Exclusive: Alexandria Everett talks about 'America's Next Top Model'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/06/2011
Alexandria Everett became the eleventh girl eliminated from America's Next Top Model's sixteenth season during Wednesday night's broadcast on The CW.
On Thursday, the 21-year-old from Newport Beach, CA talked to Reality TV World about her America's Next Top Model experience -- including why she felt she "failed" herself, whether she really believes she was too controlling as the show's judges alleged, and her thoughts about her photo shoot confrontation with fellow contestant Brittani Kline.
Reality TV World: You said in your final words that you had failed yourself following your elimination. Why did you think that, especially when you admitted that you tried your best?
Alexandria Everett: I feel like I failed myself in a way because it's something that I'm passionate about, but sometimes when you try so hard, things work out differently. But it's okay, because I also forgot to mention -- if I did, I don't know if [America's Next Top Model] showed it -- but it's about a bigger plan.
Obviously, whatever higher power is out there, whether it being God or Allah or whatever higher being is out there, obviously it's in his or her plan. So, it's okay and I'm completely humble with it and I'm not meant to be in the Top 3, and I just can't wait to see what my next plan is.
God or that higher power again, throws unrealistic things at you at times, but it's what you do with those things. You know? I did not know about the auditions for America's Next Top Model. I didn't know anything until I got an email on Facebook, actually, and I looked at it as an opportunity and I ran with it.
I thought I could run all the way to the top, but obviously something didn't want me there this time. So, I just have to look forward into the future and see what the future holds for me, and I really am so excited because I know that there's good things and bad things that are thrown your way in life and it's how you take them and what you do with them and what lessons you learn from them really.
I've learned so much from this one. I'm really, really happy with how everything was played and portrayed. It's a great start to a beginning that I've already started myself in this industry.
Reality TV World: Your main critique the judges and Jay Manuel gave you throughout the show was that you were just too controlled. They said you often tried to take control of your surroundings at photo shoots, so what's your take on all that? Do you feel like maybe you did sometimes overstep your boundaries when attempting to direct the photographers and other people you worked with or do you believe the criticism was just inaccurate and they got the wrong idea about your intentions?
Alexandria Everett: I feel like the accuracy was on but the intentions part was a little off, because really, I was only trying to help. Being already part of this industry, I've already seen some photo shoots and I've already been in commercials and I've already done some of the things. I've been in those circumstances.
I feel like it's a little wrong to say that I don't know what I'm talking about or I'm being too controlling when I've already done that, so I already know how it's going to play and how the lighting is supposed to be or what shot it's supposed to be.
Maybe I should have humbled myself a little bit and held it back because I feel like I sometimes by doing that, I put myself in the fire when I didn't mean to do that. I've learned from that though, and I'm glad it happened like that because I've learned to know when I can say something and where I do know what I'm talking about, and then there are the times where I understand that, guess what? I should humble myself even more and just learn from that time.
So, that's what I'll do and it's all being taken in with a grain of salt and I'm very happy with the way everything was portrayed, because it was real. Instead of being fake and catty, I had the backbone and the feeling of saying what I felt on my mind -- even if it was at the wrong time -- at least I said it, and at least I was true to myself instead of maybe doing a couple things behind people's backs and doing this and that.
I'm not that type of person, so I'm glad that at least that got portrayed. When people sometimes called me the b-i-t-c-h of the show, well I could say that I was. I was the beautiful individual that creates haters, which spells out that word. It's also based on sass and skills, so I might be a bitch boss, but at least I'm not a 15-year-old high school student that still talks behind people's backs.
I feel like that's such a bad outlook in this industry with all the people that want to become models and want to become actresses and actors, and it's not about talking behind people's backs. It's about sticking together as people on a certain team in this industry that want to strive and become better people and get ahead.
It's all about being that too and working together. I've already worked in this industry for a year and it's coming up on two years in July, and I've learned a lot in a year. I've learned a lot because instead of being a model that just sits there on the set and doesn't learn anything, well this is our industry.
I would much rather learn what's happening with the director and the lighting and the this and that to actually understand where I'm supposed to be looking in the camera and understand my lighting and it's all about taking everything in and taking advantage of the situations that you're put in.
If that makes me too controlling or being portrayed as someone that's trying to control the shoot, that's not what I was trying to do. I was really, in some of the shoots, just trying to help if I could. If I overstepped my boundaries, then I did, but in my heart, I know that I was only trying to help and I wasn't trying to be bossy or bitchy or anything like that. I think it got portrayed wrong a little bit, but the critique was still correct.
