Amanda Hanshaw has the looks but was also eager to prove she has brains as a Beauty and the Geek fourth-season participant

Alas, the 25-year-old aspiring Playboy model from Warren, OH and her partner Tony, a 26-year-old medical student from Fort Smith, AR, became the first couple eliminated during last night's premiere broadcast of The CW reality competition series.

On Wednesday, Amanda spoke with Reality TV World about what it was like to have a shy guy as her partner; what she thinks led to their eventual elimination; and if she feels she grew during her short-lived stint in the social experiment.

Reality TV World:   So what does an "aspiring Playboy model" actually do while she's aspiring? 

Amanda:  Actually, I do model full-time.  It's kind of what I do.  I've worked with Playboy for the last year-and-a-half.  So I'm aspiring to be a Playboy Playmate but I am [already] a Playboy model.  A lot of stuff is coming up with Playboy in the future.  So I guess if everybody wants to stay tuned, there's going to be a lot of stuff coming up.

Reality TV World:   How did you end up being cast for Beauty and the Geek?

Amanda:  I went on and saw there was a listing... I don't know.  Casting was out of town, so I emailed them and let them know and sent them some pictures.  They had another casting that was closer to me and I drove there kind of on a whim.  I didn't really think I would get it.  They called me back and I went to a couple interviews and I don't know why but they picked me!  They said like 50,000 people auditioned so I'm super-shocked I'm one of the ones that got picked, but it's a great honor.

Reality TV World:   What were your first impressions of Tony?

Amanda:  I immediately -- like the first second I saw Tony -- knew that I wanted him to be my partner.  I just saw how shy he was, looking at the ground, wearing a cute little bow tie, just his smile and he was all red -- especially when he walked into the room.  I told the girls that if they try to pick Tony, we're going to get into a fight.

Reality TV World:   So if you had the opportunity to chose your own partner, you would have picked Tony?

Amanda:  Oh yeah.  Definitely.  100%.

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?

Amanda:  I know that the public is really into that storyline right now, especially on The CW's blogs.  Everybody's basically talking about how unfair it was that they threw them on, but I think that [Sam and Nicole] are really, really good people.  I wasn't upset by it.  Actually before I came on the show, I was talking to my mom and I said, 'I bet you they're going to throw in a good-looking guy and a geeky girl.'  So when they showed that, I was surprised.  I had a feeling it was going to happen.  They're good people.  They're really good people.  So I'm interested in seeing how they grow.
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Reality TV World:  During last 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?

Amanda:  I heard that they were going to do that.  It was definitely something that was brought up to Tony and I.  But it wasn't something I agreed with.  I'm not going to say who I would have voted off, [but] they weren't the two that I would have picked.

Reality TV World:   How and why did you and Tony wear matching outfits?

Amanda:  I asked Tony if he would be okay if I dressed like him.  He thought that was a really cool idea.  I just kind of wanted to show him that I really support him and I support everything he does.  I feel like he's just a good person no matter what he wears.  I kind of did it for him, to make him feel more comfortable going down there.  He was really nervous in the beginning, and I hope that loosened him up a little bit.  I know Tony loved me as a partner, so I hope that that had something to do with it.

Reality TV World:   Will said he nominated you and Tony for elimination because he described Tony as "overly passive?"  Do you agree with that?  If so, do you think that hurt you two as a couple?

Amanda:  There's actually two reasons we went to elimination, and [the show] kind of didn't air all that.  [Will and his partner Rebecca] said that they thought I was smarter than some of the other girls.  You know I don't necessarily agree with that, but that was one of the reasons they gave.  They also said they thought Tony was passive.

Tony definitely was passive, but that was the reason we were on the show.  The reason we're on the show is for people to grow and to have experiences.  I wish they wouldn't have voted us to elimination because I think that Tony had the most to learn out of anybody there, beauty or geek.  But you know the position they were in, to have to eliminate somebody so early and all of us had formed friendships, which I know sounds weird to say because we weren't there long enough... But all of us are friends.  I don't envy the position they were in and I have no hard feelings towards them.

Reality TV World:  So you don't agree that you were one of the smarter beauties there?

Amanda:  I don't feel like I'm an unintelligent person.  I feel I lack common sense. 

I know that them not showing that on television is because they only have an hour to put everything on there.  You do have to put stuff in and take stuff out, the show was filmed over days.

Reality TV World:   Tony said he felt like he was putting up a wall between you two.  Did you get the same feeling from him?

Amanda:  Like I said, there's a lot of stuff that isn't shown on television and I know that Tony had a very, very hard time with the experience for many different reasons.  I feel that's probably something Tony should speak more about than I should speak about.  But I do feel like in the end -- and I think that's all that matters -- that he did open up.  I hope that I had something to do with that, but even if I didn't, I'm proud of him.

