Not too many contestants on ANTM enter the room screaming and repeatedly telling Tyra, “You’re so pretty!” during their judging interview. Not to be left out, Ms. Jay was also told that he, too, was beautiful. Surely, this would bode well for Kathleen, a 20-year-old hairdresser from Brooklyn. Unfortunately for Kathleen, she was the first cut of this cycle. Join me for an interview with the contestant who had the big smile and personality, which could only be matched by her big hair!
Hi, Kathleen. It’s so good to talk with you this afternoon.
I really enjoyed watching you on the show.
Why, thank you.
You said on the show that you had no previous modeling experience, and, yet, this was your dream. What made you want to be on America’s Next Top Model, and how did you prepare for it?
Like you said, this is my dream and I’ve watched previous cycles, and I saw this was an opportunity to get my foot in the door.
Well, you did that. You had a lot of airtime.
From the moment you saw Tyra, you were screaming and telling Tyra how beautiful she was. Are you always like that showing so much enthusiasm?
Of course! If I feel that way, I’m going to express that, you know. I’m not going to hold back for anything.
Do you think that might have hurt you or helped you being so . . . I don’t want to say over-the-top, but so enthusiastic at the very beginning?
Well, I think that helped me, you know. That’s who I am. That’s how I am, and I don’t care what anyone thinks.
Well, it made you memorable. [Laughs]
Oh thank you.
One of the eliminated contestants mentioned that personality means more than looks. Do you think that is true because you showed a lot of personality?
Well, I think it’s a mixture of the two. Both of them are very important you know.
Well I thought you took very nice photos. Your party shot was so nice with the posing and everything. You said they had saved the best for last, and I thought they did. What was the Marc Ecko fashion party experience like for you?
Thank you. That whole experience was a great experience for me. I got to meet a lot of great people, and it was kind of scary, too, because we didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know if these pictures were going to be used as a challenge or you know to judge us.
Are you used to being around famous people and those kinds of parties as such?
Not at all. [We both laugh]
I don’t think most of us are!
Going on to the house, tell me your thoughts about the house, and who was your roommate?
Well, the house was amazing. It was beautiful, and it was so well put together. As soon as I got there, I ran into a room and I didn’t even see who was running with me to the same room, but when I looked around, I saw it was Cassanda and Natasha, and we both, like we all looked at each other, and we all liked each other. So it was kind of weird how we all ended up in the same room, and we all got along.
That is kind of interesting because I don’t remember seeing who your roommate was, and it’s interesting it was Natasha.
Yeah, Natasha and Cassandra were my roommates.
How do 13 ladies manage to live in a house together? Were there fights over the bathroom—things like that trying to get ready to go somewhere?
No, there were no fights over the bathroom. Since I was there so early, everyone was very nice, so we got along pretty well early on in the show.
How many bathrooms are in there?
There were two bathrooms.
[GASP!] Two bathrooms for 13 girls?
Yeah, but you know what the funny thing is? Me, Cassanda and Natasha, since we shared a room, we all had the same—we all used the same bathroom, and it was just us three in one bathroom. The other girls had to share a different one.
Once again, it appears there is going to be drama in the house. Who do you think will be the biggest drama queen or queens?
Wow, Renee. Definitely Renee.
From the editing it looked as though it might be Natasha, so that is interesting you said that it’s Renee.
Natasha is very sweet to me.
Who were you closest to in the house? Was that your roommates, or were there some others you could add in there.
Well, I’ll definitely add in Jaslene. So, I’ll say Cassanda, Natasha, and Jaslene.
Was there anyone you could tell from the start that you were going to have problems getting along with?
No, not at all.
You seemed that you were getting along with everyone. I think before the show had started some people might have pegged you that you might be a difficult one. Now, how they get that from looking at your picture, I’m not sure, but . . . . [laughter from both of us]
Well, I get that a lot when I walk on the street they’ll tell me: Why do you look so upset? Why do you look so mean? And if you get to know me, it’s a whole different story.
It’s funny that you mention that, too because when you were having your picture taken with someone out by the pool, you looked at the picture, and I think you said you looked mean in it or something like that.
But, no, you’re not mean; you’re very sweet.
Not at all.
Had you had a make-over, what would you like to have had done?
Well, I would have loved to have a long, jet-black weave. That’s what I would have loved to have.
Did you want it straight, curly?
Something very long and curly. Something very dark.
You’ve got to tell me how you managed to find an outfit in three minutes at Goodwill for the runway challenge because I need that secret. [Laugh]
Well, my outfit wasn’t great, but I just . . . I like Goodwill. I loved that challenge. It was such a fun challenge to me, and I enjoy shopping at Goodwill.
I don’t even think it was really The Goodwill so much, but it looked on those racks that nothing was marked size-wise. I don’t know how you figured out where to run—where to go.
You know it was like look at the colors, look at what it is, don’t look at the size—just squeeze it on. [laughter]
That’s great. Did you actually have three minutes?
Yeah! We actually had no time—like three minutes.
Moving on to the photo shoot, how long do you spend in hair, make-up and wardrobe getting ready for the shoot?
Wow, a very long time. I’d would have to say probably like 30 minutes to an hour.
In panel, you were complimented on having a bright spirit and hair to match, but they made it look as though you didn’t have a clue what you were doing. Did you feel this was an accurate statement? Or, were you really clueless during your photo shoot and confused by the anti-fur theme?
