ďNever Once Did I Compromise MyselfĒ Ė An Interview with Americaís Next Top Model 8ís Jaelby Phil Kural -- 04/20/2007
In the beginning, I loved Jael. However, as time went on, I found her increasingly annoying, capping during her last episode when she was becoming not only more crazy, but cocky as well. I did have a chance to talk with Jael, though, and I have to admit, she was quite endearing! In this interview, Jael discusses how she felt she was edited, how relieved she was that the judges never brought up the whole pool incident with 50 Cent, her decision to stay in the competition after her friendís death, and tons more!
RealityNewsOnline: Hey, Jael, thanks for taking time to talk with me today. I have to apologize first because I have a cold and sound like a frog.
Jael: Thatís okay, Phil. If anything, you might need subtitles to understand me!
RNO: Ha! Fair enough. Had you watched previous seasons of the show, and what factored into your decision to apply?
Jael: I never watched a full season before, but I have seen episodes here and there. I didnít actually apply for the show Ė I was actually scouted by one of the producers on MySpace. So I never really went out of my way when I auditioned, but when I made it to the semifinals, thatís when I decided that I was going to really apply myself to the whole thing.
RNO: Being in the bottom two during week one, would you say that it was a wake-up call and pushed you to do better or was it more of a detriment to your confidence?
Jael: It was neither, really. I was honestly sick and tried my best and actually thought it was a good picture. I think the whole thing was that I had more energy than most of the other girls, so more was expected from me. It never really shook my confidence, though.
RNO: I canít remember if it was the first or second photo shoot, but you were sick, then we saw you hula-hooping and doing fine. Were you really sick, or was it just nerves?
Jael: Ha! I really WAS sick! Iím a manifester, though, and I wanted to help the other girls. As for the hula-hoop Ė it was there, and I figured it would help me. It did!
RNO: Were you surprised that the judges never mentioned you being pushed into the pool by 50 Cent? Did you expect to be eliminated over that?
Jael: I didnít expect to be eliminated over that whole thing, especially since I had a great photo that week and really earned my place in the competition by that point. It really wasnít all that bad, and I think 50 Cent was actually intimidated by me. Iím glad they didnít mention it, though, and I donít think I really deserved to be criticized over it. I mean, they never showed him jump in the pool, too!
RNO: Another problem you faced during your time on the show was the death of your friend. Looking back, do you think you made the right choice by staying in the competition instead of going home?
Jael: For sure! Thatís what she would have wanted me to do. We are strong women, and I know I made the right choice.
RNO: We often saw the judges criticizing the girls for their outfits in panel and their appearances in general, yet you walked around with blue wigs, tutu, and topless most of the time. Were you ever worried that this might get you eliminated?
Jael: I wasnít worried because when I was cast for the show, I showed up in a tutu there as well! They knew exactly who I was. Never once did I compromise myself. I stood out and was very proud.
RNO: When you were eliminated, you said that you were the only girl that probably bonded with everyone. What did you mean by that?
Jael: I was fortune enough and put energy into making a relationship with all the girls. I think I was very lucky to live with such a diverse group of girls from all over the country Ė many of which I never would have met if I wasnít on the show. I put a lot of energy into it, and being the social girl that I am, I thought it was great.
RNO: Did you have a feeling, standing with Brittany, that you were going to be eliminated, and do you think that the judges were more lenient on her because of her accident?
Jael: I think the judges have a right to their opinion, and they decided that it was my time to go. I was in the competition for so long, and I did my best. I wasnít going to sacrifice myself for the competition and change who I was. If they had sent Brittany home over me, I had decided at that point that I would sacrifice myself and tell them I wanted to go home.
Jael: Yes, Iím being serious. Her photos were great from the first shoot. She deserved to be there more than I did at that point.
RNO: Had you known that if you toned down your personality a few notches, you could have made it further, would you have tried to be a little more low key?
Jael: Not at all. I was comfortable, and I have no regrets. I lived every day to the fullest and will continue to do so. I got so much exposure, I had tons of fun, and to be honest, from this experience, I think there is so much more in store for me.
RNO: What was your take on Renee? It seems like every time she got called out, the only person we really saw her apologizing to was you. Was there more to your relationship than we saw?
Jael: In the beginning, Renee and I bonded immediately. She was the first girl that I talked to in the semifinals, when we were in the bus on our way to boot camp. We immediately bonded and became friends fast. I think itís normal to have emotions for someone and get upset easily, but I love Renee now.
RNO: Would you say that you were edited fairly, or did we really only see your more extreme moments?
Jael: I think all of my moments were extreme and still are! I live life to the fullest and know that I have more energy than most people. Iím excited about life and infuse that into everything that I do, so yes, Iíd say that I was edited fairly.
RNO: Has there been anything on the show that you were actually surprised to see that you didnít realize was going on when you were there?
Jael: I didnít know that Renee was making so many comments about people all the time behind their backs. To our faces, she was kind, and I think she was so mild with me because she was intimidated and knew that I have a mouth. When we all confronted her, she told the girls things that she would have never said to me. However, I forgive Renee, and I think everyone else did as well.
RNO: Whatís the best piece of advice you can give to girls that want to apply for the show?
Jael: I would encourage any girl that wants to apply for the show to just really express who you are. Donít be an actress or a character. Itís nice to free yourself and be fun. Itís motivating to be seen in your own skin and is truly liberating. People watch you and know who you are Ė you donít have to act or be someone youíre not.
RNO: Is there anywhere people can expect to see you in the near future, or do you have any immediate plans for after the show?
Jael: I want to do my own reality show. Itíll be about music, though, and no modeling, so you should be on the look out for that!
RNO: Is there anything you would like to add or say to fans of the show before we wrap it up?
Jael: Thanks to all the fans and I really do hope that I represented. Also, I hope that I showed other girls that not being mainstream and somewhat of an outcast can be cool Ė thereís nothing wrong with that. Be yourself and be comfortable with who you are.
RNO: Jael, I have so much more respect for you now! Good luck with everything!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 email@example.com.