His wish was granted, as the 26-year-old medical student from Fort Smith, AR and his partner Amanda Hanshaw, a 25-year-old aspiring Playboy model from Warren, OH, became the first couple eliminated during Wednesday night's premiere broadcast of The CW reality competition series.
On Thursday, Tony talked with Reality TV World about how his desire to get out of the Beauty and the Geek 4 house hurt him and Amanda; his crush on one of his fellow cast members; his affinity for bow ties; and how this wasn't his first time participating in the show.
Reality TV World: We talked to Amanda yesterday but were told you couldn't participate in the interview because you had class. What is it you study and how's school going?
Tony: I study osteopathic medicine and school's going pretty well for me. I'm really happy with it.
Reality TV World: Would you mind explaining what osteopathic medicine is?
Tony: There's two branches of medicine, there's allopathic and osteopathic. Osteopathic is pretty much looking at the whole body... It's just like a different approach, and I think it works really well with my interest in philosophy too.
Reality TV World: How did you end up being cast for Beauty and the Geek?
Tony: I actually was on the show a couple years ago on the casting-call show. Ever since then, they've been calling me, trying to work-out an interview. This is like the first year I've had some extra time and things worked out and I just got on.
Reality TV World: Do you remember what season you were part of the casting call?
Tony: Second season.
Reality TV World: What were your first impressions of Amanda?
Tony: I thought she was really beautiful. Definitely...
Reality TV World: If you could have chosen your own partner, who would you have picked?
Tony: I was just happy that somebody wanted me (laughing)! Any of the girls were amazingly beautiful and I was just happy that somebody picked me.
Reality TV World: What did you think about the fourth-season twist of including Sam as the hunky guy and Nicole as the nerdy girl?
Tony: Honestly I thought it was really cool. Because we got along with the other so-called "geeks," and I thought I could learn a lot from Sam too. He's like a really cool guy and I had a crush on Nicole (laughing).
Reality TV World: Did you act on that at all? I know you were only in the house with her for a few days.
Tony: No... If I was only there longer.
Reality TV World: During Wednesday night's episode, some of the beauties were talking about nominating Sam and Nicole for elimination until he won immunity. Was that something you agreed with?
Tony: No, definitely not. I was really happy that they were there because this show is really a learning process. It's about changing who you are. You can't judge, like, 'Oh, a really beautiful guy or a beautiful girl or a geeky girl, we shouldn't associate with them. They're like different from us.' I mean you shouldn't do that.
Reality TV World: You had an interesting fashion choice on the show with the bow tie. Where does that come from?
Tony: I've always loved bow ties. But I could only afford them after I graduated college. They're really expensive, like $40, $65 a pop. You can get cheaper ties for like $30, but they're not as pretty as mine.
Reality TV World: Amanda told us she wore the same outfit as you to try and boost your confidence and calm your nerves. Do you think it worked?
Tony: I guess a little bit. She definitely looked a lot hotter in her bow tie than me (laughing)!
Reality TV World: You came across as one of the shyest geeks. Why was it you were so shy?
Tony: I guess when you're around people in different surroundings, you're always a little shy.
Reality TV World: So you think your shyness was a product of your environment?
Tony: Yeah. If there weren't any really pretty girls there, I would have been like brave with more mingling.
Reality TV World: Will said he nominated you and Amanda for elimination because he described you as "overly passive?" Do you agree with that? If so, do you think that hurt you and Amanda as a couple?
Tony: I guess in a way. I do kind of agree with Will. For my rap, I was focusing a lot more on trying to help Amanda for her debate, because I knew Will was going to win the rap. He does filking (performing science fiction-themed music), so I definitely knew he had the lyrics down pretty tight. So strategically, I just tried to be in the middle range. Not in the bottom or not in the top.... My fault.
Reality TV World: Why did you feel like you had put up a wall between yourself and Amanda? She told us yesterday that was a question you should answer.
Tony: I actually wanted to go home since school was starting. I didn't tell her that I wanted to go home. That was kind of the wall I put up. I didn't inform her of that.
Reality TV World: Amanda told us you wouldn't even practice your act for the hip-hop challenge in-front of just her. Why were you so nervous heading into the challenge? Was it just performing on-stage in-front of a group of people?
Tony: No. I've never actually... I don't listen to rap or hip-hop. I don't really like that genre of music, because I don't like "dirty" lyrics. I don't like cursing. I don't really want to be supporting that genre. But I've heard some really cool rap on the Christian radio stations. I can't say anything bad about rap now. I was listening on the radio a couple weeks ago and I was like, 'Wow! They make rap sound so cool.'
Reality TV World: How do you think Amanda did during the debate challenge?
Tony: She was definitely nervous. There were a few points that she worded, and it sounded weird. But she had logic behind it.
Reality TV World: After your elimination, you said Amanda helped you "get out of my shell and just believe in myself." How was she able to do that?
Tony: I'm not really sure. Just being able to tell her that I wasn't really happy being on the show. Probably I should have just kept it inside and just got off the show without making it a big hassle.
Reality TV World: Amanda told us you showed her how she can "be proud of myself for who I am." How does it make you feel to hear that?
Tony: It made me really happy. She told me she wanted to do nursing after she's done modeling, so I really hope that she gets it done. I'm always there to help her if she ever needs me. Once the show's over she can call me or something... I will always be there to help her.
Reality TV World: Is there anybody in the house you'd like to see win?
Tony: As a fellow Arkansan or Arkansawian -- I don't know, they change it every year -- I have to go with [Shalandra, who hails from Tony's home state of Arkansas]. And Joshua [Shalandra's partner]... I think he's really sweet... I think he really does seem like he would use [his share of the $250,000 grand prize] to start something up.
Reality TV World: Anybody you wouldn't want to see?
Tony: No, not really. I would be happy anyone of them. They're really sweet people.
Reality TV World: Amanda told us you're not allowed to be in touch with fellow cast members until the show's broadcast run ends.
Tony: Nope, no contact.
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?
Tony: It helped me go into the world of the "beauties," because I don't really hang-out with them that much. It helped me see like how different people in the TV business, how they do things. It's really amazing what they do. Being able to empathize with them.
Reality TV World: Do you think the show taught you anything about yourself?
Tony: Something that I didn't know already?
Reality TV World: Yeah.
Tony: I guess... People that you respect, sometimes they aren't as successful as you think. Like, the way they appear on TV. People that appear really successful on TV may not be. So I guess don't judge a book by its cover. I think that I was really shocked by that.
Reality TV World: Is there anybody you're specifically talking about?
Tony: I wish I could tell you. I guess I could put one thing, it was definitely not the cast... It was definitely not the cast. It was something... else.
Reality TV World: So what's next? Got any plans?
Tony: I guess school. It would take me lots of money to do something else!
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