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ďThe Judges Tear You Down in Order to Build you UpĒ Ė An Interview with Americaís Next Top Model 8ís Sarahby Phil Kural -- 04/06/2007
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Wow! The girls I picked for the final three are dropping like flies! First Felicia, and now Sarah! I can see why the judges eliminated Sarah, but I still think she had a lot of potential that we didnít get to see. I had a chance to catch up with Sarah about her time on the show, and get to the bottom of things like Jaelís antics at the party, Reneeís meltdown in front of everyone, and what she thought about the judges. Hereís what she had to say:
RealityNewsOnline: Hey, Sarah, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me today. Had you watched previous seasons of the show, and what factored into your decision to apply?
Sarah: I watched a little of the show before, but I actually didnít apply. I went to an after-party for Cycle 6, where I was asked by a director of the show if I wanted to try out for Cycle 7. I didnít end up making it, but the network ended up calling me back and asking me to try out for Cycle 8. Before you know it, here I am!
RNO: Being a photographer, did you think that would be an advantage in the competition?
Sarah: Oh, I walked in there thinking that I had the whole thing figured out. I figured that I would have the most fashion experience in the house, and in the end, it helped and hindered me. I think it hindered me because I ended up overanalyzing the competition, and I tend to do that sometimes when Iím nervous. It really did mean a lot to me to be there, so I kept thinking way too far into things!
RNO: What were your other strengths going into the competition? Did you have any previous modeling experience, and were you knowledgeable about the industry?
Sarah: I had modeled for Elite Chicago for about three years, and I figured that I would have the most experience in there and that I would be fine. I didnít realize that the judges really do shoot you down to nothing and unteach you everything you know so that they can teach you again. Basically, the judges tear you down in order to build you up.
RNO: Letís talk about Reneeís meltdown. Do you think her apology to everyone was sincere, or did it still ring fake and rehearsed?
Sarah: All I have to say is the only thing that can be said Ė actions speak louder than words. I wonít be there next week, and Iíll have to watch with everyone else, so I guess weíll just have to see how she is, and if she changes her attitude. That will determine if she meant it or not.
RNO: Were her problems with the house really as dramatic as it looked? Diana told me Reneeís discussion with Whitney last week about a plus-sized girl never winning wasnít even real and was editing!
Sarah: The whole thing with Renee and Whitney was an act, and we were all faking that fight in the house. I felt bad when I saw how they edited that. But yes, Renee really did have some issues with the girls in the house, and sheís just very abrasive, and thatís how she is. I talk to her now, and I like her, but the way she would ask people to do things just rubbed everyone the wrong way.
RNO: What did you think about the judgesí critiques that you posed too much in your photos? Do you feel that it was the main reason you were sent home, and was it something you were aware of?
Sarah: I was sort of aware of it, but at the same time, I thought the bottom two images of this weekís photo shoot were pretty good. I mean, that WAS what I look like when Iím upset [sorrow] and laughing [happy]! The judges thought it looked fake, and I admit that I look like a dork when I laugh, but thatís me. I canít say I agreed with them fully, though, since modeling is posing. I understand that it has to be believable, but you canít act like thereís no posing at all, you know.
RNO: You had stated while packing your bags that you opened yourself up in the competition to show the judges how badly you wanted to win. What did you mean by that?
Sarah: There was a challenge where I read a poem about myself and really opened up about some things that I never really talk about. It was good for me, and I had no regrets, and looking back, that really helped me. I think I went into the competition as someone and came out different, and a lot more open with everything. I put it all out there, and being so open has helped me now with other things in my life.
RNO: Do you think you would have been sent home last week had you not won the challenge and got to see your frames? What about this week Ė did you see it coming at panel?
Sarah: Possibly, but Iím sure there would have been one or two good photos without the extras. Plus, you never know how the judges score things, and maybe they would have thought itís still Dianaís time to go. The bottom line is that you never know who is going.
RNO: What was the deal with Jael and Natasha jumping into the pool? Did anyone pull them aside and advise them that it probably wasnít something they should do?
Sarah: Jael is Jael, and she is who she is. Sheís an amazing girl, and such a great light. Sheís fun to be around, and I guess 50 Cent just got mad at her and pushed her in! You have to know how to handle yourself in that kind of situation, though. We were representing the show, The CW, and ourselves, and even though they jumped in, Iíve been to events like that before, and Iím used to networking and such, not jumping into pools. Iím just shocked that it wasnít brought up at judging, and I still have no clue why. I think if they had brought that up, things would have turned out very differently with the elimination.
RNO: As a photographer, what do you think of this seasonís photo shoots so far? Were there any that you enjoyed more than others simply for their photographic appeal?
Sarah: I have two photo shoots that I really liked. My favorite, and the one I think I look best in, was the ice cream shoot. I think because the ice cream was so cold, I wasnít able to think about things and it took my mind off everything! Cassandra and I both ended up getting frostbite on our hands from the ice cream, and after us they stopped making the girls hold it! I also liked the drag queen photo shoot because it was so fun. I still talk to those drag queens, too! They really were a blast to be around and I was shocked that the judges called me near the end because I really liked my photo.
RNO: Did you realize how mad the other girls were over your challenge win last week? Did anyone ever say how they were feeling about the whole thing and you not picking out your outfit?
Sarah: Honestly, I thought the whole thing was squashed and done with. Iím one of those people that if something is bothering me, I confront the other parties, and I went up to Dionne and Renee and really did think that everything was fine, but apparently it wasnít!
RNO: Besides not winning, do you have any regrets from the competition? Do you feel that you got everything you wanted accomplished, and are you happy with the way you were edited?
Sarah: Iím really happy with the way I was edited. Of course, I wish I could have stayed longer, but Iím happy with the way things turned out and I think I was edited accurately. Iím not a girl that starts drama, and Iím very happy-go-lucky, and I think they showed me that way. I learned a ton and came out of this whole thing with some really good friends.
RNO: Is modeling still something you want to be involved in now, or do you want to get back into photographing?
Sarah: I am still going to model and I actually talked to my agent back at Elite, so Iím most likely going to sign back with him again.
RNO: What else is in your future besides modeling? Is there anything else you would like to do in the near future, and what are you up to right now?
Sarah: Well, Iím still doing the photography as well, and Iíve actually started working on an album, too. Itís been a huge part of my life, and since I havenít been allowed to model for the past few months, itís been easy to focus on music. Iíve been writing and recording, and actually just got in LA to record a few tracks with a producer named Marshall Altman.
RNO: Is there anything you would like to add or say to fans of the show?
Sarah: Thank you so much to the fans, and I really would like to hear some feedback on my music. Everyone can check it out at www.myspace.com/sarahvonderhaar!
RNO: Thanks, Sarah! Good luck with the album and modeling. I really do think youíre going to do well!Phil Kural is an office manager at a law firm, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. You can send feedback to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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