The FORT Interview with Lisa, 11/20/05
Latest to be discharged from Tyraís Model Bootcamp was Lisa, the girl who sparkled on camera while never failing to show us her crazy side. And by crazy, I mean an unprecedented level of lunacy thatís rarely seen on television outside of those wacky shows on MTV. Weíre talking pee-in-your-adult-diaper crazy, talk-to-a-shrub-in-the-backyard kind of crazy. Lisaís elimination seemed to boil down to the fine line between having fun and making a cake of yourself. Weíve seen wild contestants get the axe before, and each time I wonder: so what if theyíre a little nutty? Itís a modeling competition, not a morality contest. So a girl likes to unwind at the end of the day with a bottle of wine in the hot tub, so what? Especially when that girl is uninhibited enough to put shampoo in the tub so the air jets create monster bubbles, all so she can run around the house wearing nothing but a bubble bikini. I thought lack of modesty was a plus in the modeling industry! For now, weíve seen the last of Lisaís antics, but we can still hear Lisaís take on the Top Model experience, her thoughts on why she was eliminated, and her explanation for making wee-wee on national television.
Thank you for speaking with me this morning, Lisa, and congratulations for making it this far in the competition.
Well, thank you very much!
First off, what attracted you to the show?
My friends have been trying to get me to do it for two years. Now, I donít watch television, so, I didnít know the show. They told me it was a reality show, and I was like, ďHell no, I ainít doing no reality show!Ē I watched one episode, and it didnít change my mind. But eventually I sent in a tape for fun - a friend came over and taped me - and I wanted to see if I would be able to do it, and out of 35,000 girls I got it!
Iíve heard that you have previous modeling experience; were you signed with an agency?
Yeah, Iíve been modeling since I was fourteen. Iíve actually traveled the world and had lots of experience in this business.
Did you think your age would be a factor, considering most models are starting when you first did at 14?
No, I didnít think it would be a factor. I follow a healthy diet, I take care of my skin, and being almost 25 isnít really a big deal the way it was back in the earlier days of modeling. I think being a little older was an advantage, really, because I am very clear on who I am and some of the girls didnít know themselves very well.
Were you surprised at the reasons Tyra gave for your elimination?
Yeah, she says that Iím overconfident and cocky, but at the same time they want you to be confident. So itís like, do they want you to be confident or not? I think they want you to be confident, but not confident enough Ė that way they can break you down. Iím not going to do that. Iím really strong and I know who I am. Iím always going to be smiling at the end of the day. I didnít matter how they tried to push us around and manipulate us for television.
You were one of the few girls whoíve left the show that wasnít in tears, which was a classy way to exit, if you ask me.
Well, thank you! Once I left, I thought the whole process was basically deceiving because they tell you one thing but mean another. If you do well in a competition then youíre supposed to excel. I thought it was interesting because I asked in the very beginning if the judges see you in the house. Are you judged on your pictures and the challenges, or are you judged for your actions 24/7? They told me that they were completely separate, they never came together.
Really, they said your actions in the house didnít matter?
They said those worlds never collided, period. Obviously I was lied to.
That leads into my next question. We heard over and over again that you took great pictures, and your behavior in the house was not brought up at panel. How can someone with great photos end up on the chopping block at this point in the competition?
Yeah, I donít have the answers for you. Itís a very confusing process when youíre in it. So when I was watching it on TV I expected it to make sense but Iím still confused about it all. (laughs) Yeah, I can be outrageous at times, but all in all, I just like to have fun and whatís wrong with that? The thing is, every girl had her moment, but the one who got the most ratings was mine, so it was like the Lisa show.
But then, you know, you get the critiques and scrutiny of being this way or that way. Like being called an alcoholic. Youíve got to remember, itís all in the editing. I am not an alcoholic. Come on, who wouldnít have a glass of wine being in a house full of girls knowing that youíre the one that they all hate? (laughs) You know what I mean? Being in a negative environment day in and day out is stressful. And yes, I am the type of person that tells myself, ďDonít let anyone bring you down, youíre a positive person.Ē But Iím only human as well, so of course Iím going to break down. (melodramatic voice) Iíve got a heart too!
