Leaving the competition in fifth place was Kim, the girl who was so open about her sexuality that she brought it into the judging sessions unreservedly. Faced with a panel that contained at least one member who clearly has spent some time exploring gender boundaries, Kim was a little perturbed to find herself being criticized for not being feminine enough to be a versatile model. And then there was the petty squabble about granola bars and stolen sodas to test her mediation skills. But as reasonable and mature as she was in trying to solve the Bre Brouhaha, she stumbled on her final photo shoot, in which she was required to portray the goddess of love. Maybe it was the awkward training potty she was standing in that undercut her photo, or maybe it was the odd chopped-off mannequins that lent the photo a disturbing ambiance. Either way, Kim failed to translate her boyish good looks into the effortless grace of the love goddess. Take heart, Kim: if you ask me, even Audrey Hepburn, the epitome of a short-haired yet unquestionably feminine woman, would have worn a long, flowing wig for that photoshoot.
Thank you for speaking with me this morning, Kim, and congratulations for making it this far in the competition!
Of course, thank you!
First off, what attracted you to the show?
I had watched the show for a couple seasons. It seemed like a lot of fun. I definitely had thought of modeling before, but it had not been a dream of mine or anything. My mom was a model and I really respect her work. I know how hard she worked. It seemed like something for me to do straight out of college before I went on to other things. But during the competition I grew to love modeling so much that I put those other things aside, and I want to try modeling now.
What was the best part of the experience?
The best part of the experience was probably being able to meet and work with the types of people that otherwise you would have no chance of working with. You end up being photographed by such talented photographers and speaking to really prominent people in the fashion industry about your work and their work. Those are opportunities you donít find every day.
What was the hardest part of the experience?
First of all, coming into an industry that I knew something about but really had no experience in. So being sort of bad at modeling in the beginning was obviously a challenge for me. The other difficult part was living with these girls that I knew I couldnít exactly trust because we were all working against each other. For me that was really hard, especially getting to know certain people and thinking that you knew them, then finding out they were quite a different person.
The judges spent a lot of time questioning your ability to look feminine, even though they have said in the past that the androgynous look is a desirable quality in a model. Why do you think there was so much emphasis on trying to make you look like a girly-girl?
I think that they wanted to pick an extremely hard challenge for all of us. You know, Coryn had an extremely hard look, and that was good until they started telling her she needed to look softer. I think they had a lot of different challenges to work with all of us to see what kind of improvement we could make to improve our versatility. For me, obviously my sexuality had a lot to do with it. The judges had a tendency to pair sexuality and gender - which is always a mistake in my mind. I think that my sexuality made them focus even more so on my masculine side. I think that they knew that would be a huge challenge for me. In fact, I expressed that it would be a challenge. So of course, to see how versatile I could be, telling me to be more feminine was on the top of their list.
I see what youíre saying if versatility is the goal, but what about playing to your strengths? Do you wish you would have had the opportunity to explore your androgynous looks, or even looking like a feminine boy?
I definitely think I was at a bit of a disadvantage because the other girls obviously found it easy to look feminine, whereas maybe they would have had a harder time looking androgynous or masculine. If there had been a photoshoot where I could express that side of me, that would have been exciting - and I probably would have been very successful at that.
Do you regret discussing your struggles with gender identity in the judging panel? Do you think they were overly-conscious of your sexual orientation because of those comments?
I donít really regret discussing that because I am a very open person, and I feel proud of each and every part of me. So discussing my gender identity was not exactly something I regret doing, but at the same time I do think I was talking to a variety of people who maybe didnít know about gender or sexual politics. Some did and some didnít. Definitely I was interacting with people who are more close-minded than Iím used to, and that was hard for me because I couldnít really get them to understand. Furthermore, Miss J, who obviously has a very different type of gender identity that most people are used to, was the hardest on me as far as my gender identity. I thought that was ridiculous and confusing. I think I said on the show, if anyone should understand confusion in terms of that stuff it should be him!
For you, who was the most annoying person in the house?
For me, Jayla was probably the most annoying. She was constantly telling us she listened to music no one else did, or that she was the prettiest of all of us. She had a way of insulting everyone in a backhanded way, and that got on my nerves a lot. The girl is home-schooled, and I donít think she had any idea how to interact socially. You have to give her a break at some point, but certainly she was the one who annoyed me the most.
Early in the show, you were flirty with some of the girls. Who was the most fun to flirt with? And did you get in trouble with your girfriend back home?
Thatís a hard question. I think that everyone in the house had fun flirting with each other. I think that just because I was the quote-unquote gay one doesnít mean no one else flirted. There was definitely a flirtation going on between other girls in the house as well as me and others. But my flirtation was definitely not intended to be taken seriously. I have a girlfriend that Iím very happy with and even though we have an open relationship I am committed to her emotionally. She and I had to work through some of the aspects of the show that were portrayed in certain ways, but she understood and weíre definitely happy now. While I was on the show there was nobody else I was interested in besides her - and that goes for now, too.
