Mario Muscar and Nadia Underwood, <EM>Beauty and the Geek</EM> Mario Muscar and Nadia Underwood, Beauty and the Geek

There was a collective gasp, followed by a rush to protest on the blogs last Wednesday night when Nadia Underwood and Mario Muscar were eliminated from the CW's Beauty and the Geek (Wednesdays at 8 pm/ET). Not only were the kind-hearted model and lovable comic-book fanatic universal favorites, but they also seemed to be the most well-rounded contestants on the show, and got along famously with everyone in the house. Alas, it came down to Mario's tough elimination question about what it's called when a date imitates your movements — he answered "mimicking," but host Mike Richards said it was "mirroring." We called them Thursday to find out what the difference was, and a few other things.

TVGuide.com: I cannot believe you guys are out of the game! People in the blogs are saying they won't watch the rest of the season now that you're gone.
Nadia Underwood: That's right, boycott the show! I was bawling last night. It happened so long ago, but still, I'm not happy about it.

TVGuide.com: What made you try out for BATG?
Nadia: My modeling agency heard about the interviews and set it up for me. I had never seen the show before, but I had heard a lot about it, that it was Ashton Kutcher's brainchild. I had heard a lot of good reviews, and I thought the premise was pretty cool.

TVGuide.com: Had you ever thought about doing any other reality shows?
Nadia: I tried out for Fear Factor with my ex-boyfriend, but I never would have been able to do that. And I love Big Brother. But the new Bachelor is really hot. He is ridiculously the hottest thing I've ever seen, and he's a doctor.

TVGuide.com: I think the way to get with him is to not be on the show.
Nadia: Exactly, because they all break up. Somehow there has to be a reality meeting. I just can't let my boyfriend know.

TVGuide.com: How did you earn the on-screen title of "Sorority Girl"?
Nadia: I really don't know — I've been out of college for four years. I was in a sorority, and I actually live with three of my "sisters" still, so [maybe] that's why they put that. Or because none of the other girls were in a sorority....

TVGuide.com: It did tip us off to the fact that you'd been to college and might actually have brains. You and Erin are both models based in Chicago. Did you know each other before?
Nadia: No, we didn't, but now we're best friends! We're always together. Megan and I hang out, too.

TVGuide.com: You didn't seem to have any enemies on the show. Were you just really delicate with Ceci?
Nadia:
Yeah. She really got on my nerves. She acknowledged that none of us really liked her. She was like, "I don't know why you guys all think I'm mean. No one hates me except you guys."

TVGuide.com: Yeah — and everyone watching at home.
Nadia: Exactly, but Ceci gets the most press and publicity. It wasn't that I didn't get along with Cecille. Gradually, I just got irritated, especially after seeing what she did with the dog last night, when she put on those bracelets. Before we went to the elimination room, I got really upset with Ceci and Megan because they were out lying in the pool and not helping me study.

TVGuide.com: When you and Mario won both challenges in the second week, how did you decide to pick Sheree and Piao and Andrea and Matt for elimination? They said it was because of the blonde clique.
Nadia: First of all, as much as there was a blonde clique, there was a brunette clique, too. It was just that they really got along well with each other. I knew that if I didn't win a challenge the next week, and if Sheree or Andrea won, there was a very good possibility that I would be going to the elimination room. Sheree was my toughest competition as far as brains, so I just felt like that was the right decision.

TVGuide.com: What did you feel you needed to get out of the competition?
Nadia: Basically, I was there to live the experience. With modeling, I've gotten to travel a lot to foreign countries, and I've always felt like that's been an education in itself. That's how I approached this.

TVGuide.com: What did you learn?
Nadia: I know it's cliché, but that you can't judge a book by its cover. Maybe get to know that person that you think is a nerd because they may have other great attributes. Also, to be confident in myself for other things than just the way I look.

TVGuide.com: What surprised you about the geeks?
Nadia: Especially with Mario when I met him, I was like, "This guy is totally going to stink, he's going to be a dud," and then he was so cool! I totally lucked out. He's so supportive, sweet, funny... everything. I'm so thankful to have met him.

TVGuide.com: He seemed to need the least amount of help.
Nadia: I know. I would tell him all the time, "I don't even know what to tell you to do, because I think you're fine." I think he was definitely insecure in the beginning. You saw him come out of his shell a little bit.

TVGuide.com: What was the hardest challenge for you?
Nadia: I hated the dog house. That was my demise.

TVGuide.com: And your favorite?
Nadia: I don't know if I have a favorite, but I guess the most rewarding was the kayak challenge, because I hate water sports, and my family was so amazed that I had paddled myself across the bay. And then Mario was so proud of me, it was the cutest thing ever. It really touched me how sweet it was.

