If you've ever seen Wilmington's James L. Thompson around town and thought he should be a model or star in a television program, he up. He's now done both. The year-old businessman, non-profit co-founder and sometime model will surface on USA Network's reboot of "Temptation Island," a TV dating reality show with contestants trying to lure their dates away from committed relationships.
With his Hollywood looks — killer smile, big biceps and a trendy beard — Thompson stands out in his hometown, especially when he is out with friends at city hangouts such as Docklands Riverfront, Catherine Rooney's or Kelly's Logan House. When Thompson enters the room, he doesn't have to muster the courage to approach women.
So when he landed on the set of "Temptation Island," he had to do something he hasn't had to do in quite a while: Truly court a woman. These girls weren't average girls you would meet at a bar.
These girls were top-notch. They already have a man, are spoken for and have high standards," says Thompson, whose last serious relationship was three years ago. Those facts might be a bummer for some of Thompson's friends, who envisioned him getting lucky left and right.
I don't want to say hos, but a lot of people think they are just giving it up. Thompson's full-time job is at DLHcada computer-aided de business that specializes in building information modeling. He co-owns the Riverfront business located at Poplar St. He is also one of three co-founders of the non-profit Wilmington Placemakers Inc. One of their most visible projects is Wilmington Green Boxa fresh food stand opened in at N. Market St. It provides at-risk teens with entrepreneurial jobs while supplying the downtown community with access to fresh produce and other healthy goods. Thompson, a graduate of both Hodgson Vocational Technical High School and Pennsylvania's Lincoln University, has a degree in physics and also ran track and cross country in college.
When you're about to go on a nationally televised dating show, you want to look your best — especially if you're trying to steal a woman away from her man in Hawaii, where odds are you'll be shirtless at some point.
I wanted to make sure I was a catch.
He says he landed on the show thanks to a recruiter who kept him in mind after Thompson tried out for "Big Brother" in Philadelphia, nearly making it onto the CBS reality show a couple of years back. In fact, he's happy it turned out this way. A dating show is more his speed than living in a house with a bunch of strangers and arguing all day. Walberg, first landed on television inlasting three seasons on Fox, ending in It was also spun-off into more than 20 international editions. Now, it's back on a new network in the United States for a fourth season with the same host overseeing the four couples and 24 singles.
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This time, though, Thompson says the show is a bit more innocent compared to the hook-up party that was the Fox edition. Still, make no mistake, contestants did get intimate in private rooms for the USA Network version.
The couples, who are at a crossro in their relationship, are split apart and each picks a date from the pool of contestants, spending the rest of their time on the island with them. At the end, the person in the relationship has to decide whether they want to go home with their ificant other or dump them and leave with their new love instead.
If you think all reality shows are stunt-filled fake stories, Thompson wants to correct you. That wasn't the case on the island.
Feelings were involved. I found myself really caring for people I didn't know when I got there," he adds. The biggest surprise during Thompson's run on "Temptation Island" just might have nothing to do about seeing behind the scenes of a reality show or the antics of some of the contestants. When he arrived and met the competitors, he was suddenly face-to-face with his brother Justin Sturm. Both had been cast for the show and the fact that a pair of brothers were on the program wasn't only a surprise to them, but also the show's producers.
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They swore it was happenstance, Thompson says — and that's possible since they have different last names. Sturm, 27, is also a Wilmington native, but now lives in San Diego and is pursuing a modeling career.
What the heck? We were so hyped that we were cast for the same show," he says. Now that Thompson is back home, the big question is whether his stint on a show like this will help or hurt him in his search for love in Wilmington.
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