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Exclusive: Dalya Morrow talks about 'America's Next Top Model'


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/25/2011 

Dalya Morrow became the sixth girl eliminated from America's Next Top Model's sixteenth season during Wednesday night's broadcast on The CW.

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On Thursday, the unemployed 21-year-old who currently resides in Corona, CA talked to Reality TV World about her America's Next Top Model experience -- including what she actually thought of her performance in the faux fur photo shoot and why it fell apart, how she reacted to Jay Manuel's critique about her resorting back to "modeling 101," who she felt was going to be in the bottom two alongside her instead of Molly, which girl on the show she knew before they met again on Top Model, and which girls she thought had the potential to make it all the way to the end. 

Reality TV World: You said in your final words that you couldn't believe the last animal photo shoot was the reason why you went home. But you also said you knew you had been thinking too much and doubting yourself, so why were you so surprised that that particular photo shoot was the reason for your elimination?

Dalya Morrow: Well, honestly, the reason why I said I had doubt and stuff like that -- you know, at that moment, I really had no clue on what to say because going into that shoot, I actually was confident in myself and I wasn't really doubting myself -- I was having fun like I was having the week before and the two weeks before that.

So, honestly at that moment, I honestly had no idea what I was going to say after I was eliminated. I just went with what was said, but [Tyra Banks] said what got me away and I just went with it, because honestly, in my head, nothing really got in my way besides the negative feedback I was getting from Mr. [Jay Manuel].

Reality TV World: So are you saying you were basically surprised because you thought the judges would still give you one more chance?

Dalya Morrow: Well, going into it, yeah. When I went to panel, yeah, I was like praying that they would give me another opportunity, because even during that couture shoot, I had already proven that I can work my eyes and I can do things already. But that particular shoot with the jaguar, I don't know what happened or why I fell apart.

Well, actually, I do. It was mainly the negative feedback I was getting from Mr. Jay because I thought I was doing better and I thought I had turned that around, so thinking that I did badly, I would tell myself, 'Next week, I'm going to prove that I deserve to be here. 

Reality TV World: You also said in your final words that you let yourself get in your own way of achieving your goal and continuing on Top Model. But from what you've been saying that's not really what you meant or what actually happened, correct?

Dalya Morrow: How can I put it? I honestly, when I was [asked], 'What happened to you?' I don't know what happened. I really don't know why I said that. I think I was just trying to get up out of there. I was done being there. I did not know what else to say, because I did not know where Tyra was coming from.

I can't just stand there -- that's what she said -- and she's right. I can't just stand there, but I don't know how to answer that question. I wasn't doubting myself going into the photo shoot, so I just went with what they were saying.

Reality TV World: You ended up breaking down in tears when Jay had that negative feedback for you. He said your poses were resorting back to remedial modeling, or "modeling 101," during the animal shoot. It sounds like you had no idea that was what you were doing right?

Dalya Morrow: Uh huh. No, actually I knew the hair thing, like when I was flipping my hair and stuff it was remedial, but it's kind of funny because he said that -- when did he say that to me again? There was another point when he said that to me -- I was kind of like "modeling 101?"

I mean, I'm trying to give him movement and I'm moving around on this rock. I'm trying to incorporate this jaguar. I am trying my best. I honestly, I don't know. If it was "modeling 101," if that was his opinion, okay.

So, I can't really take that to heart. All I can do is go into the real world of modeling and change that around, because you know, my portfolio before Top Model was fine.

It was just fine, and I just worked with photographers that loved my work. So, it's okay. If it's "modeling 101," that's fine, but I'm not really like that. I don't do "modeling 101," like I've never been told that before. So, it was a shocker, but it's okay.

Reality TV World: What was it like posing with that jaguar?

Dalya Morrow: It was actually fun! It's not like any other household cat or domestic cat, but it was definitely heavy. He was cranky towards the end of the day, but it's okay. I had fun. I never got to shoot with a jaguar before, but it was a lot of fun. I think everyone should be able to play with a baby jaguar in their lifetime.

