Finishing the competition in fourth place, Jayla leaves Top Model with a portfolio full of bizarre photoshoots and a solid foundation in Paparazzi Avoidance 101. Although photographer and judge Nigel Barker once said of Jayla, “She is a model,” Jayla was nearly invisible in her last photoshoot; a lonely Cleopatra lost in a sea of Bollywood arms. Even more difficult for Jayla was navigating the catty ups and downs of the girls around her. Read further for Jayla’s take on Secretgate, her confessionals, and what she missed out on by not attending high school.
Hi Jayla, thank you for speaking with me today.
Hello. What’s up?
First of all, congratulations for making it to fourth place, Jayla!
Well, thank you!
What would you say was the best part of the experience for you?
Learning everything that I did! I went there thinking that I knew it all and I got a nice little slap in the face from reality. I learned a lot from it.
Do you feel like the show prepared you for the world of modeling, or did you think it was more like a reality show going for “good TV”?
I definitely think we could have learned a lot more instead of doing some of the silly things we did, but I did learn so much. Tyra and Mr. Jay were very adamant about teaching us the things we needed to know in the real world of modeling.
What did you find to be the most difficult part of the experience?
Basically, learning how to take all the criticism and not letting it get you down. Either that, or learning how to have a good runway walk.
How did you come to apply for the show?
I actually watched the first season. Afterwards, I had just turned 18, and my aunt told me I should try out for the show. And I thought about it, but I never took any steps to do it.
Had you ever done any modeling elsewhere?
I had done some really small things I didn’t get paid for. I was in an ad for a salon, and I also did some pictures for my friend’s clothing company. But that was it.
I would say that for the most part the judges really liked you all along, but what do you think was the determining factor in your elimination?
My performance at the last photoshoot. I didn’t give it my all because I really wasn’t feeling it. I had just got to the point where I was tired of being in the competition and just wanted to go home. I didn’t give 100% whatsoever, and I basically knew that I was going home before I even stepped into panel. That’s why I wasn’t myself.
How did you end up off on the side?
That was a Nigel set up. He wanted me in front of the door. He wanted me to look like I was some goddess coming out of the door.
What do you think about that picture when you look at it now?
I see it and I feel a great deal of disappointment, I have to say. I look at it and I think of how I gave up on myself and I was ready to go home.
Let’s talk about being in the house. Now that you’ve seen the show, do you regret talking about the other girls inside the confessionals or not?
That was about the only time that I really allowed myself to talk about the other girls. I’m not the type of person that likes to spread rumors or talk about people behind their backs. I will give my honest opinion on people and it may not be nice or pretty, but I just wish there was a place that I could have gone and vented like that where no one could see me. I feel so much better about things after I speak my mind and get things out there, but unfortunately I was being taped 24/7. (laughs)
Who did you find yourself having trouble getting along with in the house? Who was the most annoying?
Well, Nik was at first. I had a lot of problems with her. I constantly felt like I was being shunned and snubbed by her. And Diane, I had the same feelings about her and those didn’t get resolved before she got eliminated. And Kim, it was pretty much just very shaky ground with her because I knew she was saying bad things about me behind my back. I could hear her laughing and joking about me with the other girls as I walked by her bedroom, and then, she would turn around and be nice to me. So it was like, I know I shouldn’t be nice to you and I shouldn’t be doing the favors that you ask me to do, but I couldn’t help it because I’m a very forgiving person.
During the Secret commercial, to the viewers it looked like you copied Nik’s idea. What’s your explanation of what happened there?
She overheard me saying my lines, and she came up to me and said, “Our secrets are the same, except that I say that I sleep with a night light.” And she of course went to Mr. Jay with her concerns, and he said it’s fine because we could say it completely differently. I went first, and I was saying my secret, and the director stopped me and said that I sounded very rehearsed and he wanted me to change my secret. So I said the rest of the lines, and when it finally came down to the secret, I was thinking, “I don’t know what to say!” Because we had just had that talk with Mr. Jay beforehand, I said, “I sleep with a night light” because that was the only thing stuck in my head. (laughs)
Did you know that Nik was upset?
No, I didn’t! I found out from Lisa. We had got packages, and I went to show her something that my mom had sent me, and she was like, “Don’t talk to me. I do not want to see you right now.” And I was like, what is her problem? Lisa was the one who led me to the conclusion that she was angry with me about the secret. And I just couldn’t understand it because before she had been so open with me before. She had told me before when she didn’t like something I said, and she went from confronting me with things and resolving them instantly to saying things about me behind my back. It hurt me, and I was angry, and then along with the other problems I had had with her, it was just too much for me.
Do you think you had a reputation in the house for talking about the other girls?
I wouldn’t say that I had a reputation for talking behind people’s back, I was the person who would say rude things to people - or at least, that’s how it was construed. But I would say it to their face.
