As Tyra continues her journey of seeking America’s Next Top Model, we had the opportunity to speak with this week’s runway roadkill. Blessed with a strikingly beautiful face, we soon learned that Anchal was also cursed with a lack of confidence and an unfortunate habit of stress-eating. Or was it being told that she was “Miami thick” that got under her skin?
Hi Anchal, it’s a pleasure to talk to you today.
Thanks, it’s good to talk to you, too.
So first off, had you seen the show before, and did you know how much they stress self-confidence?
Had I seen America’s Next Top Model before I went on it? Well, I had only watched the first season, and a little bit of Eva’s and Naima’s seasons. So the confidence thing wasn’t a surprise, it’s just something that occurred, and it just kind of got to me.
Would you say you were feeling the pressure of being filmed 24/7?
Actually, it was mostly the stress of the girls, and little things that were said, all the hints. I had someone in the wardrobe tell me that I was “Miami thick.” I was “voluptuous.”
Yeah, so it kind of got to my head, and I just let it eat me up. My confidence just went down from there. The thing about the house was just being around the girls that…well, you know, two of them could make one of me, and that got to me too. The twins especially were super thin.
What kind of model do you see yourself as? High fashion, or commercial, or swimsuit, or...?
I honestly don’t know. I would say high fashion, but Tyra was like, “You’re too pretty to be a model.” I kept getting different feedback in different areas. I’m willing to model whatever I have an opportunity to model.
What was your favorite photoshoot?
All of them were my favorite photo shoot! Honestly, there were none that I did not like.
What about how they came out? Do you have a photo that stands out to you that you really like?
That I really like? I liked the Narcissus one, and the one with Fabio. That’s when I really pushed it, and I was like, “Yes! I can do this!” And I went for it.
Even as they were flashing your entire portfolio as you were eliminated, all your photos—I’d say most of them came out so beautiful. So to me it didn’t seem like you were eliminated on your photos. So what did it boil down to?
Thank you. I think it was mostly that I didn’t come out of my shell, and I didn’t go for it. It was just me not being able to step out of my shell. That was it. I think that was the main reason—I’m not honestly sure why. I can’t really say.
I’ve heard that you had modeling experience before this show.
Yes I did. I have been in French Vogue and I have previous previous experience with the runway—I’ve been in Miami Fashion Week.
That’s pretty big stuff, wouldn’t you say?
(laughs) That’s what a lot of people say, and they’re like, “Why did you go on the show?” It’s because I had stopped modeling for a year after everything, and I just didn’t go for it.
What makes this experience different from just being in the modeling world? What’s your take on that?
Being on America’s Next Top Model? It’s not exactly what I thought modeling was considered to be. Because I thought modeling was mostly based on the photos, and how many frames you can take, and how many pictures you can use out of the frames that you took. So, I don’t know. They judged it on so many other things that modeling really does not concern.
More like a complete personality profile.
Yeah -- but it’s reality TV.
Who were you close to in the house?
I was close to A.J.; Brooke and I got along okay at the end. Eugena was okay, I talked to her, and Caridee—Caridee was awesome. And Megg. And Christian, of course, but she was like the first to leave.
Can you give us your insight into the other women in the house? I’d like to read off their names and you could give me a few words or a sentence about them.
AJ: Pessimistic, but awesome, awesome—she could be a wonderful model.
Amanda: Super sweet, very quiet…Amanda, she’s just Amanda!
Michelle: Very tomboyish. Both of them need to learn to walk a bit better, but they have potential—their photos come out amazing. Very couture and very European.
Brooke: Sweetheart. I can see her on the red carpet, interviewing all the people. (laughs) I better see her.
Caridee: She is the greatest example of putting commitment forward and doing whatever it takes to get to the top. Caridee was the only one that I saw, who wanted it so bad. And she was just a super, super sweetheart—and she was so crazy about it that she was willing to do anything. I hope she wins!
So here’s a contrast: how about Melrose. Because I would say she wants it badly too, but—
Melrose… she’s fake. She has her ups and downs, and I just can’t stand her.
Do you have a different take on her after seeing her on television?
No, same thing. Can’t stand her, she’s fake, she’s annoying, and she looks like a gecko. That’s my take on Melrose. In other terms, I call her Smell-ho, but that’s just me.
You have to stop cracking me up!
Let’s see, Eugena.
Very mature, not a lot of personality. She likes to keep to herself—she didn’t come out a lot. She was very quiet. And I can see what the judges were saying about her, not showing emotions through her eyes and everything? She needs to, a little bit more.
Jaeda: She needs to stop complaining. And she’s one of those girls who sees who’s popular at the moment, and she sucks up to them.
So she really was complaining about her hair all the time, it’s not just that they showed it on television a lot?
You know how they show me complaining about my body weight? It was like that about her hair. And that hair just made her look gorgeous. But she was like (imitating) “no…. I don’t like it… blah blah blah blah blah…” so there’s Jaeda for you.
