Interview with “Beauty and the Geek”’s Greg Paul

This season, Beauty
and the Geek
added its first gay geek to the cast, Greg “Greggy” Paul, who
quickly charmed his castmates as well as BatG
audiences with his honesty about himself and his insecurities. In his
too short time in the Beauty and the Geek
mansion, we watched Greg connect with the beauties, give
love advice with Dr. Drew, perform a soap opera coming out scene and rescue his
Beauty from a burning building.

After a brief detour through a “Beauties vs. Geeks” twist,
Greg found himself paired with Randi, a sharp tongued beauty who taught Greg to
be more assertive. Together they made it
midway through the season, surviving a variety of challenges. Unfortunately, last
week that ended when the duo were eliminated. Much of the blame fell for that on Randi, due to an
argument between her and one of the other geeks. Even though he’s off the show, Greg
brought a fresh perspective to Beauty and
the Geek
and helped liven up the season with his good humor.

We recently caught up with him to chat about his
relationship with Randi, his other very gay-friendly castmates, his geeky
interests and being the first gay geek on the hit reality show.

AE: It’s great to talk with you. We really enjoyed
watching you on the show.
GP:
Aw, thank you.

AE: How did you hear
that Beauty and the Geek was looking
for a gay geek? What was the audition process like?
GP :
I actually found out on
gay-geeks.net where they were talking about it. I saw it on Cragslist as well
so I went to the open call for that.

AE: Had you watched
the show before? Did you have expectations going in, after you got cast?
GP:
I had only seen two episodes
from two different seasons of the show.
I got the gist of it and I knew about the makeover and the main parts of
it.

AE: Did you know that
you would be the first gay geek on the show?
GP:
I had no idea. I was crossing my fingers for a male beauty to come out
of that plane, but I was fortunate enough to meet all the beauties and they
were all really nice, so it was just as good.

AE: We enjoyed that you never shied away from who you were. In the makeover
episode, you talked about how you hoped it would get guys to notice you;
during the phone numbers challenge in the first episode, you tried to get
phone numbers from other guys and you made a comment before the firefighting
challenge, hoping some cute firefighters would be there to help out. Was that
just you being your usual self or was that something you tried to bring out?
GP:
I definitely tried to bring that out. I always wanted to be just one of
those gay guys at the club having fun. I just wanted to be a part of that
because it really looks – I know it’s a fun culture to be in and I’m really
proud and honored to be the first gay geek on the show.

AE: How did you get
along with the other geeks? At first, you were worried you wouldn’t fit in
because your expertise is more artistic while the geeks are mostly academic. But
in the end everyone seemed really sorry at the possibility of you leaving the
house…
GP:
Actually, I loved all of the geeks and all the beauties. I got along
with everybody really well. They just took me in. Jonathan, on one of the very
first days, he just came up to me and said, ‘Hey, I’m Episcopalian and my
minister is gay too and he’s always been a great leader.’ Just everybody has
been so supportive from the very start. We all connected in some way… I had a
connection with each of the geeks and they’re all amazing.

AE: Wow. I was going
to ask if you thought you experienced any homophobia but that sounds like that
didn’t happen at all.
GP:
Oh, not at all. They were all comfortable and they’d joke around with
me.

AE: A usual focus
of the show is getting the geeks more comfortable in dealing with the opposite
sex. We didn’t get to see that specifically with how you relate to other gay
men, but did those exercises make you more comfortable in dealing with a guy
you find attractive?
GP:
Definitely. They didn’t show it, but a lot of the other geeks, the guys
in the house, they helped me role play trying to pick up guys. The girls would
be there, too, and they’d coach me, telling me how to do it. It was really neat
because the geeks helped me out with that. It was really fun.

AE: That sounds like
something we really missed out on.
GP:
Yeah.

AE: Are you dating
anyone right now since the show has run?
GP:
No, not right now, but I’m going out to clubs and just enjoying myself.

AE: You were the
first gay geek on Beauty and the Geek
but there also haven’t been a lot of gay Asian-Americans on television either.
Did you feel additional pressure to represent not just to represent gay men but
gaysians in particular?
GP:
Totally. There was a lot of
pressure on me, representing all the young gaysians out there. I never had a
role model to look at on TV where I’d be ‘Hey, I want to be like him.’ But I’ve been actually getting some messages
on MySpace from fellow gaysians out there and gay geeks as well. They can
totally connect with me and they totally understand.

AE: Did you have
something in particular you wanted to accomplish by being on the show?
GP:
Just to be around people and to work on talking to people. I suck
socially – I sucked socially; I’m a
lot better now. The Greggy I was before the show is definitely not the Greggy I
am now. My family and friends definitely noticed that. My main goal, and I said
it in the confessionals, was to make not specifically an in-depth connection
with everybody but just a good connection with everybody.

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