Reality TV World: I agree. (Laughs) So were you surprised that Molly was in the bottom two alongside you and why or why not?

Dalya Morrow: Honestly, I thought Kasia was going to be in the bottom two with me. That night, we actually were talking about it. I really felt like she was going to be, but yeah, I was surprised that Molly was in the bottom two. That girl, she knows how to model.

So, I was shocked that she didn't do as well as I thought she did, because I was actually looking at her photo shoot and she did pretty well in my opinion. So, yeah, I was a little shocked about her being down there. I thought she was going to be called early on.

Reality TV World: When your photo got reviewed during panel critiques and Nigel said it looked like you had tears in your eyes, what was the context behind those tears? Did you cry after your photo shoot ended or in the middle of it and then continue or were you actually tearing up in the middle of it as Jay was feeding you critiques?

Dalya Morrow: Let me tell you about that day. It was a windy day and where we were, the wind was blowing even harder. When wind blows in my eyes, my eyes start to tear up. I tried not to, but even Jaclyn was standing there watching -- who's was it? -- It was Mikaela's shoot. Her eyes were watering too.

So, I was trying to control the watering. I was not crying during the shoot. So, I'll confirm that one right there. There was no crying during the actual shooting -- shooting with the photographer and Mr. Jay talking to me -- there were tears after.

Reality TV World: You mentioned during the episode that you started modeling when you were 16 and Tyra touched upon how you already had a lot more experience than the other girls. Could you talk about what prior experience you had before the show that Top Model didn't mention like you participating in Fashion Week?

Dalya Morrow: Yeah. I participated in LA Fashion Week twice through an agency I signed with. It was really cool. I never really did all that. I did runway before then. I did runway like hair shows and stuff like that, but those were on my own before I signed with agencies. I was on this website called Model Mayhem and I would get my jobs through that.

I would go practice through connecting with these fashion designers and photographers. That's how I got serious by practicing on my own, and also doing hair shows locally, and then as soon as I hit -- got my first agency, my first contract -- that's when I got my taste of LA Fashion Week and the craziness of go-sees and casting calls and what not.

Reality TV World: You repeatedly said how badly you wanted to be America's Next Top Model and how you knew what kind of amazing opportunity being on the show provided you girls. What about being on the show and winning the show was so important to you? Also, how long have you been watching the show and had this become a dream for you or something?

Dalya Morrow: I just personally think that that was a little overdramatized. I didn't desperately want to be America's Next Top Model. I went into Top Model not expecting to win. That is point blank, hands down. Before I left and when I talked to my parents, I was not expecting to win.

What I expected out of it was meeting people I never met before, getting to work with photographers I've never met before or worked with, and get to show off my skills. I want to at least let them show so the world knows that Dalya's here and I want to model and I want to show you what I got if you offer!

So, that was my mentality going into the competition, not expecting to win. You can't expect everyday, and so personally, I think that that was overdramatized. I wanted to be in the competition badly though, yes. But did I want to win badly? No. Not to the point where it was desperation.

Reality TV World: You said you felt that you could be one of the strongest competitors in the competition, so while you were on Top Model, who did you see having the talent and skill to potentially make it all the way to the end?

Dalya Morrow: There's two. It's Brittani and Molly. Those two alone, I off the bat, felt that from them. I felt that energy, so right off the bat though, you can't really pinpoint one because it's a tie between Brittany and Molly.

Reality TV World: Could you compare yourself to them as models in that do you think they had any advantages over you or do you maybe think you still had advantages over them since you knew you were also a strong competitor?

Dalya Morrow: I felt like I was a strong competitor. I felt like I could have developed even more being there. That's why I said I felt like I could be one of the strongest competitors there, and with Brittani, I don't like to compare myself to anybody or vice versa, I don't like doing that because I'm my own person.

I'm an individual, and we all have our strengths and weaknesses. But I love the fact that Brittani can handle that camera like no other, and I give her props for that, and I love watching her when she's shooting. And then with Molly, the same thing. I just love watching their photo shoots.

