'America's Next Top Model': Gabrielle, 'Other girls were weaker'
Ultimately, new judge André Leon Talley showed just how influential he can be on the show with Gabrielle's elimination. Leon Talley basically saved Alasia from elimination when he said he would hang her photo in his salon. She stood in the bottom two with Gabrielle, but how could Tyra send a model home with such a strong endorsement from the venerated Leon Talley?
I spoke to Gabrielle, the student from St. Louis, about her elimination, the remaining girls and where she sees herself going after the “Top Model” experience.
You were such a spitfire coming out of the premiere. What happened in that first photo shoot?
I guess I had a lot of things taking a toll on me. First, you have to get used to your new makeover and then you’ve been working like 20 hours during the day. So, you’re pretty much tired. I thought I did well, but seeing the performance, I guess I was portrayed as doing really badly. I think in the beginning, I let loose a little too much. I wasn’t on my toes as much as I should have been, so maybe that took a toll. I really didn’t think I was going to be eliminated so soon. I felt a lot of the other girls were weaker in not just the photos but a lot of things.
In the premiere, you considered Angelea your biggest competition, because she was also mixed race. After you both made it into the house, did you still feel she was your competition?
No, I didn’t. The only reason I felt she was my competition was because we were mixed. I didn’t know whether both of us would make it into the house or not. They make sure there’s only a few black models and a few other models of a different race other than Caucasian. Coming into the competition, I knew I had studied my stuff. I knew I was interested in it. I think I carried myself just a tad bit better than how she carries herself.
You received one of the better “Ty-overs.” Did you know you’d look so good as a blond?
I did not. Before the show, I wanted to dye my hair blond, like Gwen Stefani blond. And everybody was like, no, that’s going to be ugly. So when Tyra did it, I was just like, wow. She took the extra step I didn’t do. I’m keeping it for a while. I think it softens my face and makes me look a little less, I guess, mean. That’s a good look. Definitely keeping it, unless an agency wants me to change it. Until then, I like the blond.
In the judging when your picture came on-screen, the judges all went quiet. Did they really pause for that long?
It was not that long. When you’re standing there having that photo drop, it feels like forever, but it wasn’t drawn out that long. As soon as it happened and Tyra said it was dead silence and that’s not good, Nigel jumped in. I don’t think that was my best photo. I know that was one of my worst photos. I felt that them selecting my worst photo taught me to never take a bad photo, so that someone can talk down about it. I know now that every single photo I take should be able to go into a magazine, and everyone should think it’s wonderful.
Were there any women in the house that you didn’t get along with?
There are some people you just don’t click with. I think Alexandra and I were cool, but there wasn’t a spark between us other than that if we were by each other we’d talk. But I didn’t have any issues with anyone. I wasn’t there that long for people to even get to know me and start arguments.
What was it like having André Leon Talley judging?
It was quite interesting, because I did not know he was going to be the judge. And to see him standing in front of you, it’s like a huge shock. I guess he wasn’t as fond of me, but he didn’t see the side that Jay Manuel did see of me. I guess he just saw that horrific photo. So, I feel like I got misjudged a bit for just being a gorgeous face. [André Leon Talley] is a strong character in the show and has a big impact on which girls go home or not.
What are your plans now?
I’m definitely going to go back up to New York in a few weeks and start working again. When I was eliminated, I was just so sad in that moment. I said I’m not going to do this anymore, but I’m too driven to do that. So, I’m going to go take modeling as far as I can. Then when I’m done, I’m going to major in fashion merchandising at FIT [Fashion Institute of Technology], then go into business. From there I may go into filmmaking, film editing or journalism. Something along those lines.
Will you try out again like Angelea did?
No. I will be in the modeling industry, but I’ll take a different route. I don’t think I have to showcase myself on reality TV to get somewhere. I made it once, and that got my face out there.
What was your reaction to Naduah being eliminated after you?
I think this cycle has been a complete shock regarding who was eliminated. Naduah has potential and drive. A lot of the girls that are still on the show – don’t get me wrong, I loved them all – but some of them didn’t care to be there. Maybe her photo wasn’t perfect or maybe she was too classic, but she had a lot more potential and drive than a lot of these girls. I think it’s unfortunate. If you don’t want to be there, don’t be on the show.
Which ladies are in your top three for the title?
I’m rooting for Raina, because her face is extraordinary, despite all the drama and things that go on. Angelea, she got her act together. And Jessica, she’s a cute girl. Those three are my top as of right now.
Readers: Do you think Gabrielle should have been eliminated first?
— Jethro Nededog (follow me on Twitter @TheRealJethro)
Photos: Gabrielle, the first eliminated model of “America’s Next Top Model” Cycle 14. Credit: Pottle Productions / The CW
Correction: Rena has been replaced with Raina. Thanks, Dex!