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Exclusive: Isis King talks 'America's Next Top Model' (Part 1)


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/30/2011 

Isis King became the third girl eliminated from America's Next Top Model's all-stars edition's third episode during Wednesday night's broadcast on The CW.

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On Thursday, the 25-year-old who previously appeared on Top Model's eleventh season, talked to Reality TV World about her America's Next Top Model experience -- including what incidents worsened the blow of her elimination, who she felt was going home instead of her, why she was upset and disappointed with how the all-stars edition allegedly failed to live up to its promotions and promises, and how she reacted to the new "teams format" twist.

Below is the first portion of our exclusive interview with Isis. Check back with Reality TV World on Monday for the second half. 

Reality TV World: I know you said in your final words that you were shocked to be eliminated, but did it make your ouster even more of a surprise considering you had received the best photo during the first week of the competition?

Isis King: Yes, it definitely made it a surprise but also, I was told I was the most "on brand" in our group interview. So, with that being said and with it being a cycle that's supposed to be about branding and star quality and potential -- you know also, other than that shot, I was very surprised because I definitely don't feel like -- I know it's cliche and everyone says this, but there's no way even looking from the photos that I should have been sent home at all.

Reality TV World: Tyra Banks mentioned that you and Angelea Preston didn't even have the two worst photos out of all the girls, so did that make it more upsetting or frustrating for you when you were eliminated?

Isis King: Definitely. I feel like that's definitely something that sticks on my mind, like, "You weren't the worst." "Oh thanks, that makes me feel better." Great.

Reality TV World: Since the photo of you and Camille McDonald was not favored by the judges at panel critiques, if the show had not introduced the "team format" where only a member of the losing team could be eliminated, do you think Camille would have gone home instead of you since she was at the bottom of the pack on her winning team? Why or why not?

Isis King: Definitely. I feel like I'm surprised they picked a shot of her doing -- to me, in my eyes better or she's more the focal point. We'll all know I'm known for outshining people. (Laughs) But also on top of that, she was the one getting all the negative feedback during the shoot. So because of that, I definitely think she would have been on the chopping block other than me -- besides me.

I definitely don't think I should have went, and even from seeing the footage that they showed of me doing all the extreme posing, I was shocked. I even started putting my head down and I shook it and started laughing. From what you can see on there, I'm like, "Here we go again!"

All of that I did, at least this time, the fans will see. You've seen all of the crazy posing that I did and they picked out the shot -- maybe the one shot -- of me low energy or just calm. That's not how the shot went. That's not how the photo shoot went for me anyway. You could tell. So, I'm just like, "Here we go again!" But I know what it is. It's reality TV and hey, what can you do?

Reality TV World: I was going to ask you about that. It did seem strange that you had said you really went to an extreme and tried all these different poses and you kept falling because of it, and then your photo...

Isis King: I ended up with bruises on my side. The medics had to treat me. I got scratched really bad from the wire because the photographer was so excited and I kept on doing such extreme poses. She was like, "Hold it, hold it!" Because I kept going into it so that I was almost falling, and she was so excited. Yes, they picked a picture of me just standing there.

Reality TV World: Did you ever get more of an explanation as to why you were eliminated? Because it seemed like the judges only said your photo happened to be a little worse than Angelea's and your modeling performance started going downhill a little bit.

Isis King: I honestly believe that, anybody can tell you, I did great in that photo and hearing this for the second time that, "Oh, you started at the top and went down each week," that's not true at all. I think that was funny that I got the same exact critique when I was eliminated my first time around.

I definitely don't agree with it. Most of the girls I've talked to don't agree with it, but [Brittany Brower] didn't get an explanation, really. [Sheena Sakai] didn't get an explanation, really. So, if you eliminate two of the biggest personalities other than me and also some of the people who had the biggest brands potential, then why should I think I would get an explanation? We were just shocked.

