Originally posted at “First Class Fashionista”
My Experience with America’s Next Top Model: I Guess I’ll Just Find My Own Way to the Top!
I don’t have cable or much free time, so when I admit that watching America’s Next Top Model last year became a bit of a problem … okay a big problem, I even watched it while studying for finals– you can deduce that I was really passionate about the show and modeling. I started to feel like I was watching from inside the scene, like I was watching myself compete to be the next ANTM.
I started to believe I was America’s Next Top model, and if I could only get on the show, I knew I would win. Not only that, but it was cycle 17, which is my lucky number, so I viewed that as a sign. In hindsight, I now realize every one of the thousands of applicants each season believes that, but at the time, I thought I was the one. It was my calling.
My boyfriend helped me make my three-minute application video, in which I talked a little about myself, why I wanted to be on the show, and showed a clip of my runway walk. We actually had a great time making it together. Then I filled out the written application, which was all of twelve pages when completed. It asked about everything, from my relationship with my mother, to my religious views, to whether I lost my temper very often.
Now here is where my first bit of advice comes in for all the ANTM hopefuls that want to learn from my mistakes. If you send in an application, you don’t need to go to an open call. Maybe you might have figured this out on your own but it didn’t seem clear to me anywhere in the rules, so I drove all the way to Grand Junction, Colorado and paid for a lousy hotel to wait in line in the cold with at least a hundred other girls to get pictures taken and a video filmed.
It was all a pain in the butt, and I wasn’t given time to think about the video or re-do the pictures. Only one winner from each call is chosen, so overall, I think it’s a better bet to send in your self-edited application, and skip waiting in the line.
— The only video from the open call that is even sent to the L.A producers is that of the winner; but if you are one of the independent applicants, you are far more likely to get your video viewed.
My Invitation to a Call-back Interview in L.A.!
When I got the message, I felt like I was dreaming. It was all too good to be true. An invitation to a call-back interview in L.A.? I felt high. I laid on my apartment floor and took some deep breaths, thinking, ‘this is it, I’m going to make it’. I paid for my own ticket and hotel room, as it seemed a reasonable investment in something I felt so sure about and if I made it to the next step– The producers would pay from there on out.
I felt like a hero booking my own trip to L.A., and finding my way to the nicest hotel I have ever been to in my life. I was a day early, so I took the tourist trolley down to the beach and did some shopping and took pictures of my lucky dinosaur—a kinder chocolate egg toy I had been carrying around since Easter.
The next day, I woke up raring to go. I sang in the shower, perfected the outfit, and headed out early with my dinosaur in my pocket. A steady mellow adrenaline rush accompanied me all the way to the back of the long line leading to the big room where we waited for three hours for what would happen next.
I was in a group of four hundred girls—half that of the entire regional call back. That means there were eight hundred in L.A., and many more in who knows how many other regional call-backs were happening at the same time. I knew of at least five others from specific states.
No one knew quite what would happen, but there were whispers circulating. Some girls had tried out before. Many were practicing their runway walks and looking around, sizing up their competition. I was practicing what I would say when they asked me why I should be America’s Next Top Model:
“When I was a little girl, I was a light. I loved the center of attention and basked in the beauty of the moment and expressing that. When I am in front of a camera or on a runway, it brings out that spark in me that has been simmering on the back burner for a long time. I need this competition like I need food and water. It is like sustenance for my soul. I am fully alive when I am modeling.”
Satisfied with my fantasy monologue, I felt prepared for wherever they were taking us in groups of fifty. When my group was called, we were filed into a small room and lined up around the walls, back-to-back. We were told to think of one word to describe us, which we would deliver along with our name, age, height, weight, and hometown in front of the camera in our turn.
It was all very rushed and we were given five minutes to think of that one word. Five minutes to think of ONE word after I had spent three hours preparing a short paragraph. I panicked, and here is where my second don’t-do-what-I-did-lesson occurs. I said I am empathetic. What was I thinking!? The last type of girl they want for a Reality TV Show is an empathetic girl– They want drama, conflict, and intrigue.
If you ever get this far in an ANTM application, Fashionista, say something like intense, exquisite, wild or animated. But for my sake, don’t say anything as passive as empathetic. That is a big no-no.
So that was it. They chose eight out of my group of fifty to go on to the next round for more of them to get weeded out. Those left standing after the L.A. audition would go on to compete with a few from each regional callback. At that point it’s really whether you fit the bill or not for one of the characters they want to comprise the cast. Making it even to the finalists is literally a one in, at least, a one in a million chance.
Honestly, I felt a little ripped off after investing so much time, money and emotion into something that would end in thirty seconds in front of a camera and in one single word. America’s Next Top Model invited me out to Los Angeles, I should’ve at least been given more time than I was given for the last round that I passed. I was even a little heartbroken and angry at Tyra Banks personally– Tyra Banks, who I so admire…But I’ve gotten over it. I know now that the whole thing was a learning experience. All things happen for a reason, and for me, it wasn’t meant to be.
That doesn’t mean I won’t be a model, even a top model.
Related Post: Adventures of An Aspiring Model