Exclusive: Darian Ellis talks about 'Top Model: College Edition' (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/14/2012
Darian Ellis, a 5' 9" 22-year-old student from Baton Rouge, LA attending Louisiana State University, was ousted from America's Next Top Model: College Edition after she found herself in the bottom two based upon her total combined scores from Top Model's three judges and home viewers' fan vote.
However, Darian will get to participate in most of the upcoming photo shoots against previously-eliminated contestant Jessie Rabideau and future-eliminated girls in attempt to gain the highest social media score and earn a spot back in the competition.
In an exclusive interview on Monday, Darian talked to Reality TV World about her America's Next Top Model: College Edition experience -- including whether she was afraid to pose nude, why she believed she "fell off the radar" when it came to her social media score for the week, why she thought the competition amongst the previously-eliminated girls was actually more difficult than the original one with the girls still in the running, and what made her believe Victoria Henley deserved more credit.
Below is the concluding portion of Darian's interview. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: When you learned that you were going to have to pose nude, what was going through your mind? Was there ever a moment when you considered saying no or were you completely comfortable with your body and your surroundings to not question anything?
Darian Ellis: I was actually pretty psyched about it! (Laughs) I'm very comfortable with my body. I'm not insecure in any way about this. This is what the modeling industry is. There are chances that you might have to be naked. You're definitely going to have to be naked around other girls some times in the future, so the nude photo shoot, I wasn't worried about that at all. I was actually pretty excited. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Did you notice any other girls kind of worrying about the shoot or questioning whether they should go through with it, or did it seem like everyone had the same mindset as you?
Darian Ellis: Everyone basically had the same mindset. I mean, everybody was kind of shocked like, "Oh boy, here it comes! Oh no." But as far as someone not wanting to do it or being iffy about it, [Maria Tucker] was the only one who had some type of objection to it.
Reality TV World: When BryanBoy told you that you had fallen off the social media radar during panel critiques, did that really upset you? Because it seemed like you just took the criticism and moved on from it with a smile.
Darian Ellis: Well, I mean, that's the type of person I am. He's there to tell us what the social media is saying and he's relaying all the comments. I have to take his word for it if I fell off the radar.
It kind of hurt, but if you stay stuck somewhere, you're just going to remain stuck there. So I was taking it and just eating it up, like, "Okay they don't like me. Let's see what I can do different next week so maybe they'll vote me higher and bring up my social media score."
Reality TV World: Did you have any idea why the fans kind of stopped favoring you at that point? Do you think they were missing something or were they maybe just having trouble relating to you?
Darian Ellis: I think that might've been it. During the first week's photos, they were saying they didn't like my braids. And I'm like, "Okay, I can't really change that. That's kind of who I am." And then I got the makeover, and you know, during this photo shoot, they said I fell off the radar. A lot of people were saying they didn't like my position or my face.
You're going to have your opinions and I'm glad that they were able to incorporate fans into that. But I have to do what I feel is best for my photo shoots. So I'm taking it, I'm listening to Tyra, I'm listening to [Johnny Wujek] and [Rob Evans] and [Kelly Cutrone], and just trying to become the best model I can be. So it hurt, but you gotta move on.
Reality TV World: So the braids come out for the fans and then there's just another issue! (Laughs)
Darian Ellis: Right. It's kind of one after the other!
Reality TV World: Without giving any details away, could you talk a little bit about what it was like to compete against the fellow eliminated girls? For example, was it even more competitive than it had been with the original set of girls due to the fact you were fighting for one open spot rather than just trying to stick around week to week?
Darian Ellis: Yeah, definitely, definitely. There's a big difference between floating by and then completely being the No. 1 girl with the highest social media score, because that's what the winner -- you're fate is based on your social media score. BryanBoy told me that week that my social media score, they were kind of disconnected from me.
So I was like, "Oh my God! I gotta give 150% percent this time. I'm glad I got a second chance, but it's going to be that much harder." It's definitely been -- these eliminated girls, they have social media scores higher than me, so I gotta work that much harder just for that one spot.
Reality TV World: How big a fan of Top Model were you prior to applying and appearing on the show?
Darian Ellis: Oh, I was such a fan! (Laughs) You tune in and you're watching it, and you think, "Oh God, I can do that," and then you finally get that chance to try out and then making it my first time -- that was my first time really trying out and deciding that I want to do this and putting my entire energy into it.
And I made it, and I was just like, "Oh my God, this is a dream come true." I just saw the show with the all-stars and the British invasion, and it was just crazy. It was crazy.
Reality TV World: Since you were a big fan, which means you're pretty knowledgeable of the show, what did you think of all the format changes and new judges and everything? Did you think they were positive or negative changes? Do you think anything could've been handled differently to make it better?
Darian Ellis: I think it was an overall positive change, I mean, this is the nineteenth cycle, so fans want something new and exciting. I really wish I could've met the other judges -- the old ones -- [Nigel Barker] and [Miss J. Alexander], but the change is good rather than not changing and staying just the same, so I understand why they did it. I think it's positive.
The feedback from it is amazing. Everybody loves Rob and it's just -- I don't know. I feel like it's a positive thing. It's good. I like the judges and the way it is now. It's pretty nice.
Reality TV World: Victoria has certainly made a splash so far this season and it seems like the majority of the cast thought she was, for lack of a better phrase, pretty weird although she had good intentions. What were your thoughts about her while you were on the show and were you surprised she got the highest score this week?
Darian Ellis: (Laughs) Actually, I'm an honest person and her photo was amazing! So, it wasn't too much of a surprise. I think she had a great shot and you give credit when credit is due. She deserved it. It was wonderful.
As far as her [personality], she was a little, you know, different. But her upbringing, I think she was home-schooled, and it just makes you different no matter what. So she wasn't crazy or weird, she's just different from the other girls. That's just her personality, like how some people said I was loud. She was different. She's Victoria. Let's just leave it at that. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: What are your plans for the near future? Do you think you're going to pursue a career in what you went to school for over modeling or do you think modeling is going to be your top priority and goal professionally?
Darian Ellis: Modeling has always been a dream of mine and it was kind of a secret -- something I was too shy or too afraid to just honestly open up and say, "This is what I want to do and I'm going to give it my all." But Louisiana isn't going anywhere. It's a great college; I have great grades there.
And if I ever want to go back, I'm pretty sure I could just go back and get my degree. But modeling is No. 1 right now, especially because now I know I have what it takes to make it in the industry.
Above is the concluding portion of Darian's interview. Click here to read the first half.