You won the Veronica Mars challenge, and got to appear on an episode of the show. Were you bitten by the acting bug?
Yes, very much so! Iím very interested in acting. I think perhaps Iím even more interested in acting than I am in modeling. I have one agency that Iím looking at specifically and I would like to join them if possible. I really want to try acting Ė I really want to be in that world, so Iím going to give it a try and see if that works out.
When you reached London, you had a photoshoot where you were all crammed in a phone booth. Can you clear something up for us? Lisa has said that after the shoot was finished, Jay Manuel had the other girls look at her set of poses, then gave each of the girls 10 more shots. Is this how you remember it?
Oh, God. I donít even remember that. (laughs) Iíve blocked out a lot of this experience. I donít feel I can respond to that because I donít remember what happened. I have no recollection of that.
Now that youíve seen the show including the confessionals, what is your perspective on being accused of talking behind everyoneís back?
I think that Iím certainly a culprit of talking about people behind their back, but I was no more of a culprit of that than anyone else in the competition. I think one of the most interesting things for me to see was Bre in the limo saying she loved Jayla so much because Jayla never talked about anyone else. But we all saw in an earlier episode Jayla talking about Nik in the most harsh and brutal way that perhaps anyone was spoken of. I think the point is, of course I spoke about others behind their backs, but what else are you going to do in that situation? It is sort of meant for that. Thatís why you go on that show, you know youíre going to do that! I also know there was no girl that I was close friends with that I ever spoke about behind their back. I never spoke about Kyle, or Sarah, or Coryn, or Nicole, or Bre even. Those were my friends, and I never did that. I think I was made out to be a bit of a scapegoat in that limo situation.
What did you think of the way Bre tackled you and told you she hid dirty socks under someoneís bed instead of admitting sheíd poured Nicoleís drinks down the drain?
All of that together just made think that Bre literally had gone crazy! I mean, she tackled me on the ground, told me to be quiet, she called me ďInspector GadgetĒ at one point, and was spilling drinks of Nicoleís and suggesting other people had stolen her granola bars when Iím sure she just ate them herself Ė she absolutely made a fool of herself, and I feel bad for her. It became very clear that the limo situation couldnít be taken seriously because of the person she obviously had become.
Who do you think took the granola bars?
I know for a fact that I didnít take them, and I know Nicole didnít take them. I think that everyone was a little too afraid of Bre at that point to steal anything from her, so either she ate them herself or maybe someone in production ate them. (laughs) I really donít know.
It seemed like the week of your elimination, the house had degenerated into armed camps. Where did it start, and how did it get so bad?
Iím not really sure. I think when we got to London we realized there were only six of us left, and it quickly became five, and I think everybody got very stressed out about the competition. We were all strong models at that point, and some people just started to lose it. Youíre sequestered with these girls who you donít know at all and donít really trust for ten weeks and you start going a little bit crazy.
What was your favorite photoshoot?
Either the Wild Boys photoshoot or the Ford Fusion commercial. Both of those were really fun and I was happy with my performance.
After the Birth of Venus photoshoot, were you confident you had a good picture?
Well, I wasnít exactly confident that I had a great picture, but I had been doing so well in the past couple of weeks that there really wasnít a fear in my mind of being eliminated that week. There was pretty much every other week, but that week for some reason I thought to myself that I had been doing a good job, and knowing that decisions werenít based on that one week, they were cumulative, there wasnít really a part of me that was afraid of being eliminated. But apparently I was wrong. (laughs)
Okay, Iím going to read off the names of your competitors, could you give your impression of them in one or two words?
Ashley - Fake.
Bre - Bre was a lunatic. She was my friend until she flipped out, but that made me wonder if she was my friend before.
Cassandra - Honest.
Coryn - She was very loyal.
Diane - I didnít get to know her very well. She was brave.
Ebony - Hilarious.
Jayla - Annoying.
Kyle - Fantastic.
Lisa - Genuine.
Nik - Conniving.
Sarah - I would say that Sarah was...trying.
Who do you think has the best shot at the win?
I think that Nicole has the best shot to win because she took the best pictures, she has a good attitude, and I think that she has what it takes to be a strong model and also be versatile.
Whatís ahead for you? It sounds like youíre very interested in acting?
Iím interested in both modeling and acting. I definitely want to see which one works out better, and which one I love more. At some point I would like to get back to my academic side and go into foreign policy or journalism or the law, because those are the fields my schooling prepared me for. I donít know, I think I have a future with a lot of different possibilities ahead of me.
Do you read the Internet sites where fans talk about the show?
Yeah, I read them every once and a while.
Make sure you stop by fansofrealitytv for a visit.
Oh, I definitely read that one! For sure.
Thank you to Kim for answering my questions, and many thanks to UPN for granting the interview.