James Tobin says we’ve all got a little bit of geek in us

James and BeautiesIt’s confession time for Beauty and the Geek host James Tobin.

With a dashing smile and a nearly a decade as a Seven personality, I’m guessing his lifestyle is more beauty than geek. When we meet for lunch I struggle to picture him ever being considered one of the geeks at school, or having had trouble asking someone out on a date.  But I’m in for a quick lesson.

“That’s completely untrue! It doesn’t matter if you think people are confident. The reality is everyone gets that anxious, nervous feeling,” Tobin explains.

“I think everyone has a little bit of both. I definitely have my blonde moments where something comes out of my mouth and I think ‘What the hell was that?’ And geek moments…. everyone has weird, little intricacies about them. (Things) they are into that are definitely not the cool thing.

“The geeks on our shows work in gaming and app development, but people who work in those worlds don’t think it’s geeky, they think it’s really cool. Likewise I was in the Drama Club which some people thought was geeky, but I thought it was cool. We’ve all got a little bit of geek in us.”

Beauty and the Geek Australia is based on the US Reality series with a group of attractive, if intellectually-challenged women are paired with smart, but socially-awkward young men.  Best known as the Weekend Sunrise weather guy, he joined Seven to host kid’s game show Go Go Stop and later, branded-entertainment series No Leave, No Life. 

Beauty and the Geek Australia is Tobin’s first primetime-hosted show.

“I was a massive fan of the show before I was involved in it so it makes it so much better. When I told my family my sister, which I was expecting, said ‘I love that show!’ and then my brother said ‘That is my favourite show on television,'” he laughs.

“I think the reason people love it is because it’s not nasty, it’s funny and sweet. Everyone can relate to the geeks to some degree. Everyone remembers that nervous feeling when you want to go and say hello to someone or ask them out on a date and you just don’t quite know whether you can do it or not. So we’re all kind of rooting for the geeks.”

This season the show is set entirely in Fiji and the cast includes 3 New Zealanders, Lara Bingle-lookalike Jenna, political science student Zac, and freelance make-up artist Bella -who also happens to be the daughter of former Breakfast host, Paul Henry.

“She doesn’t have a NZ accent that I’ve ever heard before. She’s quite endearing on the show. She has a real tell-it-like-you-see-it personality!” says Tobin.

“And Australians are going to fall in love with Zac. He’s from Wellington but he sounds like he’s from 18th Century England. He is an 80 year old stately gentleman trapped inside an 18 year old’s body. He’s obsessed with his triple major studies and he’s never heard of anything from pop culture: One Direction, the Kardashians. He’s more into famous poets rather than famous Reality stars.”

With such competition amongt Reality shows, I can’t help but wonder if any of the cast are actors?

“No way. Not at all. Maybe aspiring. They go to places like gaming forums, chess clubs, university science clubs to find the geeks,” he insists.

“They get heaps and heaps of beauties applying, then it’s a case of making sure there are girls who aren’t just there to be on telly, but there for the right reason.”

How much does Wardrobe assist the geeks with their appearance? Are they given nerd glasses and braces to wear?

“Last series it felt a little bit like the guys had been ‘dressed.’ So this year they brought their own clothes. One guy wears a 3 piece suit everywhere. That’s just his thing,” says Tobin.

“Another guy is a massive Back to the Future fan and he owns a DeLorean. Often in the show he’s wearing those kind of t-shirts. So they all have their look.

“The girls are obsessed with styling and make-up and sometimes the make-up artist had to say ‘Girls, just let us do the make-up.

“It’s not really a dating show. There were certainly sparks from the beginning and there is romance in the show.  Some of the guys have never been kissed and some of them kissed more than one beauty. But the nature of the show is really about the beauties helping these guys come out of their shells.”

Beauty and the Geek Australia airs 8:30pm Thursdays on Seven.

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