The Industry is Dog-Eat-Dog: An Interview with Camille McDonald from ĎAmericaís Next Top Model 2íby Phil Kural -- 03/04/2004
Camille McDonald was constantly looked at as the villain this season on Americaís Next Top Model. However, according to her, sheís not that bad of a person and was the victim of editing. In this interview, she touches on how the editing portrayed her to the public, who has contacted her since the show has ended, and what exactly happened to Xiomaraís earrings. Let me be the first to tell you, Camille didnít hold back anything during this talk!
RealityNewsOnline: Can someone assume that when you are being nice to them, after not really getting along in the past, that you are attempting to kill them with kindness?
Camille: I think everyone should do that. Killing people with kindness is not a bad thing. If you donít like someone, thatís the best way to be. Even if you do like someone, there is nothing wrong with killing them with kindness. Being kind is something that everyone should learn how to do. As far as me, I donít think people should assume that. Usually, I stay out of the drama, but we were in a different situation and killing Yoanna with kindness was my way of dealing with it.
RNO:Was what we saw on the show the ďreal Camille,Ē or did the editing chop you up?
Camille:Oh, it was the real Camille, all right. I mean, the things I said were really what I said, there is no escaping that. However, you have to realize that editing was involved. I am a nice person, and I do nice things, but the editing chose to show what they wanted, and that is the decision the network has to make, and they needed me to be the villain. In the end, itís all about ratings, but sometimes you have to realize that reality TV isnít exactly reality.
RNO:Standing with Mercedes at the elimination ceremony, what was running through your head? Did you know that it was your time or did you have faith that you would remain in the contest?
Camille: I never once doubted myself. I was always told by my mother and grandmother that when you doubt yourself, you quit. Most of the girls packed their bags before the elimination ceremony in case they were the one to go. I never did that because I never thought that I would be the one going that week. I was focused and strong and did my best not to get nervous. However, just because I didnít show emotion on the outside at every elimination ceremony doesnít mean I wasnít nervous on the inside. I was not going to cry because this was not big enough for me to cry over. There are people in the world dying of hunger and oppression Ė that is something to cry over. The winner of this show is written, and what I mean by that is God has written it. It was my time to go, but I will still succeed.
RNO: Did you think the judges were too rough on your attitude, or did you deserve the tongue lashing that Tyra gave you at the elimination ceremony?
Camille: I realized that they are judges, and that their job is to tell me the negative and the positive. That is the industry Ė itís dog-eat-dog. You have to learn to just take the criticism and roll with it. Just like the eating thing with Yoanna, she would do stuff to me all the time that didnít get shown on TV. However, I didnít go running to Tyra every time she did something, Iím an adult. I do understand why she said something to Tyra though because an eating disorder is a very serious matter. But back to the question, I donít think they were too rough on me.
RNO: Looking back, what could you have done differently to stick around longer?
Camille: Nothing. There is nothing that I did on the show that I would change. Everything I did was me in a nutshell, and Iím not going to change. People in life that take risks end up being the most successful, or so Iím told. I donít plan to change because Iíve learned and grown from this experience so much, and want to continue doing so.
RNO:Getting back to the eating disorder incident, do you regret or now feel that it was wrong to make a facial gesture when Tyra asked if Yoanna is constantly going to the bathroom after meals?
Camille:Nope, I donít. Iím a very expressive person and not in a verbal way. You know the saying Ė a picture is worth a thousand words? Thatís me. I didnít realize how expressive my face was until I saw it on the show. But I never once said that Yoanna had an eating disorder, I said she would disappear. What she did when she disappeared was her business. She could have been playing in a corner, I donít know. Jay brought it up that someone leaving after every meal is suspicious, and I just made a face.
RNO:After you were eliminated, did you have to come back to the United States right away, or were you able to do a little sightseeing in Milan?
Camille:Well, all I can say is that I stayed for a bit.
RNO: So you got to take in the culture?
Camille: Ha ha, I stayed for a bit.
RNO: In your opinion, which photo of yours came out the best? Was there one that you would like to have changed when you saw the finished product?