Did you know they were rude when you said them?
No, no, I mean being sarcastic or making some funny quirky comment, and people would take them the wrong way. Everyone was like, “Oh, we’re in a competition and she’s saying things to make me be nervous and do a bad job.” And it was more of me just trying to get along with people because I was pretty much the loner. No one came to me and no one talked to me, and that was my way of trying to get into conversation and trying to be friends with people. But they took my little sarcastic comments as me being a jerk, pretty much.
Some of the other girls have mentioned you were home-schooled. How do you think your upbringing affected you in this competition?
Everyone said that I had no social skills because I was home schooled, but my problem was I never went to high school, so I wasn’t used to all the girly drama that goes on in real life. I started working when I was 15 years old, so I was past the high school scene. I was more into the world that happens after high school. I didn’t know how things went down and how girls really thought. I don’t really have any girlfriends my own age because I can’t keep them because I don’t like their immaturity! I was just used to having friends who were much older than me. If they had a problem with me, they were secure in themselves and very mature, and handled it very well. I wasn’t used to girls my own age that can’t do that. They would rather harbor bad feelings than make up.
Do you know who ate Bre’s granola bar?
I don’t! It still remains a very big mystery. I think it was the ghost of the hotel.
It seemed like by that time the girls had degenerated into armed camps. Where did you see yourself in the whole Bre-Nicole-Kim brouhaha?
I knew Bre well enough to keep my nose out of it. I didn’t even know about it. I remember Bre waking me up at one o’clock in the morning and asking me if I took her granola bar, and I was like, “What? I hate granola. What are you talking about?” I didn’t find out until the next day what had happened because I was sleeping the whole time.
What was your favorite photoshoot?
I would have to say either the plastic surgery photoshoot - I think I looked pretty good in that one, and Janice [Dickenson] is an excellent photographer, I had a lot of fun with her, I was having a blast on my photoshoot - and also the Oil of Olay Body Quench photoshoot with Barry Lategan because he was also another great photographer that totally put me at ease. I think both of those pictures came out very well, and I think it had a lot to do with the photographers.
If Janice had been a judge this cycle, do you think you would have liked her as a judge?
I would! When you watch the show you just see the negative things she was saying to us during the photoshoot. You don’t see the part where she was telling everyone that she wanted everyone to do a really good job, because she wanted everyone to do their absolute best and for everyone to succeed in the end.
Did you feel like you had a judge who was pulling for you?
Well, I always thought it was Twiggy. Of course, none of us saw what happened when we left the room, but Twiggy always seemed like she had good things to say about me, but then, watching the show I saw that she didn’t really have good things to say about me behind my back. I was surprised to see that it was Nigel and Tyra that had the most positive things to say about me.
Okay, I’m going to read off the names of your competitors, could you give your impression of them in one or two words?
Ashley - I didn’t really get to know her too well. I only saw her for a few days at casting, so I didn’t have a chance to form an opinion about her.
Bre - I absolutely love and adore her. I am still friends with her today. I consider her one of my best friends.
Cassandra - I think she’s a really sweet girl. I think had a tough time in the competition, but now that she’s doing her own thing I think she’ll do very well.
Coryn - Total sweetheart. I wish she could be more talkative, and that one of us would have opened to the other one sooner, because I think we would have had a lot more fun and would have been better friends.
Diane - I had problems with her, but now that the competition is over with, I see her occasionally. She’s a lot more fun when she’s not in the competition and stressing out so much.
Ebony - I really had mixed feelings about Ebony. From what I saw she’s really funny. She’s got a ton of personality - a ton of energy - but then, some of the things she said about me on the show I wasn’t too happy with.
Kim - I really don’t know what to say about Kim. We were on good terms when we left the show, but I got some really nasty emails from some friends of hers in New York City. So, I definitely have to talk to her and be like, “Hey, what’s going on?”
Kyle - I don’t know if she will make it in the modeling industry. She’s a really good looking person, but she’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. I don’t know how far looks can really get you.
Lisa - She has a ton of energy. She is a great model, and despite the judges thinking she is too over the top, I think that attitude will get her very far after the show.
Nicole - I think that I should have gone farther than her.
Nik - As everyone knows, I had problems with her, but everything is reconciled, and I think she’s a great model. Out of the three that are left, I think she has the most potential to win the competition.
Sarah - She was a lot like Kyle. Basically, she was Kim’s little shadow that followed her around. She really had no personality of her own. She was like a token person that puts in the little comments in a conversation instead of having opinions of her own.
Do you read the Internet sites where people talk about the show.
No, no, no. I’ve enough hate mail sent to me that I don’t need that.
Is there anything you would like the viewers to know?
I’m not a bitch like I seem on TV!
Many thanks to Jayla for speaking with me, and thanks to UPN for granting the interview.