Vlada, the 24-year-old icy blonde stunner from St. Louis, was edged out by a grown woman named “Princess” to become the latest contestant cut from the competition. She may not have learned anything useful from the show’s “global lifestyle brand” challenges, but she definitely learned a lesson about appearing on a reality show and partaking of the free booze. In this interview, she discusses how she was portrayed on camera, what we didn’t see in the SUV challenge, and whether she was really stripping for Jeff.
What was your strategy coming into the competition?
I don't think I had a specific strategy. I just wanted a chance to show the world my talents as a FASHION designer.
Were you expecting the tasks to be focused on fashion design?
DUH! [Hepcat: I’ll take that as a yes.] If I knew I had to design cars and billboards I would have thought twice about going into this competition.
Did you expect to be working in a team, or competing as individuals?
I knew we would be working in teams, and that made me very nervous because I'm never the popular one with the ladies.
Do you think you were hurt by the reshuffling of the teams?
I don't think so. I was working with most of the same people from the billboard mission.
Were you surprised to be the last one picked?
No, I was expecting it. I had a feeling no one wanted to work with me. Like I said, I'm never the popular one.
What creative ideas did you bring to the SUV task? Was there anything we didn’t see on camera?
I tried to push several ideas, but no one supported me. I actually wanted to put a hidden compartment underneath the seat and put a refrigerator there. I also wanted to incorporate Tommy H's name somewhere in the car, like in a plaque on the dashboard, but it's very difficult to do things yourself without any support and on a limited time schedule. I think the viewers didn't see any of the work that I had put into the car. I put the tires and hubcaps on the car, I installed the CD player, I negotiated a great price for all of the electronics we put into the car, I also read the only article I could find about Fabulous so I would be more prepared to ask him question when I met him at the club, but I guess none of this was relevant for the storyline of trying to make me look like a lazy bum.
Your team’s SUV was criticized for not being what the client wanted. Where do you think the communication broke down?
I'm not sure what went wrong, I just think the overall idea had changed from trying to make the car look classy to making it look gaudy and hideous.
Did you bond with any of the other contestants on the show? Who was your least favorite person in the loft?
I didn't bond with anyone at the loft. I think that there were many different personalities shuffled into the house which was very difficult to adjust to for me because I didn't know how I could possibly fit in with the rest of the cast. I am very bad at making myself heard because I am a quiet person (when I don't drink), and when there are people shouting over each other trying to make their ideas heard, I get lost in the shuffle.
You got pretty wild and crazy with Jeff, a self-described “happily married man.” Were you just having fun there, or was there a little bit of strategy going on, too?
What you did not see was that Wes and Amy were in the tub first, then I got in with them and Jeff followed. As soon as Wes and Amy got out of the tub, I got out too and decided to put on a show for the production crew, It was never my intention to seduce Jeff, and he never laid a hand on me. I made a very big mistake by drinking and then looking very silly on a reality show, but trust me there are worse things in life.
What did you think of Shauna declaring the contest wasn’t what she expected and that she wanted to quit? Were you surprised she was so eager to stay for the red carpet challenge?
Not at all, I wanted to go to the red carpet challenge and get away from trying to design a car too. I have a broadcast journalism degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and I was prepared to ask some great questions because I watch entertainment news programs daily, but unfortunately I was not chosen to go. I don't blame Shauna for wanting to quit because I was ready to quit also. I don't think the contest was what any of us had expected. It is just such a high stress environment with an unbelievable amount of pressure that it's truly difficult to stay motivated and keep going.
Tommy told you to hit the runway and I can’t help but think that could be taken literally. Have you ever considered a career as a model?
I used to do some modeling when I was younger but I hated the rejection and it made me very insecure about my body. If you watch the scene when I'm in the bathroom with Jeff, I was wearing a bra and some JEANS because my former agent used to tell me my hips were too big. I know it's hard to believe for those who don't know me, but I really have some issues with my self-esteem. I just hide it very well by trying to present myself as a sexy vixen.
What kind of challenge would have showcased your talents best?
I would love to have designed a dress or an outfit of some sort. My specialty is clothing design, and I believe I would have excelled at making a truly beautiful and unique dress that would have even impressed Tommy H, but unfortunately I never got the opportunity to show those abilities.
What is your ultimate goal - what would you like to be doing?
I want to break into the fashion industry. I could do so many things...I love to help people dress for their body types, it is easy for me to make any woman look beautiful. I would love to be a fashion consultant or work as a stylist or a designer. I could even use my journalism degree and write about fashion. I just know that only a career in fashion will make me happy.
Was there anything else you wanted our readers to know about you and your experience on the show?
I really admire everyone who was on the show with me for very different reasons. Everyone on the cast was very talented in their own way. I got to live a life I had never seen before, and I walked away from the experience with a lot more knowledge and honestly I don't regret anything. I know that I may not have appeared in the most favorable light, but I'm human and I make a lot of mistakes, unfortunately they were captured on film, so they will be tougher to overcome.
Thank you to Vlada for answering my questions, and many thanks to CBS for granting us the interview.