ďIíd Let Janice Rip on Me All DayĒ Ė An Interview with Americaís Next Top Model 3ís Leahby Phil Kural -- 10/01/2004
Leah might have been one of the prettiest girls this season on Americaís Next Top Model, but her lack of experience and nervousness took a hold of her early, and caused her to be the second girl to get cut. In this interview, Leah discusses who she became close to during the show, what she thought about Eva and Annís friendship, how she felt about the judging panel, and much more!
RNO: What was your reaction when you found out you were one of the finalists?
Leah: In one word: Disbelief! I felt okay when I was in front of the panel answering questions and was very confident when I went in there, but there was still a part of me that didnít think I would make it. I actually told my parents that I probably wouldnít make the finals, and said Iíd go back to my old job, but they kept telling me they had a feeling, and they were right!
RNO: Were there any of the girls in the semi-finals that you grew close to and were disappointed didnít make it to the finals?
Leah: Most of the girls that I became close to actually made the final 14. I was very close to Jennipher for the whole time I was there, and sheís going to move to New York, where I am now, and weíll probably live together. I also grew very close to Kristi and Magdalena, both of which also made the final 14.
RNO: If the first photo shoot had been a nude one, would you have been able to do it?
Leah: Oh yeah, I would have done it in a second! After all, I WAS the girl that said, ďNude me up!Ē
RNO: Did you think after the first shoot you would be the one to go home? Is that why you grabbed the envelope before anyone else?
Leah: I was so nervous in that picture, and it showed. The whole thing looks glamorous, but believe me, there is so much you donít get to see Ė like makeup running, directions being shouted Ė itís pretty stressful. I couldnít put that aside and let my nerves get to me. I had a little feeling I might be the one going home, so I grabbed the envelope out of nervousness, so that if it was me, I could just run out. I thought it would be me, so I wanted to brace myself.
RNO: What did you think of Annís outburst over the whole room-choosing fiasco? Was she really that co-dependant on Eva?
Leah: Keep in mind that I was only there for a little bit, so what I say is based solely on that. I was shocked by the way she acted, but Ann and Eva had a really good friendship, but I donít think it was a healthy friendship to have during a competition like this one. Eventually, they would have to go head to head, and their friendship would get damaged. They should have put their friendship on hold until after the show was over. Ann is gorgeous and Eva has spunk, both of which show in their pictures, which goes to show that they are in competition with each other. The whole flipping out thing on Annís part though was just totally unnecessary.
RNO: From the time you were there, what would you say was the hardest aspect of the whole experience?
Leah: You have to realize, there is no such thing as sleep. If youíre in a car, you can only hope you have ten minutes to sleep. The cameras, the stress, the drama from the other girls and the show Ė itís all pretty rough, but the hardest thing is releasing everything in order to pull yourself together and take a good picture. Thatís the hardest part of all.
RNO: Who did you feel the closest to in the house? Was there anyone that rubbed you the wrong way?
Leah: I can honestly say that I donít have a bad thing to say about any of the girls. Everyone had their own personality and they were just being themselves. As far as who I felt the closest to, like I said, Jennipher, Kristi, and Magdalena were probably my best friends during the process.
RNO: When each girl was being called during the elimination ceremony, did you think that it was you going home, or someone else?
Leah: When I saw the way Tyra was calling the girls, I had a good idea that it was me who was going home. I actually gave myself a little time to come to that realization so that when I was eliminated, it wasnít the biggest shock in the world for me, and I didnít break down in a pool of tears. I was very disappointed though, Iíll tell you that.
RNO: Were the judges what you expected, or do you think they came off a little harsh?
Leah: Well, Noleí is Noleí. Honestly, I think he needed to board the dog and board the attitude. However, heís an expert and knows what heís talking about. It would have been nice for him to just give the fact when giving us feedback, and kept the opinions and comments to himself, but that wasnít happening. Heís just very eccentric. As far as Janice, she was a riot! She might be the Simon Cowell of the show, but she needs to keep doing it because she was so funny and I loved her so much. She could have ripped on me all day and I wouldnít have minded. Actually, Janice did give me a compliment, and I felt like I needed her to write it down because I didnít believe it. The judges were awesome with the comments they gave us, and they really helped me out.
RNO: Was there anything about the whole process or experience that surprised you?
Leah: I was definitely surprised that the second elimination was so close to the first. It came only a few days later, and it was odd that someone else was already going home Ė which was me! I actually told Kristi the night before that it was probably me, which helped me to prepare myself for the elimination.
RNO: From what you saw during the photo shoot, was there anyone that seemed to be a leg up on the competition?
Leah: Jennipher showed more power than I thought she would. Amanda did great as well. She was able to put all her fears to the side and just get the job done. I wasnít crazy about the poses in her photos, but she was able to do much more than some of the other girls. She was definitely dedicated to the whole thing.
RNO: Are you still interested in being a model, or are you exploring other options now?
Leah: I love modeling so much, and Iím willing to do anything in the industry. Itís so much fun, and I learned so much from being on the show. I really hope to find an agency that will sign and work with me. I also loved being on the show, and wouldnít mind getting involved in TV. Honestly though, anything with modeling would make me so happy.
RNO: Did you walk away from the experience learning anything new about yourself? If so, what?
Leah: I learned that Iím more nervous than I thought in front of the cameras and people, but was actually able to get over all that. Also, I learned that you have to be yourself at all times. There will always be people that donít like the way you look, the way you walk, or who you are, but you need to learn to get over that and to just be yourself. In the end, you will be much happier, and thatí what I learned.
RNO: Is there anything you would like to add or say to the faithful viewers? Anything funny that didnít make the show?
Leah: Well, this isnít really spoiling anything, but just keep watching this season because itís going to be very intense Ė possibly the most exciting season so far. There is going to be plenty of drama, but fun drama Ė nothing over the top, and expect Jennipher to spice things up a bit!
RNO: Thanks Leah, and good luck with everything!
Phil Kural is a recent graduate from Temple University, with a degree in journalism. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback that you may have.
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