Exclusive: Camille McDonald talks 'America's Next Top Model' (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/10/2011
Camille McDonald became the fourth girl eliminated from America's Next Top Model's all-stars edition's fourth episode during Wednesday night's broadcast on The CW.
On Thursday, the 33-year-old who previously appeared on Top Model's second season, talked to Reality TV World about her America's Next Top Model experience -- including whether her modeling career was going strong and paying well following her first appearance on Top Model since she admitted she had been struggling with bills during last week's episode, how she would change the show's format if given the chance to allegedly improve it, and why she was disappointed with the all-stars edition after all it was hyped up to be.
Below is the second half of our exclusive interview with Camille. Click here to read the first portion.
Reality TV World: One of the season's early episodes showed you saying you had signed with Milan Models following your first cycle on Top Model so you had a reason to be a diva and fierce. But then last night's episode showed you talking about how your modeling career isn't going too well financially right now so obviously things seem to have changed. What happened? Is it just the usual case where your modeling work kind of started to dry up as you got older or is there more to it?
Camille McDonald: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. Turn on the news. CNN. We're in a financial crisis. The housing market -- [Barack Obama] everyday is trying to pass a jobless bill. There's so many people that are out of work. Every corner of business in society right now, a majority of them are suffering. The business just does not pay what it used to.
Mind you, I have been off of Top Model Cycle 2 for nine years. I own three properties. I paid off all my student loans. I'm extremely blessed. I did well with making money and managing it, but you have to maintain those things. I walked for Escada, I've done shows in London, I've worked for L'Oreal, I've worked for Lancome. I've done amazing jobs.
I've had a fifteen billboard campaign in Japan. I've traveled all over the world and still, at where I am in my life right now with the economy the way it is, people are still trying to figure out ways to re-invent themselves.
What we are selling as a model is an illusion. So, the fresher, the more vibrant, the fiercer the photo, selling what it is that the company wants you to emote as a model, is what happens, but the budgets are not necessarily there.
As you know, people are not making as much money but the prices are going up whether it's food, gas, so forth and so on. So, some of the girls might be able to sit back and live with mommy and daddy or their boyfriend or not have the financial responsibility as I do, but I'm talking about the big money jobs.
Everything will come back around 360 hopefully and we are in one of the worst recessions since the depression. So, that's really what I was trying to get it. It had nothing to do with Camille being dried up or not working as much because of my age. Absolutely not.
I think that my accomplishments and my success have been phenomenal. I work hard everyday, you know? I have now branched out into owning my own business Signature Walk, which is a fashion marketing company and with this opportunity from Top Model -- products.
I'm coming out with a shoe line, which I think is proper when you think about my signature walk and new shoes, a cookbook -- which has recipes in it that I've collected from around the world, highlighting health and wellness -- and the launch of my new website, and being able to now afford a change since the all-stars cycle was a paid show.
I'm looking forward to re-exposing myself and showing the world the naked truth of Camille McDonald and I just aspire to be an icon in the business. Lastly, I have role models... Iman, she has her makeup line. Cindy Crawford has her own line and her skin care line. Heidi Klum, obviously, Project Runway and Naomi Campbell with her perfume and she also does a lot of humanitarian work and is a spokesperson for companies.
So I have a lot to look forward to. I think it's an amazing time to be where I am in life and I'm just happy for the opportunity of America's Next Top Model to give people a taste of what my brand is. At this point, it's about re-inventing and profiting off of the reality show like so many people of so many other programs have done.
Reality TV World: Tyra seemed frustrated that Lisa and yourself had both given excuses regarding your modeling performances during panel critiques following the Express shoot and that was apparently a major reason why you both ended up in the bottom two. Where do you think the line should be drawn between whether you're making an excuse or just explaining why something went wrong and defending what you believe in and looking back, do you regret telling them about falling down the stairs?
Camille McDonald: My thoughts are that if there's ever another America's Next Top Model All-Stars, I think America should vote and I also think that we should maybe have only 20 frames or 10 frames and those are posted and the real world votes on what you think the best image is.
