The world of modeling can be a cold, cruel one. It was certainly a cold one, according to Cassandra, the 24-year-old college student, who became ANTM’s third casualty of Cycle 8. Cassandra possessed a beautiful personality, was supportive of the other models, and had the philosophy that you could be true to yourself; yet, be nice to the people around you. Were Cassandra’s photos uninspired? Does Cassandra have potential? Can one pose as a jellybean, while holding ice cream, without looking “stiff?” You be the judge.
Hi, Cassandra. How are you doing?
Hi. I’m great.
I was sorry to see you eliminated last night.
Oh, thank you.
How did you get interested in becoming a contestant on America’s Next Top Model, and did you have any previous modeling experience?
I did have previous modeling experience. I was working with an agency called Seattle Models Guild at the time, and I was approached while I was shopping in a store, and the lady said, “You look like you would be awesome on Top Model. Would you like to be on the show?”
I said, “Yeah!”
She basically took two photos of me; I went to a little audition and got picked.
Well, that’s wonderful! You were a college student. What were you majoring in?
I’m actually in a community college. I’m getting my AA [Associate of Arts] degree, and then I’m transferring to a four-year.
From your first introduction on the show, you were memorable. You were the girl with the wig sewn onto your head, and you were wearing some wild clothes. Tell me more about that—especially the wig-sewing.
Well, I didn’t have time to have a full-head weave, so I said I’m just going to have one of my favorite wigs sewn onto my head. It was a long, curly wig, and they just sewed it around my hairline to make it look kind of natural—like it was my own hair.
Did you actually sew it yourself?
No, I went to a shop and had it done.
I always thought they made it sound as though you sewed it yourself, and how on earth can you do that?
I probably would have poked myself a lot of times.
What was it like living in the house with all those crazy girls?
It was actually not as bad as I thought. I felt that it would be hard because we had one phone, two bathrooms. You know everybody is having PMS, and it’s really difficult, but it wasn’t. We actually all kind of compromised with the phone and the bathroom—at least while I was there.
Who was your roommate?
My roommate was Natasha and Kathleen at first, and they’re absolutely fabulous. It was like it was fate that we got stuck together. And, then, it was Renee and Natasha. Renee was actually a really cool roommate. She was really nice to me. She was not evil, as they portray her on the TV. She took care of me when I was sick. She had a really warm heart, and Natasha was a fabulous girl that was one of my favorites.
That’s good to hear.
You seemed to get along well with all the girls, and you were very supportive of them. Was there anyone with whom you were particularly close?
I was close with Kathleen, Natasha, Jael, and Jaslene. All my favorite girls.
Week-to-week, there is always some kind of drama going on in the house. Is there anyone who’s the catalyst for all this drama? Is there one person it’s coming from, or is it just kind of different each week?
In my eyes, it’s different each week because everyone has their own issues with someone. So, it just depends on what they want to show on TV.
The past episode, it was Brittany and Renee having problems.
When that is going on, does it affect the rest of the house and the rest of you girls? Are you able to go on with your own business and ignore it, or is there just a tension in the air?
Oh, definitely, the girls are able to go on and ignore it. It depends on if you want to get in it or not. You can put yourself in it, or you can ignore it. I mean either way. I think I chose to steer away from it, so that’s why I didn’t get in it.
That was probably wise.
Our readers always like to hear a contestant’s take on the other girls in the house. Would you mind telling me the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear these names?
Dionne: Southern diva
Felicia: Dancing queen
Jaslene: Puerto Rican mommy
Kathleen: New York’s finest
Natasha: Russian goddess
Samantha: Quite and mysterious
Sarah: Very informative
Whitney: Chocolate beauty
How about Cassandra? [laughter from both]
I would say positive and fun!
All right! There you go! I couldn’t let you not say something about yourself. [laughter from both]
You went from a sewn-on wig to an afro weave. What did you think of your make-over, and how long did it take?
The make-over took about six hours.
Oh my goodness!
I loved the afro. I thought it was hot. I thought it was a very proud statement. It’s something that my mother had when she was younger, and I thought it was absolutely beautiful because it’s an afro. How much better can you get?
