America’s Next Top Model. I think its time I shed some light on what went down with me after that show..in an older and wiser shell of myself.
We were promised a Revlon contract on my season and a contract with wilhelmina. They did voice overs on the actual aired show and changed what was being said to us while filming. When I met with Revlon, they informed me they never planned on using the winner, whoever she may be, for any ads. They hired me for 15k to model makeup in a room with 10 execs in it to honor said contract. I was crushed, but still very grateful. 15k is amazing! Top Model then dropped wilhelmina, my agency, for another agency for season 2. As NO agency was willing to sign on for season one, wilhelmina claimed they were promised they’d be used again and again. They were furious. I was brought on season 2. Picked up in a limo from my apartment on ave. D in NYC (back then, a pretty damn rough area). I was told to brag and rave on my success. I did. I was still waiting for my prize, but had no issue helping out the show that made me!
Wilhelmina then informed me they didnt want me to be successful in any way to spite top model. They bragged how they’d push Elyse (also signed with them) and not me. I reached out to Tyra and Top model, desperate to get out of my contract and get advice as I was not being given any castings, etc by an agency that wanted me to fail. CRICKETS. Phone calls ignored. Then, my 15k for Revlon? Suddenly, I wasn’t being paid. I had did the job, but no paycheck was coming. Revlon blamed Wilhelmina, Wilhelmina blamed Top model. I demanded i get my paycheck for the 3 long days of work I did. Crickets. Wilhelmina said I had to take them to court, but I’d pay more for lawyers than what i was owed. I reached out to Tyra again, as Wilhelmina’s agents constantly let me know what was happening to me was because of her and the show. Crickets.
I was SO angry. I was sent to Africa to model. Wilhelmina still refused to pay me. I was broke and stuck in a third world country. My family had to wire me money for me to buy my ticket back home. A year or so goes by, I was struggling to go on castings and go sees by f
FOLLOWING other models around that I saw carrying their portfoliis since wilhelmina wouldnt send me. I was then offered a spot on The Surreal life.
Suddenly wilhelmina is very interested in me. Word is, Tyra and co. do NOT want me to go on this show. 51 minds, the producers of the Surreal Life let me know that top model has spoke to them and doesn’t want me to go on. Suddenly, I exist again. Then, anger. Pure betrayal and anger. I saw Tyra and the show as angels that had saved me and gave me a new life. The realization that they didnt give a fuck about me was crushing. I was so angry. Here, I was being given an opportunity to work a job and actually make money and they want me not to because it might make their show look bad. Yet, when I needed even advice, I got crickets.
I did the show. I purposely got wasted and skinny dipped. I took joy in knowing it would bother people. It was my Ode to FUCK YOU. I took every opportunity to let press know I was never paid or given my prize. Id talk shit about Tyra just to do it…Revenge was sweet. I talked mad shit that I wouldn’t do now, I was a kid. My anger was a thin mask for my broken heart. I poked and jabbed because i knew it drove them nuts. Then, I had a plan to sue wilhelmina and get out of my contract. I told elyse, someone I thought was my friend from my season, who then marched directly into Wilhelmina and told them every…single…detail….all of it…after writing a blog making fun of a night we had together in a pompous fashion… I never spoke to her again. My second heartbreak from that show.
Now, here I am…35 years old. I AM beyond grateful I won the show. However, I was a kid. I didnt know the game of hollywood…that they really do not care about you. I had a big heart and I really looked to the show as my saviors and Tyra my angel. When I was desperate for help and being punished by my agency for being from the show after they dropped Wilhelmina…I just wanted some guidance…some…something.
That was my first great life betrayal. Nothing had hurt more than the realization that those people didnt really care about me. Now, in my wisdom, I know they werent capable of it. I was a non hollywood kid with a big heart….but to them, I was ratings and a potential boost to personal agendas…nothing more. It wouldnt hurt me today like it did then. In fact, I’d have expected as much. I just didnt know how soulless and impersonal our industry was. I wouldnt be so extreme in my behavior on tv which reflects on me more than them. I would have just eloquently expressed how heart broken I was. I certainly wouldnt have done playboy, let alone twice. That too, was my huge fuck you.
I am glad I did the show. I am even more glad it happened the way it did. Every set back, every heart break I faced, i grew. It made me stronger. I was set on a path that led me where I am today. I would have never traveled the world. I’d have never had the opoortunitues I had. id have never known how cut throat and vicious Hollywood was. I’d have never met my guy and realized together how badly we needed away from LA, entertainment, etc. That show prepared me for how cut throat and non caring Hollywood is. I wish Tyra well in her life and have no hard feelings anymore. She is a woman looking out for herself in a world where no one else gives a shit about you. Being cut throat and numb to others in that industry is the only way to get ahead. I never had the off switch when it came to not caring about others. That is why entertainment ended up hurting my heart so much.
Still, would be nice to get my 15k, lol.
So, if you wonder why I have been erased from the show, never mentioned, etc…its because my hurt heart rained upon them the greatest show of FUCK YOU I had ever mustered. 15k is a lot of money, and being ripped off that much brought a monster out of me. I know even today, thats a number people will kill each other over… so my juvenile behavior isn’t so bad.
I loved my experience. the good, bad and ugly. I also loved that my season, our finale photo didnt get hogged by Tyra…lol She TOOK the pic instead of took over the pic. She should have stuck to that, she takes great shots.