The lovely Cher Tenbush of Dallas, along with her partner Josh, were the big winners on the WB's Beauty and the Geek 2, which wrapped up earlier this month. Cher also had the distinction of being the only beauty who hooked up with a geek on the show; she and boyfriend Wes are now so serious that they recently moved to L.A. together.
In our occasional series of interviews with reality TV stars (OK, this is our second; the first was with Cher's SMU friend, Kindle Martin of The Bachelor), we asked this beauty about her experience. Cher has also posted her own FAQ, based on e-mails she's received, at her Xanga site.
Q: How did you wind up on Beauty and the Geek 2? What was the application/audition process, and why did you want to do it?
A: BATG sent a fax to the restaurant I worked at saying they were looking for cute, outgoing girls that wanted to win a lot of money....I thought "Hey! I can definitely do this!" When I asked around about the show, my friends told me that the girls had to answer trivia questions, I've always been good at trivia, so I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to pay off my student loan debt so I could go back to school.
Q: Did you watch the first Beauty and the Geek? What did you think of it?
A: I did not watch the first season of BATG. I didn't really know what the show was about! I just thought it was a makeover show, I didn't think that they were going to make us look like airheads. I also didn't know the show was about personal growth. Even on the show, it didn't seem like any of the girls were there to change, I thought it was just about changing the guys. So you can imagine, it took me a while to start making change with myself. For me, it wasn't really about learning to feel sorry for the guys. I already thought they were great. I have plenty of friends at home that people would consider "geeky." So I didn't learn that lesson. I learned that I practice self-defeating behavior. I'm too scared to take risks, I stay in my comfort zone for fear of failure. Josh told me, "Don't worry about the failing, worry about the opportunities for success you miss by not trying." I'm trying to do that.
Q: Besides meeting Wes, what was the most memorable part of your experience?
The map challenge. They had helicopters following us, I was super tense and excited during the whole challenge. Every time I hear a helicopter overhead now, my chest starts pounding the way it did during the challenge. Now that we live in LA, we pass by places that we went to during that challenge, I have a better handle on LA now because of that challenge.
Q: What was your biggest surprise? Your biggest disappointment?
A: Biggest surprise: Finding love with a geek! I really didn't think I would be interested in any of the guys! Biggest disappointment: No reunion show! I was really looking forward to seeing everyone from the show again! I've hung out with Tyson, Brandon, Josh, Ankur, Thais, Chris and of course Wes, but I still want to see the rest of the crew!
Q: What are your plans with Wes?
A: Wes and I just moved to LA together. We're doing extra work and trying to find a show to host together. We're meeting a lot of great people. Hopefully an opportunity will present itself for us to work together.
Q: Did you move to L.A. to pursue acting, or why?
A: I'm not interested in acting, Wes is. I would love to host a show with Wes. I couldn't deal with the scrutiny associated with becoming an actress, I had enough with that after the show!
Q: You're obviously a smart girl. What did you think about the show's portrayal of the girls' intelligence?
All the girls on the show were very intelligent in their own way. All but one went to college ... Why did I appear smarter? Well, to toot my own horn, I'm very good at phrasing things together on the fly. In my interviews and conversations, I appear very well spoken. Some have even called me eloquent (that made me feel warm and fuzzy inside). Anyway, I may appear more intelligent than I really am because of that.
I was also way more competitive... with each challenge, I wanted to win, I poured over the study materials, memorizing silly facts late at night and cramming before the challenges.
I wanted to do my best. Before every challenge, I kept thinking "When will I ever be close to winning $125,000 again? All I need to do is study these materials! If I fail, I'll never forgive myself!"
I'm one of those people that when something goes wrong, I'll scrutinize every action, agonizing over every single thing that I could have done differently. I didn't want to leave that experience knowing that I could have done more. I didn't want to let myself or Josh down.
Q: Some of the others in the house appeared to develop a dislike for you. They were even annoyed that you bluffed during poker. What made you rub some people the wrong way?
A: We were in a tense situation where there were people winning and people losing. A lot of people get upset and say things they regret when they just lost something! I can't blame them. We're all friends on the show and keep in touch still, the competitions were competitions so the feelings there stayed in the competitions. When we were all hanging out, everyone got along really well.
Q: Were you attracted to Wes before the makeover, or not until afterwards? When did you first realize you liked him?
A: I was attracted to Wes the first night. Wes and I stayed up late every night together talking until the wee hours of the morning. We got to know each other really well. Eventually, our late night conversations turned into cuddling on the couches together. We finally kissed in Vegas. Of course, on the show it looks like nothing happened until we went to Las Vegas. Some people even got the impression that we engaged in "naughty" activities. My romance with Wes was completely innocent. Everyone on the show had to agree to avoid anything remotely naughty. Even if we were comfortable enough with the cameras to do things like that, we would have been too scared to get in trouble on the show!