ďI Was Representing for the Native American Community" Ė Reality News Onlineís Exclusive Interview with America's Next Top Model 18ís Mariahby Teeuwynn Woodruff -- 03/27/2011
Reality News Online: Hi Mariah, thank you for talking to Reality News Online today. Had you watched any cycles of ANTM before going on the show?
Mariah: I watched the first season and a few more. But I havenít really kept up Ė until Cycle 18.
RNO: What did you think when you found out it was going to be British vs. American models this cycle?
Mariah: I felt it was definitely an interesting new twist for the show. I thought it was exciting being with the British girls. They had competed on Britainís Next Top Model before so they were great competition.
Obviously, we [the Americans] had never competed before so I thought it could be a little unfair that they had already gone through the experience. I thought they might have had a bit more practice at this.
RNO: Do you think that previous experience gave the British models an advantage?
Mariah: Yeah, I definitely think that being through the experience before helped. We [the Americans] were brand new at it.
RNO: Were you surprised by your early elimination?
I got eliminated on the second week. It was a huge shock and surprise to me. I guess itís how it goes sometimes.
RNO: When you were with Seymone in the final two did you think you were going home?
Mariah: I thought possibly there could be a slight chance that I could stay in it simply because Seymone and Louise are both plus size models. But then I also knew it was a very slim chance because the week before Seymone had received best photo.
RNO: What did you think of your makeover?
Mariah: I definitely really liked it. I was really happy that I didnít get my hair butchered. I didnít want a boy haircut. I was really happy with the ombre (color). It wasnít very drastic. I loved it. Having bangs took me back to when I was, like, four.
RNO: Who do you think had the best makeover?
Mariah: I definitely love Louiseís makeover. Louise had mde a huge fuss about her makeover, but I feel that hers came out so beautiful! It did her a great justice, honestly. I feel like, when it was all said and done, even she felt like she made a fuss for nothing. She liked it!
RNO: How about the worst?
Mariah: Honestly, maybe my girl, Ki-Ki [Kyle]. I love Kyle Ė me and her still talk all the time. Ki-Ki, her hair went from black to blonde. Kyle was pretty upset about it and weíre great friends. She talked to me a lot about it.
Kyle [didnít think] going blonde did her justice Ė it didnít make her edgier or more high fashion. She felt really bland with it. I kind of agreed with her. I felt blonde wasnít the best option for her. I felt like her black hair was just stunning.
RNO: I agree. I thought she looked better pre-makeover too. What did you think of the shoot with the Kardashians?
Mariah: That was so amazing! Kris Jenner seems a little scary when I watch her on TV. She seemed like she could be intimidating. But her and the girls were the biggest sweethearts ever. Surprise!
Kris was so nice in real life. It was really lovely. Even getting to shoot with the KardashiansÖ It was nice. You only get to see them on TV so getting that time with them in real life was so amazing. I couldnít ask for better. I was like a little kid.
RNO: Did you think you would be in trouble after your shoot?
Mariah: No! Honestly, my elimination came as a huge surprise to me because I felt I did a really great job on set. Jay Manuel had given me some tips and a really positive critique. He didnít really have anything too negative to say about my shoot. Kris said she loved shooting with me and Kyle. She said that we had done a great job. So I was really shocked when I got eliminated.
I think thatís why I took it so hard. Iím a pretty strong girl. I donít cry too often. During the show I didnít cry at all until that ending point. I donít feel like it was my time to have gone yet. But I was happy that I left the show with a lot of dignity. I kept my dignity and pride for my people. I stayed true to myself. I wasnít going to get to the top by undermining other girls and talking bad about them.
As much as it hurt not getting to be Americaís Next Top Model, being the first Native American female ever on the show Ė thatís something that meant way more to me than if I had gotten eliminated first or was the last one out.
Now that I have the right to say Iím the first Native American on ANTM I can start creating change and empowering young Native Americans across the country to do the same kind of things.
RNO: Have you had much response from the Native American communities?
Mariah: Oh, absolutely! Iíve been an international model since I was 15. I traveled to Thailand, Hong KongÖ Iíve been with Wilhelmina Models since the age of 16. It was already a dream and a passion I had been working on for a while.
I feel like Top Model is just helping me bring everything to the [forefront]. I think the reason I wanted it so badly was not just for myself. It was so I could start having a voice and come from a place of power Ė creating the change I want to start making for my people.
Iíve had a lot of young girls tell me things Ė that now they believe they can do it, of course. Theyíre happy Iím paving the way Ė things like that.
RNO: What are your future plans? Will you continue modeling?
Mariah: Absolutely. Iím definitely going to keep modeling for the next couple of years. Iím 20 now, so Iím thinking maybe until Iím 22 or 23. Iíd definitely like to start taking some acting classes and see if I can transition to that. Iím also thinking of doing a Reservation tour Ė that way I can really impact the people I care about most.
You canít change the whole world, but when you try to be the first Native American supermodel I can definitely start trying to change and transmute the blessings and opportunities Iíve gotten to start creating some positive change.
RNO: Is there anything else you would like to tell fans of the show about you or this experience?
Mariah: Iíd just like to thank everyone who supported me. As far as a fact about myself Ė I have 11 siblings, eight sisters and three brothers. Iím the oldest out of all of them. So Iím used to being the leader. Itís pretty funny. It can get pretty nuts when Iím at home.
The show was a great experience. I wouldnít trade it for the world Ė but Iím not sure I would do it again. I had a great time with it even though I was eliminated second I feel like people saw me and knew that I stood for something. I know that all my Native friends across the country knew I was there for them. I was representing for the Native American community because we donít really have any celebrities to look up to in the high fashion industry.
RNO: Thank you for talking to me today.
Mariah: Youíre welcome!
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