Normally, we don't even bother to interview the cast-offs from the first few episodes of reality shows — after just an episode or two, we don't know enough about them to care, really. Not so with the first pair eliminated from Season 3 of the CW's Beauty and the Geek (Wednesdays at 8 pm/ET), 24-year-old med student Sanjay (last name withheld) and 26-year-old model Tori Elmore. The two clashed early on, when Sanjay accused Tori of not studying enough; then she tearfully complained that he was unsupportive after she flubbed her interview with Freakonomics author Stephen Dubner. It's a good thing TVGuide.com interviewed them separately, 'cause there are two sides to this failed fairy tale.
First, Sanjay's story:
TVGuide.com: Why did you want to do Beauty and the Geek?
Sanjay: I thought it would be a good learning experience to try to work on myself socially. I haven't had a girlfriend, really. I had this idea that I'd go there and come back completely made over.
TVGuide.com: Had you seen the show before?
Sanjay: I'd heard about it, but I'd never watched it. It was actually my boss, Dr. Levi at UCLA, who said I'd be perfect for the show. I sent in the application to the second season and made the final casting call, but I didn't make the show. Then they called me back for the third season.
TVGuide.com: Do you think of yourself as being a geek?
Sanjay: I think geek is the new cool. I'm a big rap fan, and I heard this Jay-Z song: He said 30 is the new 20, and I thought it was hilarious.
TVGuide.com: You listen to hip-hop, and you really didn't know what "booty" was until the show?
Sanjay: No, I didn't! I always get confused on the drug references. I don't go out a lot, I don't go to a lot of clubs. The group of gentlemen I hang out with don't use that term. The only hip-hop term I'm familiar with is "bling-bling."
TVGuide.com: Did you and Tori consider taking the $20,000 they offered at the start of the show to anyone who wanted to leave? They didn't show you two discussing it.
Sanjay: They didn't show us because as soon as Tori and I both got into the room, we were like, "We're not gonna take the money." There was no question.
TVGuide.com: What happened when it came time to study for the challenges? Did Tori not study at all?
Sanjay: I just felt like she went to sleep really early, while all the other beauties were studying. I don't think she put in as much effort as everyone else. I was really disappointed she wasn't playing the "game" like everyone else was. A lot of the other beauties were networking with each other, and she was sort of isolated off in a corner. I wanted to make an alliance with a team.
TVGuide.com: Did you try to help her study?
Sanjay: I offered to help her that night, and I offered to help her in the morning. I think she was just very passive-aggressive the whole time.
TVGuide.com: What's your interpretation of what made Tori so upset after her challenge?
Sanjay: They did a good job of showing on TV why she was so mad: She felt like I didn't support her. [But] the person who won it, Sheree, she was up virtually all night, and she read [the test material], so she deserved to win. I wouldn't have been mad at Tori at all if she'd put a little bit of effort into it.
TVGuide.com: But as a teammate, maybe she just needed you to be understanding.
Sanjay: Yeah, I guess I could have been a little bit more understanding, but I was just frustrated. Looking back, I probably should have tried to console her a little bit. This is all new to me. I don't really know how to interact with women; that's one of the reasons I got on the show.
TVGuide.com: Did you get a chance to practice your stand-up routine on Tori or anyone else?
Sanjay: I practiced my jokes with Piao, one of the geeks. We both laughed at each other's jokes. With Tori directly, I don't believe I practiced the jokes.
TVGuide.com: In interviews on the show, you were very funny. What went wrong on stage?
Sanjay: I think it was the crowd. They gave us these handouts to learn how to be a comedian, and one of the things it said was to pick a style and stick with it. So my style was going to be "dirty." I don't think the crowd appreciated that at all.
TVGuide.com: Though you were only there for a week, did you learn anything valuable?
Sanjay: One thing was not to tuck my shirt in anymore. Jennylee told me that. And I got a pair of contacts, but I still prefer to wear my glasses.