I controlled myself way too much. I forgot about the "no control surfing" and listening to music and dancing and enjoying life the way that a positive human being should. I forgot that when you're surfing, you can't control the waves and you can't control the board and how it moves. You really need to connect out and bring that 100% percent.
But when you're in a controlled situation, like the show because it's very controlled, I felt as a controlling Alpha person -- as a dominant person -- that I needed to control too. So, I feel that as a person that's never been in a very controlled situation like that, I've learned so much.
So, for the next controlled situation -- if I'm ever in one, like on a movie set or this or that -- that I have to be there for months at a time, or on a runway show in Milan and Paris, and having to cram in three Fashion Weeks in one season, and not having the control of the timing and the flights, and the this, and the that, it's about running with it and rolling with the punches.
And guess what? If I'm snowboarding and I fall down a cliff, it's about rolling up and getting back on the board and going down the rest of the mountain because you're not going to get to the bottom by scooting down on your tush. You're going to get down to the bottom rolling down the way you started.
Reality TV World: Could you tell me about the fight that happened between Brittani Kline and yourself on the set of the Warriors in Pink photo shoot? Were you shocked that she spoke up and fired at you as she did and how did the whole thing really come about?
Alexandria Everett: Well, you know, it's kind of funny because it's kind of like -- I'm using a lot of references back to kind of like a high school -- younger girls that really don't know. It's their first time doing this, some of them, and I've already had an experience. So, yes I feel a little intimidated.
If I had this personally very strongly, passionately speaking about the things that she believes in, meaning me. But also, I did not know that no one liked me, because everyone acted like they liked me to my face. So, until the moment with the Brittani fight, it was very interesting because I sat there and I could hear her and I feel like she thought I wasn't going to say anything.
I'm not one to ever do that. I'm one that, again, speaks my mind. I'm very strong. So I simply said, "I can hear you," and then that instantly opened up a can of worms. Like, she miraculously grew this iron steel backbone that she just had the big cajones -- all these things that were on her mind -- when there were weeks prior for her to say something to me or to talk to me or tell me -- or any of the other girls to tell me instead of doing it behind my back.
So once she jumped down my throat after I told her, "I could hear you," basically calling her out, because if I never called her out, I don't think that that backbone would have miraculously would have grown instantly. I think she would have sat there and just still talked behind my back and acted like I didn't hear her.
But I was king of taken back like, "Wait a minute! Why are you talking bad about me? I thought that we were okay? Like I understand that you guys aren't happy with me that I won, but I didn't know that you all hated me."
At that point, I didn't talk to them for the remainder of the time that we were waiting and when I got called out at judging about the incident, I was standing up where the judges were about to show me my picture and I simply, as a professional, would have never brought that up.
I was more interested in seeing my picture, but [Nigel Barker] brought it up and then I feel like Brittani instantly jumped on the gun, because she thought I was going to be defensive and make her look bad. But I would have not said anything and I would have moved on to just talk about my picture.
But then she had her little breakdown at panel, and then she had to go calm down because she was having a panic attack and needed to take her medication, but at the same time, you would have never had a panic attack if you wouldn't have jumped the gun and got so defensive when I would have never said anything.
I would have simply asked the judges to be professional and we're dealing with this at home, and this is judging and I would like to see my picture now. But that's not the way things work out sometimes, and she took it upon herself to instantly try to stick up for herself, but I don't think that was the place either.
It's kind of sad because they were asking me, not her. She kind of did her own little panic attack to herself because I wouldn't, as a professional, had ever brought that up. Because I honestly could not care about that.
I care about what the judges think and guess what? There are people in life that aren't going to like you, that are going to be haters, but like [Miss J. Alexander] says, "If you don't have haters, you're doing something wrong. If you have haters, you're doing a lot right." (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Were you hoping that any of the girls were going to stick up for you at panel, or did you expect that no one was going to say anything?
Alexandria Everett: I knew that no one was going to because they all felt the same way. What I was just so ashamed of was none of them opened up and told the judges how they felt either. I feel that they were all feeling this way and they were all so strongly talking about it behind my back.
The only one that instantly grew a backbone was Brittani, and... she actually had the tenacity to come to me and to really speak up, but do I think it was the right time? Do I think she should have done it a lot sooner because we all would have been a lot closer if they all addressed this a long time ago? Yeah.
If they actually had come to me and said it was jealousy or feeling insecure or all those things, because I feel that people who speak badly behind other people's backs is because they are hating and because it's their own insecurities coming out.
If you don't have the, again, tenacity to say things out loud and be passionate and to be strong to say those things, then you really don't mean them, or you mean them about yourself. And then you're actually talking about yourself, and that's the saddest thing that I've realized.
