When op­po­sites at­tract

New Beauty and the Geek pre­sen­ter James Tobin says there’s more to judge than brains and brawn, writes ZOE NAU­MAN

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TV -

JAMES Tobin knows fi rst- hand what it’s like to date a woman who is judged solely on her ap­pear­ance.

The new Beauty and the Geek pre­sen­ter dated for­mer Pussy­cat Doll Jes­sica Sutta last year.

He says when it comes to beau­ti­ful women, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

“There are prob­a­bly lots of beau­ti­ful girls in the world that get writ­ten off,” he says.

With this per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence in mind, it’s no sur­prise he’s con­sid­ered a per­fect fi t as a host for sea­son fi ve of the re­al­ity dat­ing show.

Tobin says the girls on the pro­gram, who, let’s face it, are picked more for their looks than their brain­power, are easy prey for snap judg­ments.

“There are all of th­ese stun­ning girls, and you join that with the name of the show straight away, and peo­ple write them off,” he says.

“But get to know them and they have re­ally great qual­i­ties.’’

This sea­son BATG is fi lmed in Fiji, giv­ing Tobin a much- needed break from his early starts as a reporter on Sun­rise and weather pre­sen­ter on Weekend Sun­rise.

“I love Sun­rise, but it has been quite nice be­ing in Fiji for work, hav­ing the morn­ing off,’’ he ad­mits in a quiet mo­ment on the is­land par­adise.

The set­ting is a re­minder there may be a bevy of beau­ties in the con­test, but Fiji shines equally in the se­ries as a real char­ac­ter in the show.

As host, Tobin has tried not to get too close to the con­tes­tants, de­ter­mined to re­main im­par­tial and non- judg­men­tal.

But he does strug­gle with some of the clangers the beau­ties come out with; diplo­mat­i­cally con­ced­ing that some­times they are not the bright­est.

Then again, what’s a guy to do when the bi­og­ra­phy con­fes­sions of the beau­ties in­clude gems such as: “If I could do any­thing, I’d be a princess at Dis­ney­land’’ and “I had a Bar­bie party last year for my 17th birth­day’’?

“Some­times they have to re­mem­ber stuff they have learnt. The geeks give this look to each other which says: ‘ Did she re­ally say that?’,’’ Tobin says.

“One of the girls, try­ing to ex­plain her ex­cite­ment, said: ‘ I just feel so ex­otic’.

“Then she looked at her geek and said: ‘ What’s that other word?’, and he told her: ‘ Ec­static’.’’

The geeks, de­spite their su­pe­rior brain­power, are for­giv­ing.

“I didn’t ex­pect there to be such love be­tween the beau­ties and the geeks,’’ Tobin says.

“The geeks gen­uinely try to broaden their hori­zons and not make them feel stupid.’’

Tobin feels a rap­port with some of the geeks on the show who this year range from an iPhone app de­signer to a bloke who owns his very own DeLorean, just like the one fea­tured in Back to the Fu­ture.

“I think we all have an el­e­ment of geek­i­ness,’’ he says, cheer­fully ad­mit­ting to geek ten­den­cies at school.

“In the sea­son of ci­cada shells I would col­lect ice cream con­tain­ers full of them.

“I still have my stamp col­lec­tion, and I had a steam train I would put lit­tle bits of sim­u­lated coal in and light it. I also had a coin col­lec­tion,’’ he says.

“I stud­ied eco­nom­ics at univer­sity and one of my favourite items of cloth­ing was my Vel­cro shoes.

“I don’t know why they don’t make more shoes like that. Laces are so in­con­ve­nient.’’

He’s been happy to see this year’s res­i­dent geeks emerge from their shells.

“One of the guys didn’t leave the house in day­light hours and now he is crack­ing jokes and he has learnt to en­gage,’’ he says.

And he feels for the geeks who have been taunted and bul­lied be­cause they don’t fi t into what is con­sid­ered the so­cial norm.

“You just feel aw­ful for any­one who suf­fers bul­lies,’’ he says.

“Hope­fully this show demon­strates be­ing dif­fer­ent is just one part of you when peo­ple work to­gether they build each other’s confi dence. That has defi nitely worked here.’’ BEAUTY AND THE GEEK South­ern Cross, Thurs­day, 8.30pm

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