A winner is crowned! Sailing with ease through every silly challenge, serious photoshoot, and catty girl-drama, Nicole was criticized often for being too pretty. Where I come from, you can build on pretty; but in the world of high fashion itís oh-so-1985 to have an esthetically pleasing look on the runway. But Nicole stepped it up and showed in the final runway show that she can take on edgy, and make it fierce. Yes, I know that word gets bandied around a lot but itís appropriate here. Letís talk to Americaís Next Top Model, Nicole Linkletter!
Congratulations, you did it!
Thank you, thank you!
How did you go about convincing the judges that youíre more than just a pretty face?
Yeah, I think I was kind of resting on pretty, but when you realize what youíre there to do, you get used to working for the camera and doing your best at all times. I think that I progressed throughout and convinced them. In the final runway show, I had that in mind that they had said I needed to show I could be edgy, and I think I impressed the judges there.
Were you a fan of the show before applying?
Oh yes, I had seen all the previous cycles and I was pretty much waiting until I turned 18 to apply. Iíve always wanted to be a model, ever since I was a little girl.
You were as criticized for not being as die-hard enthusiastic as some of the other girls when it came to the challenges, like crawling through the mud or posing with pigeons. Obviously, this didnít hold you back, but do you think these were realistic challenges for somebody going into modeling?
You know, some of it was for television, Iím sure. (laughs) No, I donít. Itís the same sort of pressure, so in that sense, yes. But I donít think Iíll be taking pictures with pigeons on me anytime soon.
Did you ever resolve Granolagate? (Thatís what people are calling it on the Internet.)
(laughs) Granolagate. What? (laughs) Yeah, weíre cool now. Itís all good. Iím just not a person to hold grudges because lifeís too short. Forget about it and move on. I have so much coming up. I mean, I canít be mad at someone, Iím Americaís Next Top Model! Iím thinking about myself right now, Iím not thinking about petty little issues that happened a long time ago.
It seemed like the judges approved of the way you handled the drama without letting it affect your performance. Do you think that factored in to your success when you were up against Bre?
I think so. Thanks, Bre, for that! (laughs) Iím sure it did. It was just one more thing for them to look at and decide that if I could deal with this, I could deal with other pressure cooker situations.
Speaking of pressure, what about that fakeout? When Tyra said that you and Jayla both needed to pack your bags, implying that you were eliminated, but really meaning that you were leaving for London?
That was really tough, in fact that was really hard to watch! I cried, I just bawled when I was watching that. It was just hard. But I do think it made me step up my game, and realize that youíre never really in a safe spot in a competition, and that you always have to keep working.
Who was your favorite judge?
Other than Tyra, I would say Twiggy. I think that Twiggy was kind of pulling for me. Sheís such a sweet lady.
What was your favorite photoshoot?
I would have to say the shoot we did with Tyra where Gilles Bensimon was the photographer. But I also loved my Secret photo, and the black and white one that Tyra took.
During your CoverGirl commercial shoot, you looked like you forgot your lines and you were ready to quit. Do you feel that you gave up on that task?
I donít feel like I gave up on it Ė I feel like I messed up. I was just really stressed out at the time, and super nervous about it. When Iím nervous, I canít remember anything. If you tell me something when Iím nervous I will forget it. If I learn something on my own time Iíll be able to remember it super easy.
How much time did you have to learn the lines?
We had like an hour or so. It wasnít a lot of time, but usually it would be enough time.
When you watched the show, were you happy with the way you came across?
Yeah, I was! I feel like it was me on the show, and you have to own your words, so it was basically me. There were a few moments that were slightly embarrassing, but I guess that happens.
Aside from winning, what was the best part of the experience for you?
Meeting everyone we met. I think that everyone would say the same. You get thrown into this mix of people. I knew nothing about this industry coming into this and I just learned everything about it, and we met such amazing people.
What is your impression of Tyra?
Beautiful, ambitious, and she has a good heart. Sheís always striving and pushing herself to do something different, and thatís really nice to see, itís refreshing. Sheís beautiful and she does modeling, but she also has her own show and she does Americaís Next Top Model. Sheís always working on a new project.
Youíve known that youíre the winner for a long time now. Was it hard to keep the secret?
It was! I was so excited about it I wanted to tell everyone. Now I finally can, and itís a good feeling to just shout it, because no one has known. I was just back at school living my normal life. It was back to normalcy, and I didnít really like that part of it. I wanted to get going right away.
Is there anything you look back at the show and would have done differently?
No, I donít, because Iíd be afraid if I did something differently the outcome would change.
How would describe Bre and Nik? Did you think they were the most deserving competitors for the final three?
Yeah, I did. Nikís beautiful and she has a lot of talent, and I think sheíll go far. And I feel the same way about Bre.
What are you looking forward to the most, now?
Iím looking forward to being a CoverGirl, because thatís ridiculous! (laughs) Also, Iím looking forward to being a Ford model, and moving to New York, starting everything and working super hard. Iím excited to have this opportunity to show everyone! I know this is just the beginning. I know this is the end of one part of my life, and the beginning of the next.
Weíre looking forward to see you out in the world of modeling. What part of the industry interests you the most?
Iím really interested in everything, but especially runway. I love it! I just get an adrenaline rush up there, and wearing those beautiful clothes, itís just amazing.
Is there anything else youíd like the viewers to know?
Iím just a small-town girl from North Dakota, Iím super down-to-earth, fun and friendly!
Congratulations, Nicole! And thank you to UPN for a wonderful cycle of interviews.