ďSo I Hear Iím YOUR Mercedes?Ē: An Interview with Americaís Next Top Model 2ís Mercedes Scelba-Shorteby Phil Kural -- 03/25/2004
This is it, folks Ė the moment Iíve been waiting for! My interview with MY Mercedes! As you know, Mercedes was the eleventh person cut this season from Americaís Next Top Model 2. Even though she struggled with lupus, Mercedes was still portrayed as the fun-loving, quirky girl. She didnít win the whole thing, but in this interview she discusses why she doesnít think that was so, why Yoanna took home the prize, and what she thought about being called 'commercial' all the time!
RealityNewsOnline: Hi, Mercedes!
Mercedes: Hey! Iíve been waiting to talk to you! I read all your stuff, and from what I understand, Iím ďYOUR Mercedes?Ē
RNO: Thatís right, I love you so much!
Mercedes: Aww, I love you too.
RNO: When you first applied for the show, did you think that having lupus would put you at a greater disadvantage when it came to being selected?
Mercedes: Oh yeah, I definitely thought it was going to be a problem. On the application, it asked if I was on medication and if I had any illnesses, so of course I had to list it. I never thought I was going to get picked after that, but I did! And I canít believe how far I made it!
RNO: We saw dozens of times when the judges would tell you that you looked ďtoo commercial.Ē Did they ever give you any advice as to how to stop looking that way and to look more high fashion?
Mercedes: Actually, they did! The judges told me to go out and buy an issue of Vogue, and I did! That helped me to figure out what they meant when they were telling me to be more edgy and how to position myself. Not to mention the great makeup tips!
RNO: When the competition first began, who stuck out to you that you thought would be your greatest competition, and why?
Mercedes: There was nobody in particular that really stuck out as my greatest competition. Everyone there struck me as different and worried me. I mean, Sara was an exotic beauty, April was a beautiful Asian woman, so everyone was different and beautiful in their own way.
RNO: You were one of the final two remaining to be called at two elimination ceremonies, once with Camille and once with April. Did you think that you were going home either of those times?
Mercedes: Oh, I knew when I was up there with Camille that I wasnít going home. I was so upset because it was my first time being up there like that. But from the comments that Camille was getting from the judges, I knew her time was up. With April, I thought I was done. April was so great in her photos that I figured there was no way I was going to survive that one. But lo and behold!
RNO: During the finale, you stated that Shandi was your greatest competition. When she was eliminated, did you think that the prize was pretty much yours?
Mercedes: Nope, not for a second. Everything changes all the time and you can never have a true sense of confidence when it comes to thinking that you are not going home. Yoanna had a beautiful face and I knew the judges loved her. I was still worried, and didnít think for a second that I had the win in my pocket.
RNO: Which photo are you the most proud of, and are there any that you wish you had the chance to take over?
Mercedes: Oh, I would love to take that underwater photo over again. It looks like Iím being strangled! My best picture, in my opinion, was the final shot, the beauty photo. I finally got the whole edgy thing down and it really shows in that photo. I loved it!
RNO: Did anyoneís elimination surprise you, and on the flip side, was there anyone that you think got to stay around longer then they probably deserved?
Mercedes: I donít think anybody really got to stay around longer then they should have. The judges knew what they wanted and made their cuts according to that. However, I didnít think Sara was going when she did. She was just so beautiful, but I guess that she was lacking something at the time that the judges really wanted.
RNO: So do you plan on sticking with the modeling career, or do you want to try something else?
Mercedes: Oh, I do want to continue modeling. I had a little bit of experience before the show and I actually won some small competitions but was never signed to any agency. Also, I would love to get into acting as well. I was in and out of acting schools when I was little and I was in some things, but nothing all that big. Itís a lot of fun though, and Iíd really like to pursue that as well.
RNO: Do you think there was anything else you could have done during the course of the competition or during the fashion show that would have changed the judges' minds and made you the winner?
Mercedes: Oh, I worked it on that runway! I donít really think there was anything I could have done. The judges knew why they wanted Yoanna to win, even though their reasons were different then mine, but they chose her to win and I donít think there was anything else I could have done to change their minds. They knew she would be a success in the industry, and I wish her luck.
RNO: What is the one thing from the show that you want viewers to remember you by, and do you think the editing showed you accurately?
Mercedes: Yeah, I would say they showed me very accurately. The editing didnít really show, though, just how stressful the whole situation was. We only got like four or five hours of sleep a night and it was just so tiring. We all handled it so well though, and I wish they would have showed more of that.
RNO: Almost every time I asked one of the eliminated girls who they became close to, they said you. Why do you feel everyone is always so drawn to you? I mean, I pegged you as my favorite before the show even began!
Mercedes: I have always gotten along with everyone. People know that I am nice and seem to gravitate towards me. Even in high school, I had so many different kinds of friends. I accept people for who they are and have had punk friends, goth friends, hip-hop friends, you know? People are people and I just happen to get along with most of them!
RNO: What type of advice would you give to girls who are considering applying for the next season of Americaís Next Top Model?
Mercedes: That there is so much more then just high fashion modeling. So if you donít make the show, know that itís not because you arenít beautiful, because there are so many types of other work out there, like commercial, print Ė they look for foot models, hand models, you name it!
RNO: For my final question, I was just going to say ďMY MercedesĒ 100 times, but I figured that would be a little stalkerish, so instead, Iíll just ask if there is anything you would like to add or say to all your fans?
Mercedes: I just want to thank everyone for the support that they gave me. Also, let me clear up my ethnicity for everyone. I have an African-American father and a white mother. I grew up in a Spanish neighborhood and my stepfather is Chinese, so as you can see, Iím a pretty well-rounded individual. Thanks again, Phil!
RNO: Aww, no problem! Thank you, MY Mercedes. Youíre the best, I love you so much. Iím gushing!
Phil Kural is a senior at Temple University, and can be reached at email@example.com.
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