TVGuide.com: Do you think you were robbed in elimination?
Nadia: It was unfair. I think they should announce the people's choice.

TVGuide.com: I agree, but I don't think we, "the people," have any money to give you. What's next for you?
Nadia: I'm still modeling, and I'm really trying to pursue my acting career, which is something I've wanted to do all along.

TVGuide.com: Are you going to leave Chicago?
Nadia: Yes, I can't wait. I love it here, but I feel like I've gotten as far as I could.

TVGuide.com: Good luck!

And now for Mario's take:

TVGuide.com: You broke our hearts yesterday! Did you realize the impact you made on viewers?
Mario Muscar: I didn't. Some of my friends were telling me about stuff they were seeing on message boards and stuff, but I try to stay away from them.

TVGuide.com: Can you tell me the difference between mirroring and mimicking?
Mario: In my mind they're the same, but for the purpose of the show, mirroring would be more positive than mimicking.

TVGuide.com: Yeah, but Mike didn't say that! Do you feel robbed?
Mario: No, not really. It was the luck of the draw on the questions. I could have gotten the "wingman" question or "halitosis." Instead, I got "sommelier" and "mirroring."

TVGuide.com: There are people theorizing on the blogs that Mike has two questions on each card and chooses based on who the producers want to stay.
Mario: I know nothing about that! I would assume not, because of the fairness practices that are involved in game shows.

TVGuide.com: What do you consider geeky about yourself?
Mario: Did you watch the show?

TVGuide.com: All of us at TV Guide think you're the most well-adjusted guy. Maybe that's because we're geeks.
Mario: I think that's what it is. I think a lot of people who criticize Nate, Scooter and me for not being geeky are geeky [themselves] and just don't know it. I have a tattoo of a Nintendo controller on my arm. While it's a tattoo, if you show that tattoo to any "popular" girl, she's like, "Ew!" That's geekier than having a pocket protector.

TVGuide.com: Why did you get that tattoo?
Mario: I always wanted a tattoo, and the idea just popped in my mind. A friend of mine designed it. It's got a traditional Sailor Jerry kind of flower on it, the mismatch of technology and a traditional tattoo.

TVGuide.com: What percentage of the prize money would you have spent on comics and video games?
Mario: Hmm, 20 percent? That's a fair amount.

TVGuide.com: Where are you working these days?
Mario: I have been a journalist by trade. I do writing and proofreading and anything involving words.

TVGuide.com: Sorry, I'm still fixated on the fact that you're not that geeky. Going to that store for your makeover was really upsetting for you because they didn't have your size, but your wardrobe wasn't bad to begin with!
Mario: Oh, really? I just wear what's comfortable, or what people buy for me. Some of those clothes on that show are stuff that my mom bought for me. I would have liked to get a better makeover. I just wake up and moderately comb my hair and throw on some clothes.

TVGuide.com: That describes most guys. What else did you think you needed help with?
Mario: I needed help with not being intimidated by tall blonde girls and not judging them based on looking at them, which I have a tendency to do. I typically go for the brunette, glasses-wearing, Scrabble-playing girl than anyone like Nadia. I'd see those girls and they'd intimidate me, so therefore I'd want nothing to do with them because to me they're stupid and have nothing to offer. That was my preconceived notion.

TVGuide.com: What did you think of Nadia when you first met her?
Mario: I thought, "Oh, god, she's so tall and blonde and just so girly." It only took about a day, after we'd stayed up all night talking, for us to discover that we had a lot in common.

TVGuide.com: What did you think of Ceci?
Mario: Ceci's an interesting creature. She's got such a dynamic personality, and she's so hypnotic and mesmerizing that I can see why people flock to her. It's almost like an Alpha Female personality.

TVGuide.com: There's a bonus clip online of you talking to Nate about standing up to Ceci. Was he having trouble with her toward the end?
Mario: Absolutely. He was having trouble with her the whole time, actually.

TVGuide.com: Were you aware of the blonde voting block?
Mario: Oh, you mean "The Gaggle"? We were somewhat aware of it. The brunettes were very competitive, and they were very good in the challenges. So the blondes saw them as threats, maybe. It was not about hair color. A lot of those blondes were really brunettes.

TVGuide.com: Do you think you're taking anything else away from the show?
Mario: It's such a great experience. It really makes you look at yourself. Everybody's in a fishbowl. It's all about analyzing yourself and your partner and other people the whole time you're there. It's really kind of refreshing.

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