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Exclusive: Alexandra Underwood talks 'America's Next Top Model'


By Christopher Rocchio, 05/17/2010 

Alexandra Underwood still doesn't know why she failed to make America's Next Top Model's finale runway show.

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The 21-year-old student from Kerrville, TX was ousted as part of a double elimination during America's Next Top Model's fourteenth-season finale broadcast last Wednesday night.

On Thursday, Alexandra talked to Reality TV World about how she feels that lots of "politics" go into the show; why competing as a plus-sized model might have put her at a disadvantage; how she feels she received mixed messages at certain times; and if she's confident she'll be able to work as a model.


Reality TV World: After you were eliminated you said you really believed you were going to make the Top 2. Do you think you should have made it over [Krista White] or [Raina Hein] and why?

Alexandra Underwood: Um... I don't know if I had to pick one. There were different reasons. I definitely thought that Krista was going to be up there. I think Raina just because... The entire season, she never got credit for this personality that she "has so much of."

I just thought that they were going to go with mine since I really threw mine out there. I got positive feedback. In the go-sees, they commented on not even liking Raina's personality. I just thought that would maybe be the one thing. She struggled in New Zealand a little bit. So I thought that it was probably going to be Krista and myself.

Reality TV World: Just to follow up on that, what do you think played the largest role in the judges' decision to eliminate you?

Alexandra Underwood: I don't know. I'm still wondering. It does make sense. I struggled the last two weeks we were in New York. That did make sense because it caused me to be inconsistent, but I think every girl that was up there at that point wasn't really that consistent either. I guess I'm still questioning.

They said something about me not having a story. I don't think that I should have to apologize for not giving America a sob story. I've had a spectacular life and I don't think I should have to apologize for not having something like those other girls. I never slept in a train station. My mother never beat me. Stuff like that. But I don't think I should have to apologize for that.

Reality TV World: As you noted several times during last night's episode, your photo was never called first at panel. How did that affect your confidence?

Alexandra Underwood: It did. Especially that week with the hair shoot. That's when I was my lowest. It was hard having to realize how much goes into the show other than just the competition. If they just let the show be the show and have it based on the competition -- the modeling -- that aspect, it would be a totally and completely different story. But they put so much politics in the show and so much reality television goes into the show, it makes it really difficult to believe in the stuff that you do. You never know what the outcome is going to be. I really felt like I couldn't do anything right.

It's weird to think how can you be the creative director of a photo shoot's favorite on set and then have a mediocre picture in panel? That just doesn't add up. So that was probably the most difficult part about the show.

Reality TV World: Was there any specific photo shoot when you thought your photo should have been called first but wasn't?

Alexandra Underwood: Yes. There were multiple times in New Zealand where my photo should have been called first.

Reality TV World: Your personality and attitude seemed to become a bit more aggressive towards the end of the season. Was that the actual case or was it just the editing?

Alexandra Underwood: Editing was a huge part of it. But in New Zealand I really opened up and was able to be myself, which was a huge comfort. You have to push out a lot of sides of yourself whenever you go on the show. It's very one-dimensional, they show one side to you. They took that competitive side of my personality and they ran with that.

I'm not necessarily that competitive as they made me out to be, and I am not that serious. I don't take myself that seriously, I don't take life that seriously. But they did make me seem really serious in the end.

Reality TV World: Can you talk a little bit about the extra pressure you felt as a plus-sized model and how you dealt with it?

Alexandra Underwood: I think the girls did a great job of not making it an issue. They were very supportive. That was a huge plus.

Everything in high-fashion now if you're above a Size 4 is considered plus size because the designer won't book you unless you're considered that. That's really what it comes down to. I don't wear plus-size sizes. That was the biggest thing, having to realize in our society that we live in today that I even would be considered that.

Reality TV World: Whitney Thompson was the first plus-size model to win Top Model back in 2008.  Did that play any role in your decision to apply for the show or had you already been applying before that?

