From rowing creeks to teaching geeks

By Maggie Cassidy

Northeastern boasts a long list of successful alumni, including a US ambassador to the Dominican Republic, the creator of Phantom Gourmet and an announcer for the Boston Red Sox.

Now alumna Jennifer Carter can join these ranks. Carter is one of the latest bombshells to appear on CW’s hit reality show, “Beauty and the Geek.”

Carter, who attended Northeastern on a full crew scholarship and graduated in 2004 with a degree in journalism, said she has had “a lot of blonde moments,” but she doesn’t take herself seriously.

“It’s more my personality, just being silly and not really paying attention to things, not really so much that I’m stupid, but kind of having a whatever attitude,” she said.

The show pairs socially-awkward, brainy guys with intellectually-challenged knockout women for a so-called “social experiment,” tossing them in a mansion and pitting the pairs against each other in challenges designed to test their social and scholarly progresses.

In this season’s second episode, the “beauties” debated politics while the “geeks” wrote and performed raps for hip hop stars Three 6 Mafia.

This season also features a new twist in the experiment: the tenth pair is a male “beauty” with a female “geek.”

While most cast members claim the show is a life-changing experience, there’s more than epiphanies at stake. The winning team receives a $250,000 prize.

After a friend told Carter casting crews were coming to Boston, Carter admitted to dumbing herself down during auditions.

“For sure during the audition and those initial questions, I kind of wanted to make sure I didn’t sound like I was a graduate of Northeastern,” she said.

During Carter’s audition tape, which partially aired during the first episode along with those of other cast members, she was asked what “memo” was short for but didn’t know the answer.

“As a journalism major I should know this, right?” she said on the show.

Still, Carter said most of what is aired is real – including the emotions.

“I really think that [what you see] is really heartfelt,” she said. “Once you get there and you experience everything and you meet such great people and you build such great relationships, it is sad when you eventually have to leave.”

Carter also had to deal with frustration, particularly with her “geek,” William.

“It was difficult working with him because I was an athlete, and part of the reason that I say that is that William kind of has a thing against athletes,” said the 5-foot-10 Carter, hinting at “a little bit of confrontation” in future episodes.

“It was really difficult to prove to him that just because I’m an athlete I’m not a bad person,” she said.

Carter said she hasn’t always led a Hollywood lifestyle – especially during her time spent at Northeastern. While she is grateful for her full crew scholarship, she said her commitment to rowing left her with little free time.

“[At Northeastern], I kind of felt like I wasn’t a beauty and I wasn’t a geek either,” she said. She said she would get up each day at 4:30 a.m. for the first of two practices. “I didn’t have time to make myself look as pretty as I would have liked to and I definitely didn’t have time to do homework and study as much as I probably should have.”

Carter stopped rowing after graduating from Northeastern.

The show served as a way to make up for lost time, she said.

“I looked at it like [‘Beauty and the Geek’] was a good opportunity and this would be a good experience to have for maybe some of the fun stuff I lacked during Northeastern,” she said.

She said “Beauty and the Geek” restored her self-faith, and made her consider going back to school or putting her journalism degree to use.

“I definitely felt like I learned a lot about myself actually and I felt that I had gained a lot more confidence just going on the show,” she said. “[Since the show] I have the confidence that I can accomplish things again.”

“Beauty and the Geek” airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on CW. The first two episodes have already aired and can be viewed online at www.cwtv.com/shows/ beauty-and-the-geek.