"I Hated That Weave!": An Interview With America's Next Top Model 4's Kahlenby Phil Kural -- 05/20/2005
When the show first aired, I looked at Kahlen as another "blonde hair, blue eyed" girl. She actually reminded me a lot of Shannon from season one, without the huge grin. That wasn't the case, though. Kahlen really was her own person, and knew how to evoke any emotion in her photos. Even though she didn't win, I have a feeling we definitely have not seen the last of her. I had a chance to talk to Kahlen, and she didn't lack any confidence when we spoke, in fact, I think she commanded the interview!
RealityNewsOnline: Why did you originally decide to try out for the show and did you send in a video or go to an open call audition?
Kahlen: Actually, I had never seen an episode of the show. The producers came into my restaurant for lunch one day and told me that they were having open calls, and that I should go. I didn't pay them any mind, but later, some of the crew was in and they told me the same thing. I thought the whole thing was a joke, but went anyway. Next thing I know, here I am!
RNO: Tyra said that you were not just a normal blonde hair, blue eyed girl, but that you had edge. What do you think that edge was?
Kahlen: She knew that I understood how to look edgy in my photos. Naima didn't have to do that since she "looked" edgy. I looked edgy in my photos, not so much in person, and I think that's what Tyra was trying to say when she said that.
RNO: When it was down to the final three, did you truly believe that you would be the one going home at that point?
Kahlen: Oh, I so thought it was me going home at that point. I knew I took a good photo, but my commercial segment wasn't really that great, and the judges kept saying that I needed more confidence. When they praised Keenyah for having a lot of confidence, I thought that my time was up.
RNO: Do you feel that Keenyah gaining weight had something to do with why she was eliminated?
Kahlen: Yes, in a way, I do. I'm not totally sure about it, but I think it did play a small part, since the judges continually said something about her, and she didn't really pay attention to their comments and kept on doing what she wanted. That might have been a reason they cut her.
RNO: Out of all the girls eliminated, who did you miss the most?
Kahlen: I would say I missed Rebecca the most. Nobody saw it coming when she was eliminated, and when the show first started, I thought she was going to be there longer than I was. I wanted to be everyone's friend and stay focused, but when Rebecca was eliminated, I realized that anyone could go at any time. In a way, Rebecca being eliminated made me strive even harder to win.
RNO: Do you really think that the photo shoots are "coincidental?" Keenyah getting gluttony and the elephant, and the seven deadly sins shoot?
Kahlen: Yeah, I think it's coincidental. They have to plan those shoots weeks ahead of time so that they can book the costumes, and the photographer and even the location. Keenyah getting the elephant and gluttony was just a misfortune, but yeah, I think it was purely coincidence.
RNO: Why were you so upset when the other girls were fighting in the hotel room?
Kahlen: I don't like fighting and I'm more the kind of person to sit and talk out my problems before I start yelling. I thought it was totally disrespectful to be yelling at one another, and the whole thing upset me. I get a little emotional over things like that.
RNO: Out of all the girls, whose performance and growth impressed you the most?
Kahlen: I would say that would be Keenyah. She has great photos and the judges always seemed to love them. Of course, she had an off week, but we all did at one point or another. Naima grew a lot too, and I definitely think she deserved to win.
RNO: What part of the whole experience was the hardest to adapt to?
Kahlen: That would probably be the lack of sleep. The hours were outrageous sometimes. I'm used to sleeping so much, but they kept us constantly busy. I missed my bed!
RNO: Do you have a boyfriend yet?
Kahlen: No, I don't. I'm kinda... well, no. Haha!
RNO: Which shot in your portfolio are you the most proud of? Are there any that you don't care for?
Kahlen: Well, I didn't like the Wonder Bra shoot or the one where we were dancing and posing, but I adored my Zodiac shot and the animal one. The first shoot we did, as the aliens, was probably one of my favorite as well. I enjoyed the shots where we put on all the makeup and transformed. They were the most fun.
RNO: At the final elimination ceremony, did you think that you were going to beat Naima?
Kahlen: Yes, I did think I was going to win. I knew that I had a stronger portfolio, and I thought I rocked it on the runway. When they showed us the clips of the show though, I saw that Naima nailed the runway too. I had a little doubt at that point, but I thought it was going to be all the way up until Naima's face showed up on the screen.
RNO:Are you still sticking with the weave, or did you go back to natural?
Kahlen: Oh God, I hated that weave and got rid of it. I retract my last statement and let me say that weave was the worst part of the whole experience, not the hours! I couldn't even run a comb through my hair, and it got to the point where it was so bunched up that they had to cut it out of my head. Ugh, just thinking about it...
RNO:Is modeling still something that you want to do?
Kahlen: Oh yeah, definitely. I'm moving to New York at the end of the month and hopefully with the contacts I've made, I'll be able to sign with someone and continue on that road.
RNO:Wow, all the girls are moving to New York now. Are you all going to live together again?
Kahlen:Definitely not! Some of the girls have called me and said, "Oh, I'm moving to New York too, do you want to live together?" and I had to tell them no! There is no way I'm going through all that again, haha!
RNO:What kind of advice would you give to girls that are thinking about trying out for future seasons of the show?
Kahlen: I would just say that you have to be yourself. Don't be fake because the judges will see right through it. They know everything that's going on, but don't give up. If you believe that you can do it, you can!
RNO: Thanks, Kahlen!
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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