"I Would Have Rocked That Final Challenge": An Interview With America's Next Top Model 4's Keenyahby Phil Kural -- 05/20/2005
Before the show started this season, I pegged Keenyah as a favorite, and she didn't disappoint. Yeah, as time went on, she came across as a little more cocky than she did when the show first started, but all in all, if I were to have Sentimental Favorites for this show, Keenyah would be right up there. I had a chance to speak with Keenyah the day after the finale, and her personality shined on the phone just as it did on the show.
RealityNewsOnline: Had you watched previous seasons of the show and what factored into your decision to apply?
Keenyah: Oh, I had watched every episode of every season of the show prior to being on it. I finally had a gut feeling that I could do this, so I held my breath and auditioned. I never in my wildest dreams would have though I'd be sitting her talking to you.
RNO:Do you feel that as the season wore on, your confidence was starting to be portrayed as cockiness?
Keenyah: Yes, I do feel that as time went on I was edited to look a little more cocky than I actually was. I had tons of confidence, and that transcended into me being cocky, which wasn't the case. I think it was more the editing, and I really hope people don't see me that way because I'm a really nice girl!
RNO: In reality, was the whole weight issue as big a deal as some people were making it? Have you lost the weight you put on during the show?
Keenyah: Yes, I think it was while I was on the show. It was stressful for me, and eating is a way for me to calm down. It's just "my thing." However, since the show has ended, I did start to make better choices in my diet, and I'm exercising on a regular basis. That's the most important thing. I have lost the weight since the show – and then some!
RNO: It seemed like you never understood why the judges liked Naima so much. Do you still feel that way?
Keenyah: I agreed with all of the critiques the judges were saying, and I'm happy for Naima because she really deserved to win. Of course, I wish I had won, but what can you do?
RNO: Did you feel that when the judges made you pose as gluttony, and then an elephant, that they were tying to send you a message, or was it coincidental?
Keenyah: At first, I definitely thought it was this major conspiracy to make be gluttony and all fat and hungry, then I thought it was really a conspiracy when I had to be an elephant. After watching the show though, I do think it was more on the "coincidental" side, since SOMEONE had to be gluttony and SOMEONE had to be the elephant. I think we all had our embarrassing moments, but honestly, I think it was more coincidental than anything else.
RNO: Was Brittany correct when she said you didn't know if Nelson Mandela was still alive or not?
Keenyah: Yes, Brittany was correct when she said I didn't know if Nelson Mandela was still alive or not. I guess maybe I just wasn't caught up on things at the time, but when I returned home, I researched Mandela and understood the struggle that he went through. It's truly amazing, and I'm much more aware of things now.
RNO: Was there ever a doubt in your mind that you would be the one going home when it was just you and Kahlen in front of Tyra?
Keenyah: Before we were brought back into the judging room, myself and Kahlen both thought it was going to be her going home. It was the whole confidence thing, and the judges kept stressing that Kahlen didn't show any, and I had a whole lot of it. Therefore, of course we both thought that it was going to be her eliminated. You could imagine how shocked I was.
RNO: Do you feel the editing was fair to you? At times, it seemed like you were either Brittany's sidekick, or coming off a little condescending.
Keenyah: Brittany and I were very close on the show, but I think of the footage you saw, it's hard to understand that we weren't like that all the time, and you are only seeing a very little bit of our friendship. I don't think in any way was I ever her sidekick.
RNO:Were you mad that Naima got to open Nelson Mandela's cell, or were you just disappointed that you didn't get to do it?
Keenyah: It was an emotional moment for everyone when the key was handed over to Naima to open the cell. I think it was important for Naima to open the cell, just like it would have been important for any of us to. I'm happy that she got to do it.
RNO: Do you feel that some of the girls weren't minding their own business when they would make comments to you about making better choices when eating, or did you welcome their comments?
Keenyah: No, I actually welcomed their comments on the weight issue. I did my best to take what people said and put a positive spin on it. I tried my best with the weight thing, and anything the girls had to tell me that could possibly help, I took to heart.
RNO: If you had the chance, and knowing the how tough it was the first time, do you think you would do the experience over again?
Keenyah: Yes, I would do it again in a second. It was a great experience and I learned so much from the judges, photographers and everyone that we met. It's definitely an experience I'll never forget.
RNO: Besides Brittany, what other girls did you become close to?
Keenyah: I was very close to Christina. Myself, Christina, and Brittany were like best friends. Even though it didn't look like it, I was close to Naima as well.
RNO: How well do you think you would have fared in the final challenge? Would you have been comfortable with the "walking on water" aspect of the runway show?
Keenyah: Oh, I would have rocked that final challenge. I love runway, and it's my passion. Yes, the runway in the water was a little intimidating, but that would have made it even more exciting. I wish I had gotten to do it!
RNO: What are you doing now? Do you still plan on pursuing a modeling career?
Keenyah: Oh, I definitely want to continue on the modeling path. I plan on moving to New York next month and taking it from there. Hopefully I'll get lucky and someone will sign me. I know that I want to do this, so I'm willing to take a chance.
RNO:What is the one trait that girl's should have if they intend on trying out for future seasons of the show?
Keenyah: The one trait that girls should have if they are going to apply for future seasons is that they have to be comfortable and confident with themselves. It comes across in everything that you do on the show, so you have to be able to accept yourself for who you are and play off your own strengths.
RNO: Thanks, Keenyah! Good luck to you, I think your going to great.
Keenyah:Aww, thanks Phil!
Phil Kural is a recent graduate from Temple University, with a degree in journalism. You can reach him at email@example.com with any feedback that you may have.
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