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Exclusive: Angelea Preston discusses 'America's Next Top Model'


By Christopher Rocchio, 05/17/2010 

Angelea Preston feels she should have been one of America's Next Top Model's final two contestants.

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Instead, the 23-year-old answering service operator from Buffalo, NY was ousted as part of a double elimination during America's Next Top Model's fourteenth-season finale broadcast last Wednesday night.

On Thursday, Angelea talked to Reality TV World about why she felt she deserved to be in the Top 2; how she wasn't surprised eventual winner Krista White made it there; the different struggles she's overcome in her life to make it where she is; and if her confident personality was the result of editing.


Reality TV World: You had seemed to have been viewed as kind of one of the competition's front runners, so were you surprised that you didn't make the Top 2?

Angelea Preston: At first I was surprised, but after... I don't know if people thought I was supposed to be crying -- I mean I was crying at the end because of course I wanted to be in the Top 2 -- but after 10 minutes I was like, "Okay, they made their decision." I'm just so happy that I got to be in the Final 4. I made it to the last episode and I made it to Final 4, so I was happy. I was happy.

Reality TV World: Did you agree with Krista and [Raina Hein] making it to the Top 2 over you? Did you think you deserved it more than either of them?

Angelea Preston: I felt Krista definitely needed to be in the Top 2 because she clearly stole the competition. She did. I knew she was going to be in the Top 2 -- I already knew that. I felt like that either myself or [Alexandra Underwood] should have been in the Top 2 because I was a front runner from the beginning.

I did great pictures and I was never in the bottom two. Alex, she was coming up at the end. She was in the Top 2, her pictures got called after Krista's twice. Raina was actually in the bottom two with [Jessica Serfaty] when Jessica went home. So I felt that it should have either been me or Alex in the Top 2, preferably me. (laughing)

Reality TV World: What do you think made the judges put Raina in the Top 2 over you or Alex?

Angelea Preston: Honestly, I don't know. I guess they just loved her from the start. They loved her, they loved her pictures. That could have been it. It could have been maybe her personality. She was always upbeat at panel and maybe that could have been it. I don't know.

Reality TV World: It seemed like [photo shoot director Jay Manuel's] negative comments kind of got to you during your last photo shoot. How big of a role do you think that played in the judges' decision to eliminate you at the next panel?

Angelea Preston: When I saw Jay at panel, at first I was confident. I was so confident. Then when I saw him, I was like, "Oh damn." (laughing) At the last photo shoot, he felt like it wasn't a good photo shoot. I felt like I did good. I felt like, honestly, I felt like I did all that I could do. I felt like I did everything I had been doing since Day 1. I guess for him it wasn't coming across in that way.

Then when I saw him at panel I was like, "Oh my gosh. Okay. Well, I know he's going to tell Tyra when he feels and what he thinks." I was nervous, more so after I saw him and we were waiting for the two to be announced because I know he's so close to Tyra and she values his opinions just like she values the other judges' opinions. I'm like, "Well, I thought I was going to be in the Top 2. But I don't think I am now."

Reality TV World: You came across as pretty confident and kind of cocky on the show.  Was that just the editing or is that your real personality?

Angelea Preston: I think I'm just a very confident person. I'm not going to blame it completely on the editing and everything. Honestly, if there wasn't any drama in the house people wouldn't watch and people would be like, "Oh my god, this is the most boring group of bitches that has ever been on this show! Why are they here?" I think my personality is a very strong personality, and I'm so cool. I think people, they don't see that. I wasn't just in-your-face and mean and angry all the time. I wasn't like that.

If you see bonus clips, people are like, "Angelea's not like that." It's crazy because I'm one of the coolest, realest people you would know. We could have a drink, we could chill, we could do whatever. I'm so cool and I am a happy person. I don't know. As humans, we go through different things. We're happy, we're sad. We're angry, we're made. For people to sit there and really think that I'm just this mean, cold, heartless bitch is ridiculous. I'm not like that everyday, 24/7.

Reality TV World: Do you think the competition helped you learn how to accept and deal with criticism?

Angelea Preston: Yes I do. Before, I know one of the things I did have an issue with was how I take criticism. At the time, I felt like Jay was being hard on me and I didn't understand that his criticism was to help me. I have been criticized negatively a majority of my life.

People are like, "Oh my god, you're so skinny. You need to eat. You're just so tall." All the boys, they don't want the tall, skinny, awkward girl. They want the cute short girl with the big butt and the big breasts. I was not that girl, so I felt awkward.

From that negative criticism and hearing this criticism, I don't think at the time I separated it right. I think I just looked at it as him being negative on me. But now watching it, I know it was actually positive criticism. He was telling me things not to hurt me, but because I've been told lots of negative things in the past, I didn't correlate that right at the time.

Reality TV World: What was your take on Jay's comment that if you didn't win Top Model he thought you wouldn't have the ambition to continue a career in modeling?

Angelea Preston: When I saw that I was like, "What!?!" (laughing) You should have saw my face. My jaw dropped. "Really Jay? Are you serious?" I did not know that he felt that way about me. When I saw it, I was like, "Oh wow. Really? Okay, I'm just going to have to prove you wrong."

I know I'm meant for this and I know I'm built for this. You will be seeing me and you will be hearing about me. I was like, "Okay, it's his opinion and I respect that. But I'm going to prove that your opinion is just an opinion.

Reality TV World: Did you agree with [judge Andre Leon Talley's] comments that you need more exposure?

Angelea Preston: Yes. I think that. I think I need to be around people... I'm used to just being around people... I can mesh and I can blend in with a lot of people, but I have never been around people of his stature and his caliber. So I think that being around people like him, it will open up my eyes to a lot more things -- I guess a lot more culture. I think it would be a good experience for me.

