On Thursday, Raina talked to Reality TV World about why she was confident heading into the finale; how her upbeat personality was an advantage in helping her make it as far as she did; what made her feel that she was always in a "safe place" during the competition; and what international modeling gig she has already landed.
Reality TV World: Given she'd had the top photo at the last few panels and seemed to be the clear favorite, how confident were you that you'd be able to beat Krista heading into the final judging panel?
Raina Hein: I was really, really confident to be honest with you. Throughout the whole competition I had been doing really, really well. Even though she had some really great shots, I knew I still had it in me. Yes she was on a winning streak but you never know what the judges are going to do for that last panel.
Reality TV World: Even after Krista was revealed as the winner you were able to maintain your upbeat personality. How big of a role do you think your personality and outlook played in helping you make it all the way to the end?
Raina Hein: I definitely think it played a very large role. The only thing you can control in life 100% is your attitude and your reaction to things. If you have a positive outlook and a positive attitude, you tend to go farther than you would if you didn't. So staying bubbly, upbeat and energetic really helped me to give all I could give in photo shoots and runway challenges.
Reality TV World: Do you think your personality might have hurt you at all when it came time for the judges to make their final decision because they felt you couldn't adapt enough emotionally when the situation called for it?
Raina Hein: You know, I'm not sure. I think I had some really great comments from the judges on my personality. I don't think they showed it, but I know they liked my personality a lot. I remember [judge Andre Leon Talley] telling me that my personality was very charming, which was really good to hear.
But I'm not sure if they thought of it as a negative thing. I handled everything very well. There was never a moment where I emotionally broke down or couldn't handle something.
Reality TV World: Krista commented on how she thought your personality was "over the top" and "fake," and some of the other girls have expressed amazement that anyone could always be so upbeat when we talked to them. What's your response to that?
Raina Hein: Honestly, it's kind of sad. I wish they would realize that it is genuine happiness. Maybe they will some day, I hope they do. I'm very positive and bubbly and energetic and that's just the way I am. I'm not going to change it because it's just who I am.
I know they did think that I was fake and I remember [Angelea Preston] approaching me one day and asking me if it was fake and, if it wasn't, what it was that made me that way. So I know I made an impact on her.
Reality TV World: That leads well into my next question. So are you really always that cheery and upbeat in real-life? Did something happen in your life that made you that way?
Raina Hein: I would have to say it's my faith and my family and good friends. That's it. Inner strength would have to be a big part of it as well. Also I played volleyball my whole life, and being an athlete pushed you to the limits everyday -- physically, emotionally, mentally, you're stressed.
It just pushed into your core. So I think having that experience definitely helped me out with having a positive attitude. Never give up and always think positive.
Reality TV World: Do you think it was just maybe the pressure of the competition that made Krista think that or have you had other situations where your upbeat nature has kind of rubbed some people the wrong way?
Raina Hein: Yes, definitely. Especially towards the end of the competition, it's very competitive and it's down to the wire. A lot of the girls were stressed out and it was hard to focus because you don't get a lot of sleep, you're always going all the time, you don't get to talk to your family. It's hard and it's stressful.
But I managed to stay level headed and stay happy. I think a lot of them wished that I wasn't because they weren't. But I think after the show and if we were to have met in real life than it would have been a lot different. They would have appreciated it more.
Reality TV World: You were confident that your personality would help you during the CoverGirl commercial shoot, however trying to memorize your lines seemed to make you a bit stiff. How big of a role do you think that played in the judges' deciding to crown Krista over you?
Raina Hein: I really did have everything completely memorized. I knew how to move and knew what to say exactly, but it was definitely too rehearsed. However, with that being said, Krista completely forgot her lines and she had to shoot her CoverGirl commercial in segments. Then they compiled it together as it aired.
So we both struggled in our own ways and it took me probably six or seven takes until I finally became more personable in front of the cameras. It was hard to do. My nerves got a hold of me a little bit.
Reality TV World: Tyra Banks commented at one of the final judging panels that you lacked a "certain creativity" in some of your photos. What do you think she meant by that? Do you feel you might have been too one-dimensional, and if so, how?
Raina Hein: Tyra always has really great advice. Whatever she says I'm going to appreciate because I know that she has so much more knowledge than me. I think what she meant was I need to push myself outside of the box a little more because I practiced a lot. Every night before I went to bed I would practice for an hour.
I would take out magazines and try to mimic images and try to make them my own and work my angles and try and really help myself to learn more so I was prepared for whatever happened the next day. I think I may have practiced too much, thus causing me to not break out of the box enough when we were doing something totally different or "ugly pretty" perhaps.
Reality TV World: Were you happy with your performance during the finale runway show? Did you think you had done enough to separate yourself from Krista?
Raina Hein: Yes, definitely. Well the runway show was all about your personality and showing off your personality. I smiled the whole time, I blew a little kiss to Tyra, I had some flirty moments. I think if I would have done anymore it would have gotten cheesy and I definitely didn't want that to be the case.