TVGuide.com: Are you prepared to have people recognize you on the street and on campus?
Sanjay: It's very weird. Today, I went to the mall with my friend, and a couple of people came up to me and recognized me. What I've enjoyed most about this whole thing is that I think I've got a stalker on MySpace. There's some girl who keeps messaging me. I think it's pretty cool. I've never had this much attention in my life!
And now for Tori's interpretation:
TVGuide.com: Why did you decide to do the show?
Tori: I wanted to maybe check out another side of what life is like, where someone is just into books and wanting to learn, just to see what I had been missing out on, like politics and all that stuff. I am a very intelligent woman, but I feel like the show portrayed me as really dumb. I did fine in school — As, Bs and Cs, nothing lower than that — and went to college. I just focused my energy and time into my looks and what I like, because I do well at what I like.
TVGuide.com: Did you know that you would have to do so much studying?
Tori: I didn't know what to expect. It's funny, because they showed on TV that I just went to sleep, but I studied, and they could have given me the benefit of the doubt. But I choked in elimination; that happens in real life.
TVGuide.com: OK, so when is the next presidential election?
Tori: Oh, in '08. That's the thing — I freaked out. I had all these people watching me in the room, and I'm thinking of the governor! There was a lot of stuff going on in the house.
TVGuide.com: Had you read Freakonomics before your challenge?
Tori: I'm sure I read more than a few pages. So much was going on in the house, though. One of the girls, Cecille, after the first challenge, came up to me and was like, "Tori, don't worry. Whatever happens, I won't put you in elimination." Come to find out, I was put in elimination by her.
TVGuide.com: Why do you think they wanted to eliminate you?
Tori: The girls didn't really communicate with me that much. I would go into a room where there were two or three other girls in there, and I would be there for a couple of minutes and then they'd walk out on me. I felt left out. I played chess a couple of times with the guys. The person I got along with and talked to the most was the cook and caterer, Belle. She was a sweetheart.
TVGuide.com: It seems as though pressure from the cameras and the other girls did you in.
Tori: Yeah, and a lot of it was edited — especially the teleprompter [during the Freakonomics interview]. I read that three times, and they showed me just staring at it. On [the message boards at] CWTV.com, they got people talking like, "Tori's illiterate!" They're talking so bad about me, it's just horrible! You don't know a thing about me for real! If you knew my life and where I come from, you'd think that I was the coolest chick on the planet. For people to say that I'm unintelligent, that's ridiculous.
TVGuide.com: Did you get along with Sanjay?
Tori: Sanjay made me feel really bad, and that's one thing you don't want to do with me. They didn't show the part when he said, "You're not smart. I'm smart, and I know what it takes to get there." He was being mean to me.
TVGuide.com: Why didn't you consider taking the money to leave?
Tori: Why would you try to buy me out? If I don't win the money, I'm OK. I wanted that experience more than anything, and they took it right from me. I probably needed that experience more than any other girl in there, and instead of them acting like ho's, I could have been in there representing myself well, trying to get myself together and trying to get that experience.
TVGuide.com: Is there anything you would have done differently?
Tori: Picking my geek. I picked Sanjay because he is a basketball fan. He loves the Clippers, and I love the Lakers. I thought we could probably get along, talk about basketball, have a good time... no. Not at all.
TVGuide.com: Did you come away from this having learned something?
Tori: I learned that you really can't trust anybody. Cecille came up to me right after the challenge and said, "I won't put you in elimination, don't worry about anything." But they don't care about nobody. They're looking out for their own good. I just don't know how people can be like that. I never did anything wrong to her.
TVGuide.com: Are you going to keep watching?
Tori: Um... if the Lord allows me to, I will watch it. If my TV works — I don't have cable — and if I'm not working, I'll watch it.
Reality-TV fans can find scoop on such shows as American Idol, I Love New York and The Amazing Race: All-Stars in the the "2007 Preview" issue of TV Guide.
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