Exclusive: Candace Smith talks about 'America's Next Top Model'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/28/2012
Candace Smith's journey on Top Model came to a surprising end quickly for the 22-year-old from Brooklyn, NY during last Wednesday night's broadcast of America's Next Top Model: British Invasion's fourth episode on The CW.
On Friday, Candace talked to Reality TV World about her experience on America's Next Top Model: British Invasion -- including who she was surprised to see talk badly about the girls when she watched the show back, whether she was shocked the judges didn't give her a second chance, why she felt Nigel Barker and Jay Manuel weren't honest with her while she competed on Top Model and how she was convinced that affected her chances of surviving in the competition, and who she believed people were either going to "love or hate."
Reality TV World: Were you shocked to be eliminated, or based on how you rated your own performance during the photo shoot, did you somewhat see it coming beforehand?
Candace Smith: I was actually pretty like shocked that I was going home, considering the fact that during the photo shoot, Nigel Barker was telling me, "Oh, you're doing amazing. You're doing good!" And then Mr. Jay was saying the same thing.
So I figure, "Okay, Nigel Barker is a judge at panel, so he will vouch for me and have my back and look out for me." But then when we got to panel, he flipped it and said he was disappointed and things like that, which was shocking to me and I got eliminated.
Reality TV World: It sounds like you were pretty upset the judges didn't give you a second chance based on how much potential you thought you had in the competition, right? Did you feel like you got robbed a little bit?
Candace Smith: Correct. Yeah, definitely. The judges see my potential and they tell me that, "Wow you have amazing potential." I figured, "Okay, you guys know what I'm capable of, so why not keep me in longer so I can prove to you guys and also myself that I am worthy of being there." You get what I'm saying? So the fact that they eliminated me so early on was just -- woof.
Reality TV World: It was made pretty clear during this week's episode that the judges disliked both your and Seymone's photos but they kept Seymone in the competition because they thought she didn't know what she was doing and needed more time to grow and learn as a model. So did that bother you? Because I'm sure you were kind of the same way and thought you needed more time to get better in the competition as well, but they denied you that opportunity.
Candace Smith: Definitely, and they positioned me and Seymone definitely in the same category, or the same boat. I felt maybe they kept her in because of her personality. She's much more bubbly and her personality's just over the top. That's why I believe they kept her, and for me, in Week 1 and Week 2, they didn't show a lot.
So it seemed like I was running away from the cameras, which wasn't true at all. So I figure, whatever, Seymone has the personality so they kept her. That's what I felt... I feel like if I had that same amount of personality, I would have been staying.
Reality TV World: You just mentioned Seymone and yourself were in the same boat during the competition. So just to clarify, exactly how much modeling experience did you have prior to appearing on America's Next Top Model?
Candace Smith: Oh yeah, I definitely had a lot. Prior to being on America's Next Top Model, I shot for Seventeen Magazine a couple of times -- also Cosmopolitan and Essence Magazine... [I also did] a bunch of stuff for Steve Madden and Fashion Week. So a couple of stuff here or there.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when you found out Kyle wanted to quit? Did you feel like the girls really attacked her when the argument broke out during last week's episode or do you think Kyle overreacted?
Candace Smith: She was basically didn't understand. She didn't understand why exactly the girls were mad at her. All the girls were mad at the focus group because Kyle had a second chance whereas four other girls only had one chance.
So all of the focus group liked Kyle and what all the other girls were mad at was the fact that they liked her when she did that. Kyle just misinterpreted that and felt like all the other girls were getting on her case. So, that was that. But yeah.
Reality TV World: Was that actually the reasoning behind Kyle wanting to quit or was it more because she was missing home too much or was too stressed out or something like that?
Candace Smith: I think it was everything mixed up into one. Being on the show is mentally stressful at times and sometimes it can take a physical toll on you at the same time. Plus, all the girls are talking to her about how bad she did on her commercial, and I guess all of that as a combination, she couldn't handle it and just wanted to leave.
