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Exclusive: Ashley "Rae" Weisz talks about 'America's Next Top Model'


By Christopher Rocchio, 10/23/2009 

Ashley "Rae" Weisz was nervous heading into the judging panel, and with good reason.

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The 21-year-old 5'6" homemaker and mother from Rochester, MN became the eighth finalist eliminated from America's Next Top Model's thirteenth season during Wednesday night's broadcast of The CW reality series.

On Thursday, Rae talked to Reality TV World about how she was never completely confident heading into the judging panel; what her biggest problem was during the CoverGirl commercial shoot; why she thinks the judges might have been disappointed in her performance; and how her daughter was always on her mind during the competition.


Reality TV World: How were you feeling heading into Wednesday night's judging panel? Were you confident you wouldn't be eliminated?

Rae: I was never 100% confident going into elimination. Going into panel any time is incredibly nerve wracking -- even when you think you've got a great shot or you know you had a great shoot. You never know what can happen, so there was never a time when I felt completely safe.  I was definitely nervous going into panel.

Reality TV World: Were you surprised at the judges' decision to keep Erin Wagner despite the fact that she had so many emotional breakdowns during the commercial shoot?

Rae: I think Erin is a very strong competitor. I think she takes great photos. I think she's a wonderful model. So I never felt like I deserved to be there over any of the girls. I don't feel that way. I think it was a fair decision, and I definitely wish Erin the best. I think she had a difficult time with her commercial, but she pushed through it. So I'm glad for that.

Reality TV World: What do you think your main problem was during the commercial shoot?

Rae: We're surrounded by cameras in the house all the time. We're always filming. But it's much different to be in front of a camera with a director, with your own lines that you have to recite. It was just a lot to handle. It was a lot of stress. I'm glad I had this opportunity because now I know how it works. If I have anymore opportunities like this in the future I'm sure I will improve.

Reality TV World: Do you think you received enough feedback from Nigel Barker during the commercial shoot?

Rae: That's an interesting question. I don't think I got quite the feedback that I did at panel. I'm glad I received the feedback that I did in that panel, but maybe if he had said a couple of those things to me while I was shooting... It could have gone either way. I think as a director Nigel was really trying to be very encouraging to all the girls, myself included, so that we didn't have something like with what happened with Erin. Sometimes if you give a girl criticism, they could either take it and use it or it might make them fall apart. So I just think he was trying to be very encouraging. He was wonderful on set. He's a great director. He comes up and hugs you. I actually had a lot fun with the commercial.

Reality TV World: Your first time in the bottom two was your only time in the bottom two and you were also the first girl called out twice. Do you think that should have played a role in the judges' decision?

Rae: I don't know, it may have played a role. They may have really expected me to do better in the commercial than I did. I expected myself to do better. That's something I know I can do. I can deliver lines like that. It's funny because I knew my lines backward and forward and I spent most of the night before rehearsing them. So it could have been that they were very disappointed in my performance, and that's understandable.

Reality TV World: How were you cast for America's Next Top Model?  Was it your first time applying for the show?

Rae: It was my first time applying for the show. I'm from Rochester, Minnesota -- which is a fairly small town in Minnesota. They had their own sort of America's Next Top Model casting call, but it didn't have anything to do with the show. It was sort of this Rochester's Next Top Model and they had their own panel of judges and they were going to pick three winners and each of the winners got prizes. After this whole casting process, they sent all of the tapes into the producers. So I ended up placing second in the Rochester's Next Top Model casting call, but I got a call from the producers about a week later and they told me that they would like me to go to Chicago for the big actual audition. So I went to Chicago and from there I was asked to go to L.A. and then cast in the house.

Reality TV World: Do you feel you were portrayed accurately on the show?

Rae: It's difficult. You can't capture a personality from just an hour a week on a reality television show. I don't think that you can so, "Oh, I know that girl. That's exactly how she is face-to-face." So it was parts of me, definitely a part of me. But parts of my personality definitely are much more prevalent when you meet me than they would have been on the television show.

Reality TV World: How difficult was it for you to not think about your daughter during the competition?

Rae: I wouldn't say I didn't think of her, I thought of her all the time. (laughing) I think when you're a mother, your child is always right there -- right in your mind, even when you can't be with them. So she was always on my mind. I thought about her constantly. But I definitely knew that I had to focus on the competition and I did what I had to do and I had a great time. She was at home with grandma and she was in great hands. That was a great comfort for me.

Reality TV World: Of the remaining girls, who do you want to see win Top Model? Who do you not want to see win?

Rae: I think all of the girls are incredibly talented and obviously beautiful. They all bring something different to this competition. I was very close to Erin in the house, so I would love to see her do well. Then [Laura Kirkpatrick] is very sweet. I think she would just be great for cosmetic campaigns. She did wonderful at the CoverGirl commercial. I wouldn't be upset if any of the girls won, to be honest.

Reality TV World: What's next for you? Are you going to pursue a career in modeling?

Rae: I plan to keep pursuing modeling and also probably acting. I'll tire of Minnesota at some point because there's only so much of a market here.

(Photo credit The CW)


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