Reality TV World: You already mentioned how you expected Krista to make the Top 2.  Did you consider her to be one of your biggest competitors when the show started?

Angelea Preston: When the season started, no I did not. Then when she got first picture the first time, I was like, "Oh yeah! I have one picture and Krista has one picture. But I'm going to continue to get best picture." Then she got it again and won some challenges, and I'm like, "Nooooo! Why!?"

Reality TV World: So you actually saw her gaining momentum?

Angelea Preston: Yes. I saw her gaining steam. My feats were just kind of depleting and hers were just coming up. I was like, "Oh no. This can't be happening. This can't be happening to me!"

I guess people would wonder, "Why did you turn on her?" First of all, it was a two-way street. If it would have been me, she would have been, "Oh my god, why is Angelea winning so much?" We're best friends, we're cool -- but at the same time we both want the same thing.

Reality TV World: Were there any girls you considered to be big competition when the season started?

Angelea Preston: Um... When the season started, I would probably have to say [Gabrielle Kniery], just because me and her, we're so similar. We're both bi-racial, we both have similar faces. I would have had to say her. And I would definitely have to say [Naduah Rugley] because Naduah, she had the look. I was shocked when Gabrielle went home and I was shocked when Naduah went home.

Reality TV World: You already talked about this a little bit, but was Raina really as upbeat and cheery as she's come across?

Angelea Preston: Well, she definitely made it seem like she was happy all the time. One thing that I noticed living with her, she never did talk about anybody directly. She made it seem like she didn't talk about anybody, but in confessionals she was talking about people. So it's like, "Okay, don't say one thing and then you're doing something completely different."

I don't think anybody can be happy all the time because we're humans and everybody goes through every type of emotion. You're not going to be happy if your sister gets into a car accident or something like that. You're not going to be happy. So for you to say you're happy all the time, I don't think that's a true statement.

Reality TV World: You've already talked about how you've had to overcome a lot in your life. Could you elaborate on that a bit?

Angelea Preston: My family, we didn't come from money. So for sometime in my life, my mom did rely on public assistance and I also -- before I was on the show -- I relied on public assistance. I had a job, but you have to face that minimum wage and the cost of living, it's not helping you. You still have bills to pay, you have food, you have everything. Minimum wage isn't cutting it.

I was also in a bunch of relationships where I was being cheated on and physically abused. I had a daughter and she passed away. The relationship with me and her father, it wasn't good. He didn't even care about her. He was in prison when she passed away. But he didn't care. I had no support from him.

I think that kind of messed me up in the head a little bit. I thought regardless of if you wanted the child or not, it is your child, so show a little love or something. There was no love at all, not even when she passed away. So I'd say that kind of affected me too. Just losing a child so early...

Reality TV World: Did any of that lead you to audition for Top Model?

Angelea Preston: I auditioned for Top Model before I got pregnant but when I ended up getting pregnant, I kind of said, "Well, I'm just going to live out my dreams through my daughter. I wanted to model, but I'm probably not going to be able to do that because I have to take care of her." I knew I was going to be a single mother because of the situation with her father.

Then when she passed away, I kind of felt like it was a second chance for me to go after my dream. I felt like everything happens for a reason and God was like, "I know you wanted your daughter and I gave you some time to spend with her, but I don't see your life ending at this. I see you doing great things and this is your chance to do what you want to do. I'm giving you a second chance."

So I look at her passing as hurtful, but I also look at it as a blessing because I know she's watching over me and I know that her passing got me to this point.

Reality TV World: How were you cast for America's Next Top Model?  How many times had you applied for the show before?

Angelea Preston: I think I applied at least seven or nine times. I know that's a lot, so I lost count after a while. (laughing) I was stalking them! I went to Nashville to audition because I heard the casting director was going to be there. I had never been to Tennessee before but I just hopped my butt on a bus. I went to Pennsylvania to audition for it.

The thing that got them to call me back was I had filmed my audition tape in the suburb of Buffalo and they wanted me to go to New York City to meet with the casting director. But I only had $40. It was supposed to be a Friday to Sunday stay if they liked you, and I was just like taking a chance. I didn't have anywhere to sleep, I didn't know anybody in New York City, so I just slept at the Port Authority.

I made sure I told Tyra that because I wanted her to know this is big. I would do anything -- it was dangerous and I wouldn't recommend it -- but listen, I'm going to show you how much I want this. I'm willing to be homeless for two days to live my dreams out. I did it and they called me. The rest is history... I sound like such a cliche! (laughing)

Reality TV World: What was the hardest part of the competition for you and what was your favorite part of the competition?

Angelea Preston: My favorite part of the competition for me would be flying first-class to New Zealand but also booking six-out-of-six go-sees. I don't know if I'm the first girl in Top Model history to do that, but that gave me so much confidence like, "Okay, I can do this."

People in another country thousands of miles away from where I live, they don't know my back story -- they don't know anything -- they just know what they see and they like what they see and they like my personality. I was happy that viewers got to see that because it got to show a different side of me, like, "Oh my gosh, she's not mean all the time. She's not a bitch! She is likable." I am likable!

I would have to say the hardest part of the competition for me would be on the photo shoots, the photographers telling you one thing and then the creative director -- Jay -- he's telling you another thing. So I think what got me in the end was not finding a medium between what the photographer wants and what the creative director wants. It was hard for me to do that because I couldn't find a medium between that.

Reality TV World: So what's next for you?

Angelea Preston: I'm going to be modeling. Hopefully you'll see me on TV. My life is changed forever from this moment. I'm going to be on my hustle, I'm going to do whatever I have to do. Maybe you'll see me... No, not maybe. You will see me on runways in Paris, Milan, Tokyo, maybe New Zealand. It doesn't stop here.



(Photo credit The CW)


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