On top of that, she was doing schooling and she dropped out of school to be on the show. She probably thought, "I'm doing something bad. Maybe this is not for me. Maybe I need to go home at this time."
Reality TV World: Kyle looking to quit and remaining in the competition clearly seemed to make your elimination harder for you knowing that she really didn't want to be there and had second thoughts. What made you decide to not reveal her name to Tyra Banks when you referenced the situation before you left? Did you at least consider ratting Kyle out or no?
Candace Smith: No, I didn't want to rat her out and honestly, me and Kyle -- she was cool and I was cool with her at that period. I didn't want to say, "Hey Tyra, Kyle specifically wants to leave." I didn't want to pinpoint her out. I just said that there's people on the show, and I just felt like at that time, if you don't want to be on the show, go ahead and leave.
I heard Kyle say on the show, "I'd rather leave and give someone else a chance to actually be on who really wants it," and I respected her for that. Me, thinking to myself, I was saying, "Okay, just to let you know, you have girls who don't want to be in this competition whereas me, I've tried out for four years and I've wanted this for such a long time."
I've been wanting this for such a long time, and to actually get on the show fairly early and knowing my potential, she honestly is doing a little bit of a mistake. I know I could have gone even further than getting eliminated at Week 4.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when Louise quit two weeks ago? Did that shock you and what were all the girls talking about after it happened? Did Tyra and the judges say anything else besides what was shown on TV that week?
Candace Smith: Yeah, I was definitely shocked that Louise walked offstage, because Louise is such a strong-minded person and I never thought I would ever see her in that state. But what she did, she basically saved four other girls, including myself, from elimination. Basically what the judges were telling Louise is that she needs to say "thank you" and needs to stop coming off aggressive.
But what the judges don't know is that deep down, Louise is such a cool person and they will never know that because none of them actually took the time in the house with us to see all of our personalities. So, I can vouch for Louise in that situation.
Reality TV World: Did you think Louise made the right decision in quitting based on her relationship with Kelly Cutrone or do you think she made a mistake and just wasn't good at taking authority from other people like Tyra had mentioned?
Candace Smith: Well basically, Louise is the type of person who doesn't take bullcrap from nobody. She doesn't do good, as she stated, with new people. Kelly Cutrone does come off as a rude person at times, but at the same time, Louise is not the one to sit there and take it.
She's going to open up her mouth. So I feel like what she did was justified. She stayed true to herself and she did what she felt was being true to herself. So, for her, it's definitely justified for her. But I think at the same time, like I said, if it wasn't for her, I could have been going home or Alisha or Eboni or Ashley. It could have been any one of us.
Reality TV World: Nigel said that when he shot you, you kept giving him the same facial expression over and over again. Were you aware at all that you were doing that? What was your mindset while you were modeling, what kind of look were you hoping to portray?
Candace Smith: Honestly, I was thinking to myself, "Oh, I'm giving all these types of looks, all these different facial expressions." And he was kind of building my head up... so I felt like I did excellent and I felt safe like, "Okay, there's no way I'm going to get eliminated."
But then in my house, watching the TV show, I'm like, "Wow. I actually didn't give enough facial expressions." So [that] really kind of shocked me. I was disappointed. If you're going to tell me that you're disappointed, tell me on the set. Don't tell me that I'm doing good and continue to have me do the same thing when you know I'm really doing bad, you know?
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when Tyra told you she would've liked to give you AzMarie's extremely short haircut?
Reality TV World: Did that freak you out or did you actually like the sound of the idea? And how serious did you think she was about following through with that idea at the time?
Candace Smith: Oh my God. If I was to stay on the show, Tyra would have snipped-snipped away with my hair. But me, honestly, personally, that type of haircut would not look good on me with the shape of head that I have. I have a little head.
It looks good on AzMarie, but not on me. And honestly, with the makeover they gave me, I liked the haircut but I would prefer a shorter haircut -- something like maybe an [Eva Marcille] type of haircut. I would've definitely rocked that, but going as short as AzMarie, no. It wouldn't have worked out.
