Student on dating reality show

Seattle Pacific University students witnessed a familiar face while watching Fox television’s latest mini-series on Feb. 16. SPU’s very own, senior Jen Montzingo appeared on the reality show "The Littlest Groom." She was among 12 little people vying for the heart of 4-foot-5-inch, 23-year-old bachelor, Glen. The show was filmed over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend and aired in two episodes over the past two Monday nights.

Montzingo heard about the show through connections she had from speaking engagements. Before making her decision, Montzingo prayed with her pastors and mentors. She concluded that the show would be a good opportunity for her to share her faith and have fun.

To be considered for the show, Montzingo had to submit a video application, which she compiled with the help of SPU professor Kerry Dearborn. The selection process was particular. Fox was looking for all of the same characteristics and qualities as they had for "The Bachelor" contestants, such as community involvement and an outgoing personality. There was also one additional qualification: contestants had to be less than 5 feet tall.

Montzingo’s vibrant personality paired with her 4-foot-2-inch frame earned her a spot on the series. She did not find out she made it onto the show until Friday night of the weekend it was to be filmed. Her itinerary was given to her that evening. She packed her bags, and flew to Malibu, Calif. at 7 a.m. the next morning. "It was a whirlwind trip," Montzingo says.

There was one major twist to the show. At the end of the first episode, Glen’s decision became more complicated as three women of average height were introduced into the mix. But as Montzingo says, "It is just the reality of life; there are all different kinds of people in the world." The producers told the women going into the show that this scenario would be a possibility.

The show was intended to help bachelor Glen find true love, according to the Fox press release. The first evening of filming included a party, which allowed Glen to meet the women while giving them all a chance to socialize. The women were all dressed to impress. Montzingo wore a full-length burgundy formal for the occasion. There was alcohol present at the party, but Montzingo chose to refrain because she supports SPU and will stay committed to its no-alcohol policy.

After the party, Glen was forced to narrow down his options. Only five could stay, while seven had to go home. Montzingo was among the women to be sent home. But before Montzingo was eliminated, she and Glen did get to have a conversation together (it was not aired). They talked about golf, since Glen is an avid golfer and Montzingo’s dad is a golf coach.

Montzingo was not surprised or disappointed to be eliminated, "I was just happy to be there, happy for the experience," she says. Her goal going into the show was not to find a husband, only to take advantage of the opportunity. She enjoyed getting to know the other cast members and she still keeps in touch with Glen via e-mail. "It was an amazing experience," she says of the show, "I learned a lot about myself through the experience, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world."

Montzingo is working on a book about a topic she became familiar with at a young age: How people limit potential by the labels they place on themselves and others. The book’s focus is on how to remove those labels and take on an identity in Christ.

"You miss a lot of who people are if you try to put them into categories," says Montzingo "Height is just one aspect of who I am."

Montzingo has large ambitions for her life. Double-majoring in elementary education and communication and double-minoring in leadership and psychology, she plans to become a marriage and family therapist.

In addition to her class-load, she enjoys crafts, especially making cards. Antiquing and photography are two of her hobbies. She loves Oprah and wants to be a guest on her show someday. She is the coordinator of school-age programming at First Free Methodist Church and serves on the SPU Health and Wellness Committee.

Montzingo’s parents are little people as well. She has two younger brothers; one is less than 5 feet tall, while the other is over 6 feet tall. However, she and her siblings all have the same chance of their children being little people.

Montzingo has never let her height be an issue. She is comfortable with who she is, explaining, "We’re all a little different, my difference just happens to be on the outside."

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Title: Student on dating reality show | Author: Sarah Norquist | Section: Features | Published Date: 2004-02-25 | Internal ID: 3808