"You Need To Remember It’s A Reality Show First" – An Interview with America's Next Top Model 8’s Whitneyby Phil Kural -- 04/16/2007
If you had asked me when the competition first started, who would go home first between Whitney or Diana, I would have said Whitney. However, week after week Whitney showed that she was the stronger of the two. I was shocked that she did end up being sent home so early, but I guess it made sense to me because I still feel that a plus sized girl will never win. How does Whitney feel about that? What does she have to say about her time on the show? Well, I had to chance to talk with Whitney about these things and so much more, and here’s what she had to say!
RealityNewsOnline:Hey Whitney, thanks for taking time to talk with me today. Had you watched previous seasons of the show and what factored into your decision to apply?
Whitney:Yes, I watched the show before. Actually, I was an ANTM fanatic. I loved Cycles 1 and 3. As far as why I decided to apply, well, I had just finished playing basketball, and had always wanted to get into modeling, so I figured this would be a good way to start, plus, I doubted many other girls from Dartmouth had ever tried this!
RNO:Going into the competition, did you feel that you had more of an uphill battle because you are considered plus sized?
Whitney:I actually thought that it would be a lot easier for me than the other girls because I was different. I mean, I feel like in the new “Jennifer Hudson Era” that a plus sized girl really does have the chance to succeed, so I was excited!
RNO:Lets face it – you had a handicap going into judging every elimination because Twiggy will never back a plus sized girl, correct?
Whitney:I knew that Twiggy liked my personality, and I remember back when Janice was a judge, that she would never support the plus sized girl. I guess Twiggy was just the same way, but it was pretty clear that she didn’t want me to win the competition from the beginning.
RNO:The argument with Renee about a plus sized girl never going to win – was the whole thing really a set up?
Whitney:Oh yea, it was all an act. She was actually reiterating what some of the judges had said, and you could tell by the way she was just sitting on my bed. We were acting it out because we were bored, and I couldn’t believe the way the editors made it out to be some kind of huge drama going on.
RNO:In reality, do you think a plus sized girl has a chance of winning? I feel like the judges would never allow it to happen!
Whitney:I keep saying over and over that there needs to be a show just for plus sized models. It’s very tough for a plus sized girl in the competition, and I thank God that I had Diana there with me during the whole thing. I have no clue how Toccara did so well on her own during Cycle 3 because I’m not so sure I would have been as strong as she was. For instance, like the nude photo shoot – it was nothing for those skinny girls to walk around nude. However, for me, not so much!
RNO:The judges biggest gripe with you was that you didn’t show the personality you have in person in your photos. Would you say it was a fair assessment?
Whitney:You need to remember it’s a reality show first. The photo shoots that we were participating in we very extreme, and you can pretty much bet that you won’t be on a flying apparatus in the “real world” while on a shoot. It was rough finding a balance between acting and modeling, and I know that I over analyzed a lot of it. When I tried to be a character and act, I knew that I wasn’t posing. When I was posing, I knew I wasn’t showing personality, so it’s tough to really say.
RNO:Do you feel that through the judges critiques you were able to try and work on your flaws or was it more of a “fend for yourself” situation?
Whitney:One thing that wasn’t shown, that really disappointed me, were Jay Manuel’s comments on my photo shoots. He always said that I was doing better, and with my last photo, he actually said that I finally looked like a model and it was my best photo shoot to date. So I do feel like I was working on things, but you just didn’t get to see all of the judges critiques on how well I was progressing.
RNO:We saw a different side of Renee this week. From when you were there, was the change really that drastic and was Renee being more respectful to the other girls?
Whitney:It was a total change. She went from being vengeful and spiteful one night, to being so nice the next day. I talked a lot to Renee during my time in the house and she really does have a tough history, which she was dealing with in the house. We all saw a different side of Renee after she was confronted, and I think it was genuine. On top of it all, when she started being nice, she won the challenge and got to see her son, so I even told her that she was being rewarded for her actions.
RNO:Do you think the addition of girl from past Cycles helped or hurt you in the photo shoot? Were you offered any kind of advice from the girls?
Whitney:Personally, I think it helped me. Not so much in the photo shoot, but like I said on the show, it was good to see that the girls are working now and made it through the gauntlet. I know that on the show you are constantly battling and doubting yourself, but I have to say that talking to the girls from past cycles really did help my spirits.
RNO:Was there any of the other shoots this week that you think you would have done a better job with? Was there anyone in particular that you would have liked to work with?
Whitney:Oh, I was thrilled to work with Shannon, especially since I was a huge fan of her Cycle. I was so excited! However, after talking with Bre, I would have loved to have worked with her as well. She was so much fun and so quirky!
RNO:When I talked to Diana a few weeks ago, she admitted that it wasn’t an even playing field, when it came to the challenges and outfits. Would you say that was true?
Whitney:All I’ll say is when they pulled out those Spandex outfits for us to wear through the maze, I wanted to die! Seriously, I just wanted to ask for a pair of shorts and a tank top! It was okay for the skinny girls, but we looked ridiculous! I think Diana was referring to the meet and greet though, where her outfit was awful because it was the only one that fit her. You have to remember though, that Diana is 6’2”. Keep in mind that she would have a problem finding outfits anywhere, even H&M, with her height. Being 5’9”, at least it was easier for me to find things. However, I will say that it was geared more towards the thinner girls.
RNO:What kind of advice would you give to other plus sized girl that want to apply for the show, but don’t feel they have a chance of winning?
Whitney:I always tell people when they ask me this the same thing – you have to show confidence! I’ve seen on blogs on the internet that people were saying I was over confident, but seriously, you have to be – especially when you are plus sized. You have to go in there knowing that you are going to do well, and I would love to see a plus sized girl go into the competition and just blow those skinny girls away! I would live vicariously through them!
RNO:You said you weren’t sure if modeling was the right path for you or not. Do you plan on still pursuing it or do you have other things in the works?
Whitney:I’ll admit that at that moment, I was at my lowest point. I never want to feel that way again, and I do want to continue modeling. I’m composed now, and ready to work at it, and hopefully I will succeed in the modeling industry!
RNO:What else do you plan on doing besides modeling? What are your other future aspirations?
Whitney:Well, I’m going to be getting my degree in sociology and I’ll be marching in June, so that’s first. After that, I plan on moving to NYC and just taking it from there!
RNO:Is there anything you would like to add or say to fans of the show?
Whitney:I just want to thank everyone for all the support that they have shown me. I can’t tell you how many little girls have come up to me and told me what an inspiration I have been to them, and that really means a lot to me. So thank you to everyone that has showed me love!
RNO:Thanks, Whitney!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.