ďI Left Thinking, Kelle, Youíre an OK Girl!Ē: An Interview with Americaís Next Top Model 3ís Kelleby Phil Kural -- 10/29/2004
Of all the girls that I have spoken to thus far this season, Kelle is definitely the friendliest. I still donít understand why the other girls thought she was stuck up, and if she is, it didnít shine through in this interview. In this interview, find out how Kelle felt about constantly getting verbally thrashed by the judges, how long she thought she would last in the competition, and if she would relive the whole thing again. You might be shocked at some of her answers because this girl is a trooper Ė thatís for sure!
RNO: With the constant criticism that the judges were giving you, were you surprised that you made it as far as you did?
Kelle: Oh God, yes! I know the judges werenít happy with my pictures and it was quite obvious that I wasnít hanging around because of my photos. It helped that they knew there was something special in me, and kept me around for that reason. They saw there was something in me, they just werenít able to pull it out.
RNO: Were you aware that in the beginning most of the other girls were viewing you as a very stuck up person?
Kelle:No, I wasnít! Iím just used to being around all my other girlfriends, and, like I said on the show, they would always say things like ďKelle, youíre really a white girl,Ē and stuff like that. But thatís just me, and I wasnít trying to offend people. I did confront the girls that were talking about me, and we hammered everything out. I explained to them everything and said I was working on not trying to come across as stuck up or better than anyone. Everyone was more understanding after that.
RNO: Out of curiosity, why didnít you choose Eva when you won the lingerie challenge? After all, she chose you when she won?
Kelle: You have to understand that Eva only chose me because most of the other girls were talking about her at the time. I was out there, and never really hated on anyone. Thatís why she chose me. I chose Amanda and Toccara because when I was feeling down, they were the girls that were there by my side to cheer me up. Itís different reasons as to why certain girls are chosen to go along, but there was really no reason or need for me to choose Eva.
RNO: Do you feel that when you told Jay you wanted to know what you were doing wrong, he took it the wrong way?
Kelle: Oh yeah, definitely! I wasnít trying to ask him to be told what to do, but just needed help with what I was doing wrong. I didnít expect him to give me a verbal spanking, but you know what, I took the whole thing in stride!
RNO: Was there ever a photo shoot that you were pleased with your final photo?
Kelle: Believe it or not, I thought the last photo was really good! Throughout the whole thing, I was getting progressively better, and I really had no issues with my Jamaica shoot either, and the final photo they chose for me was the only one that I took crouching down, so I was surprised that they used that one. The deer in headlights headshot wasnít too bad either, and I thought was sort of cute. However, the one photo that I truly hated was the Lee jeans shot. Ugh, I donít even want to think about that one!
RNO: If Ann had written in your food, would you have taken it as a joke, or reacted the way that Cassie did?
Kelle: What Ann did was inappropriate, especially with all the tension that was already going on in the loft. I would have been upset just like Cassie was, although I donít think I would have gone around questioning everyone. It was definitely a wrong thing to do on Annís part though, and she should have thought it out before doing it.
RNO: Do you feel that you were edited fairly, or were only the times you were criticized shown, and not the times you were praised?
Kelle: It was a variation of things and the way they happened, really. I canít even imagine how hard it is for the editors to decide what to show and what not to show. There are definitely things I would have changed or would have rather they not showed, but Iím glad that they showed how I got beaten down, and still grew confidence and came out of the whole thing okay, and that I wasnít too upset about losing. They summed me up pretty well, but like I said, there are some things I wish would have never made it, haha!
RNO: Would the experience itself make you want to do the show again, is the pressure and criticism too much to handle a second time?
Kelle:At the time, the whole thing was very hard and emotional. Looking back, I feel like I came out a much stronger person than I did when I started the whole thing. I learned a lot, and was able to step out and look at myself, and I liked watching myself grow each week on TV. I know itís going to sound crazy, but I would do it again, simply for the learning experience.
RNO: Why do you think Nicole and Norelle are getting such a little amount of camera time? Is it because they are never involved in the drama, or are they just not that interesting?
Kelle: Itís definitely because they were not involved with all the drama. Norelle is so sweet, and loopy in a cute way. Nicole was just like whatever Ė very punk rock and out there. She didnít get involved in the drama at all. Thatís probably why you arenít seeing much of them, but they were both very essential to the group.
RNO: Do you regret saying on national TV that you think you have a snout?
Kelle: Ugh, not really. What I do regret saying is the whole monkey thing. I know itís my one imperfection, and I should have used another word when talking about it Ė I was babbling and the word monkey came out. I love being black, and would have it no other way, but just wish I didnít use that word!
RNO: I asked Jennipher last week if she thought the judges were out to get her, but the same question seems to apply to you. Do you feel the judges were unjustly harsh to you at times?
Kelle: I felt beat up at times, but I really canít be upset about it. Iím not sure if you want to call it brutal honesty or tough love, but itís what I signed up for, so I canít really complain about it. I had to make the best of it, and I did. Now, Iíve realized that there is nothing anyone can say to me that will make me feel bad about myself, since Iíve already heard it all on national TV.
RNO: Even though you lasted until the sixth cut, there were several times that it looked like you might possibly be the one going home. Did you know you were safe each prior week, or did you think you were going home before being the sixth cut?
Kelle: God, I thought I was going home every week, and actually packed my bags early each week thinking that I was the one going. Some of the girls would tell me to unpack, but I was certain it was me each week. By the time I finally did leave, I was okay with going home. I couldnít take anymore, but I knew as each week went by, I was getting better, which was a positive.
RNO: Do you still think you have a chance to make it in the modeling industry, or are you just going to stick to your gallery right now?
Kelle: Iím just going to stick with my gallery and take Janiceís advice and do it for the rest of my life, haha! However, if modeling offers came along, Iíd be more than happy to take them! Getting kicked off the show gave me more confidence than I thought I would ever have, and I feel stronger because of the whole thing.
RNO: Whatís the most important thing you learned about yourself from the whole experience?
Kelle: That would be how strong I am. Iíve realized that Iím much more mature now about certain things, and I like myself so much more, and Iím okay with everything that was said. I left the show thinking, ďKelle, youíre an OK girl!Ē They didnít break me, and Iím still smiling.
RNO: Is there anything you would like to add or say to fans of the show? Maybe something we didnít get to see?
Kelle: Well, if there is one thing I can say, Iíd love to tell people to check out my gallery at www.oswaldcleveland.com. Iíve put so much of my time into the gallery, and Iím so proud of it! Thanks to everyone for their support and keep watching!
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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