I didn't want to be fake at all, I just wanted to have fun and be myself. It was really fun. I think if I was to do it over again I wouldn't change anything.
Reality TV World: When you learned that two girls would be eliminated at the second-to-last judging panel, were you confident that you'd make it to the finale or did you think [Alexandra Underwood] or Angelea had a better chance that you?
Raina Hein: Oh my goodness! I was so nervous when I found out there was going to be a double elimination because when it gets to the final four, that is hardcore competition.
I didn't know. A big part of me thought I was going to go home, but then I still had that confidence in me because I had done so well previously in the competition that I could still make it. So I guess I was more prepared to lose than I was to win, but I knew I had it in me.
Reality TV World: What was your opinion of Angelea? Was she really as confident and kind of cocky as she appeared on the show or was that just the editing?
Raina Hein: No, she was really like that. That's just her personality. She's cocky. That's not always a bad thing. It will, and probably has, come across as a bad thing. But that's just the way she is. She's a real tough one, I guess I would have to say.
Reality TV World: You failed to win any Reward Challenges and only had your photo called out once during the competition. Do you think you were perceived as a bit of an underdog?
Raina Hein: Yes, I think so. But on the other hand, I never received any negative feedback until the second-to-last photo shoot. I guess right before we left [for New Zealand] I was in the bottom three, but I never really received any negative feedback so I was never told that, "You're not doing good enough you need to do more," or, "This isn't going to work, you're failing." But then again, you're correct, I never won any challenges. So I guess I was in a safe place the whole time.
Reality TV World: Do you agree with Andre's comment that you lack marketability in most international markets and do you think it played a major factor in the judges' decision to go with Krista as the winner?
Raina Hein: Yes definitely, because America's Next Top Model has to be very versatile. You have to be able to book jobs everywhere. It's actually really funny because I just booked my first international campaign in Dubai -- so I'm going there at the end of the month.
It was kind of funny that happened right when I found out Andre said that about me. But I remember him coming up to me after all was said and done and he gave me all of his contact info and said, "You need to go to London and work in London. They'll love you there." I was like, "Oh my goodness that's such a big compliment." But Krista does have a very high-fashion look. She will be great everywhere.
Reality TV World: Your strong facial features were heavily praised throughout the season. Do you think that helped you stand out from some of the other contestants?
Raina Hein: I definitely think it helped me stand out. When I was younger I hated them. I would put concealer over my lips and tweeze my eyebrows so my eyebrows were 10 times smaller and my lips were 10-times smaller.
Then I started modeling and I started to appreciate them a little bit more. But once I got on the show was when I really realized how important they are because it definitely made me stand out amongst the other girls.
Reality TV World: What do you think was your strongest photo shoot and why?
Raina Hein: Well I definitely think the rain and the wind photo shoot was my strongest photo shoot, just because when I'm pushed really hard and I'm put in a very challenging situation I tend to just push even harder and really shine through.
Even though it was really uncomfortable and really cold and not fun at the time, I think I did my best. I also had a lot of fun doing the vampire photo shoot, the hair shoot -- just because they were so out of the box and unordinary.
Reality TV World: What did you think of having Andre as a new judge?
Raina Hein: I think he's awesome. He's really funny. He is never afraid to say exactly what he's thinking, which makes panel so much more entertaining. He has so much knowledge and so much advice that I really appreciate.
Raina Hein: Yes, it was my first time applying. I never, ever thought that I would make it past the first round. So I got an email from a friend about a month before the auditions and I kind of started it. I never planned on going to the auditions. Then I got about four or five phone calls the day of the audition saying, "Raina are you going to go? The auditions start in two hours." I totally hung up and went back to bed.
After the fourth or fifth phone call, finally I was like, "Okay, this many people believe in me, maybe I should just go for the experience and see what it's like just for fun." So I ended up going and filling out the whole application and standing in line. I had absolutely no idea I was even going to make it as far as I did.
Reality TV World: What was your favorite part of the competition? What was the hardest part of the competition for you?
Raina Hein: That's a good question. I would say my favorite part of the competition was when it was just Krista and I because that's when it's the most exciting. You're so close you can almost taste it and it was just an adrenaline rush -- the whole thing was an adrenaline rush.
With that being said, I would also have to say that is the most challenging part of the whole competition. It was hard because you are up against really big competition and you have to make yourself shine and you have to think of ways to stand out and make a bigger impression. That's hard to do. But it was also just so fun. So it was definitely the final two for both.
Reality TV World: You already mentioned a gig in Dubai at the end of the month, but what else is next for you?
Raina Hein: I'm super-excited about the job because I'm going to be featured in Harper's Bazaar Arabia, so that's going to bring some great contacts and hopefully some great clients to my career. I plan on moving to New York City or Los Angeles at the end of the summer to 100% engulf myself in modeling.
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