Chantal Jones, the 19 year-old America’s Next Top Model runner-up, from Austin, Texas, was a regular bundle of energy during this interview. Imagine an excited child on Christmas morning, and then read everything in this interview with one big exclamation mark(!), and you will have the tone of this interview. Chantal does tackle some serious questions, though, as she details her experience on the show, which pitted her in the final three with her two closest friends on the show—Jenah and Saleisha.
Q: Tell us a bit about how you got involved in the competition.
I was always a fan of the show, and a friend of mine suggested that I try out. She sent me the application, so I thought “Well, why not? I’ll go ahead and fill it out.” She drove me to Dallas, so it really just happened for me. I went to the audition and ended up getting called back, and it all just kept going on from there!
SV: Did you have any idea when you started this that you’d end up that far in the competition?
Well, you know, of course, I went into it telling myself, “You’re going to win! I’m going to win! I’m going to win! This is cake, you know!” Every week whenever they called my name again and again, and every time I felt just a little bit crazier. “Wow! One more week! One more week!” By like week seven it wasn’t about winning anymore. It was about making it to the next photo-shoot, the next challenge. When it ending up it was me and Saleisha on that runway, it was crazy! So, I wasn’t prepared for how exciting it was going to be because, really, my emotions were just overwhelmed. I didn’t know I was going to make it that far. I wanted to, but I didn’t realize how incredible it was going to be!
SV: Who would you have preferred to have been in the final two with—Jenah or Saleisha?
Well, I think that, you know, both of those girls I was really close with. They were my good friends, and I think if I would have been against Jenah for the final two, I would have won. Saleisha winning, if it wouldn’t be me—obviously, it’s not me—she is the only one that I would have wanted to win if it weren’t me. I love Jenah. She was a good friend of mine, but Saleisha is the total package, and I think that she is going to represent America’s Next Top Model really well. I’m proud to have walked with her because she definitely won. I think it was very fair, so I’m happy for her. I guess that this is how it’s supposed to be, so I’m glad I could do it against Saleisha. I’m glad that she won.
SV: Do you feel as though Saleisha was your greatest competition throughout the show?
I didn’t know the whole time that she was my biggest competition. You know, for the longest time, I thought Jenah was my big competition and definitely Lisa. I always thought she was a big competitor of mine. But, when it came to the runway, definitely Saleisha was always everyone’s biggest competitor because her runway was incredible. She was very good, and she taught us all a little bit, but we couldn’t get it the way she had it. So, Saleisha was my biggest competitor when it came to the runway—hands down.
SV: You called Jenah out as having the least potential and stated that you wouldn’t want her as a role model for you little sister. What precipitated that comment?
You know, I don’t think that Jenah has the least potential as a model; I think she has a great amount of potential as a model. I think she can go very far in this industry. However, I think that she is more for adults—for older people. Like my little sister and young girls I don’t think look up to her in the way they would to Saleisha or myself because we are more—I don’t want to say, you know, nicer. We’re just better role models because I really care about children. It has been such an amazing place for me to be in this position because I see little girls all day long, and they just get so excited to see me. I want to be a good influence in their life, and I think Jenah is more self-driven and more focused on just . . . that’s a really difficult question to answer because Jenah is a great person, and there is nothing against her. I think she’s a great girl, and she has lots of great qualities, and assets, and everything. I just think compared to Saleisha or myself, we’re just very good role models, especially . . . yeah. Me and Saleisha are what I’d want my little sister to look up to and to become. That’s a difficult question!
SV: On that same note, what makes you and Saleisha such good role models, then? I’m sorry if these are difficult.
Oh, it’s okay! It’s just that it is so much to think about because it’s such a big thing in my life. Saleisha and I connected on a different level than Jenah and I, and we had strong connections—both of us, both girls. But, I think that Saleisha and myself are more . . . I want to say we’re more, just better because we’re more concerned with doing the right thing always, and not just whatever is fun or whatever. We’re more conscious of people’s feelings and who’s around us, and what the consequences of our actions are going to be, and just more responsible. Overall, young women should look up to someone that is like that—that is concerned about how their actions are going to affect other people. Saleisha and I definitely consider that in everything we do. I definitely think about my little sister in everything I do, and so does Saleisha.
