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