Exclusive: Jessie Rabideau talks 'Top Model: College Edition' (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/05/2012
Jessie Rabideau was the first contestant eliminated from America's Next Top Model: College Edition during the broadcast of the nineteenth season's second episode Friday night.
However, Jessie quickly learned her Top Model journey wasn't necessarily over yet. Following her ouster from the show, Jessie was given the opportunity to participate in all the upcoming photo shoots against the season's future-eliminated girls to potentially earn a spot back in the competition.
On Tuesday, Jessie, a 5' 9 3/4" 23-year-old student from Speedway, IN attending graduate school at the University of Southern California, talked to Reality TV World about her Top Model experience -- including what was going through her mind when she landed in the bottom two beside Destiny Strudwick, why she was a little deflated when she first learned of the twist which would allow eliminated contestants to fight for a second chance, and whether she had ever watched Top Model prior to applying for the show.
Below is the first half of our exclusive interview with Jessie. Check back with Reality TV World on Thursday for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: Were you shocked to be eliminated and what was going through your mind when you discovered Destiny was in the bottom two alongside you?
Jessie Rabideau: I was really disappointed that I was in the bottom, but after seeing the challenge score and then the photo score, I had a really good feeling that I was leaving. I mean, Destiny had higher scores than me, and so, when you add it all up, I was obviously probably going home.
And yeah, I wasn't ready to leave. I didn't think that I had the worst performance at that [runway] "walkoff" or the photo shoot. I know I could've done better, but I wasn't -- I really was expecting to at least stay in one more round. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: When you first found out you had received a score of four from the runway challenge, did that kind of kill your confidence going into the photo shoot?
Jessie Rabideau: I mean, of course I felt like it was added pressure to get like a really good picture, but I guess I just didn't know what I was doing. And yeah, I wish I would have done more in that photo shoot, because I feel like it was my first real photo shoot ever, (laughs) so maybe I was hoping they'd take it easy on me. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: It was made very clear the judges and your fellow contestants thought your best quality was your butt. (Laughs) Considering you had to pose with your entire body behind a wall, do you think the outcome of your elimination would've been different had you been able to pose and utilize your body in the photo shoot?
Jessie Rabideau: Well, that photo shoot was completely different from all the others because it was just about our face. Personally, I was like shocked because [normally] you have an outfit to work with or a setting to work with, but that was the challenge -- to get an interesting picture just using your head through this wall.
I definitely think that my picture could've been better. I wish that I could re-do it, but obviously I can't. (Laughs) I probably would've been more comfortable in a different setting, but it is what it is, I guess.
Reality TV World: We saw your reaction to Bryanboy telling you that your experience on Top Model wasn't over because you were going to compete against the future-eliminated contestants. Were you thrilled about the opportunity to continue on in the competition or did the news deflate you a little bit? Because since Top Model seems to be a very stressful environment, especially with the new social media twist, I didn't know if you were maybe a little bit relieved to get voted off.
Jessie Rabideau: Actually, it kind of was a relief at the beginning, but then I got the news that I'm actually still in it and that really, I guess, drove me to really try my best -- try my hardest in all of the photo shoots after.
I mean really, I was doing it for myself anyway in the photo shoots just as a way for me to learn and practice and get into this industry. But to learn that there could be this chance of me coming back, that really motivates me even more.
Reality TV World: Without giving any details away, could you talk a little bit about what it was like to compete against 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? And did you go into it thinking you had a good shot to come out ontop?
Jessie Rabideau: Yeah, I guess you're in your own mini-competition. It probably wasn't as high stakes or stressful as the real competition that's on TV, but definitely once you get more and more girls, you keep track of their performance and you're wondering how they're doing in social media. You're trying to, I don't know, you just want to do better than they do. (Laughs)
And it really depends on who it is. If they have a high, or strong, following on social media, then it might be hard for you to do better than them. You really just have to take each photo shoot and do your best.
Reality TV World: How big a fan of Top Model had you been before applying for the show?
Jessie Rabideau: Well, oh gosh, I've always tried to keep track of it and watch it. There's been a lot of seasons, so I'm not sure if I've missed some, but I didn't realize I've been a huge fan ever since it started like 10 years ago, in high school especially.
My friend posted something on my Facebook about -- it was like a scrapbook page of me posing for these pictures, and then written on the scrapbook page, it says something like, "Here's Jessie posing for ANTM." And so, I didn't realize that this really has been like a huge dream of mine for so long now.
Reality TV World: So since you're knowledgeable about Top Model and how it used to work, what do you think of all the format changes? Especially with the new social media aspect and the models being able to hear what the fans were saying about them, it seems like the models need to have a much thicker skin because their going to be criticized even more than before. So do you think the changes were positive or negative for the show?
Jessie Rabideau: I definitely think it's -- I personally really like the idea of it. I think it's good to hear not just what Tyra and the judges have to say but the people out there, you know, the public opinion of you.
I think, I guess, that's important in today's society. I was really sad though that Nigel Barker wasn't there (laughs) and Miss J. [Miss J. Alexander] and Mr. J. [Jay Manuel]. I really liked them! But the new judges are pretty cool too I guess.
Reality TV World: So you just mentioned that you really liked Nigel and Miss and Mr. J, so do you wish they were still on the show while you were on it or were simply pleased with the new judges and Johnny Wujek?
Jessie Rabideau: Well, I think with this new revamp of the show, they needed to bring in fresh faces. So, I appreciate that, I don't know. When you watch the show for so long, you grow to really like the people that are on it and you want to meet them and learn from them, but nonetheless, I'm glad I met who I did and it was a good experience.
Above is the first half of our exclusive interview with Jessie. Check back with Reality TV World on Thursday for the concluding portion.