- I could have spent more time studying. So, who knows...
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when you learned that home viewer votes would be determining the Beauty and the Geek fourth-season champ?
Nicole: Sam actually had... Like we would always sit around and hypothesize what the different challenges would be. Sam actually mentioned that [home viewer votes determining the winner] would be a really good option and would be something [The CW] could do. I was a bit surprised they would prolong it that long, the four months we were out of the house. But Sam had already prepared me for it, so it wasn't like a giant shock to me (laughing)...
Reality TV World: Were you confident you'd be able to defeat David and Jasmine based on fan votes? As the "outsider" team, it seemed like the deck was automatically stacked against you.
Sam: Well... no. Not really (Nicole laughing). Obviously, there's cameras on us 24-hours-a-day and the show's only an hour. So depending on what is actually in the show would determine who would win. So it's definitely just based on editing (laughing)...
Reality TV World: After watching the season unfold on TV, were you happy with the way you were portrayed?
Reality TV World: Could you elaborate on that?
Sam: I think that most of the really nice stuff that we did wasn't shown, and I don't really understand why. Who knows...
Reality TV World: So do you think the way you were portrayed hurt your chances in receiving the majority of viewer votes?
Sam: Go ahead Nicole... Nicole: I was just going to say, I felt like when I got on the show I thought they were interested in seeing how we as people would transform differently from everyone else. From the editing -- without being specific -- I feel like it was more about how we affected everyone else instead of how we were changing ourselves...
Reality TV World: That leads well into my next question. Do you think you made just as much of a transformation as David and Jasmine?
Nicole: I definitely think so... Sam: Yeah, definitely. I think that -- just like you had mentioned, how I acted before was the reason why I won challenges -- I mean obviously building a rocket [for one of the beauty's challenges] and things like that have absolutely nothing to do with acting. I think that I definitely changed. I definitely studied harder and harder each time. I felt like I knew more and more of the material... I don't honestly if that's the way people felt, but I think that if people were there they would have seen a ridiculously huge change. I mean, even Mike the host would bring it up every single time we saw him. Granted, that wasn't put in the show...
Nicole: I think I was a little bit surprised. Sam had been telling me all along that some of the geeks liked me. Once in a while, I'd hear names associated with them. But I don't think it ever really registered in my mind that Dave really liked me that much. And when someone says that someone has a crush on you, you never really know how serious it is. So I think that's another thing. It was quite a surprise.
Reality TV World: You both live in the Boston area, so what's the current status of your relationship?
Nicole: We're definitely planning on hanging out. He plans to take me LARPing [live-action role playing] at some point. We watched the finale together with [fellow Boston resident Jennifer Carter]. So we're definitely going to be hanging out. He lives right near me, and my roommates always run into him when they're out on the town (laughing)...
Reality TV World: Do you think participating in the show really had an impact on the way you look at yourselves as well as other people who are different from you?
Nicole: I guess. There's a difference between being on the show and watching the show. After being on the show, I felt very confident and was able to build friendships with people in such a brief amount of time that I really felt like I had developed social skills. Then after watching the show, I started to question myself a little bit about things I saw and whether it was really me...
Reality TV World: How about you Sam?
Sam: Yeah, of course the same sort of thing. I mean I was a really social person. All the stuff I learned from Nicole has definitely stuck with me. Just being able to sit there and get really, really into pretty much anything -- whether it's work or studying -- just that focus, was a lot stronger. Like Nicole said, watching the show is definitely not the same as being there and experiencing it. But I mean the experience all around was absolutely amazing.
Nicole: Yeah, definitely. I loved the makeover, it was the same thing Sam had told me before going in there. He was like, "Well if I was doing it, I'd put you in a bright blue or green because that will bring out your eyes. I'd show-off a lot of your neckline because you wear a lot of collared shirts. I'd dye your hair darker." I was really thrilled they [dyed my hair darker], because I know if they dyed me blonde, I don't know if I would have kept that up. But I have been keeping up the darker hair because I really like it. I buy more makeup now and I try different things... Granted when they do the makeover, they're not giving you a whole new wardrobe or new makeup. So while I was on the show, I tried to do what I could. But now that I'm home and I can go out and buy my own clothes and my own makeup, it's a lot easier to experiment with things then it was locked in a mansion (laughing)...
Reality TV World: So what's next for you two? Sam, during the reunion show, you mentioned something about maybe going back to school?
Sam: Yeah, I definitely want to go back to school. Not just for the whole social aspect -- granted, that's amazing and one of the best parts about college -- but I'm definitely interested in math, a lot of stuff I learned on the show I'd like to take classes about and I want to get into it a little more... I've been approached about another reality show, but we'll see what happens (laughing).
Reality TV World: How about you Nicole? I know you're at Tufts University studying musicology, what do you plan on doing with your degree once you get it?
Nicole: My degree is going to be a master's, so I'll graduate in May and then I'm going to take a year off before applying for my PhD program. But I kind of just want to I guess I have more life experience because when I'm in school, I don't go out a lot. I spend a lot of time studying because it's not just a 9-to-5 job. It's a lot of work, a lot of homework. So I'm kind of just excited to have a year where I can actually have the typical mid-20s experience and have a more active social life and maybe go to bars and things like that. So that's my next year and then I'll probably apply to PhD programs.