When that happened with Brittany, it kind of set the tone for -- and then Sheena was like, "Oh wow, why are they sending home the biggest brand potential girl?" -- The girls who we thought would be at the end based on -- They promoted [the show] to us not as a redemption season, they promoted it as, "This is all-stars and it's going to focus more on your brand" and also the divisions of expertise you have in what you want to go into.

I said before I ever came, acting is at the top of my list now. That's what I've been really working hard on -- acting, my fashion design and motivational speaking. When we came in, it just turned into another cycle. So, I've talked to most of the girls, and most of the girls agree on that. We weren't pitched an idea of just another cycle.

Reality TV World: It sounds like you don't see many differences in the all-stars version versus the original season you were on, right?

Isis King: Definitely not.

Reality TV World: So just to clarify then, you're saying the all-stars edition claimed it wanted to find a girl with the total package but so far, it's just been about the modeling? Is that how you believe the season hasn't changed from its prior cycles?

Isis King: At all!

Reality TV World: Going back to Tyra's comment that your performance was going downhill, you were only on the show for three episodes and participated in three major photo shoots, so did you think that was reaching a little bit when she said that? Because it didn't seem like there was much time that even elapsed.

Isis King: I definitely believe that, especially considering I always give 110% percent at every shoot that I do. I'm always one of the biggest personalities. I'm really funny. I come there like ready to capture your attention every time. It's also about star quality and that "X factor," and it's all of these things in the brand.

I was told in the interview that I was the most "on brand" in my group. If all of these things did matter, then that comment wouldn't have happened and I wouldn't have been eliminated.

It's just puzzling, but like I said, there was no explanation for two of the biggest and brightest other stars Sheena and Brittany, so why would I think I'd be special enough to get an explanation or think that it would go different? But honestly, I was completely shocked and yeah. Completely. 

Reality TV World: When you watched back the show, what was your response to Camille's statement before your photo shoot on stilts when she said, "How is it that a transgender could do a better job than the actual 'real' woman?" Did that offend you or did you not take it in a bad way?

Isis King: It didn't offend me because Camille, she's smart. She tried to do damage control after it was all over and she told me about it and said, "I hope they don't edit me wrong." So basically, I know how everything works. We are in reality. We can look at things differently than most of the world, because we've been through reality TV.

We're smart enough to know that even if a question is asked, you know how to answer better. So do I believe it was edited on her? I'll never know, but I'll just say that they can put words in your mouth. So did it offend me? No, because a lot of people are intimidated by me. But that's not my problem. I'm not going out there to try to compete with anybody.

It's always you competing with yourself -- that's on the show and in real life. You should never just go out there and try to be or compete with anyone else. But always push yourself to be the best you can be, and if you're intimidated by that, then that's you. You have something to work out, not me.

Reality TV World: What was your reaction when you found out you ladies would be competing in two teams and that only a member of the losing team could be eliminated? Did you like or dislike the idea and why or why not?

Isis King: Honestly, it didn't bother me because I knew I was confident in my branding and in my speaking. Like I said, I do a lot of public speaking. I know how to answer questions. I know how to be honest also with it. So, also like I said, I was told that I was the most "on brand." So that was the best feedback considering [Allison Harvard] got the same critique as me and she won for her team.

So I'm thinking that's going to hold some weight, you know? I know how to answer that. I have that experience that a lot of the girls don't have in the sense of going out there and speaking in front of crowd of 500 or 1000 people, answering questions on the spot about different things.

So, I wasn't nervous at all. I was hoping I'd be on the winning team, but I don't think it made me feel like I have to work harder because I always work hard. I never half-ass anything I do, especially in a photo shoot.

Reality TV World: Do you think the "team format" will be implemented again or used in every episode for the rest of the season, or do you think it was just a one-time twist used to change things up a little?

Isis King: Um, hmm. Good question. (Laughs) I'm going to answer it by saying that I'm not sure how the format is going to be, but I would think that it's a one-time thing just for the simple fact that it's just about "your brand" and so it wouldn't make sense. Also, being a reality TV show kind of like Project Runway or different shows, if that ever happens, it's usually just for one week. So, I'll answer it like that!

(Photo credit The CW)


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