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“I Wanted to Show I Was Multi-Ethnic”: An Interview with April Wilkner from ‘America’s Next Top Model 2’by Phil Kural -- 03/19/2004
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We all know that I was on the fence with April. I never really established an opinion of her because it seemed to me like we were never really shown that much footage of her. However, I got to talk to the real April for this interview, and let me tell you – she is full of personality that apparently we weren’t shown. In this interview, April lets loose on how she was given the same criticism over and over, who she became close to, and how she left with her head held high.
Reality News Online: Do you feel that you took over your last photo shoot, or were you simply just trying to be helpful? Did you have a feeling Jay didn’t like it?
April: I was totally just trying to be helpful. I was not trying to direct the shoot. Mercedes was uneasy about the nudity, but I was okay with it. What you saw was us communicating with each other, and that is what went on the whole time. I guided her along because she was feeling uneasy. Plus, since it was a duo competition, we wanted to beat the other girls. My talking too much was misconstrued as directing the shoot, which I wasn’t trying to do. And Jay never mentioned a thing to me about it. I had no idea it was an issue until the elimination ceremony.
RNO: Did the judges give you any advice other then to stop being so technical or analytical, and did you find their criticism helpful?
April: Ha ha, nope, that is all they said to me – that I was too technical and too analytical. At least, that is all I can remember them saying to me. And as for being helpful, it was, but it wasn’t. I mean, most of the other girls received criticism about their photos and what they needed to do in order to make them better. I was always told that my photos were fine and that it was parts of my personality that needed changing.
RNO: What did your parents and family think of your time spent on the show? Were they happy that you represented Asian women to an extent?
April: My mom was shocked at the way they were trying to portray me. My main goal and the bottom line of me being on the show was to represent multi-ethnic girls, and not just Asian girls as a whole. At an early age, I was always told by my mom never to define myself within a box. Like on those Scantron sheets when one box would say Caucasian, one would say African-American and one would say Asian. She would call the school up and yell at them saying they need an “Other” box. It’s like I was always forced to choose one or the other. I tried to make a point that I am multi-ethnic, but they kept trying to define me strictly as the “Asian girl.” If I was going to do well, I had to be myself, not the Asian girl. I didn’t want that to be the reason I won – just because I was a minority.
RNO: Which of the girls did you end up becoming the closest to? Do you keep in contact with the others, and on the flip side, is there anyone you don’t plan on calling?
April: I can definitely say that the two girls that I became the closest to are Sara and Mercedes. I’ve actually seen Sara since the show has ended and Mercedes and I talk all the time and send packages to one another on a daily basis. As far as girls that I don’t really talk too, or don’t exactly plan too – I’d say Camille. Well, Yoanna too. I was put off by the way she liked to backstab and talk about people behind their backs. I’ve always said that I can take a bitch any day, but a backstabber is hard to take.
RNO: Well, on that note, many girls said that Bethany was a big backstabber and they were glad when she was eliminated. What was your take on her?
April: I liked Bethany! The thing about her was that she said every single thing to your face. Bethany never backstabbed and always told it like it was. I liked that and respected that about her. At least, she never backstabbed me if she was doing it!
RNO: What were you doing before the show and did you go back to that job or are you still pursuing a modeling career?
April: Before the show, I was an account executive for DHL, which is just like Federal Express and UPS; we deal with packages. I managed many accounts and it was my job to recruit new ones. I have not and will not go back to that job. I want to continue to pursue a modeling career, but I have an interest in acting as well. They say in the industry that it’s 90% hard work and 10% talent, so I’m determined to succeed.
RNO: Why didn’t anyone pull Shandi aside and say something to her about the trouble she was getting herself into?
April: You know, you reach a point in your life where you have to be able to take care of yourself. I didn’t feel that it was my place to say anything to Shandi about what she was doing and to be honest, I think that if I had said something, she would not have been very nice about it. It wasn’t appropriate for me to say anything. It never crossed my mind to say anything to her because it simply wasn’t my place to do so.1 2 Next-->
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