No, I totally understood what the theme was, what it was I was supposed to be doing, what the political statement was. I understood all that. What I did not understand was what type of facial expression they wanted me to give them. I think at panel, they just misunderstood what I was trying to tell them.
So it was more a communication issue between whomever you were speaking with, not that you just didn’t know what you were doing.
Were you affected by nerves at all doing that?
Definitely, you get very nervous, you know. You get very nervous.
I don’t know how you guys do that. [Laughs]
You try to pick your words carefully, but you get very, very nervous.
Overall, Tyra expressed disappointment with the results of that Political Issues shoot. Do you think the expectations of the panel are too high for a first-time shoot?
I definitely do think so. Many of the girls to me had no experience, and some of the girls did have experience and didn’t meet up to their standards, also.
That is true. The blonde. I can’t think of her name right now.
Do they teach you that type of stuff, or is that something you just have to feel around for on a shoot?
Well, we were just thrown into it. There was no teaching, no preparation. I didn’t expect them to do that.
You kind of just touched on this, but looking at your photo shoot picture, I thought there were some photos that were worse than yours. Others missed the point as well. What do you think about how your picture turned out?
I think it turned out great. To me, it was a great picture.
It was a great picture. I don’t know if their thing was that you were missing the point of what you were supposed to be doing, but you had a beautiful face. Your body looked good. Do you get to keep the pictures for you portfolio?
I definitely think I do. Yes, I’m hoping that I get to keep them and put them in the portfolio.
You showed so much personality on the show, and it was so much fun to watch you. Would you say you were portrayed how you really are on the show? Is that the real you?
Well, that’s a side of my personality. You guys didn’t get a chance to see another different side of me, and I have a lot of different sides, and that doesn’t portray me as a whole.
You got a lot of airtime. It was great to be able to see that part of you. What are some of your other sides.
There is a serious side of me. I can be very serious, very stern. I wasn’t all fun and games. They just saw the fun side of me, you know.
Do you ever look at any of the websites that talk about the show?
No, I didn’t get a chance to.
Well, we’re from Fans of Reality TV, and we’ve got very passionate readers at our website. There’s usually no in-between. They either love someone or hate someone. [Laughs] So, are you going to be reading any of these things when you get a chance?
Definitely! I will try to read as much as I can.
Is there any kind of message you would like to leave with our readers?
I would just like to let them to know that this was a great experience for me. It was a blessing, and this is not the end. Just because I went home first doesn’t mean it’s over for me, you know. I’m still going to pursue modeling.
You just touched on this, but what are your plans for the future?
For the future, I plan on going back home and working on my portfolio, looking for an agent—just pursuing modeling. I have someone [an agent] that I'm going to call up as soon as I get home.
It sounds as though it’s really involved getting your stuff together and getting yourself out there.
Is there anything else about you that you you’d like people to know that we didn’t get to see?
I’d just like people to know that I’m a very confident person, and I go after what I want. When bad things happen once you don’t get your way the first time, I’m not going to give up. I believe in working hard for what I want. Just because it didn’t happen the first time doesn’t mean it won’t happen the second or the third.
If you had a chance to change anything about what you did on the show, would you?
I definitely would not. I have no regrets at all. I wouldn’t change anything.
Is there anything else you’d like for us to know about this experience, and how it’s changed you?
This is great. It gives everyone—it gives young girls who have a dream a chance to just pursue it. It’s giving you a chance to start somewhere.
Have you watched the show? The show that you were on?
Oh, yes. Definitely.
Did you watch it by yourself and was it strange seeing yourself?
I watched it by myself, and it was totally strange. I didn’t know my voice was so annoying. [Laughter from both]
How surprised were you to be called as the second girl out of the finalists?
I was in shock. I had no words. It was like a dream come true.
I know you were hoping to make it. Were you expecting to make it?
Definitely. You don’t understand. Once you get your name called, you feel as though you’re the winner.
Actually, I meant when they called the final 13. Were you confident from the start you were going to make that final 13?
Well, I wasn’t 100% confident because I didn’t know what to expect at all. You don’t know who or what they’re looking for, so when I was standing there with the 20 girls, I wasn’t confident at all.
It had to be easier being the second one called, instead of being the 13th one called. [Laugher from both] I can't imagine how nerve-wracking that would be.
Since we have some extra time, Jay and Nigel made it seem that they gave you numerous suggestions, and you kept falling kind of short with that. Do you think that’s an accurate statement? Would you agree with that?
Well, they did help me I must say, but to me it’s like what they were telling me wasn't enough. To me, I like people who keep it funky and just go straight ahead and tell me what you have to say. It’s like they were beating around the bush with vague things like “high fashion.” For me, just tell me, I want you to give me an angry face. I want you to give me an upset face. Keep it funky.
What did you think about being called a Brooklyn hoochie with a twist?
[Major laughter] I take that as a compliment.
The twist being that you had a great personality.
Oh, thank you.
I don’t think anyone would dispute that.
Thank you so much.
If you had a chance, would you do this again?
Definitely, I would.
It didn’t sour you on TV or anything like that?
No. I know who I am. I would definitely do it again.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today, Kathleen, and good luck to you in the future!
Many thanks to Kathleen and CW for this interview opportunity!