Exclusive: Jaclyn Poole talks about 'America's Next Top Model'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/15/2011
Jaclyn Poole became the ninth girl eliminated from America's Next Top Model's sixteenth season during Wednesday night's broadcast on The CW.
On Thursday, the 20-year-old student and waitress from Belton, TX, talked to Reality TV World about her America's Next Top Model experience -- including whether she was surprised to be eliminated since she had never been in the bottom two beforehand, who she has remained very close with from the competition, what she actually thought about the "disgusting" eco-friendly photo shoot, what her real opinions of Alexandria were, and whether her gracious exit signified a desire to leave the competition.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised you got eliminated or did you somewhat see it coming beforehand?
Jaclyn Poole: I was surpr... -- Going into this next week, this past week -- on the go-sees, I was so confident. I just won best photo and I felt like I had everything going for me and I was just going to keep progressing. Then after the go-sees started, I didn't do very well with finding my way around Los Angeles. That was really, really tough.
I was definitely challenged and after that, I knew I only made it to two go-sees and I was thinking, "Oh my gosh. I'm probably going to be the one booted off and I'm going to be sent packing home to [Belton, TX] instead of Morocco." Then going into the photo shoot, I was still confident in myself because who gets the opportunity to shoot with Nigel Barker?
I'm on America's Next Top Model. Why not make the best of it and the most of it. So, then I failed to deliver an awesome photo for the judges. I felt proud of myself for how well I thought I did. I did my best and if all you can do is your best, then yeah. That's fine if you're proud of yourself, and I was very proud of myself.
Reality TV World: Molly had been in the bottom two before, but you have never been. Did that play any role in your response to your elimination and were you surprised that the judges didn't give you a second chance since you had been doing so well in the competition?
Jaclyn Poole: Yeah, I mean, everyone that has been in the bottom two get another chance. I wasn't able to get another chance, but that doesn't mean that I won't have another chance in the modeling industry. This was just one little door that was closed a little bit. I can open another one back up here pretty soon.
So, I'm very excited and I'm really just okay with being eliminated. It does hurt inside and I wish I could have continued further in the competition, but I'm very proud of myself and how far I have come.
Reality TV World: Did you think there was another girl or two more likely to go home than you at that point in the competition? You said you're okay with the fact you got eliminated, but was there anyone in the moment you figured would have gone instead of you and if so, who?
Jaclyn Poole: Yeah, well I guess starting off the week, we were all kind of looking around like, "Oh my Gosh. There's six of us left. We're all so kind of equal. We've all had a best photo." And it's nerve-wracking like, "Who's going to go home?"
I hadn't thought that I was going to go home. I really thought that I was going to keep progressing, but honestly, everyone was so even. I couldn't narrow it down to anyone that I thought was going to be sent home. So, it was kind of just all up in the air.
Reality TV World: You were very gracious and remained pretty composed overall after you were eliminated, except for what seemed to be a few tears. Was there any part of you that had actually been wanted to go home for any reason?
Jaclyn Poole: Well, I missed my mother and father and my family so much, but I wanted to stay there forever. I loved LA. I fell in love with it. I wish I could have stayed there for a little while and gone out and gone to the beach or something for a bit.
But after I got eliminated, I went back to Belton and I had my family and friends here waiting for me to get home and they welcomed me with open arms. They didn't know the outcome until last night, but they were very supportive.
Reality TV World: You mentioned that you had received best photo last week for the "crazy for makeup" photo shoot. Why do you think they would let you go so soon after you just won best photo for the first time? Wouldn't you think they would see you as having the potential to win and that would keep improving?
Jaclyn Poole: Yeah, I thought about that a lot. It kind of confused me because I was progressing so much and it does stink that I didn't get another chance to prove myself, but I can't complain. It's been a crazy journey and I wish the result would have been different, but it is what it is and I just gotta take it with what it is and further my career from here.
Reality TV World: Do you think it worsened the blow at all though that you started to feel so good about your position and your progress in the competition and then were eliminated? Was that frustrating or upsetting since you had gained confidence?