I feel so bad for the girls that were doing that, because it's like -- well obviously you have some issues inside and you're trying to address those in a different way -- but you should address them if you actually feel so passionately about those things to me. That's my biggest thing in this industry. I hate the models that do that.
It's not about that. It's about sticking together and being strong independent women that have dreams and that have hopes and that go for what they want! It's so sad in the 21st century how many people just set their guard so low when they only set it sky high when the stars are so much further. You know? Why not shoot for the stars! Shoot for something high.
Reality TV World: Do you think Brittani should have gone home that week then instead of Mikaela Schipani, especially since Tyra Banks said if it was up to her, Brittani definitely would have been eliminated?
Alexandria Everett: Right. Well I feel that they really gave Brittani a great look and I don't feel like they would have sent Brittani home that time even if Tyra did have the say because of her unique look. But, I think it's a little unfair to say that Mikaela should have stayed, because Mikaela was constantly being told that she wasn't giving enough behind the eyes.
I feel like she was being told that a couple times. So, I feel like the right person went home and the additional person was given another chance to stay. But still again, that was a higher power plan for her to stay and have another chance and for Mikaela to go home and work on the things that she needed to work on.
God works in mysterious ways, or whatever higher power's out there. So, I really do have faith in whatever's out there and I run with that. I live off of that. So, it's a very strong passionate feeling that I have in my life, and it has worked out for the best.
Reality TV World: You mentioned quite a few times during the show that you came a long way to be on Top Model and you overcame many obstacles and challenges in your past to make you who you are now. Would you mind talking about some of those experiences you had?
Alexandria Everett: Absolutely. It's been a whirlwind. I could probably talk to you about everything until late next week, but I'll quickly sum up a few things. My parents had me and they weren't married. Both of my parents have had two marriages. So, I have a total of six parental figures that I have, and just think about how many grandparents I have (laughs) and think about how many extended family members I have.
To really take in everything, it's hard for them to understand because they're parts of my family that I've lost contact with and I haven't been able to talk to them as much. This is the first time that they've seen me -- my stepdad's family on the East coast -- in six years. No, what am I saying, six years?
I've been here for six years. They have not spoken to me in 13 years, and this is the first time that they've seen me and they're just so proud of me, and they don't know in the last 13 years what has gone on. I've had to deal with a lot of -- I said abuse on the show -- and I want to really focus on that a little bit, because I wasn't abused physically by everyone. I was physically abused by my real father.
There was a lot of mental abuse, and I don't want to say like in a weird way where I'm like mentally unstable, it was mental where when I was younger I had to really think about, "Wait. Why are people doing this to me? Why am I in this situation right now? Why am I 12-years-old having to act like a 21-year-old? Why do I have to go and learn the lessons of picking up an elder where I'm supposed to look up to that person from a bar because they are too intoxicated to drive home or the challenges of my stepdad and his addictions and his abuse?"
I've had to stick up for my mother and certain things. I know it's going to sound so scatter-brained, but -- I really hope you can put this together well, because there is so much. I don't want you to make my dad sound like he was the one who physically abused me -- but there six years, my whole high school, that my dad didn't see me in my prom dresses or one of my homecoming dresses.
My dad saw it like I was a young teenager and I was angry at him or blah, blah blah. But what really was going on is, I was handling stuff in my mom's house. I was acting well beyond my years and it made me grow up very fast and I've always felt like I needed to stay behind and be there and I've finally realized that I can't help anyone, especially my family or my friends until I help myself because it's held me back.
I only got into modeling -- it will be two years in July -- so about a year-and-a-half ago, and I could have gone and started a lot sooner. If I had that belief and that inspiration in myself, but I only started believing in that when I realized that I couldn't help anyone until I could help myself. (Sobs)
I can't help anyone with no money. I can't help anyone with no car. I can't do it all by myself with only one person. I have to become what my dreams are, and then I'll be able to help more people, especially the people in my family. And I'll be able to help the charities that one day I want to do, and it's just, I have six influential adults that were supposed to be a parent-like figure in my life, and they've all molded me in their own unique ways -- good and bad.
I'm not saying, "Poor me," because of what I went through at all. I'm saying, "Thank you," to that higher power God, because I'm blessed. I am blessed with all the bad and all the good because it's shown me so much, and I wouldn't be the strong passionate person that knows right from wrong if I didn't go through all of those significant details in my life. I'm very, very fortunate with everything that's happened.