Now that youíve seen the show, do you regret anything you said or did?
I donít regret anything! I have no regrets.
When it comes to the judges' criticism, what was the hardest to hear?
The hardest thing they told me? I donít know.
Did they ever give you any harsh criticism?
No, I donít think so. I was basically very consistent and I had a lot of fun with the photoshoots.
Oh -- this is something that they told me. When we had to change into something we thought was sexy, and I came in wearing jeans and a wifebeater, Nigel told me I should walk into elimination like that every time I went in there Ė you know, to not wear the spunky rocker clothes. And I didnít do it. At the time I said, ďYeah, okay,Ē but I thought about it and decided that I was reponsible for how I wanted to present myself on this show. Iím not going to change who I am or how I dress for anything or anyone. So, I think that if they realize they canít mold you into what they want you to be, then itís, see you later!
Iím glad I donít fit the mold. Iím glad that I wonít cater to whatever they want. Iím an individual, and Iím strong, and I love who I am, so take me or leave me.
Was there anyone in the house you found particularly annoying or just didnít get along with?
Um...I think I was on my own, I have to say that. Ebony was my girl. When she left, I was like, dang, I have to deal with all these girls by myself. Ebony and I didnít take ourselves seriously - we joked around all the time. Thereís points on the show that you might be saying, ďOh my God I canít believe Lisa just said that!Ē But Iím totally kidding, youíre seeing it out of context.
Letís talk about some of the more unsavory moments they highlighted on the show. First off, everyone I know was talking about the diaper incident during the Wild Boys shoot. Did you really pee your pants?
Yeah, I did pee in the diaper. But let me just say, Iíve heard all the scrutiny about this and I know people think that Iím kuh-razy because of this. First of all, let me just remind everyone that this was the Wild Boys. What is more appropriate? I also think they planted those diapers because they knew I would do something with them. There was just this big box sitting there, and I thought it would be funny. And itís the Wild Boys, give me a break! I was like, finally I can really be crazy and it would be okay, and these girls will loosen up and wonít be so uptight, and maybe they will have some fun for a change instead of constantly judging each other! (laughs)That didnít happen, you know what I mean!
Secondly, they say I was an attention hog, well let me tell you this: I didnít know what the hell they were doing downstairs. I was upstairs swimming in the pool by myself for two hours. Yeah, I came downstairs, and the other girls were like, ďOnce I finally get attention Lisa has to come downstairs and grab it.ď Thatís just NOT how I do things. (sarcastic voice) Iím sorry if Iím uninhibited, and like to have fun, and I live each moment to the fullest! I live each day like itís the last. It must be hard to see someone having so much fun when itís supposed to be such a stressful environment.
Everyone would just take themselves way too seriously. I wanted to say, when can you just laugh at yourself? Thatís basically why I did a lot of things. I saw how all the girls were so stressed out. They were constantly analyzing themselves. Itís almost like they couldnít breathe! And to give someone a laugh is just to loosen them up. I had no intentions of harming anybody, and I donít think anyone was trying to hurt me. I tried to loosen everybody up. Just live life, have fun, man! Why do you have to take everything so seriously?
Some of the challenges this season have been, well, wacky - like the challenge where you went to a go-see covered in mud. Was it nerve-wracking never knowing what they would come up with next?
I thought [the Ellegirl go-see challenge] was really great. I thought it made a great point about what you might have to face when you go out to auditions. For instance, one time that I had an audition I was going back and forth to the hospital for my grandma. She was crying because she was in so much pain and I had an audition right after my hospital visit. I had to pretend like that was whatís important in life, that audition, and it was so hard. So I thought it was a really great lesson. I knew that it was going to be something like that, and I knew I was going to knock that ball right out of the park.
What about the paparazzi, are you prepared now? Was that a realistic challenge or just silly?