Camille:My favorite shot had to be the Garden of Eden shoot. The flower that Iím holding is actually a West Indian flower, so the shoot had a special meaning to me. If there was any shoot I could have changed, it would have been my beauty shot. My eyes could have looked better and like the judges said, I had no neck. I tried to tell the judges that I was lying down for the shot, but they didnít want to hear it. They gave Mercedes some neck when hers didnít look great, but I guess mine was harder to fix. I loved the Diana Ross photo too because she is such a great woman, and it was big shoes to fill. Yoanna made a comment that it was easy for me to look like Diana, saying we looked the same, but she didnít realize that it was tough to capture and look like the true diva that Diana is.
RNO: Watching the show now, do you feel that sometimes you would try to come up with excuses to explain your actions too much, and should have just taken the judges criticism in stride?
Camille: Well, watching the show now I do think that sometimes I should have just bitten my tongue. What they didnít show was that there were several times that the other girls would argue with the judges as well. When they would do it, I would too, but I was the only one shown. I thought Tyra was fine with the criticism that she gave me. I love Tyra to death and respect her so much. She is such an inspiration and role model to me and I think sheís great. Iím a very respectful person, but this was just a different experience for me.
RNO: So, just out of curiosity, did you ever get Xiomaraís earrings fixed for her?
Camille: First off, I never broke them. She let me borrow them, just like I let her borrow my skirt. I never complained that she stretched out my skirt because Iím an adult. So anyway, I just wanted to state that I never broke them. I laid them on the bathroom counter and with 10 girls sharing the same bathroom, things are going to happen. Someone else broke them but I took responsibility when she came running up to me saying I broke them. I gave them back not even knowing they were damaged. So I never apologized because it wasnít my fault. I gave her a pair of my earrings that were very beautiful and crystal, and I still have hers. However, she commented on the website chat that they are gaudy and look like Christmas ornaments. If she doesnít like them, Iíd be more than happy to take them back and give her the broken ones back. Thatís up to her.
RNO: If you had to pick a winner right now, based on what you have seen and the photos in each girlís portfolio, who would you pick and why?
Camille: On photos alone, I would say April or Yoanna. You know what? Yoanna has a great face and bone structure, but Iíve seen that before and plenty of people look like Yoanna. I would pick April because she has had great photos and there arenít many Asians on the runway. I wish her luck, but I wish all the girls that are left tons of luck.
RNO: Was there anyone on the show that you feel you connected with so that you would want to keep in contact with after this is all over?
Camille: Oh, yeah. We all had fun together. Iíve spoken to Xiomara and Mercedes and we are all cool. However, I canít really talk to anyone because of the situation right now, but weíll see each other at the finale party. Jenasica was too funny and needs her own comedy. Shandi gave off a good vibe, but I wasnít always feeling the ďIím an underdogĒ speech that she was always saying with Xiomara.
RNO: Do you feel that it was unfair that you won the one challenge, which was based on personality and professionalism, and then you were eliminated because your personality was too strong?
Camille: I sure do, and I even questioned Tyra about that. A model goes on go-sees all day long, and itís an art that has to be mastered. I was the last person to go that day and I had been up for so long so I was physically and mentally exhausted and still won the challenge. The people were purposely rude to us and I was tired but still trekked on. I was new to it, so I guess you have to take the good with the bad.
RNO:What do you plan to do now? Are you going to try something new or try to stick with modeling?
Camille: Let me tell you, things have been absolutely crazy. My phone is constantly ringing off the hook. I canít go down the street without people wanting to talk to me, and Iím finding that people either love or hate me, but 99% actually love me and wish me luck. Iím hoping that IMG still signs me, as they have the option to sign whomever they want. Other agencies have contacted me, but Iím taking some time to figure out what I want. Even TV shows have contacted me, wanting me to star as the girl with attitude, so this is all working out for me. I just want to hit the runway and show some attitude.
RNO: Is there anything you would like to say or add? There are plenty of people who have a strong opinion of you Camille, anything to say to the naysayers?
Camille: I just want everyone to know who the real Camille McDonald is. I encourage people to check out my website at www.camillemcdonald.com. Also, just know that reality TV isnít exactly true reality, and that Iím actually a very nice person. The show didnít show that, but I guess in the time allotted they canít show everyoneís true personality.
RNO: Thanks again, Camille!
Phil Kural is a senior at Temple University, and can be reached at email@example.com.
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