That's a very strong point I want to make to everyone that feels bad for themselves. Don't do it! Give yourself a rest and stop feeling bad for yourselves, because you're not going to get anywhere!! You have to -- and see my tone, how it just got a little aggressive? -- People took that as a b-i-t-c-h, when this is just how I talk.
This is how passionate I feel about this. (Sobs) It's so hard because it's only one show, and everyone's not going to know what I've been through and what I've strived to come through, and I'm just not trying to prove to anyone. I'm just trying to prove to everyone that they can do whatever their heart desires. What they want to do is so important, and not enough people in the 21st century believe in that anymore.
I feel it's really discouraging when I see someone sad and disappointed and let down. Take whatever is thrown your way in life and use it as fuel to your fire, and make it bigger and more wild. Make it storm inside of you just to where you're about to blow and up and shoot from this earth into the sky.
Pass the stars, and it's so frustrating to see how many people have so much talent and it's so wasted. I had to deal with that a lot in my life and a lot of sorry and regret, but at the same time, a lot of triumph and a lot of strength and a lot of growth during what my whole entire huge family has become.
I could choose a handful of last names for you. I could be Alexandria Bocks. I could be Alexandria Everett. I could be Alexandria Conway. I could be Alexandria [unintelligible]. I could be Alexandria, ugh.
Reality TV World: I'm sorry if that question got you a little upset.
Alexandria Everett: Oh, no. Not at all! That's my passion coming through, not at all! I'm crying not because I'm sad. I'm crying because I'm so uplifted and positive, and that's what I really wanted people to see. I just want people to understand that it wasn't me being a bitch.
It was me just wanting this so bad for whoever deserves and whoever has that path from God to win this one! I liked everyone and I said such positive things about all the girls, because I saw what Tyra and the other judges saw in them. I was so excited because I saw this great group of girls that I was going to be able to compete against, because we all had it.
Reality TV World: Touching on what we had already discussed, the show did initially portrayed you as the villain, but then that role kind of spiraled onto Monique Weingart and Molly O'Connell. The show portrayed Monique as having a bad attitude and kind of complaining a lot, while it edited Molly swearing often and getting a little envious of other girls. What do you think about Molly and Monique and did you perceive them the same way the show has been presenting them?
Alexandria Everett: You know, Molly and Monique are both great girls. Monique actually slept next to me each night and when she woke up every morning, she'd be like, "Gosh, she slept like a lion again." Because I always sleep with my arm hanging off the bed and I'd always be facing her, because that's the way I sleep. So, we were really good friends and she actually just moved to Huntington Beach, where I'm currently at, because it's where my family is.
I've been enjoying my time I have before I start working again. I didn't know that there were still catty people like that who went behind people's backs and went in their journal, but again, God works in mysterious ways. In that journal, they didn't see that I was talking bad about anyone. That's what they wanted to find.
They wanted to see what I was saying about them when quite frankly, the one person I was concerned about was myself. I just was writing that they misunderstood me, and I felt really, really betrayed, because I didn't find out that they went through my journal until I went home and watched it on TV.
That same day, Monique actually called me and said how sorry she was, and I accepted the apology because that kind of situation make you do weird things. So, again, I'm understanding, just like I hope that other people and other fans and other contestants understand about me. Some circumstances are very badly misunderstood.
You just don't know what they're going to do. Do I think that Molly complains a little bit? Do I think that Monique was complaining a little bit? Yeah, but that was a hard circumstance that we were all in. So, that was just how they were all venting and maybe they could've vented a little differently. Maybe they can learn from that now.
Reality TV World: You landed in the bottom two numerous times throughout the competition but never went home until this past week's episode. Why do you think the judges had so much faith in you and kept giving you second chances? What do you think they saw in you?
Alexandria Everett: I feel that they saw a little deeper than the girls did. I feel like they knew I was there for a reason, and they had faith just like I had faith to be there. I was very appreciative of the chances that they gave me, but they also I feel, gave me a chance because they weren't there and they didn't really know what went on.
Maybe if things were a little different where now they watch the season and maybe they can see where things were a little bit too controlled and maybe I was controlling on the director's shoot, but maybe the next time, it wasn't that I was too controlling.
Maybe it was that things were thrown into the photographer's head or other things are said or played or done. But above all things, I thank them for their faith in me and their faith in their own hearts and their faith in a higher power.
I'm actually planning on moving to New York in August, so that's what I'm doing right now. Me and my boyfriend are just getting ready, saving up some money, and planning on heading to the big city.
Reality TV World: And you're going to stick with modeling obviously, right?
Alexandria Everett: Oh, absolutely! I would never give up on myself!