SV: How tall are you?
I’m 6-foot tall. That was the best question! [laughs]
SV: Yes, the most important one for our readers! [both laugh]
Q: What was your favorite part of your time in China?
The Great Wall was the most incredible thing that we got to do the whole time. Being there made you realize how small we are. It’s just such a huge, incredible achievement that the Great Wall was built and everything, and it was really incredible to be there, and feel the energy of it and how magnificent it is, and how small we are. I really enjoyed getting to experience that. It was the best part of it all.
Q: Have you gotten a chance to wear your custom outfit, yet?
I have not! I’m dying to find a place that’s appropriate for it because it’s definitely a show-stoppin’ kind of dress. It’s got to be an appropriate place to wear it, so as soon as that occasion comes up, I’ll put it on.
Q: Are you going to maintain the makeover that they gave you from the show?
I’m not quite sure! I think that I will probably do something different. Right now, I have maintained it. I do have the bangs. I don’t have the extensions anymore because I like them more natural. It’s easier to handle and everything. The extensions are just such a hassle, but I might try and change it up a little bit and get a new look—something completely fresh and different from anything that anyone has ever seen from me.
Q: Who do you plan on keeping in touch with from the show?
I keep in touch with Jenah the most and Saleisha. I keep in touch with her, too, but Jenah and I are really close friends, so that is why it is so difficult to answer those questions because it’s so hard to decide between two incredibly, amazing girls. To decide who is better than who is just too close—it’s just too close to say. Hopefully, those questions are so difficult because I’m close to both of those girls, especially Jenah. Jenah is my best friend from the show, so I’ll keep in touch with her forever.
Q: What are you going to do now? Are you going to pursue modeling still?
Yes, I’m definitely going to pursue modeling. I’m going to give it a little while to see who contacts me. I’m hoping to hear from some agencies in the near future. If I don’t pretty soon, then I’m going to take it in my own hands, and I’ll do whatever it takes, and if that means I have to pick up and move to New York and start from scratch completely all over again, then I’ll have no problem. I’m ready for whatever challenges are ahead of me, and modeling is my passion. It’s something I want to do. I learned so much through this competition—so much about myself, about being on my own, and about modeling, of course, so I’m ready for whatever is next. I’m just waiting to see what happens.
Q: What would you like to say to everybody who was a fan and supported you while you were on the show?
It is so exciting to have all the fans that I have. I can’t believe all the people that have supported me and cheered me on the whole time. I found websites on different things, like even on Facebook, and all over the place. My fans have come together, and they talk about the show and everything. It’s really great, and I just want to thank all my supporters for being there for me, and for putting those good thoughts out there, and just for seeing the good in me because I worked really, really hard, and I appreciate them taking notice in that and supporting me. So, thank you so much to all my fans!
Q: What was your favorite part of the competition?
My favorite part? Well, the whole thing was such a great experience being able to just pick up and leave everything behind and go live in LA with 13 amazing girls. The most incredible part was I don’t know how else I would have done this at 19 years old, but traveling all the way across the world to China, and not only being able to just go to China, but go to Shanghai, and go to Beijing and see the Great Wall, and just live there for a couple weeks like we did. That was the best part, and I’m so grateful for that experience. No matter what happened, that is something that I’ve always wanted to do. I mean, to been able to have already done it is great, and I’m so grateful for it.
Q: Did you get to see much of the country, other than what we saw on TV? Like, were you out every day, you know, touristy kind of things?
Pretty much what you saw was pretty much what we did, but whenever we would drive around and stuff, we got to see a lot of sights, especially when we were in Shanghai. We really got to see the city, and when we went on the go-sees, that was incredible because we were on our own just able to walk around as we were going from place to place. We also got to see everything when we were just out there, and you feel the energy of the city, and it was just incredible. That was so awesome!