Reality TV World: Alexandria has clearly come across as the villain in the house as this week's episode showed the girls bashing her in the confessional and you said that "her attitude was going to defeat her." What were your impressions of her while you were on the show and how did your opinion change, if at all, as you were watching from home?

Dalya Morrow: Well, I want to start off by saying that I knew Alexandria before Top Model. We were with the same agency here in Los Angeles, so I kind of had an idea of her personality, but it was a different story when we lived together. I saw something completely different, like well, I shouldn't say different. It was kind of the same, but it was overblown into dramatic stuff.

I don't know why it came to be that way, but it was really dramatic around here. Anything that was said around her was just dramatic. It was drama. With her, could you repeat your question again? What did you want to know about her?

Reality TV World: What your impressions of her and if they changed at all while you were watching the show at home.

Dalya Morrow: My impressions of her are the same today. I don't see anything different, like I just see Alexandria, and that's how she is, who she is. She can come off in that way, but nothing has changed at all. My viewpoint on her -- I don't hold onto grudges -- I don't hold onto people's issues. I let them go.

Reality TV World: So since you knew her beforehand, would you say that the editing is pretty accurate of her personality and who she really is from what you knew of her?

Dalya Morrow: Pretty much. It is accurate. It really showed on the show though, like I knew how she was, but on the show, I was just like, 'Whoa, in your face. I didn't even know she was really like that.' I had an idea, but I didn't know it was that big, you know what I'm trying to say? It was just in your face.

So, personally when I was attacked, that was out of nowhere. So, it's pretty much her personality and I just wish some of us would have just approached her about the problems we might have had with her, because maybe if we had approached her, it would have changed. She probably would have checked herself, maybe.

Reality TV World: What was your reaction when you realized that Monique was going to read Alexandria's diary? Did you feel that she was justified in doing that because Alexandria had put herself in the position to be disliked, or do you think it was maybe crossing the line of what's appropriate and respectful?

Dalya Morrow: That was very disrespectful what was done that night. I had no part in that at all. I pretty much just completely excluded myself from that situation, because no matter how much you don't like someone, you don't go through someone's possessions.

I would never go through your stuff, so I would kindly think you would respect me and not go through my individual things. So, I felt like that was totally uncalled for. Monique, she had no right to do that, but I guess it created drama for the show, which was what they needed. So, yeah.

I just felt horrible for Alexandria and horrible that she had to find out in that way. I kind of felt like I had the responsibility maybe to tell her or something, but that wasn't on my mind -- telling her about the diary thing -- I had other things on my mind.

Reality TV World: You touched on how you felt confident going into all the photo shoots and you said you still don't know why you struggled in the animal one, so do you think you may have struggled in the competition a little bit because it focused a lot on commercials and acting? Jay told you your Fierce Roast coffee commercial was actually painful and your performance and ability to sell a product seemed to be a bit of concern to your partners for the Covergirl skit. So what are your thoughts on that and do you think if the competition was solely based on photo shoots you would have been better off?

Dalya Morrow: No, as a model, you need to be well-rounded. You can't just be one type of model. You can't just be a runway model or a print model. You have to be pretty much a triple threat. You have to be well-rounded. So, you should be able to do commercials if you want to be a Top Model. Me, with the whole acting thing, I know I am capable of acting.

In situations like that, it's a high-stress situation. You're competing against other girls and you're trying your best. You're doing what you're capable of doing and you should be able to do plus more. But sometimes in situations like that, things just don't work out in your favor or work the way you want them to work out.

All I can do is take what I learned on Top Model and take in to the real world of modeling, and practice -- go get some acting classes or you know -- So, I always try to look at things in a positive way and be optimistic about stuff.

Reality TV World: You said following the animal photo shoot that you felt Jay was basically giving you so much criticism because he believed you had the potential to really improve and grow as a model. Looking back now since you got eliminated afterward, do you still agree with that or do you feel differently about how and why he critiqued you so much?