Jaclyn Poole: Yeah, it kind of, I don't know. I didn't lose my confidence or anything, but I was just so happy with progressing and then the next week it's like I'm walking down the plank and they feed me to the sharks.
Like I said, I'm okay and the girls that are there -- the five left -- they are all so deserving as well, because they want the same thing. They want to be America's Next Top Model just like myself, and they have the same passion. So, I think all five of them are worthy of the title. So, they all deserve it.
Reality TV World: Could you talk about the two go-sees you went on including who they were with, what they had you do, and how you think you did? Could you discuss maybe what viewers didn't get to see about you go-see experiences?
Jaclyn Poole: Yeah, my first go-see, it was for a sexy bombshell look. It was in these amazing jeans. I really want a pair, and I went in there confident. I had made it to my first go-see and I kind of just thought, "Well, oh, this is a sexy pair of jeans."
We were supposed to be a bombshell, so I thought, "Oh! I'm just going to picture myself up on the Victoria Secret runway and strut my stuff!" So I did and she was very sweet and very kind, and it was a pleasure meeting with them. I felt very confident about that go-see with them. I'm so happy that I booked. The other go-see was a commercial. It was awesome and I love doing commercial stuff.
That's my favorite, favorite favorite part about this, is being able to talk and express yourself in front of the camera, rather than just to pose. It was so fun to get to express myself and talk and to show people what I have. I booked that one as well. I failed to make it to anymore, but I was happy with the two that I booked!
Reality TV World: You said you were extremely excited when you learned you would be traveling to Morocco if you made the Top 5, so how much of a let down was it that you didn't get to go abroad? I mean, did it really upset you or were you okay with it?
Jaclyn Poole: Of course it would upset anyone. You're getting eliminated out of the competition, but I was looking forward to everything about Morocco. That's where part of Sex and the City 2 was filmed and I don't know. I just wanted to go overseas and go abroad so badly, but hey! That was my first experience.
I could have plenty of opportunities to go abroad in the near future in a modeling career, and so it was really sad and I didn't want to leave, but yeah. I just can't wait to see how it all unfolds on TV for the remaining five girls.
Reality TV World: The show showed you girls putting together your letters very quickly in discovering Morocco would be your next destination. So was that actually the case that you figured out the word right away or how long did it actually take you girls?
Jaclyn Poole: Oh gosh. It took us forever! (Laughs) You put all six of us together and we're so confused trying to figure it all out. It was so fun! I really thought we were going to -- when [Tyra Banks] pulled out the "C" -- I thought Cuba or China or something like that.
It was so fun to unscramble the letters and then I don't remember if it was Alexandria who realized it was Morocco or not, but it was so fun to realize that we could all be going to Morocco. That was such a fun night!
Reality TV World: You said during the show that you had never used a map before and you just got really lost. Could you talk about how all of that went down and where you think you went wrong in the directions? Did you ever consider stopping and asking someone for help or did you just take it upon yourself to figure it out and hope for the best?
Jaclyn Poole: Well, we weren't really allowed to stop and ask anyone for help. We could only rely on the map and ourselves, but gosh. Having a 1,000-page map of Los Angeles is kind of scary to try to navigate yourself around knowing that you have a very young attractive male model sitting next to you driving you around in the smart car.
It's kind of overwhelming all in itself! But I struggled. I struggled so much with it. I was so stressed out going into it because I knew I was going to have to navigate myself, and that was just totally my worst aspect -- navigation. Even here in Texas, I'm horrible! I always have to take our family's GPS around with me everywhere I go.
Still, I still have a hard time following that! So, it was very confusing and frustrating. But all in all, I had a blast at my go-sees and it was such a memorable experience. I'll never forget that part.
Reality TV World: How disgusting was the eco-friendly photo shoot actually? Molly found it particularly unsanitary while it also looked like a bird left its droppings on Jay Manuel. (Laughs)
Jaclyn Poole: Oh, it was disgusting! We were in our bus and the blinds were shut. We were riding up and we didn't know where we were going. All of a sudden, I opened the doors and when we got out of our bus, and oh my gosh! I was just amazed by all the trash and seagulls were everywhere pooping and it was just disgusting.