Q: Other than modeling, which you said you’re planning on pursuing, are you interested in TV, acting, you know, anything else?
I would definitely jump on any opportunity. I would love to act; I would love to be in a movie or in a series. I’m certain that I won’t do reality TV again—not that it wasn’t a great experience, and I’m thankful for everything that it brought me, but it’s something that once you’ve done it, I think that’s plenty! I don’t want to be part of the reality scene anymore, but being on TV, I have totally enjoyed that. I’d love to act, definitely. I’ve always been passionate about acting, and I think that I’m not too bad, so if I get that opportunity, I will definitely jump on it.
Q: What was it like—the reality aspect of it? Were you guys used to the cameras after a while? How real was it when you actually saw that show? Did it really reflect your experience in the house?
Yeah, it certainly did reflect it! The thing I love about it being on TV, is it’s like, you know, I kept a journal the whole time, but this is like a visual journal. It’s just like a documentation of the entire experience, obviously. At first the cameras really made us all a little nervous, and we were very aware of them. By the second and third week, I’d say we were getting used to it, and after a while, you’ve just kind of got to work around it. It just becomes more natural, the normal thing, cameras following you around everywhere—microphones and all that. It was crazy! That part of it was really different because someone was watching you 24/7, and that makes you feel kind of weird. It was definitely real, though. Everything I saw, it was what really happened. They never tried to portray us in any way other than what we were. I was very nervous about that whenever the show started. I was really scared to see how they were going to make us look. I didn’t know if they were going to twist it around and everything, but everything was to the “t.” Everything was exactly how it was. So, I was really grateful to see that.
Q: Who did you watch the show with when it aired?
Oh, my gosh! My whole family. Every single Wednesday, my mom would have everyone over at our house. When we started the show, I was living with my mom still at my parents house, and we had a huge, everybody over there. Then, a few weeks ago, I guess about a month now, I moved into my own apartment with my boyfriend, so we had everyone over at our apartment and just a huge thing. We brought tons of food and everyone just kind of got together. It was a little bit awesome because it brought my family so close to together and all my friends. It gave us an excuse—everyone was here. Everyone was watching the show together, so it was really cool. I was kind of sad now that the show is over because we want to keep meeting on Wednesdays. That was one of the coolest parts. The whole experience has really just been incredible, and I’m sorry I’m just rambling on, but now you’ve got me going! It was so much fun being there from the beginning, auditioning. Oh, it was just such a thrill to make it just to callbacks. Then, to get to go on the cruise and the house. It was just like one thing after another. Everything just kept happening, and then it was over. I mean, I made it so far, and I do not have any regrets. I’m not upset that I didn’t win. I feel like this is just what was meant for me, and I’m still going to do whatever I went into this competition planning to do. It’s just been great, and now everyone watches on Wednesdays together, and it’s just been such a blessing. I’m so grateful. [laughs] I’m rambling on! [laughs]
Q: Which was your favorite photo-shoot?
My favorite photo-shoot was the Great Wall. That’s my favorite of everything. The Great Wall was incredible. The makeup was really crazy. We knew it was crazy, and seeing it on TV just really reminded me of how insane it was. To see myself on TV looking like that was kind of crazy. That was the most fun because it was really different. We really had to embody something completely different than what we were. It’s one thing to sit and smoke a cigarette and act all sexy. I mean, how hard is that for a woman to do? You just do that. But, to act like a warrior, and you’re on this wall with such history and everything, that photo-shoot was just the best experience for me. That brought the most emotions out, and it was also one of the most challenging ones, so that was my favorite. Hands down.
Q: You mentioned smoking, so this cycle was a no-smoking cycle. Were you affected by that? Were you a smoker before?
No, I am not a smoker, and I was affected positively by that because I didn’t want to be around it at all, so the fact that it was banned from our house in the first week I was just thrilled because I didn’t have to deal with it. [laughs] I was really glad there was no smoking in the house.
