INTERVIEW: Joshua Green talks about 'Beauty and the Geek'
By Christopher Rocchio, 11/15/2007
Joshua Green began Beauty and the Geek's fourth season as the creme de la creme of geeks.
While he as his partner Shalandra "Shay" Cham were the seventh pair eliminated from Beauty and the Geek 4 during Tuesday night's broadcast of The CW reality competition series, it wasn't until after a transformation took place for the 26-year-old Princeton University student.
On Wednesday, Joshua talked to Reality TV World about why he was initially hesitant about being partners with Shay; what prompted him to call-out one of the other geeks in the hopes of forcing him to make a change; his blow-by-blow analysis of why hunky-beauty Sam has been so successful in all the challenges; and how he has reasons for wanting to see any of the three remaining teams go home as winners.
Check back with Reality TV World on Friday for Shay's take on her Beauty and the Geek 4 experience.
Reality TV World: How were you cast for Beauty and the Geek 4?
Joshua: It's kind of a long story. I've been out here at Princeton for a few years -- and [Beauty and the Geek] posted ads on the [university's] web server -- which I had simply ignored. But then they sent an email directly to me saying, "Joshua your friends thought you might be interested in this, what do you think?" I didn't know how to respond to that, so I posted that email to my blog and asked for advice. Everyone said, "Sure! Try-out, why not? It could be fun."
As it happened, the casting people showed up here -- at the graduate-student bar -- and sort of luckily I showed up that night as well. We chatted and they said come by for the audition. It just sort of went smoothly from there.
Joshua and Jen pose for a photo during Beauty and the Geek's makeover prom (Photo credit Michael Desmond /The CW)
Joshua: The first time I met her is when we were all going through... back and forth through the curtains to meet each other. I can't remember what she said. She mentioned she had been in a lot of pageants -- and to be honest -- I thought that was a rather superficial way to describe yourself. I mean she had to do other stuff, but I think that's what she emphasized when she came in. So I wasn't terribly impressed with that. I figured there had to be more to her...
Reality TV World: What was your initial reaction when you posted the lowest geek score on the social skills analysis?
Joshua: I mean I knew how I had done in the test. Going into the test, that would have shocked me. Coming out of it, it didn't shock me that much based on what they said. I knew how I performed. I knew I didn't do well at all (laughing).
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Reality TV World: Were you surprised with the twist the challenge took -- that even though you lost it -- it still gave you the power to pick the teams?
Joshua: Yes, that was definitely a surprise... Making the teams, that seemed like a... It was surprising and I thought it was really strange. It seemed like a lot of power to put in two people's hands.
Reality TV World: Why were you initially hesitant about having Shay as a partner and what ultimately made you change your mind?
Joshua: The reason I was worried about it was the theory that on principle we would be at a disadvantage on all the challenges. And if you don't win the challenges, you're always in danger of being sent to eliminations. Eventually we decided that may be mitigated by the fact that people might not see us as a threat. I was like, "Well, we'll try it. Why not?"
Really, in our discussion, it came out that we could both be a bit stubborn. We thought that might actually be good for us to work together because we both understand what's going on and we can actually deal with each other maybe...
Reality TV World: Pretty much every eliminated team we've talked to said they were happy with the partner you gave them. How did you and Shay decide on the couple pairings?
Joshua: It was a lot of complications. I can't remember what [The CW] showed, because I obviously can't go into what they hadn't shown because it's a lot of film. Ummm... There was a specific thing that [Amanda Hanshaw] specifically wanted [Tony Tran] for -- things she specifically wanted to work on -- so there was a concrete reason [why Shay and I made them partners].
There was sort of a battle because, "Do we want to pair them with who they want? Do we pair them with someone who think can help them?" We sort of went back and forth between those two extremes; we tried to pair based on competitive reasons. I think there weren't really any pairings we made specifically out of competitive reasons... It was a lot of fighting. That's part of the reason why our discussions did take quite a while and not a lot of footage was shown...
I really only had [the other contestants] preferences. Maybe we could have satisfied them all. I don't remember exactly if we could have. But it wasn't obvious that that was optimal for anyone involved... The goal is to learn something, and if there's someone you're already getting along with, maybe you won't be forced to learn -- maybe you won't be forced to grow -- because you're obviously dealing with someone who already understands you.
Reality TV World: What did you think initially about the fourth-season twist of including Sam as the hunky guy and Nicole as the nerdy girl?
Joshua: I hadn't actually seen to many previous seasons. I mean I knew that it was a twist... It caught me off guard... At that point, it was after all the pairings had been made and the next challenge was the next morning and we were busy finding rooms. It was just too soon to tell [how the twist would play out]. It seemed like a surprise, but it wasn't clear how it was going to help or hurt them -- or how it was going to help or hurt us.
