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Tom Severo ’06: This geek is a beauty

By Kathleen S. Carr ’96

It’s not easy to get in touch with Thomas Severo. These days, the 24-year-old Suffolk law student has a publicist. He also has a role on the CW’s Beauty and the Geek. When I finally caught up with him, he was ironing a new sweater vest.

What have you been up to since you graduated from Holy Cross?
I have been pursuing a legal education at Suffolk University Law School in Boston. I had to take this semester off to film the show, so I have been living back at home and substitute teaching at my former high school, as well as coaching the high school track team. I have officially become “that guy.”

How did you get involved in Beauty and the Geek?
I was an extra in a film being shot at Suffolk. The director of the film noticed my unusual style of dress, formal manner of speaking, and my awkward interactions with the female actresses. Once he found out I was also a student at the law school he arranged for me to do an interview for the show.

Have you done any acting previously?
No. I was cut from my middle school play three years in a row. I did some background work in a few other films, but that’s about it.

Do you hope to come away with a new love interest or is this just for fun?
I went in there with the attitude that I would take in the experience and have a blast. My parents kept asking if I would come home with a girlfriend, but this is not a dating show. It’s about personal growth. That said, if the opportunity presents itself, I’m not averse to it.

Do you think you need assistance in the “social arena”? It seems to me you’re a good-looking guy in law school. Some might call you a catch!
Ha! You sound like my mom! I think it’s tough for me because my geekiness is maybe a little subtler. I don’t have a huge beard or glasses, but I am a gangly, klutzy, goofy guy. I have unusual interests, an odd sense of humor, a strange fashion sense—and, while I consider myself pretty friendly, I get shy and uncomfortable around women. I try to hide that behind humor so the people around me don’t feel it. But conversations get awkward sometimes. I am an awkward magnet.

What has the reaction been from your family and friends?
Everybody is psyched! My family members are all watching and calling and e-mailing with news from the blogs. My grandmother cuts out every newspaper article that mentions the word “geek” and mails it to me. My little sister has friends over on Tuesday nights to watch the show at our house. Tuesday has become the new Friday at the Severo household!

You’re going to be a guest on Dr. Drew’s Loveline where you’ll learn whether or not you have an eye for fashion. What do you think? Would you say you’ve got the look?
I don’t know. I definitely have an eye for fashion, but it might need some glasses. I think I have my own idea of what fashion should be. My friends make fun of me for dressing like a grandfather, but I like to look clean-cut and put-together. I think my style would’ve gone over well in the ’60s. Kids today have different ideas of what looks good.

Did Holy Cross help, in some way, to prepare you for an endeavor like Beauty and the Geek? I imagine it helped with the intelligence factor, but did you do some acting on the Hill as well?
Holy Cross was definitely an important factor in my preparedness for this experience. The education I received at the College is part of the reason I was selected in the first place. But the thing is, all the guys on this show are brilliant. I think what helped me the most was learning to deal with new people and situations. I was involved in a lot of clubs at Holy Cross, from track and field, to Best Buddies, to the Black Student Union, and I participated in a lot of different events with varied groups of people. Just learning to interact with different groups like that, and listening to all those different opinions, was a major plus for me.

Update: As we were readying this issue of the magazine for press, HCM learned that Severo had won the Beauty and the Geek competition. Severo and his partner on the show, Amanda Corey, defeated opponents Chris and Cara—and were declared the competition’s victors in the series’ season finale. The pair will split $250,000 in prize money. Corey, a 23-year-old graduate of the University of Arizona now working as a model, said, in a post-victory interview with the Web site LaLate, that Severo was the “least geeky” of all the contestants. For his part, Severo, interviewed by the Buddy TV Web site, said that he and Corey “worked amazingly well together. … To have been selected by Amanda was an honor.”