Q: You were talking before about being a role model, so not being a smoker, that’s a great first step. You were saying you were a good role model for young girls. How do you think you being so skinny and so beautiful—how do you think that affects young girls and just the modeling industry in general with body image issues for young girls?
You know, I’ve always been naturally skinny. When I was younger, I was teased for being so skinny, and every girl goes through that. Maybe not every girl, but the majority of girls, and whether it’s for being too skinny, or overweight, or whatever it might be, I mean, I’ve had all types of problems, and we all do. I was always teased for being skinny. I used to be called praying mantis. My skin was always really bad, and I used to get picked on for that. It’s just something that we all go through. Little girls are going to go through that, and that is part of something that strengthens you, and you learn to focus on the things that you do like about yourself. Whenever you focus on the positive things and are grateful and thankful for all the things about yourself that you do like, you’ll notice that more. You’ll notice those things more, and other people will, too. It’s all about being positive and trying not to let those things get to you. You have to realize that that’s going to happen. Nobody is perfect, and there’s always going to be kids that are not always nice. There are mean kids out there, and they are going to pick on you and stuff. You just have to get through it and realize that we all grow out of those little things when we’re kids. Yeah, that’s one thing I definitely like to talk to young girls about because I’m happy with who I am now. I like my body and everything, and it’s taken me a long time to get to this place. I’ve gone through really insecure times in my life and think that that’s normal, and a lot of girls can relate to that.
Q: Going so far in the competition, do you have any advice for girls that want to try out for America’s Next Top Model?
My advice for anyone that’s planning on getting into this and wanted to do the Top Model thing and everything is just to be prepared. It is hard, and it’s really hard being away from your family and everything and your friends. Being put into this place with nobody familiar—it’s all new, so that part is difficult. You have to be prepared for that. I wasn’t prepared for that. I was extremely homesick a lot. You just have to remember that every single second counts. Everything counts. Every challenge. Every teach. Every photo-shoot. You really have to give it your all. There are times that I look back, and I’m like, “Man, I really could have had that.” Like I could have had that if I would have just given it a little bit more. I think that is what I’m always going to remember—to do your hardest. At everything you do, always give 100% and be prepared for whatever is going to happen because you never know.
Q: Speaking of being homesick, how often did they let you talk to your family and friends on the phone when you were in the house?
Sometimes we would get to talk to them once or twice a week, but then there were times, especially when we were traveling that we didn’t get to talk as often because of the time change and everything. Obviously, there was like a twelve-hour difference. If we would have called them, it would have been like in the middle of the day and the middle of the night here, so we didn’t get to talk as often as I would like to. Obviously, you can tell I’m a talker, so I would have talked every single day if I had the chance! So, we didn’t get to talk that often. I got to call about once or twice a week most of the time. We got to write letters and stuff, so that was good.
Q: Out of the whole experience, what was the most challenging moment for you?
To tell you the truth, the most challenging was the very last day. The walk around that runway next to Saleisha was the most challenging. She is so good, and I knew she was really good. I knew it was so close to the end that any little thing could just make you or break you, so that was the most nerve-wracking day, and it was the scariest of them all. I mean, I was really satisfied to have made it that far, and no matter what happened, I knew I was really glad to be as far as I made it. That was great. That was definitely the most challenging day. That was it.
Q: In terms of any little that could make or break you, like what about that guy on stilts? Did that totally freak you out? Were you afraid that was going to have an effect? Do you think it had an affect?
Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah, definitely! As soon as that happened, I was like, “Oh my gosh! You’ve got to be kidding me. This cannot be happening.” You know, ultimately, I was very concerned about the man, himself. That was my main concern. I was like, “Oh my God!” But, I never got to find out how, like I said, how he’s been. From watching the show—watching the show it didn’t look nearly as bad as it looked when I was there. I felt like he had just come crashing down from a 10-story building is what it felt like to me, and it was my fault. Yeah, what was the question? [laughs] I think that if I would have handled it better, I think from watching Jay you can that my reaction, I definitely reacted, and that’s what you’re not supposed to do. You’re supposed to stay in character. Just keep walking. Keep the attitude. Keep up the same pace. I saw him fall, and I lost it, so I think that that had to do with the ultimate decision. I don’t think it was that the man fell. I think it was my reaction to it—that I wasn’t just completely professional, and I should have just kept on walking. No reaction from that. So, I learned from that. Of course, that’s my first major incident on a runway, so I didn’t know how to react, but now I think if something like that were to happen again, I’d be a little more prepared for it.
Q: Is that the only thing you would have done differently? Is there anything else on the show you would have changed?
Just to be more confident, especially that last day. I just wish I would have been more confident with myself and really just tried to enjoy it a little bit more because I let my nerves get to me. I was really scared and stressed, and I wish I would have just tried to pull it together a little bit more. That was a really tough day.
Q: How did you prepare yourself for not winning? Like in your mind, what did you think?
I just remember by the time we all made it to China, I was like, “This is pretty sweet.” I made it really far. I got to go to a different country across the world that without this competition, who knows if I would have ever got to go to China. Knowing that, knowing that I made it that far, and that I had accomplished that much from, you know, early on I was pretty content with whatever was supposed to happen. I’m a firm believer that whatever happens is how it’s supposed to happen, and everything happens for a reason. So, that’s what I told myself, and whenever they were deliberating, I was just like, “You know, I have come so far, and I am proud of myself.” I think that is the most important part. I’m just glad to have gone as far as I did, and I worked really hard, and I had some incredible experiences. You know, it’s just CoverGirl. There’s a million cosmetic campaigns out there that need some blond, green-eyed girls! [laughs] Yeah, it’s just CoverGirl. That is what I told myself.
Q: I don’t believe we’ve hit on the judges and their criticism just yet. How did you feel standing before them, and who would you feel was your most difficult and harshest critic.
Oh, I think that Nigel, definitely. It was like I was never good enough for him. There was always something that wasn’t quite there for him. He just had it in his mind that I was too commercial from the very beginning, and I wasn’t his cup of tea. I wasn’t exactly what he was looking for, and I think he knew that from early on in the competition. As soon as he met me, I think he made that snap judgment and held on to it the whole time. He was definitely my harshest judge. He always has something to say. He could never just be, “Good job. Well done.” It was always something.
Q: Which judge was the most supportive towards you?
I think that Twiggy was always very supportive of all of us. I think she was just easy to please. I mean, you have to agree that the pictures we produced, we had some incredible pictures, and so I think Twiggy was always, “Right on! That’s a great shot. That’s a great shot, too.” They all were great shots, so I think Twiggy was the most supportive of all of us. It looks like Miss Jay was my biggest fan, which makes me very happy, because I was his biggest fan. Miss Jay was definitely supportive, too, and like I saw just yesterday—we had no idea what they said during deliberation—and he was really rooting for me, so Miss Jay definitely was. I’m his biggest fan. [laughs]
Q: Like you mention, you have a ton of beautiful pictures. Now that you have a pretty full portfolio, do you have a favorite picture?
I have a couple favorite pictures. Of course, like I said a hundred times through this, I loved the Great Wall photo-shoot, and I really like that picture. That’s something I want to keep in my portfolio for a while, even whenever I’m way past Top Model and doing all types of other stuff. That was really cool and such a big accomplishment for me to go there. But, I also really liked the shredded paper one with my hair going everywhere. That one was fun for me. I thought that was a cool shot. So, those are my favorite ones.
Q: We saw a lot of drama that went on in the house. As far as some of the more difficult personalities, who did you get along with the most, and who did you not get along with?
