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HOME > America's Next Top Model > America's Next Top Model 10

Anya Kop: Whitney Thompson winning 'Top Model' was 'totally on point'


By Christopher Rocchio, 05/16/2008 

Unlike Fatima Siad, Anya Kop feels Whitney Thompson winning America's Next Top Model's tenth-season was the correct choice.

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"I think the decision of who won and who didn't was totally on point.  I'm just so happy that Whitney was able to make it that far because she has a lot to say and a lot to show.  I'm really proud of her," Kop told Reality TV World during a Friday conference call. 

"I think she won because there wasn't a plus-sized model that ever made it that far in the competition.  It was just amazing that a plus-size model won.  I think Whitney has a lot to stand for and I'm so incredibly proud of her."

Since Thompson became the first-ever full-figured woman to take home the Top Model crown, that meant Kop was relegated to runner-up status.  However the 19-year-old from Honolulu, HI said she never expected that it would be easy to beat Thompson at the final judging panel.

"I think being with Whitney as the final contestant, she had just as good of a chance of winning as I did.  It was either or.  Me and her represented two parts of the modeling industry.  She was more curvy, and I was in a different part in the modeling industry," she explained.  "I love her with all my heart and I know she's going to go so far in her career because she has a different side of the modeling industry that needs to be brought out further."

Overall, Kop said she never had any expectation to win the competition and instead tried to stay more focused on the short-term.

"I expected to live every single day as they came to me.  If I thought five weeks from now, what's going to happen?  Am I still going to be here?  I think I would get too focused on what's going on next week than what's going on right now this second," she explained.  "I definitely had my moments.  'Oh my God!  Is this it?  Am I not going to make it?' But at the same time I'm sure of myself.  As long as I did my best, that's all I can do.  I was proud with the whole thing."

Kop's strategy paid-off, as she made it all the way to the end of the competition.

"I was so shocked," Kop told reporters about making the Top 2.  "My picture didn't look the best.  My CoverGirl commercial shoot, I should have done better.  So when it was my name that they called first [at the penultimate judging panel], I was so shocked.  I can't even explain to you what was going through my mind.  I was just so grateful and so blessed."

Since she made it all the way to the end, Kop had the opportunity to participate in the tenth-season's final runway-walk challenge -- for which she donned designs handpicked by Donatella Versace.

"I felt proud.  I felt proud of who I was and who I am that I made it so incredibly far," said Kop, explaining how she felt in the moment.  "From the millions of girls that try to enter into this competition, I was here on this beautiful runway in Rome.  I felt incredibly proud of myself and that I was able to make it that far."

Still, Kop's runway walk wasn't all smiles and sunshine as she had a hard time maneuvering in one of her dresses since it constricted her feet.

"If you're a professional model, you should know how to walk in every single dress -- anytime, anywhere," she said.  "I have to learn and be exposed to different kinds of things.  It was difficult, but I should have known how to walk in it I guess."

Kop said she was a "huge fan" of Top Model "since the first episode."

"Ever since then, I've always wanted to be on the show," she said.  "But you can't just say something or wish something -- you actually have to do it.  You have to put in effort for it and you have to put in dedication as well.  It takes a lot of dedication to get where I've come so far."

Once she was cast, Kop immediately stood-out from the other tenth-season contestants due to her unique accent.  While it may have been endearing, she knows it's something that needs to be corrected if she wants to succeed.

"It's definitely something I need to work on because you need to learn when it's appropriate and when to turn it off, turn it on," Kop told reporters, adding she plans to see a speech therapist.  "It is who I am.  It is my culture, it is my background.  It's definitely really different, but it's definitely something I need to work on if I'm going to be more successful in this industry."

Kop also quickly established herself as one of the toughest competitors in the competition, as she ultimately won four reward challenges and also had her name called first at panel four times.  However she told reporters she didn't let that success go to her head.

"If anything me winning a lot of challenges definitely humbled me," she explained.  "It made me really, really appreciate being given this chance of being on America's Next Top Model and just showing what I can do, my potential.  It just really humbled me and I really appreciated everything that was happening for me."

Kop described herself as being "very sincere" and having a "gracious heart," qualities that she thinks helped her avoid drama.

"Some people ask me, 'Was it hard being in the center of drama and you being such a nice person?  Was it hard to stay away from it? How did you not get picked on?'  It's just being sure of yourself and having that inner-confidence and inner-belief in who you are," she said.  "I didn't feel like I had to be a part of the drama to be where I was in the competition."

In addition, Kop said simply being herself allowed her to stay focused and dedicated throughout.

"I was so sure of who I was throughout the whole competition," she said.  "To succeed in this competition, you can't be someone else.  You can't pretend to be someone else just so someone else will like you or you'll stand out.  If you start doing that, you lose yourself -- you lose your goal, the whole reason why you're here."

Not surprisingly, Kop said she was still same person when the competition ended as she was when it started.

"It just made me stronger in who I am, not who I want to be," she explained.  "I don't think it changed me at all, and I'm grateful for that."

While the competition may not have changed her as a person, Kop apparently wants to be known by a different surname moving forward, as she told reporters to call her "Anya Rozova."

"It's a play on my Russian birth name," she said. 

Kop said she's also preparing for another change -- a move to the continental U.S..

"I'm definitely, 100% going to move to the mainland.  I love New York, it's such an amazing place," she gushed.  "It's so high-fashion, and it's extremely different from Hawaii.  The people are so sassy, they're always on a mission to go somewhere, and Hawaii is more relaxed and chilled back.  It's definitely a huge change for me."

As for what's next, Kop said she plans on pursuing a modeling career.

"I'm not going to say if I got signed or not," she told reporters.  "I'm going to pursue modeling because it's my passion, it's my dream.  I'm going to move to New York and pursue a modeling career over there."

One thing that may help Kop with her modeling career is her Top Model portfolio, which she told reporters she received yesterday. 

"That's what's so amazing about coming out of this show," she said.  "You get this amazing exposure on national television and you get to work with these photographers that other models just dream of working with.  It just gave every person on that show a huge opportunity, and it definitely expands your portfolio.  I'm just super-grateful that I made it so far."

(Photo credit The CW)


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