Alexandra Underwood: I didn't even watch that season. I haven't really seen very many seasons, and I know that's so awful to say. (laughing)

It really didn't have anything to do with it. I think because a plus-size girl did win so close to my season, I think that hurt me. I think I kind of didn't really have that big of a chance of winning because they didn't want to pin another plus-size winner that soon. I think that had a lot to do with it. That made it hard.

My mom's best friend signed me up and I showed up there with pictures that she printed off of my Facebook -- I didn't have a single professional photo like all the other girls. I just tried out that once.

Reality TV World: You just mentioned how Whitney winning so recently kind of hurt your chances. Did it change the way you approached the competition? 
 
Alexandra Underwood: It didn't really affect me while I was there. I went after it as if it wasn't a big deal. Actually, I didn't even put it together because I didn't watch her season. But it just makes sense now and everybody's pointing it out -- you read the blogs and everyone talks about that and everyone compares me to Whitney. They say how all season I didn't have a chance because of that. It does make sense.

Reality TV World: So do you agree that you didn't really have a chance because of that?

Alexandra Underwood: No, I wouldn't say that I didn't have a chance. But it is something when you do consider when you think of all the politics that go into this "reality show." It is a lot about politics.

Reality TV World: You keep mentioning "politics." Can you be more specific?

Alexandra Underwood: No, nothing I would want to discuss. I don't think that's allowed. (laughing)

Reality TV World: Do you agree with Tyra's comment that you were inconsistent from shoot to shoot and if so, how big of a role do you think that played in the judges' decision to not advance you to the finale?

Alexandra Underwood: Whenever we were on-set doing the photo shoots I didn't feel that way -- especially getting the feedback I got from Mr. Jay. I didn't feel that way at all.  I was really shocked sometimes whenever we would get into panel and I would see my photo because there would be times when I knew I turned out something better than what they picked.

But there is a reason why we don't get to see our film. There's a reason why we don't get to pick our own photos. They don't necessarily pick every girls' best photo -- they pick photos to talk about and to give examples off of. There's a reason for that. I don't know. I didn't feel like I was inconsistent, I think they kind of made me out to be more inconsistent than I was,

Reality TV World: Jay commented that you were "ugly ugly" and not "pretty ugly" during the photo shoot that came before your elimination. Was it difficult to find what he was looking for creatively in that shoot?

Alexandra Underwood: The thing with the last shoot is you have a photographer that was telling you one thing and you had Jay telling you another. They didn't show that a whole lot. I'm guessing -- I haven't watched the finale -- they just had different ideas of what they wanted the photos to look like.

You were trying to please both of them, and I think they kind of did that on purpose because they didn't want all four of us to go up there and have awesome shoots. They did that to bewilder us a little bit. But as soon as I put the clothes on and got into wardrobe I kind of had this Sweeney Todd feeling. I just kind of went with that.

Reality TV World: You were confident that your personality would help you win that runway challenge on the airplane -- and even Krista commented on how she thought you would win it...

Alexandra Underwood: Everybody did.

Reality TV World: So what happened there? Why do you think Jay and Miss J decided to award the win to Krista instead of you?

Alexandra Underwood: We don't actually know that. I actually talked to [Angelea Preston] about this. We're still trying to figure that out. A lot of the competitions were like that. We knew how we did and they wouldn't show our clip. We could obviously tell that we did better than other people.

I wish they would have shown our reactions whenever they said Krista's name because all four of us, our mouths just dropped and we just sat their silent. We still don't know, really.

Reality TV World: [Nigel Barker] commented that you'll absolutely work in the plus-size industry and Tyra commented that you were absolutely stunning. So what's next for you? Did that give you confidence that, despite not winning Top Model, you'll be able to make it as a plus-size model?

Alexandra Underwood: Oh yeah, absolutely. I'm definitely going to take this and run with it for as long as I can. I'm hoping an opportunity will present itself soon and I can make a move either to New York or L.A., but I definitely want to run with it for a little while.



(Photo credit The CW)


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