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"I Knew This Was My Purpose"– An Interview with America's Next Top Model 10's Winner, Whitneyby Phil Kural -- 05/21/2008
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Whitney beat out 13 other girls to win this season of America’s Next Top Model and was the first plus-sized girl to ever take home the title. How hard was it? Did she think she had it in the bag from the beginning? And most importantly, is she still blonde? I had a chance to chat with Whitney on her win, and here’s what she had to say!
RealityNewsOnline: Hey, Whitney! Congratulations on winning the competition this cycle. Did you think going into the competition that you were at a disadvantage compared to the other girls?
Whitney: Of course! I knew that in modeling, as a plus-sized girl, it’s so much harder to work on your angles, and that’s one of the biggest things people look for when it comes to modeling. So it was a big disadvantage when it came to the human eye, since I knew I wasn’t like the rest of the girls… but I wasn’t going to let that stop me!
RNO: Had you watched previous seasons of the show? What factored into your decision to apply?
Whitney: Oh yeah, I would watch the marathons on VH1 and MTV all the time. Who doesn’t? My sister and family have been telling me for years that I should try out. I never really thought I would do it, until I was at the beach with my 13-year-old cousin, and she goes “I’m so fat!” It hit me right then and there how not cool it was for girls so young to already be worried about their weight. I did some studies and realized that almost half of girls 9-years-old had been on a diet. That’s when I really wanted to try out and show girls that you can be full figured and make it just fine.
RNO: You were been in the bottom two several times. Did you ever think that you were going to be the one sent home?
Whitney: Every time! It’s so funny because I prepared myself to go each time, and that’s why I never really cried in the bottom two. I had already accepted it going into panel and I was prepared to go. You can see I was checking out mentally and packing my bags. I felt that I was working eight times as hard as the other girls, so it was very draining.
RNO: Now that a full figured model has won the competition, do you think it’s going to encourage other plus-sized girls to apply, or will it have the reverse effect, with them possibly thinking, “Oh, it won’t happen again!”
Whitney: So not true! I think that if there’s another good plus-sized girl, then she has a chance to win. The judges are very open in this competition and everyone is judged at the same level. That’s good, since I never felt like I was getting special treatment. There’s a fairness that you don’t get to see. The judges do have their favorites, of course, but they never go out of their way to not like someone.
RNO: What do you think it was about you that helped you win the competition that plus-sized girls in the past didn’t have?
Whitney: I knew it was my purpose. I think other plus-sized girls from the past just thought they were pretty, but were beaten down as the competition went on and began to doubt themselves. I knew if I didn’t win, then who would my 13-year-old cousin look up to? You can’t be defeated and broken, since failure was not an option, and I knew that the second I gave up during the photo shoots or the challenges, that I would be finished.
RNO: I heard a crazy rumor after you won that producers approached you before the season began, asking you to gain weight so that a plus-sized girl could win the competition. Any truth to that at all?
Whitney: No. I wish they would have – that would have made it easy! People have been circulating pictures of me when I was 10-years-old and skinnier, saying that it was me right before the show. I’m like: “Are you kidding me?” I was scouted at LAX and told that there was going to be a casting in my area. I decided to go for it, and here I am!
RNO: From the beginning of the season, who did you think was going to be your biggest competition and why?
Whitney: Definitely Anya. She was always called right before me, in almost every panel. It was a joke that we always had with one another. I love her to death, and she was definitely one of the best girls this season.
RNO: As far as you makeover goes, are you going back to the dark hair, or are you going to stick with the blonde for now?
Whitney: Right now, I’m still blonde. I like it, but it’s a lot of upkeep to keep it looking nice and natural. Plus, I’m known as a blonde right now, and that’s how I’m selling myself. I’ll eventually go back to being dark though… I kind of miss it! It’s funny though, since my whole life I wanted to go blonde, but I was always told my hair was too dark to do so. Tyra made it happen though!
RNO: When I interviewed Kat a few weeks ago, she said that this season it was the “Whitney and Fatima show” since you two got all the camera time. Do you agree at all?
Whitney: Umm, that’s actually kind of funny. I’d call it the Whitney, Fatima and Dominique show, to be honest. Anya was great, but she wasn’t very dramatic, so she wasn’t featured all that much, and that’s good for her! Although, the 1st and 2nd episodes you barely saw me. My family had no clue I was even on the show!
RNO: As for your prizes, which are you the most excited about?
Whitney: I would definitely say being an Elite model. I met with them today and they have some great ideas for me. I’m really excited, and they are marketing me just like their other girls. It’s not just a plus-sized thing – if they need a blonde, I’m there!
RNO: Do you see yourself doing more the commercial thing, or are you trying to be a little more high fashion with your career? Is there anything specific that you really want to do?
Whitney: Personally, I think I’d like to get into more high fashion, simply because that would be another barrier for me to break. I have no preference, but my main goal is to have people that have never seen the show to know who I am and to know my name. That’s why I want to break into high fashion more than commercial – it’s not common for a girl like me to walk in high fashion runway shows, but I’ll be doing it!
RNO: Other than modeling, what else are you looking to pursue? You’re young, so is more school in the future, or are you simply fixed on your modeling career at this point?
Whitney: I eventually want to go back to school, but I realize that a modeling career is normally pretty short lived. I want to do it while I can, since I know it won’t last forever. I want people to get the message and word that a plus-sized girl can make it in this industry.
RNO: Is there anything you would like to add or say to fans of the show?
Whitney: Thank you so much to the fans for rooting for me and believing in me. I know there are people out there that don’t like me, but I realize there are a lot more that do, and I’m so appreciative for that. Keep on the lookout for me!
RNO: Thanks, Whitney!
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent America’s Next Top Model articles:
Phil Kural is an office manager at a dental office, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. You can send feedback to him at email@example.com.
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