Joshua: I never really knew much about that going on -- I had some vague idea what was going on -- but that was something I didn't really pay too much attention to... at least not as much as some of the other beauties. Obviously you've got to do what you've got to do. I was chatting with Will about it, and his comment was, "If you actually feel something, you've got to go for it. You can't let an opportunity like that pass you up. if they're both happy then there's no problem." That was sort of my attitude...
Reality TV World: Prior to the makeovers, Shay commented how she thought improving your outer appearance would help your confidence. Do you think she was right and did it work?
Joshua: It's a bit more subtle than that. How do I put this... I was quite amazed at her reaction to the makeover (laughing). I didn't realize that changing your clothes could have that much of an impact on someone. Sometimes I where clothes like that now; sometimes I don't. I'm still trying to rebuild my wardrobe but I haven't had the chance to do that just yet.
Reality TV World: Were you happy with your makeover? Have you since kept any of the changes?
Joshua: Well certainly now I have more options to do with my hair, although they straightened it and I can't do that on my own so easily. I'm still wearing the glasses obviously. People seem to like the new glasses. I think I ruined the red tie unfortunately.
It's funny because Shay made all these little suggestions to how I should dress. Then the people who they brought in to do the makeovers, they couldn't actually find any clothes for me. I was like too small or something. So then we got pulled into wardrobe, and they ended up almost going exactly with what Shay recommended. She even recommended the red tie. It looked random to me, but apparently everyone agrees on what looks good.
Reality TV World: After you nominated Katie Roberson and Luke Neyer for elimination, you commented that David and Jasmine were "on the bubble" due to their "inappropriate growth so far." Why did you make that comment?
Joshua: They didn't show much of our discussion on which team to send [to the elimination room]. So our first thing was let's look at the teams that haven't been sent to elimination. That was obviously us, but it was also Dave and Jasmine; Luke and Katie; Sam and Nicole; and I think that was it at that point.
So we were struggling with who to send in, and some of us wanted to really send in David and Jasmine because of that very reason [inappropriate growth]; I was so sure. I thought that they could make some improvements. It was sort of a fight not to put them in. The reason we sent in Luke and Katie was, a) They were obviously both very strong... whether or not they had grown. But then the other part was what was the motivation for keeping Dave and Jasmine? I think it was sort of a compromise... I mean if we sent in [Dave and Jasmine], maybe they should be sent because they haven't been [able to grow], but we thought they could [grow]. We wanted to see something.
Reality TV World: As a viewer, it looks like we have seen a change in David and Jasmine's relationship since then. Do you think your comment helped David and Jasmine embrace the opportunity to work together as a team and grow?
Joshua: It certainly looks like that. While I was there I came to the same conclusion. It seemed like Jasmine had always been trying, but now David's trying. See part of the issue was that Dave and [Will Frank] had sort of bonded. So it was hard to see exactly what David would do once Will was eliminated -- because Will was a very dominant personality, it just happened to be the person he was.
So we kept [David and Jasmine] around to see what would happen with Will gone. It does seem that really Dave started listening to his partner and paying attention to her, letting himself into the challenges, and obviously he's done quite well [since Joshua's comment, David has won the last two geek challenges].
Reality TV World: You commented d that some of the other teams had taken to calling you and Shay, "the old, married couple." What do you think of that comparison? Did you see it as a compliment?
Joshua: I think I said this [during Tuesday night's broadcast], but I had a slightly different impression. To call us a "married couple," I thought of [Shay] more as mothering me. I guess maybe those aren't so far apart (laughing).
Reality TV World: That's a good point.
Joshua: I found that to kind of be amusing. I guess since we were working together -- that is what a marriage is supposed to be -- not to say that's what we were of course. I mean I guess if that is the impression we were coming across as, maybe that isn't so bad. Maybe it just showed how well we were working together. We were worried about each other, trying to keep each other on track.
Reality TV World: Why do you think Sam's been so successful in all the beauty challenges?
Joshua: Yeah, there's been a lot of speculation about this online. We could take the challenges point-by-point.
The first challenge was the debate challenge. I know he did okay; I didn't realized he won. He's an actor, so he has experience both memorizing [lines] and performing in-front of the public. That's obviously an advantage going into that particular challenge. The next challenge he didn't do well -- the anatomy one. The third [challenge] was the rockets, and that was actually really close and really funny -- so I wouldn't say that he had an edge in that one -- he just happened to come out [the winner].
The fourth [challenge] was the teaching one, and Shay won that one. Once again though, he's out there and he's performing. To teach little kids you have to be animated, and that's what he seemed to be doing. So I think it's more of his career choice giving him the advantage. He came in second there.
