What a difference a year makes! After being rejected for America’s Next Top Model last cycle, Jaslene returned this cycle meaning business and displaying a new-found determination and passion for winning. Catching up with her has been a challenge, as the newly crowned winner has been leading the hectic life of a Top Model. So, what’s it been like living the dream?
Hi, how are you?
Great! It’s nice to finally meet up with you. There have been some scheduling problems going on.
Yes, I’ve been kind of busy. [laughs]
Congratulations on becoming America’s Next Top Model and a CoverGirl!
Thank you! Thank you so much.
I know you’ve been really busy. What’s the “day in a life” like for you now?
Oh, well my life has definitely been a whirlwind. I’ve been doing everything, and the question is what am I not doing right now. I’ve been traveling, doing photo-shoots, interviews. I’m doing cover for Latina magazine. I mean, I’ve been doing everything right now, and I’m just living the life of a model—a top model.
So, that’s what you wanted. Any regrets, yet? [laughs]
Exactly! [laughs] I’m living my dream right now. I’m living my dream. Like, I’m in reality when I come back home when I’m with my family and friends, and I’m literally like in my dream.
What lead you to apply for America’s Next Top Model?
Just the fact that I have the passion for modeling, and I always felt like I was at home . . . doing something like that is something I like to do. I love the show, and I was a big fan of it from day one, and it grew on me, so I decided to audition.
How much previous modeling experience did you have?
Well, I used to do like fashion shows for local designers back in Chicago. That’s basically what I was doing for about 3 – 4 years.
That’s a lot of modeling experience.
You didn’t make it into the house last year when you auditioned. What was different this year?
Nothing. I just felt more secure, more confident, and I felt more driven. I’m more focused for where I am now.
Do you think that showed to Tyra, she recognized that, and it was a factor?
Definitely. I think I showed her I had perseverance; I wasn’t going to give up. I believe in my dream, and I felt like my dream was going to come true right there.
What was it like for you living in a house with all those girls and being mixed up with so much drama?
It’s funny because when I watched the show I didn’t realize so much drama we had in the house. I never seen myself caught up into it. The only drama I had was with Felicia, but that was taken care of. I try to stay away from it. I think we all go in there with a very competitive mentality, so that leads to a lot of the actions we took.
With whom did you have the easiest time getting along?
Cassandra. She was a very good friend of mine.
With whom did you have the most difficult time getting along?
I would say none of them. It wasn’t that hard at all. We all wanted to get along. We all wanted to get to know each other.
How tall are you?
Our readers always like to hear another contestant’s opinion of the other girls in the house. In a one or two word description, please tell me the first thing that comes to mind when you hear these names:
Cassandra: She keeps everybody sane.
Brittany: She’s . . . Brittany.
Diana: She’s such a Jersey girl.
Dionne: “Can I have that?” [laughs] Every time I think of, “Can I have that?”
Felicia: Felicia’s cool.
Jael: She’s . . . Jael. Wow. Wow.
Natasha: She’s so funny. Natasha’s hilarious.
Renee: She’s a mother. She likes to nurture everybody.
Samantha: Samantha is very modelesque.
Sarah: Very mellow.
Whitney: Whitney’s intelligent.
Yourself (Jaslene): That’s funny. Sexy! [laughs] That’s what I think.
Practically every girl in the house described you as “cha-cha diva.” What is a cha-cha diva?
Cha-cha diva is just this cultural girl who just has a very . . . Miss Jay gave me that title, but I carried along with it in Cycle 8. I don’t know. I guess a spicy cha-cha girl who has this, like, very huge swagger.
Do you read Fans of Reality TV?
Online? Yeah, I’ve been on there.
Having been compared looks-wise to a young Janice Dickinson, how do you feel about that comparison?
What can I say about Janice? She’s the type of woman where you either love her or hate her. I love her, so I think it’s an honor to me.
Who did you initially think was going to be your greatest competition going into the show, and did that change as the competition progressed?
I’m sorry. Can you repeat that? I’m on my way to the airport. I’m sorry. [There were sound issues going on with this interview due to extraneous noise, so apologies for that.]
I definitely felt like Renee was my biggest competition, and, of course, I was shocked when . . . I thought she was going to be my finalist. Unfortunately, she wasn’t, but I felt like Renee went in there as a model, and even with the more training that we had, she even developed more as a model. I felt she was beautiful, and she did an amazing job. And, also, Brittany.
You obviously have a strong runway walk. As the winner, what other qualities do you think you possessed that the other girls didn’t? In other words, what put you over-the-top for the winner?
I guess my confidence in me. I just felt like I was very confident in everything I did, and it showed.
What message do you want to get out to people who are looking at you as a role-model?
Just to believe in yourself and believe in your dream.
What was the final runway experience like for you?
Oh my God! It was amazing, amazing, amazing. It was like an ultimate moment for me, and, I don’t know, it was just the best feeling even walking on that runway and hair and makeup. It was just so much fun.
Did you think that you were the winner after that—that you had done well enough that you were going to take it?
I felt like I did a good job. I was proud of myself. I mean, of course, at one moment I thought, yeah, I can take this—I think I can do this; I can win. But, then again, I also thought about all the ones who think that they got it, and they do such a good job. Sometimes it doesn’t turn out to be that way. They don’t end up winning, you know, so I was just like, you know . . . and Natasha is a beautiful girl, a beautiful personality. She did a tremendous job in the show and a good job on the runway, so you didn’t know. I was confused.
You looked very confident. I thought you did a great job.
Oh, thank you.
Tyra announced that choosing the winner was a really tough decision. How long did that deliberation take?
It took about, wow, a couple hours. Like, two hours I can say.
Was that in keeping with the other eliminations time-wise?
Well, it was about the same. It was like the same.
What do you feel you will be most remembered for during this cycle?
I don’t know. That is a question I would ask my fans. [laughs]
What was your favorite photo-shoot?
Definitely, I would have to say the “weirdo” and the “men and women’s magazine.”
What was your least favorite photo-shoot?
The four personalities.
You’ve been doing a lot of PR work lately. When do you actually get to wind down a little bit and get back to modeling?
Soon, actually. I think I have like two more weeks of press, then, after that I will be doing a lot of work in New York. That’s why I’m actually moving to New York in about three weeks.
Do you have to book your own assignments now, or do they get booked for you as the winner?
They are getting booked by my agent and my publishers right now.
Do you have any final words you like to say to our readers? Anything we didn’t get to know about you, or anything you want to clarify?
Oh, thank you on behalf of all my fans, and thanks for the love and support. I appreciate that.
I’ll let you get back to your flight out. I just want to say congratulations, again, and I’ll look forward to seeing your post-show work!
Thank you so much!
Many thanks to CW and Jaslene for this interview opportunity!