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'America's Next Top Model': Chatting with the girl who didn't go to Rome

April 17, 2008 | 12:31 pm

So, Stacy Ann, what are you up to now?
I went back to school. It’s very important to me. I’m finishing my bachelor's degree in education. Then I plan to go overseas to teach English in Japan, and then hopefully can do some overseas modeling.

Were you mad that you got eliminated instead of Fatima, who missed the photo shoot?
I was really devastated and really pissed that Fatima missed her photo shoot and she didn't even have her documents. It wasn’t fair to any of us that we had to struggle out there in the freezing cold to do this photo shoot -- and we had to have our papers already. She didn’t have either and she got to stay. I was upset about that. 

Did you talk to her about it at all?
I didn't get to speak to her about it. At first when she told us the dilemma, that she lost her papers, we were really sympathetic, but I didn’t think that I would get eliminated instead of her.

How do you feel about how you came off on the show? Is that the Stacy Ann we’d see in real life?
I think I did a good job of staying true to myself, which was why I was upset when Nigel and Paulina said I came off very fake at the party. But that is who I am: I'm very bubbly. I can meet a perfect stranger and be excited, energetic — I’m too blessed to be stressed. I am that happy person, and I don’t like the fact that people were thinking that I'm fake because I'm so happy. Why can’t there just be a happy person?

Well, now you do have some bitterness and anger, so maybe it’ll work for you.
Right, now I have more drama and anguish for the show.

Even though I didn’t win I feel like I’m a winner. My husband and I are going to take this experience and help other girls: We have a lot of support in Miami. He wrote a song for me called "Top Model," about me — that even though you didn't win, you're still a star. I'm going to open it up to all the girls. In modeling there are a lot of obstacles. You get shut down so many times, so it's a song to motivate everyone — just go out there and don’t worry about what anyone says about you.

How long have you been married?
I’ve been married for five years. 

They didn’t talk about that on the show.

I know, I was so surprised! It was my only sort-of-story, that I got married young. I was 17 when I got engaged and 18 when I got married.

I bet he’s glad you’re back home.

He's very supportive. He didn't like the fact that I was on TV giving lap dances, though.

You didn’t have any particular trauma or sob story to talk about on the show. Do you think that worked against you?
I think that worked against me:  I didn’t think that would be such a problem. I didn’t know it was "America's Next Sob Story. I thought it was "America's Next Top Model.” It’s all about modeling, not that I was molested or abused. We all have our stories. That was another reason why I wasn't sure if I wasn't dramatic enough. I was surprised especially in the semifinals: There were a lot of girls with issues, and I got chosen because of my personality. I knew that was my key, but it worked against me. That was upsetting and confusing.

Would you do anything differently?

I don't think I would do anything differently personality-wise. I'm not going to change who I am, but maybe just the photo shoots. I probably would have worked a lot harder. I got really comfortable where I was. I know I'm beautiful, confident and I can walk. But then there’s Lauren, who doesn't think she's beautiful, knows she can't walk and isn’t sure about herself. I would just work a lot harder. 

What did you learn from the show that can help your modeling career?

I learned when it comes to the photo shoots not to do Posing 101. You have to make it look natural, like how Anya would do it. It's like an everyday movement, like Benny Ninja would say, and you make that fierce, instead of a tacky pose, which was what I did.

Which was your favorite shoot?

I liked the shoot where we had the paint coated over us. It really focused on our face, and I thought I had a lot of strong features in my face, so I liked showing that I could work with it.

For such an acrimonious season you seemed lto stay out of the fights pretty much.

I’m not a dramatic girl. I was one of the only girls who was friends with everybody. When there was fighting between Dominique and Whitney, they kept cutting to me, like, is Stacy going to say something? But I wasn't going to, because I'm really friends with Whitney, and Dominique thought we were friends the whole time. I would be on Whitney’s side, but I never got inside the drama. 

Which of the girls are you still in touch with?

I'm in touch with Marvita and Whitney. I do want to talk to Fatima, but I haven't been able to get ahold of her.

Are you keeping the short hair?
I absolutely hate short hair. I really think that worked to my disadvantage, but I had to show that I would be confident with my haircut. Right now it's my signature. I’m keeping it, but I’m going to work my way back to long hair.

--Claire Zulkey