Matt Herman and Andrea Ciliberti, <EM>Beauty and the Geek</EM> Matt Herman and Andrea Ciliberti, Beauty and the Geek

After two weeks in the Beauty and the Geek mansion, former Miss Missouri USA Andrea Ciliberti and MIT grad Matt Herman knew they were being targeted by the blonde voting block. Sure enough, when Jennylee and Niels won the right to send two teams to elimination last week, they made Andrea face the platinum beauty who'd shunned her from the start: Cecile. What started all that animosity on this usually friendly competition? And was there anything Matt could do to prevent his outspoken teammate from making more enemies? chatted with the two to find out.

First up, Andrea: How did you end up on Beauty and the Geek?
Andrea Ciliberti:
My friend Nima [Shaffe] in Kansas City tried out to be a geek and called me to try out with him. I'd never seen the show before I went on it. What were you hoping to get out of it?
Andrea: I was just hoping to meet new people. Obviously, the goal of the game was to transform and, in turn, win $250,000. How did it become you versus all of the blondes?
Andrea: They just happened to be blondes. There are the ringleaders who feel better about themselves by putting people down, and then you have the girls who follow them around because they don't want the girls to talk badly about them. Then you have the girls like myself who don't want to be any part of it at all, so you just hang out with the guys, who don't do that. In what way were they putting people down?
Andrea: By saying hateful things about the guys or other girls behind their backs. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, and you can speak what's on your mind, but say it to that person, not behind their back. I think that's why a lot of people were like, "Andrea's a bitch," but at least I was saying it to their face, not behind their back. Was it mostly Cecile?
Andrea: Yeah. Did you consider pretending to like them to help yourself in the game?
Andrea: No, that's not me. Why were you so upset when Cecile decided to dress up Matt like a girl?
Andrea: She was playing with him. She even said something like, "Like I would do anything with Matt!" Yet she was lying in the bed with him, letting him grab her boob, which was something they didn't show. It was very gratifying to see you and Jennylee have it out after she said she wanted to eliminate you because you were "having a hard time."
Andrea: I'm glad they showed how she was acting toward Niels in the bedroom, and how she acted toward me. Having a conversation with her is like having a conversation with a 3-year-old. Do the women in the pageants you've done act like this? Is it just a by-product of having that many competitive women in one house?
Andrea: For Miss USA, I was with 50 girls for three weeks. It was pretty intense waking up in the morning, where everybody's in a bad mood, going through their time of the month, that whole thing. But this was just, I don't know, like middle school. The women are more mature in Miss USA. The women in the BATG house were trying to make their insecurities better by bashing on someone else. In the beginning, you doubted Matt's drive. Did he redeem himself?
Andrea: Yeah. In this last challenge, I was so proud of him, because we stayed up the night before practicing, and he did it exactly the way we practiced. It was uncomfortable for him, shaking his butt and doing the "No, no, no" thing, but he did everything exactly the way we practiced it. What did Matt need the most help with?
Andrea: Socially, he was not only uncomfortable talking to people, he also had a hard time seeing through the people he shouldn't waste his time on. Did he teach you anything?
Andrea: Matt taught me the digits of Pi. At the time, I learned, like, twentysomething digits. Do you see geeks differently now?
Andrea: Some people are just socially different. I definitely wouldn't qualify some of the women as "beauties," because I think beauty comes from within, as well. As far as categorizing the guys as geeks, they just do what they enjoy, and it may not be socially acceptable all the time, like playing chess, but I had fun, and I'm going to do it if I like it! Did you get good at chess while you were there?
Andrea: Yeah, I beat one of the geeks. I think it was Piao. What are you doing now?
Andrea: I'm sitting in my hotel room... oh, with my life? I got my associate's degree last semester, and I'm working as a bartender still. I'm just waiting for what's next. I want to act.

Here's what Matt had to say about his time on the show: What made you stand out from all the other geeks at MIT?
Matt Herman: Part of it was luck, that not all of the people who wanted to do the show saw the fliers or knew what it was. I think probably what made me different from the others is that I had more interest in learning something from the show. Some other MIT students probably would have been there just for the money, but I actually wanted to learn a bit about how TV works, to get to know some of the girls, and to have a really cool experience. What do you think is geeky about you?
Matt: My interests and what I studied at MIT. I never considered myself a stereotypical geek, though. I've never seen Star Wars or Star Trek. Wait — you've never seen them at all?
Matt: Never. I don't like sci-fi stuff. How is that possible? Do you leave the room when it's on?
Matt: I don't leave the room; I generally fall asleep. I hear you're still living in Boston. What do you do for a living now?
Matt: The work I do is math-related, working on problems that use some of the stuff that I learned in school. I don't really want to talk about it too much. I want to try to keep the show as separate from work as possible. That's interesting, since all of the beauties seem to have dropped their jobs to go to L.A. after the show.
Matt: I know. I think the girls are really bright people, they just have different priorities than a lot of the guys do. They'll drop everything to go to Hollywood, whereas it's been very tough for me to do interviews this week because I've been extremely busy at work. What did Andrea need to learn before she went on the show?
Matt: She needed a little bit of an attitude change, which I think she got while I was there. She learned a lot of patience from me, just because our styles were so different in the way we'd approach any type of challenge. I think she learned a lot about how to study for something. She learned Pi to like 27 digits in the first week. She realized that she liked geeky things more than she thought, whether it was playing chess or something completely different. Were you aware of all the drama going on among the girls?
Matt: I was pretty aware of it. It got very cliquey, especially since Cecile was winning all the challenges at the beginning. So, of course, everybody was going to want to be friends with her, and Andrea refused to do that. Did you try to talk her into at least pretending to be friends with them?
Matt: I did a little, the first week. But still, I realized everything she was saying about them was exactly right. Every so often I'd tell her to try to maybe not say certain things to them, but after watching the show again, I think everything she said was really good. I think it was really cool that she was able to learn a lot about different things while she was on the show, but she never changed her core values, like her appreciation for honesty. Was the makeover hard for you?
Matt: It was kind of tough. I went on the show because I wanted to learn a little bit more about style, but that store was a little grungy for me. I'm a very skinny person, and just like Mario was having a hard time finding clothing to fit him, they didn't show that I was having a hard time finding stuff as well. Like, the belts wouldn't have enough holes for me. Then we found out we were going to have to do the date auction, and that was even worse. I'm a very stiff person, and I don't like dancing or anything like that. But part of the fun of the show is getting makeovers. Do you still follow any of the things you learned about style?
Matt: I didn't really take that much out of the makeover challenge, but the week before that... I asked Sheree what I should wear to work, and I took her advice almost exactly. I went to Banana Republic and got the same type of belt she told me to get, and the same type of shoes and pants.... Have you been on any dates since the show?
Matt: Same as before. I don't date that much, but I go out a lot. It's because I've been really busy with work and stuff. You're never going to get less busy, you know. You've got to make the time!
Matt: At some point I'm going to make the effort. The show really gave me the kick to try new things. It was funny, because when I talked to Andrea last week for the first time since the show, one of her first questions was, "Are you still a virgin?" And I said, "Yeah." She's encouraging me to go out. Use some of that newfound fame and get out there!

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