I've never seen anything like it! I go to the beach and there's always seagulls everywhere and I always want to feed them -- have them come up to you and throw them chips with my family -- and now I never want to feed those birds anything. They are gross! So, it was pretty nasty! It smelt terrible, so I hope I never have to go to a landfill again.
Reality TV World: You came across as the sweet innocent girl from Texas on the show but you really came through during the "crazy for makeup" photo shoot and ended up with best photo. Can you talk about what your mindset was for that and how you tuned into that crazy obsessed look? How did you channel that kind of passion and personality for your pictures?
Jaclyn Poole: Well, you know, I'm always myself everywhere I go and I try to be true to who I am. But I guess when you get into modeling, and I get in front of the camera, modeling is so much like acting. You have to portray a different character.
You have to show the client -- if they want you to be happy or sad or mad or crazy -- I was portraying. I was "crazy for makeup," so I just took that lipstick and started rubbing it all over my face and it worked! I just felt like, I don't know.
I just felt crazy and in each of my photos, as you can see, I try to tell a story. I think that's what modeling is all about, trying to tell a story, trying to get the viewers to see what you're trying to portray. So, I think that was a pretty darn good job in that photo shoot! (Laughs)
Reality TV World: I agree! Alexandria tended to fall in the middle of the pack throughout the show and was mostly just portrayed as the villain, but now it seems like she has really stepped up her game and is a competitor now. She won the last two weeks' tasks and won best photo this week, so how do you view her improvement or potential in the competition?
Jaclyn Poole: Well Alexandria, she is an amazing model. She has had so much experience and she knows how to work it. You know, I think that she has stepped up her game a lot, knowing all the drama that has occurred, and I guess it's actually just going to her advantage. She just blows it off and gets in here and lets her light shine inside of her.
She's a great woman and a great, young aspiring model. She has such a bright future ahead of her and I can't wait to see her again. Really, she's portrayed as everyone says, "The villain," but she's an awesome, awesome person.
She just -- some people, they come off differently to other people -- Alexandria is one of those. But deep down inside, she's an awesome girl and I really got to know the true Alexandria and she's an amazing young woman.
Reality TV World: During the mud and blondes versus brunettes photo shoot, the brunettes had the more high fashion shot, while the blondes were considered commercial. Could explain why you think Monique and Mikaela ended up in the bottom two then and in your eyes, did you think your group shot was better than the blondes? The judges thought your photo was great.
Jaclyn Poole: Well, I really didn't expect Monique and Mikaela to be in the bottom two. That was very shocking. I felt like our photo was stronger than the blondes just because I don't know, like I said, we looked like cave women.
We have the dark hair and I don't know, the colors in our photo just really made each and every one of us pop. I feel that our photo was very, very strong and that we all worked well together. I was so surprised seeing Monique go. That was so upsetting.
She was one of my best friends in the house and like I talk to her all the time. We might even be planning on living together if we both make it out to Los Angeles. So, I love that girl and it was sad to see her go.
Reality TV World: During the Warriors in Pink photo shoot, do you think Brittani was justified in speaking up like that because she was so fed up with Alexandria at the time or do you agree with the judges that she should have internalized her opinions and waited to get home to express how she felt?
Jaclyn Poole: Everything was just adding up with some of the things that we were all just -- it was all wearing on us -- with some of the things that Alexandria had been doing. We just took a wrong -- I guess Brittani just had enough and snapped and it came across differently than how it truly was.
Brittani got all the blame, basically, and I didn't think that was right at all. I just wanted to hug her during panel. I felt so, so bad, and it was just a mess. I've never seen anything like it before, and it was actually worse than they really showed on TV. It was how we all felt and the emotions that were running through all of our heads at that time -- it was crazy.
Reality TV World: Was there any point during Brittani's discussion with the judges about Alexandria that you wanted to interject and say anything? Did you maybe want to stick up for Alexandria or Brittani?
Jaclyn Poole: Yeah, I did so bad. I just wanted to be like, "Stop everyone! This is what really happened!" No one should be fighting. It was all just a big understanding, but I didn't. Because I never -- I'm never -- the one to speak out when it's not an appropriate time. So, I didn't.
