"I Can't Be Bitter About Their Honesty": An Interview With America's Next Top Model 4's Christinaby Phil Kural -- 05/06/2005
Even from when I did my preview article this season, Christina was an early favorite, and I had a good feeling that she was going to make it pretty far. Alas, she was not meant to be America's next top model, but she was meant to make it to the final five. I had a chance to talk to Christina, and got to ask her some pretty good questions about what's been bugging me about the show this season, and yes, I'm talking about Keenyah and the way everyone talks about her weight issue, which isn't even an issue. I must admit that Christina was quick to answer all my questions, and although she sounded a little bored and tired, she wasn't shy about being truthful. Read on for details!
RNO: Had you watched previous seasons of the show, and what factored into your decision to apply?
Christina: I had seen a few episodes of the first and second season, and thought about applying, then my family and friends pushed me to do it, telling me that it's what I wanted, so I went to an open call audition that they were having here in Tallahassee, and here I am!
RNO: Did you have any modeling experience prior to being on the show?
Christina: I had done some modeling in Europe, including Barcelona, Italy and Tokyo before the show, but it was nothing big, and it was a pretty long time ago. I hadn't done anything recent.
RNO: Your biggest critique on the show was that you appeared to be what the judges called an "ice princess" and very cold in front of the camera. Had you ever heard that before?
Christina: You know, it's either a good thing or a bad thing. I happen to exude confidence, and my mother always told me to hold myself highly and carry myself well. That's what I thought I was doing, and never realized that I was coming across as icy and hard to read.
RNO: Do you feel that you were possibly robbed of a spot in the final four since three of the other four girls said you were the weakest of the remaining girls?
Christina: I don't want to say that I was robbed, but yeah, I dwelled on it for a little. It hurt to hear that I was the weakest to some girls, but everyone was just being honest, just like I was with my critiques as well. I would have loved to make it to the final four, but to say I was robbed because of the other girl's comments would be unfair.
RNO: Were you surprised that Kahlen and Naima turned on you, especially since the three of you seemed to be so tight?
Christina: I was pretty surprised that Kahlen and Naima said that I was the weakest girl in the competition since we were friends. But, like I said before, everyone was just being honest, and you can't fault them for that.
RNO: Had you known that Kahlen and Naima were going to say that you were the weakest girl remaining, would you have said one of them instead of Brittany?
Christina: No, I would have said Brittany still since I thought she was the weakest in the competition at that point. I can't be bitter about their honesty, so I had to be honest as well. When we were asked which girl was the weakest at that point, I thought it was Brittany.
RNO: You had said several times that the judges mistook your confidence as being cold. Did you ever try to explain to them that this was the situation?
Christina: I did try to explain it to the judges, but whenever I got in front of the panel I was very reserved and calm. I wanted to be respectful of them because I know they are all so well known in the industry. Tyra told me to be myself, and said she got a glimpse of it at the panel where I broke down in front of the judges. I had wanted to be there, and it was frustrating that the judges didn't get to see the outgoing me that the other girls saw.
RNO: Do you think that the judges and other girls were stressing a little too much about Keenyah's weight, possibly making it look like girls need to be thin to succeed?
Christina: Wow, you have some good questions! You know, it's a competition, and regardless of if she was told about her weight or her posing, Keenyah was told to improve, and she wasn't taking what the judges were saying seriously. She wasn't trying to make better choices. In a way, I did feel bad for her though since everyone was critiquing her weight.
RNO: So you don't think it was her weight that was becoming an issue, it was the fact that she wasn't listening to what the judges were saying and asking of her?
Christina: Well, it's a combination of both. Unfortunately, Keenyah came in lighter than she was right now. When she was told that it was becoming a problem, she cared, but not enough to make better choices. So I think the judges and the other girls were getting peeved since she wasn't really listening.
RNO: Of the remaining four girls, how would you rank them from who has made the most progress to the least?
Christina: Ugh, I really don't know. I mean, all the girls have come a long way and everyone has grown in one way or another. I'd say that Kahlen is probably showing the biggest growth, followed by Naima. Then I would say Brittany, and right now, I'd say Keenyah has shown the least amount of progress. She's a pretty girl, but progress wise, she's last.
RNO: Two episodes ago, Tyra showed you a trick to make your upper lip appear bigger. Did you use that trick in the nature photo shoot?
Christina: Haha, it was a good trick to learn, but no, I didn't use it. I don't plan on getting any surgery done on my lip, and I think it's unique. I'm all about the tricks of the trade, but there is no collagen in my future.
RNO: Were the judges what you expected or was the panel experience quite different than what you thought it would be?
Christina: Well, I had seen a few episodes of seasons prior, so I knew what I was getting myself into, but I don't think I expected it to be as intense as it was. You never knew what was going to happen in there, and I think in the end, I lost sight of who I was, and that's why I let them get to me so easily.
RNO: Do you feel that the individual challenges before the judges each week are really necessary, and really have an effect on who is going home?
Christina: They are fun, and I think they're great to have. As far as if they play a part in who goes home, I'm really not too sure. I think they do help though since they involve parts of the industry that we are going to have to learn about sooner or later anyway.
RNO: Is modeling something you want to continue to pursue, or are you ready to try something else?
Christina: Oh, modeling is definitely something that I want to continue trying to do. I'm going to move to New York City in June, so we'll have to see what happens. I've wanted to be a model ever since I was a little girl, and I wouldn't have gone on the show unless I knew that I could succeed at doing it.
RNO: Did you think you would be the one going home when you were standing in front of Tyra, or did you think it might be Brittany since she's been in that situation before?
Christina: I had a little doubt in my head, but part of me didn't think it was me, while the other part did. Brittany had been in front of the judges before, so I knew I had that working in my favor, but the judges really ripped into me about how I was looking icy and cold in my shoots for the past few weeks. So as much as I didn't want it to be me, I had a feeling it would be.
RNO: Is there anything you would like to add or say to fans of the show, and what would you say to girls that are thinking about applying for future seasons of the show?
Christina: I would say that if you have a dream, then go for it. This was a great experience and you learn a great deal from some of the best in the industry. Don't be afraid, and have confidence in yourself.
RNO: Thanks, Christina!
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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