The girl who impressed Tyra Banks by describing her desire to be a model as a ďforest fire in her heartĒ found her dreams doused all too quickly. Ebony, the 18-year-old girl from Sylmar, CA, became the second contestant to be eliminated from the competition. When we first saw Ebony in the semi-finals, she was overflowing with enthusiasm about the world of modeling. She was quick to make an impression on Miss Tyra and her Jays by rattling off the names and salient features of most of the other semifinalists from memory. Unfortunately, her enthusiasm did not carry over into her photographs; or at least, she didnít perfect the hair toss in time to save her place in the competition. Ebony found herself in the elimination ceremony being told by Tyra that modeling will only be a dream for her, but will she abide by Tyraís final directive?
Thank you for talking to me this afternoon, Ebony. Iím sorry that itís so soon in the competition.
Thank you, itís good to talk to you.
Tell me more about your personal slogan, ďĎDonít get it twisted.Ē Where did it come from?
Donít get it twisted was really derived from me and my friends - weíre best friends - at school, hanging out. We started it, someone would say something, and we would say, ďDonít get it twisted.Ē I really do feel like that, but, I donít know. We adopted it and started saying it.
How did you get the idea to audition for the show? Did you watch previous cycles?
Yeah! I have been watching Americaís Next Top Model since the first season when I was in tenth grade. I wanted to do it, but I was too young. I kept hoping they would do seasons until I was eighteen, and then in my senior year, I made the age cut by five days. I auditioned, and I made it on the show which was the most exciting thing ever!
What was it like getting that call that you were a semi-finalist?
Oh my God! Itís like having a goal and you totally reach it - itís the most awesome feeling ever. I was so excited, it was like I couldnít believe it. Going to audition, you want to have a positive outlook, but then seeing all the other girls there, and knowing they still have to go across the country Ė well, I thought my odds werenít too good. So to make it on the show was so awesome.
What did you think of the new apartment, the stretch hummer, in short, the more luxurious feel to the show?
Oooo, the bling on season! Iím glad I was a part of that, okay! (Laughs) I loved it. It was the bomb, because I know in past seasons itís been in New York and they had a little apartment. But living in Bel Air and driving around in the stretch limo was so awesome. The house was just the bomb, and I was excited to have my own bed because at home I have a bunk bed and I share with my two sisters. So for me, it was so tight having my own bed.
Were you allowed to keep anything from the house?
No, it was just for show.
Oh, how disappointing!
I know! (Laughs)
Did you do any modeling beforehand or was this something totally new for you?
I told my mom that I wanted to be a model, but she told me I needed to focus on high school first, and once I graduated I could make that choice if thatís what I wanted to do. So pretty much I finished high school, and tried out for the show, and it worked out.
You impressed Tyra by knowing all the semi-finalistsí names. Do you have a photographic memory?
Yeah, I think I do! It worked for me in high school in all my tests, so Iím glad it worked for me on the show, too.
Who was your best friend in the house?
I didnít have one, I had a few girls I was close to. Obviously, Lisa - she was the first girl that I met from any audition, even the first open call in L.A. It was great that we both made it in the house together. I spent all those hours with her waiting to both be called back was great. Lisa was the first girl that I knew, but Nicole and I clicked immediately when we met in the semifinals, so definitely Nicole and I are really close and we still talk. Then I would say, Kim and Bre, both of them are my girls right there, and I wish them all the luck in the world.
Are you rooting for one of them in particular?
I wish all those girls good luck. All of them!
What was your favorite part of being in the house?
Probably my bed, and the confessional. Not sleeping in a bunk bed was really good for me because Iím so tired of it because Iíve doing it for so many years. The confessional was really cool because you could go in there and talk and just get stress off your chest. Nicole and I would go in there and talk all we wanted, and just make jokes and act conceited (like you probably saw last night).
What was the worst part of the experience?
The worst part was definitely the stress, and all the eliminations! That was probably the most stressful time, the elimination process.
You got a makeover that required you to be in the stylistsí chair Ė for HOW long?
Twelve and a half hours, and they had to come to the house the next day to finish it.
Were you pleased with the results?
I loved it. I love my hair. I feel good about it, I donít know how other people feel, but I definitely love my hair like this, itís awesome.
Did you have any say in your makeover?
No, itís pretty much the direction that Tyra and Louis gave us, whatever they thought would be great for us.
One thing I noticed is that in past cycles there were girls who came in with braids and they took them out. So did you think getting the microbraids would hinder you as far as modeling?
I donít think it will, definitely not, because I really embraced it. I love it, and I think other people will love it too. Iím going to make it work!
What did you think of the ďsophisticated with an edgeĒ style they chose for you?
I really like sophisticated edgy because itís like you can be, ďIím cuteĒ but not be overzealous about it, you can be professional as well. I like that look.
Cassandra made her opinion about her makeover known pretty clearly - what did you think of her haircut?
Cassandraís haircut, honestly, made her look really good. It helped her so much. It took her from the boring pageant queen from Texas to people stopping on the street to notice her. I donít really care about Cassandra but she was good.
Did you find Cassandra demanding while you were shopping on Rodeo Drive?
Surprisingly, it didnít. I was definitely nervous about being partnered up with her on Rodeo, but there was a lot of cooperation involved, which was definitely a great thing. She had a lot of questions. I donít think she shops outside of her pageant girl criteria, but we cooperated, and it was welcomed.
Did you pair up with Lisa in the photo competition because you are friends, or were you thinking of strategy?
No, when he told us get a partner, we didnít know what it was for, so I went for the girl I was closest to - Lisa. She was my friend, so thatís how that happened. I was like, ďWhat was I thinking?Ē (Laughs) No, we had fun and Lisa pushes me in competition.
What did you think of Tyraís closing words when she said that maybe modeling will just be a dream for you?
Right. When Tyra told me that, it was definitely disheartening, but I didnít take this show as end all be all, as my last and final opportunity. It was an opportunity to further my career, but definitely Iím NOT taking that and running with it. I still have a million more doors to knock on.
Whatís ahead for you - are you interested in pursuing a modeling career, or perhaps get into acting?
Modeling is my passion. Acting I donít care about, but I love modeling.
Is there anything else youíd like to say to the viewers?
Thanks for the support!
Thanks to Ebony, and many thanks to UPN for granting the interview.