Megg: Talk about positive, and just being out there. But she had her moments, where she would just snap, but she was a good person. Very loud!
How about Monique?
Or is she just a distant memory now?
Who? (laughs) Okay, let’s see, coo-coo, basically, that’s it, cukoo. If I could sum it up, insane, cukoo, hypocritical. Don’t write that down anywhere, but she was very hypocritical. I don’t like her.
Christian: Sweetheart. It was so hard to see her leave first. I was shocked. I was really shocked. I really didn’t see anything wrong with her photo.
Melrose wasn't the only girl in the house who criticized you or pointed out what you were eating, for example. But it did seem like you focused on her more than the others. Is there a reason for that?
The other girls would tell me to my face what my problem was, when they had anything to say. They’d be like, “Anchal, stop.” You know? But Melrose, she’d say, like snotty remarks, like some inferior something, to get herself to the top. Her snotty remarks were like this: you’ll be sitting in the limousine, and she’ll say something, and she expects you not to hear, but hear it at the same time, and she wants you to react. She has an inferiority complex. She needs to talk smack about other people to get her way and make her feel better. I just can’t stand her, I’m sorry. Being the age that she is, I would think that she would be lot more mature, but I saw more maturity out of Brook and Eugena than I did out of her.
Ok, In the final photo shoot in the wind tunnel, it really didn’t seem like anyone got a very good photo out of that.
Yeah, it was a pretty hard photo shoot. If you opened your mouth just a little bit, there would be spit everywhere, you have to keep your lips shut, if you opened them up a bit your lips were like jello. It was bad! And there was air in your nose, and you can’t breathe right, and your nose would dry out. It was pretty funny.
How long were you in the tunnel?
I was in the tunnel for about ten minutes. Yup, yup. Plus, we got to practice a little bit.
In the judging, what was the hardest comments to hear from the judges?
The hardest comment to hear was that I was not committed to the thing, which was a lie, because I’m very committed. I was there to win the thing, it was just me not being able to step out of my shell. That really got to me and my self confidence. If I could go back and change it, I would go back and have a lot more confidence in myself, and not take those words and eat them, you know?
Is that a problem you have normally, or did it start with this competition, as far as confidence? I just wonder how these things snowball. Did you come in feeling self-conscious about your body, or did it snowball while you were there?
Okay, I had a little bit, but I was like, I can overcome it, I’ll be okay, I will control my eating habits, I’ll be good. Because I was doing okay. I went into the competition weighing 130 lbs, and wearing size 3. Almost two in pants. Before I knew it, that snowball effect happened with everything else that came into account, and me stressing out, and not being able to talk to anyone, and barely being able to talk to my parents on the phone or my friends. It just got to me and I turned to food. And before I knew it I had this nervous eating habit.
Did you really gain a lot of weight during the competition? If you don’t mind my asking.
Yeah, I gained. I came back, and I wasn’t able to fit into my jeans! It really got to me. I became depressed after the whole weight gain thing, but I got over it, I went back to my normal body weight as soon as I got home. Everything went back to normal, my stress levels came down. It was just me stressing out. That was it. Being in a house with 13 girls just does not work well.
Over and over we heard the judges say about you that you are “stunningly beautiful” – I think Tyra said you take her breath away. What do you take from that kind of compliment?
When I look at the episodes now, I’m very thankful. That helped my self-esteem and my self-confidence. It really helped me see that it doesn’t matter what other people say. I mean yes, I learned to take a compliment and say “thank you”. But I’m not going to let it get to my head. That’s for sure, because I can’t. God blessed me with this, I’m not going to take it to the an extreme and be all cocky about it. At the end of the show, everything that they told me, all the advice that they gave me, for the photo shoots, and their advice for me to believe in myself, and all the other stuff at the end—it just changed me as a person and just made me better. When I got home, my dad noticed the change, like “you look different.” But it wasn’t my new haircut, or anything else, it was actually the way I stood up for myself. It was a change from within that he noticed. It made a big difference. I’m very happy that I had the opportunity to be on the show.
Can you tell me about your plans in the future?
I want to pursue modeling, I want to see where modeling will take me, so I don’t look back and say, “I never took that chance, I had that opportunity in my grasp, and I let it slip.” And after I have done all that I can with modeling, I plan to continue my education in nuclear medicine, and be a pharmacist working with chemo patients and people undergoing other treatments for cancer. After modeling, after I see how far it takes me, if it does not take me that far, I will continue my education—even if it does take me far, I want to continue my education so that I have a backup.
Is there anything else you’d like the fans to know?
I’m not a crybaby—and I thank everyone for all the support they gave me. And most of all, the only reason I was able to do anything was because of my parents. They have been the biggest support, And my two best friends.
Thanks to Pluckyduk8, Bearcata, FanUruguay, mayukhers112, Mo_MiSer, Akat, ANTMaddict, will, and hi_guy18 for contributing questions this week! (I'm sorry I couldn't get to them all.) Very many thanks to Anchal and CW for the interview.