Dalya Morrow: Anything that Mr. Jay or any of the panel or any of the judges -- if they had something to say that was in a negative way, I basically had to bring myself back down and figure out why they were saying stuff like that -- to me, I felt like they were just telling me those things so I can learn from it. So I don't make the mistakes again.

Yes, I do still feel the same way about Mr. Jay, because he saw me at the beginning of the competition, at the airport runway challenge -- so it wasn't even a challenge -- when we first met the Jays. I'll never forget what Mr. Jay told me. He said, 'I can tell that you're reading, that you read, couture magazines. I can tell you're reading those high fashion magazines.'

I wanted to go in and show him that I do study and I do pay attention to the modeling industry, and  he saw that from the get-go. So, for me to drop as low as I did in the last shoot that I did, that just hurt me. It made me embarrassed, because Mr. Jay, he knows I can do better and Tyra, they know I can do better. So, I was embarrassed about that, like, 'What the! Come on Dalya! You know you can do better.'

Reality TV World: You also were in the bottom two during the photo shoot with the bees and the jewelry, can you talk a little bit about what you think happened there and how you feel you ended up with a fortunate, what Tyra labeled, "accident" out of a film that was supposedly unusable?

Dalya Morrow: Yeah. I think, I mean, I went into that excited. I was like, 'Michael Rosenthal! Woo hoo! This is going to be awesome!' Especially working with bees, I was just totally stoked about that, and I think I had a little bit too much fun with it, because I guess my eyes weren't really working with the rest of what was going on.

Tyra had said, 'You're eyes kind of look a little crazy!' And I was like, 'Oh, no!' So, that's what happened. I was just having a little bit too much fun with it.

Reality TV World: Would you say walking the runway in the giant bubble or walking over fire with your hands on fire was the more difficult challenge? Can you elaborate a bit on what your experience was like for both?

Dalya Morrow: The ball-runway show, with the 12-inch runway over the pool, that would have been fine and dandy if they didn't throw us in that ball. The ball was my distraction. I was like, 'Okay, if I fall into the water, I'm going to be like a rolling ball. I won't be able to get out.'

That's what was going on in my head, and if we didn't have that ball, I could have worked that 12-inch runway like it was nobody's business. It wasn't that deep into the water and all you had to do was splash the water, but that ball kind of messed me up, but I still had fun. Like I said, that was something that nobody has done before.

So, then you have the fire challenge. That was kind of -- I figured we were going to do like a fire something -- because it was hot in that building. I was like, 'Hmm, what's going on here?' So, I thought I was going to have that in the bag because I love runway, regardless. I feel like if you just throw me on the runway, I will take it over.

I still practice my runway walk to this day. I feel like I need to make it even better, make it better, everyday. That runway challenge was awesome. I really enjoyed that one with the fire. But the one that was the most difficult one, was the ball. Definitely the ball.

Reality TV World: From what you have said, it definitely seems like you intend to continue modeling, but what exactly are your plans for the near future?

Dalya Morrow: I do intend on modeling. I want to get out there -- I want to do acting too -- I want to get into that and see if I can get into any acting classes, because I believe acting will help me with my modeling.

I definitely want to continue on and I want to somehow get to New York, because I feel like if I stay here in Los Angeles, I'm not really going to get as far as I want to be. Los Angeles I don't think, is ready for my look or needs my look here. I think New York needs my look.

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

Dalya Morrow: I was [cast] through a website called Model Mayhem. I got just a random message and I answered the message and like, I just talked to the person that sent me the message. I auditioned right after I graduated high school back in 2007. I auditioned and went to an open call.

So, that was my first time auditioning, but the second time around, I landed it. It was totally out of nowhere because I never really logged onto my Model Mayhem -- maybe it was like four or three months since I've actually logged onto that website -- and then by chance, I got this message from America's Next Top Model representatives or casting directors. So, that was kind of cool.

(Photo credit The CW)


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