You know, thereís a problem that I had throughout the whole entire show, and that was sleep. I had a lot of anxiety and I have sleeping issues anyway, so to be in that environment I couldnít sleep ever. I think you can see in the extra footage that I rock to sleep for hours. Iíve always been like that ever since I was a child. So when we got to London, I hadnít slept for three days. In that episode, I feel like I look really haggard. And itís because of no sleep, not eating right Ė everything that could possibly be off was off. So I really was not prepared for that paparazzi. I tried to kind of pull it together, but I thought they were going to get a horrible shot because I hadnít slept in days. I just knew it would be a bad shot! I knew I had my glasses in my bag but I couldnít remember where I had put them and when youíre that tired, youíre just drained physically and emotionally. So, it was take it or leave it. I didnít know they were going to use it - I think thatís pretty mean.
Well, that partís realistic.
It is realistic, definitely.
Were you confident going into that last judging panel session?
Of course! I didnít think they were going to use the paparazzi shot, but I always nailed the photoshoots so I was shocked when I was in the bottom two. In fact, you didnít see this on the show, but during the phone booth shoot, I was the last girl to go. Jay got the other girls together and showed them my shots, and told them how great my poses were. Then he actually gave them ten more shots each!
Wow, Iím stunned. Did you get ten more shots too?
Nope. Thatís why I was pretty confident before panel, even though Bre had pointed out I was the only one who hadnít been in the bottom two. It just seems like there was politics going on and they needed me to go at a certain point. I donít know.
So what is your opinion of what Tyra said about you during judging; i.e., youíre an out of control spitfire?
See, the thing is, I donít think it mattered because I donít think I was eliminated for my personality. They realized I wasnít going to be easily molded, and they were looking for someone they could shape exactly the way they wanted. Iím not going to change that for anyone.
Okay, Iím going to read off the names of your competitors, could you give your impression of them in one or two words?
Bre - Wise beyond her years.
Cassandra - Iím the one who called her ďrobotĒ first, so Iíll just stick to that.
Coryn - She needs to love herself. She doesnít.
Diane - Love that girl!
Ebony - Love her, love love love!
Jayla - One thing I have always loved about Jayla is her confidence. She doesnít act on what people say about her, sheís still really strong and I always admired that about her.
Nik - Sheís just safe.
[Note: Lisa declined to comment on Ashley, Kim, Kyle, Nicole and Sarah.]
What was your take on the whole Nik vs. Kim fight?
I was just sitting back and enjoying it. Kim, I know that she talked about everybody in the house. I didnít know that she talked about me - she even told me that she never had. And to then to see that in every episode sheís the number one person talking about me, it hurts. So as far as this fight, I know that she (Kim) definitely deserved it. Sheís that person that shakes your hand and stabs you in the back.
Who do you think has the best shot at the win?
I really thought that I nailed everything they could possibly throw at me. So if I didnít win, and I have a really strong personality, and I have the confidence to be the winner, I donít know who it could be. I think it will just be someone who will transform, or someone that they will be able to mold, and they can be whoever they want them to be.
Did you know Kyle picked you as the most likely winner?
Well, I was shocked to be eliminated, so Iím not surprised she thought I would win. When you go down the list: commercials, nailed it; interviews, nailed it; photos, nailed it; runway, I was awesome - they say Bre is the best, and she is good but I donít know about that horse trot. I donít know what else I could have done because I nailed every aspect of the competition.
Do you read the Internet sites where fans talk about the show?
Yeah, people think I need to go to a psychiatric ward. Well, those people need to not take themselves so seriously. I mean, of course I put myself out there for scrutiny, but I didnít think everyone else in this whole world was so uptight. They can judge it, frown upon it and write nasty things about it the next day, but Iím sure when they were watching it they were laughing their asses off. That was my number one intention Ė to put a smile on peopleís faces. People write such ugly things about me, itís kind of like, damn, you all are just angry people! You just need to smile, man. Put some positive light in your life.
Thanks to Lisa for speaking with me, and many thanks to UPN for granting the interview.