Reality TV World: Mikaela said last week that there seemed to be a disconnect between what Jay Manuel and the photographers told her on the set of her photo shoots with what feedback she would receive from the judges at panel. She said they seemed to be opposite, in which one set of critiques would be positive and the other negative. Did you feel there was any type of a gap between what the experts told you at the shoots versus at panel, meaning information gets lost in translation somewhere between the two groups and they weren't communicating well?
Jaclyn Poole: Yeah, sometimes onset, we'd be told one thing like, "Oh, you're doing amazing." Then you'd go to panel and the judges could think differently. So, I mean, it's kind of hard because you're trying to impress Mr. [Jay Manuel] during your photo shoot and then you go to panel and they tell you something different.
But, I don't know, they all try to stick with each other's opinion. That's how they base the photos and they base who's going home. So, I can understand how Mikaela was feeling, because she talked about that in the house a lot. I couldn't really relate because it never really happened to me, I guess you could say, but I could definitely understand where she's coming from.
Reality TV World: You already touched upon how you feel all the girls have potential in the competition to possibly win the competition, but while you were on the show, did you see anyone in particular as maybe having the most talent or skill to make it until the end?
Jaclyn Poole: You know, I think everyone has the same level. They're all -- I think it's anyone's game basically -- I don't know anything, but I have a feeling that it could be Brittani or Molly in the final two. If I was a viewer watching this competition, I would be like, "Okay, one of them. They look the most high fashion and their poses are so versatile." I can see Brittani and Molly being the final two.
Reality TV World: What kind of modeling experience did you have before going on the show?
Jaclyn Poole: Honestly, I haven't had any actual work. I was signed with an agency when I was 13-years-old out of New York City and for the past six or seven years, they kept telling me, "No, Jaclyn. It's not your time to come up here yet. You're still too young. You still have too much of a baby face."
That always hindered on me and finally right before Top Model, right before I was picked to move onto the next round -- which was to be flown out to Los Angeles -- I met with agencies in New York and in Austin and she told me she loved me and they were ready for me to come and pursue modeling up there in New York City.
I kind of had to choose what I was going to do and so I chose Top Model because I hadn't had any experience, and just to move out to New York City without knowing anything, was kind of scary.
I knew that Top Model would teach me what I needed to know and how to work the face that the Lord has given me. So, I'm so grateful with choosing Top Model and I'm so grateful for everything that everyone has taught me and everything I've taken out of the competition.
Reality TV World: What advantages did you think you had over the other models and do you think you were at a disadvantage for any reason?
Jaclyn Poole: I think that my look is different from most of the girls in the house, and I think that my personality, being myself and who I am -- the girl my parents raised me to be -- is an asset to myself, because I think I would be a good model to work with onset.
But sometimes I would think, Oh, well, I don't know. They're so high fashion looking and I'm so commercial looking." I don't know. Sometimes I would let it get to me, but all in all, and got more confident. I have no regrets or anything like that.
Reality TV World: Did you actually expect to get as far as you did or was it kind of a surprise to you?
Jaclyn Poole: I was so shocked, really, of how far I made it. When I was in the Top 32 coming out to LA, I had no idea I was going to make it into the house. Then they tricked us and told us we were going home. That was even more of a scare.
Then I made it into the house and I was like, "Oh my gosh, I'm probably going to be the first one to go. I'm competing against these 13 beautiful girls with all these esteemed looks and they have all this experience and I don't have any." Then I make it into the Top 6, like how could I complain!?
That is so -- I feel so proud of myself -- my family's so proud of me. Now I have so much experience and so I can just take everything and go to New York and Los Angeles in a couple weeks, and hit every agency and hopefully someone believes in me and wants to use me to represent their agency.
Jaclyn Poole: It was my first time applying for the show. I was in Austin at the Driskill Hotel and they happened to have an audition there, and my cousin and my mom pushed me to just try. They were just like, "What the heck! Just try Jaclyn." So I did and I ended up making my way to be a finalist. So, I think that it was a great opportunity and I'm so glad I tried out!