Then we went to Comic-Con, and he definitely had the best [superhero] back story. I don't know how he came-up with it, but he had the most flushed out story. But once again he's getting out there and he's playing a role.
Reality TV World: Yup, that's a good point.
Joshua: And yes, he based the role on himself, but he's still playing a role and that's still what he does for a living. It does seem that maybe his career has helped with a lot of this, but then again that's sort of the nature of some of these challenges. I say pretty confident that the fact is that his job sort of forced him to be that way.
The Mayan ruins [challenge], it might have been memorizing lines I could say [helped Sam to memorize the symbols and corresponding numbers], but he's also more athletic than most of the beauties, except maybe Jen... I don't know how he memorized all the Latin names for the [creatures during Tuesday night's beauty challenge]. That was impressive. I wouldn't have been able to memorize those (laughing).
Reality TV World: That was a very complete answer, thank you. Why do you think you were never nominated for the elimination room?
Joshua: One week Shay won so we can ignore that week. Then obviously [during Tuesday night's episode] there was no choice [since they were sent to the elimination room by default].
You struggle for any reason to send any team to elimination. It's not easy. "Are they growing? Are they a serious threat? Are they getting on people's nerves?" Specifically, [Shay and I] were never strong enough in any of those categories. I didn't think we were doing that badly, but we weren't exactly shining... Maybe we were sort of just hiding in the background. I mean certainly not by design, that's just the way we were.
I guess of all the reasons you could think of to send someone to elimination, we were never at any of the extremes.
Reality TV World: How confident were you heading into Tuesday night's elimination room against William and Jennifer?
Joshua: In my mind, I was actually thinking that Shay would be better prepared than Jen and that William would be better prepared than me. I actually had no clue what to expect. Basically what we had heard from past eliminations was that the questions are so random that it's just hopeless to predict it.
Reality TV World: Is there anybody in the house you'd like to see win? Anybody you wouldn't want to see win?
Joshua: I mean at this point, I would like to see Dave and Jasmine win. They're both working hard, and Dave has come out of his shell -- particularly from what I've seen from the previews for next week [in which The CW teases Dave finally making a romantic move on Nicole]. That really is what the show is about. I also think it's about being able to take extra steps that you would not have had the confidence to do previously. So based on what I've seen, I'd pick Dave and Jasmine.
For Sam and Nicole it's weird, because you could argue about how much they've changed, although certainly Sam has shown he can handle anything that's thrown at him, which is good. It's hard to judge Nicole -- although I think she's been coming out of some sort of shell -- it just hasn't gotten as much airtime. I mean Sam keeps winning the challenges, it's hard to criticize someone for not making dramatic changes when they keep winning things.
As far as William and Jen go, I wouldn't want them to win while still being angry with each other. But if they realize they have an extra week and they start working together, they can at least appreciate where they're both coming from, which is not impossible. Then I wouldn't mind it. If William wants to grow -- and obviously, William did not want to be paired with Jen, I don't remember if Jen had a similar opinion about William -- but if somehow they can get past this and appreciate each other. Maybe they wouldn't actually be friends in real life. But now that they are together, they should at least learn to appreciate each other. If they could manage to do that, than that would also be a very big change.
Reality TV World: You just said something that caught my attention. When you and Shay were determining the teams, William specifically expressed he didn't want to be partners with Jennifer? That's something he initially told you?
Joshua: I think that was something he said to us during our discussions. He also complained about it after the pairings -- I mean not directly to us -- but he had various reasons like he didn't think he could handle [Jennifer's] type of personality. Of course, the whole point of the show is understanding people coming from different directions than you.
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?
Joshua: I think as far as looking at people who are different from me, it made me realize that maybe we aren't so different. I mean the beauties on the show have studied different things in their lives -- obviously they have focused on different aspects of [life] than the geeks have. With that said, they were forced to study a whole bunch of random material and they all threw themselves into it. Certainly the geeks... I mean all the preparation is scary but once you get in the middle of the challenge it's not so bad. The fact that they were all willing to try new things on both sides. The beauties, they were able to handle the material that was thrown at them generally, especially when you consider how much material was learned.
We don't really have that much in common. We have different life experiences, but so what? You can just go up to them and start chatting and both talk about whatever's going on. It won't necessarily be a pointless thing to do.
As far as how I approach life... At the moment I'm in this weird phase in my life where I'm sort of out of school and starting a job, maybe actually building a full life. Now I feel at least a lot more confident going into that... I think I'm more confident to at least open myself up to those possibilities, but we'll see what happens.
Reality TV World: That leads well into my last question. So what's next? Got any plans?
Joshua: Well it looks like this paper on Type 2 Quasars is about to be finished, so I'll get my Master's degree from Princeton and then I'm starting a new job.