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'America's Next Top Model': A chat with Marvita

March 20, 2008 | 11:41 am

What are you doing now, post-"ANTM"?
I'm just practicing posing. I'm back at home, back to working my normal retail job: I'm a cashier. But I love New York. I plan on moving there and looking for work.

What is your hair doing right now?
My hair is doing a lot that it shouldn't be doing. Right now I still have it in my mohawk. I'm looking forward to changing it really soon: it's going to be completely different. I'm thinking I'm gonna go blond, or I might keep it black, or go blue.

What did you think when Tyra gave you that style to begin with?
When I got the horse mane, I thought "Oh my God, this is a lot of hair. I really look like a horse!" I got called so many names, people were calling me Bret Michaels, My Little Pony, Mullet Wonder.

I'm not sure why Tyra was saying she invented that hairstyle.
She invented it. If she said she did, she did. 

Marvita_2 How do you feel about the way you've come off on the show: Do you think it's an accurate portrayal of what you're like in real life?
To tell you the truth, the way I am in real life is just the same way I am on TV. Except that this last episode, I really didn't like it that much. I'm not like that, like when I was saying that I'm too ghetto for this. No.

What did you think about the other girls calling you "ghetto"? Where I come from, that's not a cool thing to say about someone.
It's really not. Fatima said that to me one time on the very first episode, but it never damaged me. Where a person is from is not who they are. I know a lot of people from "the hood" or whatever you want to call it, and they are completely different from what they are surrounded by. I can say that about myself. At one point in time, I was more into where I lived, I was more into my surroundings, I was all hard, but then one day I just said to myself: "I'm cool. I want to do something different with my life. I want to go somewhere. I want to be somebody." I just got up and did it. 

Was the fighting in the house real or were they playing that up?
We did argue and fight a couple of times, but it wasn't really as severe as it was on the show.

Well, then there was the fight where Dominique called Whitney a racist.
Oh that was real! But I was neutral. But Dominique opened her mouth, I was like, "She can talk and do whatever she wants to do -- I'm fine."

It seems like the show encourages girls to discuss any traumatic events from their past: Did the producers ask you to talk about being molested?
When I did last cycle, I mentioned that because I wanted people to really know me and be able to relate to me and to say "I was raped, but I can do anything, I can be anybody. If she can do it, I can do it." That's why it brought tears to my eyes to admit that on national TV last cycle. But I gave that information out myself because I felt somebody might need to know because it might encourage them and make them feel stronger.

Do you think your experience was different from the other girls' since you were on the show once before?
It was really weird for me. Last cycle I was a completely different person, so excited and happy and new and fresh and green, "Oh my gosh, Top Model, this is so cool!" And then I didn't make it and I was a little hurt, but when I got back, I was really confused because I didn't know what the judges really wanted from me. I didn't 't know what to do. I was a little afraid: "Is she going to let me go through this time? Am I not going to make it?" I just thought, "I'm going to try to give it my all."

Did Tyra give you any advice?
Last cycle she told me not to give up and I didn't; I came back. This cycle she said: "Your pictures are beautiful. You should go and do what you want to do."

Are you friends with any of the girls from the show?
I keep in touch with Amis; she's my best friend. I love Amis. We're so tight. In the bonus clips, we're in the house talking about moving in together. She's so cool. 

Did the producers ask you to scream as much as you guys did?
It's all about the edits. When we first got there, we were like "Oh my gosh!" And once they get that edit ... we always looked like we were screaming.  I always looked like I was smiling, and I'm like, "I was not smiling that much!"

-- Claire Zulkey

(Photo courtesy The CW)