Reality TV World: Sophie, who has seemingly come across as being very outspoken with her opinions of the American girls, said you didn't move your face much during photo shoots and then called out AzMarie and Laura for being the British girls' biggest competition. What was your reaction to that? Do you think she had no idea what she was talking about or that maybe, in some way, she had a point?
Candace Smith: Honestly, I can kind of agree with Sophie on what she said that AzMarie and Laura would be like their biggest competition, because Laura and AzMarie are extremely, extremely good models. Laura, for example, the poses that she does are like insane... she breaks her back and bends it. As far as AzMarie, I just like that's able to portray a female model extremely well and then also transform into a male model.
But Sophie did a lot of trash talking behind everyone's backs. But the thing is, she never said it to anyone's faces. So, that was one of the things I was pretty shocked about Sophie. But I kind of heard through the grapevine that that's how she is. She's the type of person to talk like that, so I was more prepared for comments and trash talking.
Reality TV World: I was actually just going to ask you about your general thoughts on Sophie, and it seems like Alisha had a similar personality in that she thrived on that American versus British competition and basically wanted to wipe all the American girls out. Did you have similar thoughts about Alisha as you did Sophie?
Candace Smith: I have a different relationship with Sophie and Alisha. The thing is, me and Alisha, we actually did get along in the house and we actually talked and stuff. So, when I look at Alisha talking crap, I just look at it like, "Oh look at Alisha doing this, whatever, having fun with the Americans."
But deep down, I think Alisha really does like me and the majority of the American girls, whereas Sophie didn't really have an established relationship with us Americans. So it was kind of different and I can't honestly compare the two because I had different relationships with them.
Reality TV World: During the premiere episode, some of the American girls admitted they were intimidated to compete against British girls who had been on Britain's Next Top Model before but some of them thought they had it in the bag because they were on their home turf -- which was an advantage. So which side did you fall on? Were you super confident or intimidated by the British models?
Candace Smith: Definitely was not intimidated at all. I never saw them on TV. I was just looking at them like normal everyday girls. But the thing is, they did have an advantage. I thought the U.K. girls did have an advantage because of the fact that they did Britain's Next Top Model.
So they already know what to expect and what to do, whereas us Americans, we never did any type of Top Model show. So, it's just all new to us. In that way, yeah, they definitely had a little upperhand in that. But me, I'm confident in myself and I know I can succeed as a model, and I know what I can do and what I'm capable of, so I wasn't threatened by the U.K. girls not one bit.
Reality TV World: Kelly Cutrone obviously replaced Andre Leon Talley on the judging panel this season. What were your thoughts about that? Were you disappointed Andre wouldn't be on the show? And did you really like Cutrone and thinks he was a good judge or did you believe she was too harsh.
Candace Smith: Kelly Cutrone, she is a bit harsh and it takes a strong person mentally to be confident with themselves to not let her comments break you. You just learn from it and take it, but at the same time, her as a judge, she should try to build someone's confidence -- not try to destroy it or crush it.
Do you get what I'm saying? She kind of comes off as a rude person, like she doesn't care. But at the same time, she really don't care. You're either going to love Kelly or hate her, and that's that. With Andre Leon, I would have liked to meet him. He seems like a nice guy. I've seen him on previous Top Model cycles.
Reality TV World: How familiar were you with Britain's Next Top Model and the girls that competed on that show? Were you familiar with any faces when you appeared on America's Next Top Model?
Candace Smith: None of them at all. I've never seen not one cycle of Britain's Next Top Model.
Reality TV World: How did you end up on America's Next Top Model? What was that process like and wasn't your first time applying for the show, right?
Candace Smith: It definitely wasn't my first time auditioning. When I first auditioned, it was Cycle 11 and I was 18-years-old, and it took me four years to actually get on the show. So what happened was, when I auditioned for Cycle 17, at the last minute, production decided to do an all-star cycle. So when Cycle 18 came around, I automatically just got a call from the casting directors, so I was automatically put through.
My future plans are that I will definitely continue to model and I plan on traveling. I also want to try to get into acting at the same time.