"The Sky Is The Limit For Me!" - An Interview with America's Next Top Model 3's Toccaraby Phil Kural -- 11/16/2004
For being a plus sized model, Toccara made it quite far this season on America's Next Top Model. The judges said several times that she had a great personality and was very fun loving, and I would definitely agree with that. Toccara came off as very fun, energetic and quirky. In this interview, she discusses how fair the competition was, what the hardest part about the whole experience was and what words she would use to describe the remaining girls.
RNO: Going into the show, and knowing how far "plus sized" models have made it in the past, did you truly think you could win?
Toccara: Actually, I had never watched the show before I had applied. After I went to the audition, I found how other plus sized girls had done in the past and did my research, I knew it would be hard for me, but that wasn't going to deter me - I thought I could win.
RNO: Did any of the other girls try to tell you that there was no room for a plus sized model in high fashion?
Toccara: Oh no, absolutely not! In fact, most of the girls complimented me and were very impressed that I was so confident and had a great personality. The only thing they did say was that Janice would never accept me and didn't like any girl larger than a size four. They said she would eat me alive, but I never knew Janice and knew nothing about her, so I couldn't even imagine why she would be mad at me because I was there to represent the plus sized division!
RNO: Were there times when you felt the judges were contradicting themselves and going back on what they had said weeks prior?
Toccara: Of course there were times that they would contradict themselves, but I didn't have time to dwell on that. I had my eye on the prize and that was my goal. I would hear the comments, but it didn't bother me.
RNO: How nervous were you when it came to having the spider on your face? Did you ever feel like you were in any real danger?
Toccara: Oh, I couldn't afford to worry about if I was in real danger or not. I knew the competition was rough at that point and it was obvious that certain judges were rooting for certain girls. The pressure was on and I knew at that point my size was an issue, so I had to do what they threw at me and couldn't be worried about being in danger.
RNO: In your honest opinion, is it really possible for a plus sized girl to win this competition?
Toccara: No comment on that one.
RNO: Until recently, it looked like Yaya was very low key and meshed well with the group. Was she this opinionated the whole time, or did she change with the process?
Toccara: Nope, Yaya was the same from day one. They just decided to give other girls more airtime in the beginning, so Yaya's personality didn't shine all the way through at that point.
RNO: Was Rebecca Weinberg as condescending as she came across or was she just trying to help?
Toccara: The whole thing with that was that she was thinking we were all "wannabe models" and if we were "real models" we wouldn't have to have her there to show us was style was. There was pretty much nothing that we could have done in her eyes that would be right.
RNO: Give me one word or phrase to describe each of the remaining girls?
Toccara: Nicole: Should have been gone; Ann: No way she beat me!; Amanda: I'm not giving her any more air time; Yaya: I love Yaya!; Eva: Short mama.
RNO:What about Norelle?
Toccara: I forgot about Norelle! Put that!
RNO: Since your time on the show, have you been able to have some kind of contact with other plus sized models to find out what their opinion of the industry is?
Toccara: I've spoke to some people, and most people have said to me that it's a shame there was a plus sized model on the show because they never have a chance to win. I don't really care because it was a great experience and I got so much publicity because of it. I didn't need to win to tell you the truth because it was a stepping stone for me. I can't even tell you what the two previous winners of the show are doing, but I can guarantee you everyone will know what Toccara is doing!
RNO: With the comments that Ann had been receiving, did you think that she was going home, or did you pretty much know it was you?
Toccara: Unfortunately, I knew it was me going home. I didn't want it to be, and didn't give up. Honestly though, with the comments Ann was getting, I wouldn't have been surprised if she went, but when it was me, I wasn't surprised either.
RNO: What is your opinion on the way Cassie's eating habits were portrayed? Do you think it was fair to hint around trying to say she had an eating disorder when it was never proven?
Toccara: That whole thing was blown way out of proportion, and people were just picking on her and looking for a reason to bring it up. The whole thing wasn't a secret - Cassie told everyone that she had issues with eating in the past. When Tyra said she needed help, Cassie declined. I feel that if she felt she needed help, she would have taken it. Cassie was much stronger than she was given credit for.
RNO: Which part of doing the show was the toughest? Was it the cameras, living with the other girls, or the long hours?
Toccara: There honestly wasn't anything tough about the show. Well, maybe the eating. I'm a big girl and a big girl has to eat! I wasn't able to eat as much as I would have liked because it seemed like everyone was staring!
RNO: Do you feel it's fair to have challenges, like the one last week, where you were at an obvious disadvantage?
Toccara: You know what the hard thing with interviews is? I don't want to be labeled by people as JUST a plus sized girl! I can do exactly the same things a "skinny girl" can do. I should just be expected to do Lane Bryant - I can do GAP too! I don't want any special treatment, but on the same level, how can I be expected to be on the same level as the other girls, when Europeans don't even make my size. They need to get on that!
RNO: What's the one piece of advice you can give to girls applying for future seasons? Not just to plus sized girls, but to everyone?
Toccara: I'll be cheesy and say shoot for the moon! You know what though - if it's meant for you, don't give up because nobody can tell you no. I was told no before I auditioned, but I didn't give up and look how I did!
RNO: What are your plans after the show wraps up? Do you still want to follow the modeling path?
Toccara: Modeling, of course! I'm going to be the first black plus sized supermodel! I'm going to do endorsements, movies, speaking - everything!
RNO: Is there anything you would like to add, Toccara?
Toccara: Not really Phil, but thank you! I can't believe you got me to say something about the other girls! Haha!
Phil Kural is a recent graduate from Temple University, with a degree in journalism. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback that you may have.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look at the rest of the site. You can find all of our recent articles on this show at our America’s Next Top Model page and take a look at our sections on The Apprentice and Last Comic Standing. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!
For more news about America’s Next Top Model, be sure to check out SirLinksALot!