Jenah and I were the closest, and I know that’s crazy to hear considering we both picked each other for the ones that should go home, but that was just the nature of the competition, but Jenah and I were the closest friends, and we still talk to this day. We talk all the time, and she is a wonderful person, and we got along the greatest. We understood each other. Even though we’re so opposite—we’re so opposite—we still clicked on some level. For some reason, Lisa and I did not connect at all. There was something there that was just like . . . we just didn’t get along. Our personalities didn’t mesh. You know, we never had any confrontation. We never fought or argued or anything like that. We just never kind of hung out and talked, and we just weren’t friends. But, I tried to stay out of all the drama. I try to stay out of all those conflicts because that is not what the competition is about, and that’s not the type of person I am. I just like to hang out and have fun. Drama is not fun for me, and I don’t like all that.
Q: You say you really didn’t like confrontation, but I guess you just had enough of Bianca because you did stand up to her.
[laughs] Oh, yeah! Well, we can’t forget about that one! Bianca really did push me to my limit. She’s a great girl. I like her as a friend and everything, but that day, she had really just pushed me to my limit. I was just hanging out taking a little nap, and the next thing I know Bianca is running her mouth again. She was just always picking on somebody or had something to say about something, and I had enough of it. Then, she started picking on Saleisha about having all her experience and everything that she’s had, and I just thought Tyra thinks we’re an even-playing field. She thinks we’re on the same level. We just have to compete against her. If you’re threatened by her, then you need to work harder, not argue and start yelling, and blah, blah blah. I just thought that was ridiculous, so I had to stand up to Saleisha.
Q: What happened at the video shoot? They said that you were just standing there, and most of the time they’d just say you thought you just had to look pretty and that was it. You was like a blank canvas inside, and they can tell that from the outside. What was you thinking at that photo-shoot? You know what I’m taking about—the music video?
Yeah, definitely! The Enrique Iglesias video. What that was we were watching all the other girls go, and we all had different roles. We were all doing something different. Mine was to stand there, and I was holding this drink and I was looking at Enrique Iglesias, you know, whatever. I was looking at the camera go across the room, and I was supposed to be gazing into Enrique Iglesias’ eyes, and then just the nature of the business—this real fast pace. They put you there. They spit it out to you real quick what you have to do, so I was standing there, like, okay, do this, this, this, this. And, I’m like, “What? Huh?” Okay, rolling. I was like, “What do I do?” I had two takes and I didn’t get it. I didn’t know exactly what they were wanting from me, so I totally blew it. I should have just trusted my instincts, but I was just really trying to do exactly what they wanted me to do. I had no idea we only had two takes, so I should have made sure to nail it on the first time, instead of I was kind of using that as a crutch thinking, “I won’t get it the first or second time, but the third time I’m really going to nail it.” Well, we don’t always have a third time, and that’s what I learned from that.
Q: The last runway walk. What happened because you didn’t do anything. Did the guy on the stilts move, and when he moved you just happened to be passing by, and your garment get caught underneath?
My train—I had a really long train, and it was blowing in the wind, and they’re moving around on those stilts, and I guess my train was blown underneath his stilt. So, he stepped on it, and I kept walking so the dress is pulling, and he’s on stilts, you know, five feet above the ground or however. They were so tall it felt like. The dress just pulled it, so he fell. The dress was torn, and my heart was torn, and I was like, “Oh, my God! [makes gasp sound]
Q: Was the runway really that long?
It was! It was a very long runway, and it was huge, and it was just a lot of time for me to think, “Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh!” So, I guess after that, I just hauled butt down the rest of the runway. That was it, man! That’s what really messed me up, I think.
Q: At least you didn’t fall. Thank you for not falling.
Well, thank you!
Q: Good luck to you. You’ve got a great portfolio to start, so you have a tremendous career. Do not let us down. We will be looking for you because we still need to see supermodels come out of this competition. You understand? [This woman is hilarious!]
That’s right! Yeah, that’s right. You will.
SV: Regarding that stilt incident, do you think that had any effect in the final judging?