So, I take it you kept that look?
I kept it for quite a while, yes.
How tall are you?
I’m 5’ 10 ½”.
You looked really tall, but sometimes it’s kind of deceiving because you’re so slim.
You get a make-over, and then you have a make-up challenge. It seemed to be utter chaos for those 10 minutes you had to complete that task. How were you able to do that?
Well, I was running around and actually was done before all the other girls, but I ran to put some extra eyeshadow on, thinking I was going to be dropping the items where I was, and they would come check my makeup. I didn’t know we had to run to a certain spot. So, I looked up after putting on the eyeshadow, and I heard five-four-three-two-one, and all the other girls were on the other side of the garden. So, that’s how I was late.
It had to be heartbreaking to be disqualified. Time-wise it looked really close—as in seconds. How late were you?
I was about just three seconds away.
You know, I timed it, but we don’t really see things as they are on TV, and I was thinking it was only two or three seconds. I was very disappointed, too.
Was the disqualification brought up in panel, and if so, how much of a factor do you think that might have played into your elimination?
It wasn’t brought up at all during panel. No.
Did that surprise you that it wasn’t?
Umm, no, it didn’t surprise me that it wasn’t because I noticed in the past that they didn’t bring up negative things that happened in other challenges. So, I didn’t think they were going to bring that up.
Oh, that was good.
You had three photo shoots: A carnivore, a cheerleader, and a, what . . . jellybean? Those were kind of diverse themes! How do you get into character for things like that?
I just try to picture whatever they’re making me be. Like the carnivore, I pictured kind of being like a meat-eater. Kind of being like an animalistic type of human. For the cheerleader, you know I thought about being fun and cheery, but then they told me that I was a cheerleader who wanted to be a rocker, so I had to be more mad about being a cheerleader.
Ah, we didn’t get to hear that part.
Then, for the jellybean one, I thought I had to be kind of fun and growl-y. I was trying to growl and do something fun instead of doing something more high fashion with more of a dramatic, passionate eye.
Did you like that theme? I wasn’t impressed, myself.
I thought it was fun. The body paint was really fun, but I just was sad that I didn’t get to have eye makeup done. All the other girls had eye makeup, and I only had my natural eye and jellybean paint all over me. So, I thought if I would have had eye makeup, it maybe would have made a difference.
Well, yes. Having your eyes done tends to make them pop a bit.
Which photo-shoot was your favorite to do, and which picture did you think was your strongest?
My favorite photo shoot was the meat. The meat photo shoot. It was really fun, and it was really sexy and scary at the same time. I think that was my best photo shoot out of all of them.
You had a nudity shoot, and it showed you were up first. Were you up first?
I was up first.
How did you feel about doing a nude photo-shoot, and how difficult was that?
The nude photo shoot was fine to me because I knew I was not going to be portrayed in a pornographic way, so I was fine with it. My body parts were covered, and I was able to conceal those with my hands and do little different things. But, the ice cream was really cold in my hand, and I got frostbite from the ice cream being so cold.
I was going to ask you if you still had sensation in your hand after holding that ice cream, and how long did that session really last? Ice cream was melting everywhere for everyone.
Definitely, and it lasted about 20 minutes—me holding the ice cream bare-hand, and I got a really bad first-degree frostbite burn, and I had to go to the hospital. But, the other girls got Vaseline, luckily, because they realized after my shoot that you can’t hold ice cream for that long.
So you were, unfortunately, the guinea pig. It’s good they found that out for the other girls.
Getting back to your nudity shoot, you had all that junky stuff on your body. How long did the make-up session take for that shoot?
The makeup for that was pretty quick, because they didn’t do eyes on me. That was a little bit quicker. It was probably an hour.
When you were doing that photo shoot, were you getting feedback during it, and was it helpful?
I was getting feedback, but it wasn’t too helpful because the ice cream was really cold. So, I was kind of thinking about how cold the ice cream was instead of, you know, what I should be doing with my face. It wasn’t as helpful.
At panel, the viewers were shown complete silence when your picture was shown? Is that how that really happened?