I mean, it's a TV show. It's subjective. It's being shown to you from producers' perspectives. So you can't really say my excuse or Lisa's excuse or what truly happened, at the end of the day, it's all done for entertainment. So, if America was involved, maybe it would be a little different.
Reality TV World: Lisa told the panel after you girls had your Express photo shoot that the male models were tired, grumpy and hungry -- making it difficult for her to perform well. Did you get that sense from the male models as well or did you have a different experience, and how would you say they helped or hindered your photo shoot?
Camille McDonald: They were! They were. There was a lot of stuff that wasn't shown on-camera, but these three male models were shooting with all of us from sun-up to sun-down and eating is really an important part to getting your energy up and being able to give a great photo.
I just know that I got the best creative direction out of the bunch and that was supposed to be part of the challenge. They said, and it didn't make it on film, that you have to not only take a great picture, but you have to take three guys and create something and work with it.
So, you know, it is what it is but it's all for great television. It definitely was an experience and just because I'm notAmerica's Next Top Model does not mean that the brand isn't getting stronger. I'm just happy to be featured as being sexy and proud and strong.
Reality TV World: When I talked to Isis, she said she found no differences between her first season on Top Model in comparison to the all-stars edition. She felt the competition was still strictly about modeling although the all-stars version claimed it would be all about branding and finding the total package. What are your thoughts on that? Do you think the all-stars version lived up to how it was promoted? Did you go into the show thinking it was one thing and then discovered otherwise?
Camille McDonald: That's the bottom line that everyone who has been eliminated thus far has said and it's just unfortunate because what the show pitched to me was that it would brand me in a light that I was comfortable with, and that would be a vehicle for me to take my opportunity to be solidified as a celebrity.
Not saying it hasn't for the person who wins or for the first runner up, but you know, I don't know how it's possible when I just wasn't on the show long enough to feature my runway challenge, my signature walk, or you didn't see me cooking, or you didn't see my beauty routine, or you didn't see my incredible personality.
I read the other girls' comments on Facebook and Twitter and [Bianca Golden] said that the show was boring and it just shows the girls -- there was no character development. I'm waiting to see the Nielson ratings and I hope that the show does amazing because granted we're on it, but I've had several parties up until my elimination with friends and family and they were glued to The X Factor.
I'm like, "Turn the channel! America's Next Top Model is on! Don't you want to see my commercial?!" And they're all looking at me like I'm trying to get them liquored up, like, come on. (Laughs) Finally, they came to my premiere party and they were able to then go home and continue to watch the cycle. Will I continue to watch because I'm not on? I don't know. That's really up to them.
I'll be watching because it's definitely entertaining. The reality of the situation is that I'm grown, I'm sexy, I'm accomplished, and it's about branding -- who the real Camille McDonald is.
I encourage your readers to go to camillemcdonald.com in the next two weeks or so and see my amazing new website and never-seen-before photos where my team will be the ultimate judge of the images that go up there and continue to follow my career.
I hope the girls on the show will as well. I wish all of them the best and I hope to maintain my friendships with them, but right now, I'm focused on getting my product lines out there. The guy Christian Siriano from Project Runway, do you know how much money he's made since he's been off of his reality show or the Kardashians and how much money they've made?
I want to fall out and turn my branding into an empire! Top Model has given me the exposure, but I have to take this opportunity into my own hands, because this is what I do. I'm not a lawyer, I'm not a doctor, yes I have my degree, but I've been pursuing this since Cycle 2.
I have to hold onto my investments and ride through this crazy economical time that we're in and rise to the occasion. There are a lot of people who look up to me and I'm happy that I showed a different side of a woman of color on reality television that people can be proud of, you know?
So, I'm doing the best that I can now that the show has provided me with some finances to be able to pay all these people that it takes to make someone a celebrity and a brand. Wish they would have shown more of my personality, but I don't know, maybe it will come through in your article.