”I’m Legally Blind, and I Wear A Size Seven” – An Interview with America’s Next Top Model 3’s Amandaby Phil Kural -- 12/21/2004
I recently had the chance to interview Amanda, and wasn’t expecting her to be as receptive to me as she was. Not only did she admit to reading web recaps of the show, I got a compliment out of it as well. You know how I feed off the compliments! Amanda was just like she was on the show – very personable and very bubbly. In this interview, she touches on which girl was sent home too early, where she’s moving after the holidays, and how irritated it made her when the editors would replay her saying, “I’m legally blind.” Keep reading for the rest!
RNO: When you applied for the show, did you think you would be looked over because of your blindness?
Amanda: No, actually, I thought it would be a little extra for me to get my foot into the door. I figured that it was something that people would look at and admire because I had a bubbly personality and was still overcoming this disability. Apparently, it worked!
RNO: After making it to the finals, did you think that your blindness could be a reason to make you not win the competition, or was it a non-issue for them?
Amanda:I think by the time I got to the finals, it was a non-issue. If my blindness was the reason that kept me from being top two or winning, then so be it. Everyone has the right to their opinion, and the judges had the right to cut people for whatever reasons. I have no ill feelings towards anyone, and it was what it was – I’m proud of myself and how I did.
RNO: Which of the girls did you think was eliminated before she should have been, or were the judges pretty dead on with their cut order?
Amanda:I would say that Nicole was eliminated before she should have been. She had some awesome pictures, and a great personality – not to mention that she was funny and a strong competitor. I was really shocked because it was odd how she wasn’t forgettable for the whole competition until that one week when she was forgotten twice! The girl had such a strong personality, I thought it was impossible to forget her!
RNO: Since you stuck around until the last episode, and got to see all the other girls progress, besides Eva, which girl impressed you the most?
Amanda:I would say Yaya, Toccara, and Ann. You know what, Ann really got the short end of the stick. She didn’t have the best photos, but she had a great walk, a rocking body, and her personality was great, too.
RNO:When it was down to Eva, Yaya, and yourself, did it seem like Eva was the odd girl out?
Amanda:No, not really. I mean, Eva took great pictures and had a wonderful personality. Just because she was shorter than us, she wasn’t “out” in the judges eyes. As far as socially, I would say that she was out when it came to socializing with Yaya and myself. During the whole process, she had forced isolation on herself because she didn’t want to interact positively with anyone except Ann. We weren’t going to try and make her part of our friendship at that point – it was way too late for that.
RNO:Most of the eliminated girls I interviewed had said it was obvious that the judges had their favorites. Were you anyone’s favorite?
Amanda: I know that I was Janice’s favorite, and that was cool with me because she has a great history in the business. As far as judges that didn’t like me, I knew Nigel wasn’t a fan of me, but other than that, I felt loved!
RNO: What did your family think about your time on the show? Have they been supportive?
Amanda: Oh yeah, my mom and fiancé were thrilled for me because they knew it was what I wanted to do. I just had to get myself out there and hope that the right people would see me.
RNO: Was there any photo shoot that you weren’t happy with the photo that was shown to the judges?
Amanda: I wasn’t crazy about the alter ego shot. During the shoot, I felt like I rocked it, and I was being very creative with my poses. The picture that was shown to the judges was boring and lame. Overall though, it was still a good photo, just not the one I think I would have chosen to show the judges.
RNO: We saw the judges say to you many times that you had to work on your appearance to “look like a model.” Did they ever give you any advice on how to do that?
Amanda: NO! That’s the kicker about the whole thing. I mean, I must have changed faces from the time I was at the photo shoot, to the time I was in front of the panel. I think my personality was a little too laid back, and instead of going in there just hoping that they would love me, I should have gone in there telling them that, “You’re GOING to love me!” Instead, I was left in the dark since they gave me no advice.
RNO: What do you think Eva had over Yaya that made the judges pick her as the winner?
Amanda:I think Eva had more of an outgoing personality. Yaya was more respectful of personal spaces, while Eva was all in everyone’s face, and it made a difference because it made Eva look more noticeable and more approachable. You can have a conversation with her over Yaya. The judges probably chose Eva because her look spans more to the masses.
RNO: Besides the language barrier, what was the hardest aspect of Japan that you had to adapt to?
Amanda: That would be the amount of people. It was a hard thing for me to adjust to because I come from a small town. I lived in Dallas for awhile, but that still doesn’t compare to Tokyo at all. It was hard for me to maneuver the streets with so many people around!
RNO:Do you feel that the editors “played up” your blindness? It seemed like they repeatedly played the sound clip of you saying “I’m legally blind.”
Amanda: Oh God, it was so played up! They would play things like “I’m legally blind, and I want pancakes” or “I’m legally blind, and I wear a size seven.” Every time I heard it I was shocked, and I’m sure if I thought it was a lot, I knew everyone else was probably like “Put a sock in it!” They played the same clip over and over! It was my pet peeve over the season because of how many times they played it up. I was so over it by the end of the season!
RNO: So what are you up to now and since the show is over, do you plan to continue on the modeling path?
Amanda: Oh yeah, I definitely still want to model. I’m moving to NYC after the holidays and I already have a few agencies lined up. Wish me luck!
RNO: Was there ever a time you felt that you might be going home before you did, or did you always feel pretty safe in front of the panel?
Amanda:The only time I felt like it could have been me going home was at the first elimination, with the bathing suit shot. I thought I looked a little awkward. Other than that, I was pretty confident because - let’s be honest – my photos rocked!
RNO: Is there anything you would like to add, or maybe give some advice to girls thinking about applying for next season?
Amanda: If you are going to go for it, go for all of it, and don’t be reserved. Let your personality shine through you problems and let it shine bright. You can’t be afraid of anything, and you have to be real!
Phil Kural is a recent graduate from Temple University, with a degree in journalism. You can reach him at email@example.com with any feedback that you may have.