I always liked to think that I held my shit together quite well after winning Top Model. I fancied myself grounded and still “down to earth. I wasn’t. Fame is a disease. You dont have photographers chasing you and fans screaming and crying when they see you and come out normal. Over the years, it slowly corrupted me into someone I wasn’t. I got louder, wilder, and more unruly because that behavior was rewarded with MORE money and more work. I was surrounded by star fuckers, ladder climbers, movers and shakers. People who had no interest in my well being were pulling my strings and I danced like a fucking monkey. All the while fooling myself that I was the same person inside. The simple world I had once known was gone. The girl who had been picked to go on and eventually win America’s Next Top Model had been tainted by the filth that is the entertainment industry.
I became obsessed with money. Making it to help myself and my family was all I cared about. I didnt get the prizes or money I was promised and was angry as hell. Looking back, though the root of what drove me was admirable and noble, not all my actions followed suit. I dis things I never would have done for cash. It wasnt that scandalous, but it simply was NOT me. Nor did it follow my core beliefs. I was told to “amp it up” on cam and before interviews. I stopped wearing my bandanna because I was told it was “not becoming”. I took off my spiked collar because I was told at an audition I looked like “Heavy Metal Trailer Trash”. Bit by bit, my behavior, wardrobe, even my voice (I worked on it very hard to enunciate properly and drop my Chicago accent) completely changed. I let those around me convince me I needed to. I remember sitting at my old house I shared with my ex husband in Hermosa Beach, CA, looking around at all the “well to do” people milling about and marveling at it. The absurdity that I would ever live in such a pompous area. Me, somehow living in the Beverly Hills on the Beach surrounded in women wearing Prada drenched in diamonds as their husband’s cheated on them with their assistants every day. I wasnt reflecting those women yet, but my life was very lonely and similar. I was always told I didn’t “dress my part” etc, and tried harder and harder to BE what I was told I SHOULD be…rather than simply be who I am. I remember crying on my old roof deck on the phone with a friend, complete with expansive views of Palos Verdes, Catalina Island all the way to Malibu Point over the sparkling sea…asking why I ended up in that fortress of solitude. I had never been so fucking unhappy. Me. The calm and chill one. The rocker chick who didn’t care for this shit. Here I was, immersed in everything I ever claimed to fucking hate. Here I was trying to dumb down who I was and diminish my soul to fit into a world I did not belong in. The falseness of it, the acting, the complete fake bullshit they all projected for “image”. I fought against it, but man, I was losing.
When I left, I knew I didn’t want a single thing from that place. It was tainted. I took my clothes and that was it. I feel, since 2011, I have been battling to find myself again. Desperate to cleanse myself of the filth I picked up in that narcissistic shit hole. Tonight, I laughed as I stumbled on old clips of Robyne (however the fuck you spell it) from my 1st season of Top Model. Surprisingly, I watched it. I didn’t realize I’d be in it so much. I HATE watching myself, especially old clips. I am super self conscious about my voice. When I watched, I SAW myself. The real me. Untainted and raw. Young and immature, but so undeniably me. Bandanna, NIN shirt, mumbling monotone, always cool and chill and sometimes a wild immature idiot. Certainky not that monster I had become. That is when I felt the wind knocked out of me. In my quest to cure myself of my corruption, I think I unearthed a more mature and much more confident version of that kid. I felt more in tune with who I am than I have since I was 20. I am more the way I used to be than I have ever been. I then thought to myself, I was a victim of the Golden age of Reality Tv. The Kelly Clarkson of Top Models. The OG.
Eerily, I think I processed those words for the first time in my life. They are a script I have recited time and time again to fans and interviewers. I have never really studied what I said, or self reflected on it. I finally did. I won a huge reality show before it was a “thing” to win huge reality shows. I have a weird place in pop culture. I paid a heavy price for diving into the world of Hollywood reality stars in their Golden age…I fell into toxic circles and questioned who I was as I tried to do what I thought would please others…but I feel like I am finally back. I am proud of winning that show. I may not be proud of the few years I had after, but I got better! In 2020, when these fake tits finally come out, I will 100% be me. No additives. I may be covered in a lot of Hollywood battle wounds (some are mental), especially my poor titties, (which were quite glorious pre-boob job and I am an IDIOT for ever listening to anyone say otherwise) but I don’t know how many people survive that shit show of an industry and come out on the other side. I did.
Hey, how’s it going? I’m back, and I feel pretty fucking good about it.
A big shout out to my husband, who I believe helped point out the huge hole I had fell into. I thought I had clawed my way out, but he saw me still half way down. No one has ever held their hand out to me the way he has to hoist me out. From false friends, to reevaluating my career, he has inspired me to really cleanse my life. You make me want to be a better person, Matthew. I am so glad we both held up the mirror to each other and were able to really see ourselves and what life could be away from the industry.