ďConfidence Was KeyĒ Ė An Interview with Americaís Next Top Model 9ís Chantalby Phil Kural -- 12/18/2007
My views on Chantal were like a roller coaster this season. In the beginning, I thought she was pretty plain. Then she grew on me and I loved her look. As time went on, I really feel like the editing set her up to come in second place, and the second she knocked that guy on stilts onto his butt, I knew it was over for her. But what did Chantal think? Of course, I had a chance to chat with her, and she was very open about her experience.
RealityNewsOnline: Hey, Chantal! Congratulations for making it to the final two Ė thatís a pretty big accomplishment! Do you feel like a celebrity?
Chantal: Thank you so much! I still canít believe it. Iím actually at the mall right now and people keep stopping me, saying hello and wishing me well. I guess I really do feel like a celebrity!
RNO: Had you watched previous seasons of the show, and what factored into your decision to apply?
Chantal: Oh, I watched the first and the second season religiously. My friend actually forced me to apply, though, since I didnít really want to. She walked me to the casting and I wasnít even finished the application when we got there. I finished it while we were waiting in line. Iím lucky to have a friend like her!
RNO: It was made clear to the viewers that you had wanted to be a model from day one. Did you have any modeling experience prior to being on the show?
Chantal: Only a very little. I did a few runway shows, but nothing big at all. Just some small things, but I loved it.
RNO: What did you think of your makeover? Do you think the new look helped bring you to the next level?
Chantal: I definitely do. I really liked my makeover, and the bangs and extensions were perfect. I donít know what Iíd do if I ended up needing my head shaved like Bianca. I actually talked with Bianca the other day and she said she had a dream that my head was shaved and I was freaking out Ė that sounded pretty accurate!
RNO: No doubt one of the biggest topics of conversation this season was Heather. At any point did you feel like Heather was being judged differently than the other girls?
Chantal: I didnít really think she was being treated differently. I think I was more taken by surprise at how well she was doing. Heather was great in front of the camera, and she was so natural. So I didnít feel like she was being judged any different than the other girls, I just think that I was surprised at how well she did.
RNO: Okay, letís talk about the runway show. What was your initial thought when you knocked the guy on stilts down?
Chantal: Oh, gosh! I was so devastated when that happened. I wasnít sure if I should go and help him or what. The problem was, I know itís not because I knocked him over that really set me back. Things like that happen. I think itís because I let it defeat me. I just wanted to cry, and you could tell that I was affected.
RNO: Did you feel like you were judged heavily on that one moment, or did it seem like the judges werenít all that interested in it?
Chantal: I donít think it played the most, but I think it did play into the fact that I panicked the way I did. I know that you have to just keep going and remember the show does go on. I was way too upset over the whole thing at the time.
RNO: Before the finale, you had only been in the bottom two one time Ė with Sarah. Was there ever a thought that you might be the one going home that week?
Chantal: I think itís always in the back of your mind that thereís a chance you might be going home. It mostly felt that way before the photo shoot. After the shoot was done, you had a pretty good idea if you did a good job or a bad one. So when the photo shoot went well, I wasnít worried, but when it was a little shaky, then of course it was on the back of my mind.
RNO: Who was the most shocking elimination for you this season? Did someone go home before you thought they would?
Chantal: Oh, definitely Lisa Ė hands down. I thought from day one that she was going to be the one I needed to compete the most with. She was great. Lisa was different, and the camera loved her, so I was extremely shocked when Heather stayed and she went home.
RNO: When it was down to you and Saleisha, did you have a plan in order to win the competition, or were you going to continue working the same way you had been?
Chantal: I just planned to keep going. By the end, I was like, ďWow, Iím on a runway in China. The worst that can happen to me is that Iíll be the runner-up.Ē Thatís what happened, and Iím totally fine with that. I really think that things are going to work out for me.
RNO: So what are you up to now that the show has wrapped? Do you have any immediate plans and are you talking with agencies?
Chantal: Iím talking to a few agencies, and I plan on moving to NYC soon. Iíd also love to travel to Europe and see the world. Right now Iím just networking, though, and trying to meet people in the industry.
RNO: Do you have any other long-term goals, even after you decide to move on from modeling?
Chantal: Iíd really like to start a family and settle down with someone. Thatís the main goal after modeling.
RNO: Whatís one thing you learned about yourself that you didnít know prior to being on the show?
Chantal: I think I learned that confidence was key. I knew that you had to believe in yourself, but didnít realize how much until I was in the competition. I never once wasnít confident, and I think that really helped me the whole way.
RNO: Is there anything you would like to add or say to fans of the show?
Chantal: I just want to say thank you to all the fans of the show for the support that Iíve been shown. I love the bloggers on the Internet and the people that chat on the websites. The support has been amazing, and I love it so much! Thank you!
RNO: Thanks, Chantal!
Phil Kural is an office manager at a dental office, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. You can send feedback to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.