I don’t think that . . . they knew it wasn’t my fault that he fell, but they were going, of course, to see how I reacted to that under the pressure of all that going on, and then somebody falls, and what am I going to do? How am I going to react? You’ve got to keep the show going. That’s your job as a model—to keep everyone engaged and not focusing on the mistake that just happened, so I think they were looking to see after that how well I was going to keep it together and keep the show going. After that happened, until I was off the runway, it was like, “Okay, this guy just fell, and she’s really nervous, and really freaked out about it.” So, yeah, I messed up and it was totally my fault. I made a mistake, and I learned from it. I’ll take that into my next runway show. I don’t know, maybe next time whenever someone is on stilts, I’ll just be a little more careful. [both laugh]
SV: You probably won’t run into that anytime soon!
SV: You touched on this, but I’m not sure you gave this specific answer, but which judge do you feel gave you the best or most useful criticism?
I think that . . . the most useful . . . that’s a tough one. Everyone gave me useful critique. I think that Nigel being so harsh on me all the time—and he was and maybe I just felt he was targeting me, or maybe he really was—but, I think his critique really was helpful, though, because I was like, “Man, I’m going to impress him if it’s the last thing I do!” Nigel says this. I’ve got to prove him wrong. Prove him I’m not just a commercial girl. I’ve already got Twiggy on my side. I’ve already got Miss Jay on my side. I know Tyra loves me, I mean, she picked me to be here. I just was always trying to get on his good side, but I don’t know. Looks like he still wasn’t quite sure. I still didn’t quite sell it for him.
SV: Do you think Saleisha had an unfair advantage in this competition having been associated with Tyra through T-Zone, modeling on Tyra’s show, and her previous acting and runway experience?
You know, I think that she was more advanced than I was, of course. She was definitely more advanced than I was, and I was competing against someone . . . like they said on the show, I’m an amateur. Yes, I am an amateur. I probably do look like an amateur because that’s what I am, and Saleisha wasn’t exactly an amateur. You know, she wasn’t a professional. She wasn’t the best of the best, but I think that’s good for the competition. I don’t think the competition should just be all girls that don’t know anything. If you put a girl on there that has some experience and that knows what she’s doing a little bit more, I think it gives the competition a little bit of an edge, and it really helps to see who rises to the top because, yeah, Saleisha won. She’s got all this experience and everything, and that’s just fine. But, still, someone like myself who has had no experience hardly, except small little things that are no big deal, that I can compete against her and that we were this close. I think that it’s good that they put different people on there, and I think they should continue to do that. Put some with no experience and a couple that have a little bit of an edge—just to see what happens. It makes you work harder.
SV: Were you shocked to see any of the girls eliminated when they were? Or was there anyone who made it further than you expected?
I was so shocked to see Lisa go home. In that CoverGirl shoot, when we did the commercial, and Heather had to have the cue cards read to her, and all she had to do was mimic them, and she still couldn’t really nail it. My honest opinion—I just don’t think it was fair. I don’t think it was fair that Lisa should have gone home whenever I thought it was Heather’s time. No one can argue that she [Heather] took an amazing picture. All of her pictures were fantastic, and she has Asperger’s and that’s something that can hold you back, but she fought through that, and she did an incredible job in this competition. I just think that at that time it was not Lisa’s time to go. Even though both of them didn’t do well in the commercial at all, I just felt that Lisa shouldn’t have gone home that day. I always felt she was one of my strongest competitors, and she just has a great look and an incredible body. I think she is going to still make a great model. So, I was definitely shocked to see Lisa go home.
SV: Our readers want to know if Chantal is your given name?
My first name is Heather. Heather Chantal Jones. My family, my mom, since I was a little girl, they’ve always called be Chan (pronounced Shawn), short for Chantal. But, then some of my friends do call me Heather, but I didn’t want to be Heather J. and Heather K, you know, so I decided that I’d go by Chantal. No problem. It’s a little more . . . it’s different. It’s not just Heather. Heather is so basic, so I chose to go by Chantal.
SV: It sounds a little more high fashion, doesn’t it?
Many thanks to THE CW and Chantal for this interview opportunity!
Photo Credit: THE CW