Reality TV World:   What were some of the ways you tried to break down Tony's shyness barrier before the hip-hop challenge?

Amanda:  He wasn't nervous.  He was like... I don't even know.  If nervous is earth, he was way by the sun.  He was just miles away from nervous.  Wow... He wouldn't even perform in-front of me!  I tried everything.  You see me on TV taking to him in my hair curlers and trying to dance.  Like I don't dance at all.  I was nervous to get up on stage and dance for [guest judges] Three 6 Mafia.  I won't dance with my friends at a club, let alone on stage in-front of a bunch of people.

So I was trying to let him know just as nervous as you are, I am too.  But it's different for different people.  Everything that he did on his own, I really have to say that I probably didn't help him out in the challenge.  Not because I didn't want to, just because he was so nervous to do anything in-front of me.

Reality TV World:   What'd you think of the debate challenge?  They really didn't show much of your particular marijuana debate on the show.

Amanda:  Well I didn't really like my debate topic... That was probably one of the harder parts of the show for me.  There was a lot of study material.  We had over 300 pages of study material, and we had a very, very short time to study.  I felt I was confident in ever single topic... You know there were 10 different topics and two sides to debate them (pro and con).  I feel like I was confident in every topic to debate except for two sides, and I happened to get one that I wasn't confident in.  You get out there, you stutter a little bit, you say some things that you really didn't want to say.

I felt like I looked stupid.  And when I watched the show, I was uncomfortable watching myself on television.  I thought that I said some stupid things, and that's just not the type of person I am in real life.  It's a stressful situation.

Reality TV World:   Did you agree with the judges' decision that Sam did the best job?

Amanda:  I think Sam and Katie both did well.  I think that I probably would have a hard time determining which one did better.  We were not able to watch the team's debate, so I don't know exactly what was said except for what aired on TV.

Reality TV World:   After your elimination, you said you wanted to "prove there was more to me than just what I look like."  Do you think you were able to accomplish that?

Amanda:  No.

Reality TV World:  Why's that?

Amanda:  As far as intellectually no, I kind of said some stupid things in the debates... So I felt maybe I wasn't able to prove that.  But I do feel like I let people know I'm a genuine person and a nice person.  I care about people.  I hope that came across on television.

Reality TV World:   Tony said you did help him get out of his shell.  How did that make you feel?

Amanda:  It's a crazy thing to see that somebody else says you touched their life in that type of way.  It's one of the nicer compliments that you can get in life.  Everybody aspires to be somebody who makes a difference in the world, and if you can make a difference in just one person's life I think that's great.  I'm really happy I was able to do something to help Tony out.  I feel like he helped me out a lot, and I'm really glad that I got the chance to do the same.

Reality TV World:   That leads perfectly into my next question.  How do you think Tony helped you out?  Do you think participating in the show really had an impact on the way you look at other people who are different from you?

Amanda:  Right from the beginning before we even picked partners and we were sitting by the pool, he told me, 'I just really think that you second-guess yourself a lot and I really don't think you have any idea how intelligent you actually are.'  That was just something that nobody has ever really said to me. 

On the show a couple of people had said that to me after that, but Tony was the first one to say that to me.  He was somebody who -- Katie as well -- but he was somebody who continuously drilled that into my head.  Every time I said something that probably came out a little bit stupid or whatever, instead of telling me this is what you said, he would say, 'Yeah you may have said this, but look what else you did and you shouldn't look at yourself just for that comment.'  He just showed me I can be proud of myself for who I am.

Reality TV World:   Is there anybody in the house you'd like to see win?

Amanda: In different ways.  When I look at the competition, I don't really care who wins the money.  I feel like there's many different ways to win, and I feel everybody needs to go through a certain challenge to kind of change their lives.  So I hope everybody on the show goes through that challenge that makes he or she a better person.  In the end, whoever wins, I hope that's the team that needed to be there that long to actually gain the experiences that they needed to gain.  I think everybody is going to get those experiences at different times, I just hope everybody gets them at the right time and doesn't go home early.

Reality TV World:   Do you still keep in touch with any of the other cast members?

Amanda:  We're not allowed to talk to anybody right now until the final show airs.  That's understandable.  I don't want to know what happens, I kind of want to see what happens like everybody else.

But after the show wraps I would love to stay in contact with everybody.  I feel like everybody has definitely been a major influence on my life. They're all great people.  I hope we all stay in contact.

Reality TV World:   So you mentioned some upcoming things with Playboy, is there anything else going on in your life?

Amanda:  Not so much.  I've been really busy with the stuff I'm doing for Playboy.  The show didn't wrap that long ago so there hasn't been that much time for me to do anything else.

Check back with Reality TV World on Thursday afternoon for Tony's take on his Beauty an the Geek 4 experience.