Gaining Self Confidence: An Interview with America’s Next Top Model 2’s Shandi Sullivanby Phil Kural -- 03/25/2004
Shandi was the tenth contestant cut this season on America’s Next Top Model 2. Throughout the competition, she struggled to find self-confidence and the courage to compete with the other women. However, after a few shoots, Shandi was considered one of the top picks to win the whole thing. I had a chance to speak with Shandi, and she came off just as humble as she did on the show. In this interview, Shandi touches on several topics, including the whole boyfriend thing, why she applied for the show, and when she really thought she had a chance of winning. Oh, and I would like to thank RealityNewsOnline’s very own Sting7 for his suggested questions.
RealityNewsOnline: While you don’t look like the same person that started the competition, how has the competition changed your perception of yourself?
Shandi: Wow, good first question! Obviously, my confidence went sky high, and all it took was a haircut and no more glasses! I went into the whole thing very unsure about myself and was surprised that I could pull it off. I showed people that I can transform and I’m proud of myself.
RNO: Who gave you the idea to apply for the show, and did you expect to make it to the finals?
Shandi: My boyfriend actually dragged me down to the casting call and made me apply. He had watched the first season and told me that I would be perfect for the show. When we got there, about 400 girls were waiting to apply. I thought almost all of them had a better chance then I did, and there is no way I would have ever thought I would get as far as I ended up.
RNO: Oh, and the obvious questions: How are things with your boyfriend? Are the two of you still together?
Shandi: Yes, we are still together and very happy. He forgave me for the things that I have done and I love him very much. We worked through it.
RNO: Is there anything you would like to say about that night in Italy that the cameras might not have made clear?
Shandi: I just didn’t like the way they made it seem like everyone was involved in the whole thing. It was just the guy and me. The way it was hyped looked like they wanted everyone to think that it was an orgy, and that just wasn’t the case. That’s pretty much it – it wasn’t a group thing, no matter what it looked like.
RNO: Watching the shows, it seemed like you were a favorite of the judges because you kept surprising them. Why do you think you didn't win?
Shandi: It became pretty clear that after what happened that night in Milan, it was hard for me to focus on anything. The judges could see that, and that’s why I don’t think I won. I couldn’t concentrate and it even screwed up and showed in my walk. The judges picked up on that.
RNO: When did you first realize that you had a chance at winning this competition?
Shandi: I think after the sunglasses picture, the one in Milan, is when I really started to think, “Wow, I could really take this!” That was when I was really ready to give the competition my all.
RNO: Who would most like to bump off a runway, Bethany or Camille?
Shandi: Oh, this one is easy – Camille. She was such a mess. The viewers are lucky they only got to see an hour of her a week. We had to live with her and put up with her 24/7, which I don’t think I could do again.
RNO: So do you plan to continue trying to become a model, or do you plan on pursuing something else?
Shandi: Oh, I would love to be a model, but I have to wait and see what happens. I also wouldn’t mind doing something else like acting or even TV. That would be so much fun and I know I would have a blast.
RNO: Knowing all the mental stress that you went through during the show, do you think you would do it all again if you had the chance?
Shandi: Yes, definitely – without a doubt. Simply for the way the whole thing boosted my self-confidence, I would do it all over in a heartbeat. I did things in that competition that I never thought I would ever be able to do. The whole thing was worth it, stress and all.
RNO: Which of the girls are you still in contact with, and is there anyone you don’t think you will be talking too much once everything is over?
Shandi: Well, I still keep in very close contact with Yoanna and Xiomara. I write letters all the time to Sara, and I email Mercedes pretty frequently. I guess with girls that I won’t really talk too that often, it would probably be the first few girls that were eliminated since I never really got to know them – and of course, Camille. I read in an interview that Camille said the girls weren’t allowed to keep in contact when someone asked her who she still talks to. That’s not true – we were allowed to talk, it’s just that nobody really wants to talk to HER. Even at the finale party, nobody was really talking to her!
RNO: Did your family watch the show, see your transformation, and finally realize what a beautiful woman you really are?
Shandi: For the most part, my family has been so supportive. My sisters call me every day and have just been there for me every step of the way. I think my sisters knew that I had all that inside me. My parents doubted me from the beginning and didn’t even believe I was on the show until they actually saw me. We don’t really talk that much, but when I was on the show, they were warming back up to me until the episode when I talked about my family issues. They haven’t talked to me much since that. Oh well!
RNO: And finally, what do you have to say to other Walgreen’s employees that may be dreaming of a modeling career?
Shandi: Haha, because it all starts at Walgreen’s! I would just say that you have to believe in yourself and have that confidence and support. Also, the less stress you have is the better. This is a very stressful career and the show was very physically and mentally draining, but well worth the effort!
RNO: Thanks, Shandi! Good luck in the future!
Phil Kural is a senior at Temple University, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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