It is. [laughs] That is what they do when the picture was shown. They were very silent, they were shocked, and they didn’t like it.
So, how did that make you feel?
Well, I felt they kind of balanced me out because they loved my walk. They said I had a great runway walk, and they said that I didn’t have enough passion in the eyes. So, I took the bad with the good, and it kind of balanced. I believe they picked the best girl for the rest of the show.
Your comments stated at panel were that you had a beautiful personality from within, and you give others strength, but you didn’t have model potential. What do you think of that kind of assessment? Do you think that’s an accurate statement?
I don’t think that’s accurate at all. I know that I’ve seen a lot of top models in magazines, and they’re all like 5’10” and taller, and they’re very, very thin. I’m very thin, I’m 5’10, and I can definitely walk a runway and definitely give you a wonderful shot in a picture if you give me a chance.
Personally, I thought your previous two photo shoots were strong, and, in fact, the judges commented that your carnivore shot was “powerful.”
Uh huh. Definitely.
I know there are other people who have had weak shots, but they’re still there. I don’t try to make sense out of this.
[laughter from both]
You have a slim and long look to your body. You were called beautiful inside and out. So, then, what is this non-model potential of which they speak? I just have a hard time wrapping my brain around that one.
Me, as well. [laughter]
Maybe we should leave it at that. [laughter from both]
Were you surprised to be in the bottom three with Jaslene and Diana?
No, I actually wasn’t surprised at being in the bottom three because I was late for the photo shoot. They did give me a lot of negative criticism when my picture popped up, and on top of that, I wasn’t a really negative person in the house, and negativity kind of gets more airtime than positivity. And, I understand it is a show, so good TV is when there is a little bit more fighting going on.
I was going to ask you about that, and since you brought it up, would you have changed anything if you had a chance to go back? Would you create more drama for yourself just to stay on longer, or are you happy with the way things went down for you?
Never. Never would I change anything. Every experience is . . . there is a reason for every experience, and you take it, and you learn from it, and you go on. I’m a positive person, and I have to be myself in every situation and every circumstance. I’m a strong Christian, so I’m always going to display Christian ways in everything that I do.
Your departure seemed to be quite an emotional one with the girls, so you were obviously well-liked. Being who you are and nice to people paid off in that respect. Are you happy with how you were portrayed on the show? Is that really you? Is that the person we saw?
The positivity is me. It’s definitely who I am, but there were a couple parts that they showed me kind of being unsure. That’s really not me. I was actually really kind of pumping the other girls up in a lot of different ways, instead of asking, but they picked some certain clips where I was kind of unsure about things. So, I think I was portrayed, for the most part, as who I am.
They did show you being supportive of the other girls, so that part did come through loud and clear.
You’re 24 and the other girls are a lot younger. Do you feel that put you at a disadvantage in this particular competition?
No, I don’t think it put me at a disadvantage at all. It’s about the look. If you have the look, you can still model. It’s all about selling what you’re wearing or selling whatever you’re doing. I feel that no matter what age you are, if you have the look and you still have what it takes, then you can definitely sell it. Look at Naomi Campbell. Look at Tyra.
It’s kind of strange when 24 becomes old.
Yeah! [laughter from both]
What is your favorite memory from this entire experience?
My favorite memory is when we were outside walking in our shorts, and Miss J was having all the girls walk, and he was kind of laughing and making fun of a lot of the girls, and so I walked for him, and I was really nervous, really scared. When I came back, instead of making fun of me, he told me, “Get back in line,” with a very confident face—like your walk is awesome.
That must be awesome—to hear that from him, especially.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are to continue working with the agency that is located in Seattle and to pursue modeling to the fullest. So, hopefully, bigger and better opportunities will come for me in the future.
I hope so.
Do you read any of the online sites discussing the show?
Not much. I actually don’t get on the computer much or watch a lot of TV.
[laughter from both]
Had you watch previous cycles of America’s Next Top Model?
I have! More when it first came out, so yeah, I have watched it before.
I want to wish you a lot of good look and well-wishes for the future in whatever you do, and I hope to pick up a magazine and be able to see you in it.
Many thanks to Cassandra and CW for this interview opportunity!