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"Everything Happens For A Reason" - An Interview with America's Next Top Model 3's Yayaby Phil Kural -- 12/22/2004
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It's no secret that Yaya was my favorite this season on America's Next Top Model. She even became MY Yaya! Just like MY Mercedes, from last season. Yaya was very poised during my interview, and although she was a little freaked out over my obsession of her, she took it all in good stride. In this interview, Yaya touches on several topics, like Cassie's alleged eating disorder, who she wishes she could have gotten to know better, and what she thought of the judges advice for her.
RNO: My first question might be a little biased, but you know you should have won, right?
Yaya: Actually, no, I don't think that. Everything happens for a reason!
RNO: Had you watched the previous seasons of the show and was there any way to prepare for the experience once you knew you were a finalist?
Yaya: I had watched the second cycle off and on when I had a chance. It was my last year in school, so I was so busy, but I did catch some episodes here and there. I had a good idea what the show as about, but I never watched it thinking I could be a potential participant. I decided I wanted to do the show, but even if I had watched with the intention of applying, I never could have been fully prepared because you can't predict how you will react with the cameras on you all the time.
RNO: I asked Amanda yesterday which judges liked her the most and she said Janice. Were you the favorite of any judge?
Yaya: Honestly, I never felt like anyone's favorite. If there was anyone that was rooting for me though, that would have probably been Janice.
RNO: When you were winning all the challenges, did you think that you had the competition in the bag?
Yaya: Oh, no way! Those challenges have nothing to do with the way we take our pictures. Everything is so subjective, and the judges weren't there on our go-sees, and they didn't really care that much about our acting skills. The challenges were very separate from the panel.
RNO: What was your favorite thing about Japan and would you go back again?
Yaya: I would love to go back. I love to travel in general, and I know there was so much more to see that we didn't have time to. My favorite part about Japan was the long and intricate process of putting on a kimono - I know I never would have been able to put it on myself. The tea ceremony was so interesting as well.
RNO: There were times that the judges said you were too much of a "dancer." Did you think that would help you in the competition or hinder you?
Yaya: Before the competition, I didn't think that being a dancer would help nor hinder me. I was surprised how much critique I was given about the elements of being a dancer. I often hear that models take ballet lessons or are encouraged to take yoga or some form of movement class.
RNO: What was your take on Cassie, her alleged eating disorder and how she was edited?
Yaya: Well, I roomed with Cassie, and I never really got a chance to speak to her about that issue. We talked about other things, like her upbringing. Cassie, Jennipher and I had many interesting conversations about perceptions of race and Native Americans in their communities - but of course, none of that was shown. Her alleged eating disorder though - I can't say anything about that.
RNO: Throughout the season, Eva was shown as somewhat of a bully, yet she still won. What do you think she had the judges didn't see in you?
Yaya: She had a giddy disposition, a very young energy and a willingness to do absolutely anything to follow her dream. I was willing to do a lot of things, but the judges thought I was rigid. It's odd, because in general, they would call me regal and poised, which ended up being contradictory to what they said earlier. They wanted the winner to be someone little girls could look at and I guess they see Eva and think "She talked about people, but everyone does so it's okay." I'm not really sure I fit that mold.1 2 Next-->
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