Exclusive: Leila Goldkuhl talks 'Top Model: College Edition' (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/28/2012
Leila Goldkuhl was eliminated from America's Next Top Model: College Edition during The CW's broadcast of the nineteenth season's fifth episode Friday night.
Leila, a 5' 11" unemployed 20-year-old student from Framingham, MA attending the University of Rhode Island, was ousted from the competition after she found herself in the bottom two alongside Brittany Brown based upon her total combined scores from the challenge, Top Model's three judges and home viewers' fan vote.
However, Leila will get to participate in most of the upcoming photo shoots against previously-eliminated contestants Destiny Strudwick, Jessie Rabideau and Darian Ellis 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, Leila talked to Reality TV World about her America's Next Top Model: College Edition experience -- including whether she has any intention to reconcile with Laura James, why she didn't exactly take the judges' criticism of her runway walk to heart, whom she described as being her "rock" in the house, and what she had to say about Victoria Henley.
Below is the concluding portion of Leila's interview. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: Tyra clearly wasn't a fan of your runway walk and she kept yelling out for you to swing your arms, which appeared to make you uncomfortable and question your own skills. Was that challenge, including the practice round for it, the first time your walk had been criticized? Some viewers are surprised that the critique hasn't been shown in previous episodes considering you've had a couple runway challenges already.
Leila Goldkuhl: Yeah, that's when I think everybody was trying to get in my head about my walk and it really did get to me, because I was questioning myself and I wasn't doing what I was comfortable with. I was just trying so many new things that it just made me uncomfortable with myself, and I had never been criticized that much on my walk.
I know I don't have some amazing runway walk. I'm not a top runway model by any means, but that was the point when my runway walk started to be critiqued and it was just confusing for me and really hard, especially that week, because things weren't going my way. And so, it got to me that much more.
Reality TV World: After you got eliminated, did you feel the need to improve your walk? Was that something you really worked at after?
Leila Goldkuhl: Yeah, I definitely felt the need to improve on my walk and I did work on it, but no matter where you are, there's always going to be people telling you like, "Oh, do this, do this, do this," and it just gets to your head that -- the only way I can really practice is on my own and get comfortable with something and that's what I need to do.
But I'm not going to go and ask everybody for their opinion, because that's when it really gets to you and you get a little confused. But I definitely just want to work on it and make it better.
Reality TV World: When I talked to Jessie Rabideau, Destiny Strudwick and Darian Ellis, they were all happy to have been given another chance to come back into the competition after they got eliminated, but they weren't exactly thrilled about the opportunity. Destiny even said a part of her would've been relieved to just cut her losses and go home. However, you seemed the most ecstatic to get another shot to win Top Model. So what's behind that? Would you say you actually wanted it more than them or maybe you were just more excited because you were the most confident in thinking you could actually win that one spot?
Leila Goldkuhl: I wouldn't say that -- I can't judge whether or not I want it more than them, but I do know that I want it so badly and I'm excited to continue, because I am excited to do the photo shoots with the rest of the girls and to build my portfolio.
The opportunity is great because it's the first time this ever happened before, and even if there's a small chance that I can come back, I want that chance because I came here to win. I didn't come here to get eliminated fourth. It's something that I had been wanting to do for so long that I wasn't going to let any opportunity slip by me at all.
Reality TV World: Without giving away who wins or how far you make it, could you talk a little bit about what it was like to compete against the fellow eliminated girls? Did your confidence remain high going into it or was it tested? Was it more relaxing than the original competition or stressful?
Leila Goldkuhl: It's hard, especially as each week goes by, because you don't get the criticism from the judges. So even if you like your photo, it's like, "Well, is everybody else going to like my photo?"... So, it's hard because you don't know where you stand at all and that's what's really difficult.
But I felt like it was a lot easier because the eliminated girls, I felt like they got along a lot better and there wasn't so much drama. And it just made it a little easier in some ways but more difficult in other ways, because it is a little discouraging competing as an eliminee. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: So going into that separate competition, were you kind of in the dark about what was going to happen or did they kind of lie out the rules for you and explain when the announcement would be made about who would get to come back?
Leila Goldkuhl: Just like everything with this competition, it's going to be a shocker. You don't know when it's going to happen and you don't know what's going to happen. Everything from this season, so far, has been so shocking and so different that they're just going to continue that trend.
Reality TV World: BryanBoy revealed you were his favorite girl in the competition and when you got eliminated, he started to cry. When you watched the show back, did that surprise you? What type of relationship did you have with him?
Leila Goldkuhl: That was so sweet to see, because I mean, he is a judge. He's the social media aspect of it, so you can't really have a friendship with someone, but we did get along well. And to see that, it just made me feel like, "Oh, even though he's an authority figure, he did care about me."
And I didn't notice that happening at the time because I was so overwhelmed and distracted. I thought it was a pleasant surprise and it made me really happy to see.
Reality TV World: I wanted to get your thoughts on Victoria and Kiara Belen while you were in the house. So far this season, they've both come across as having very strong personalities with Kiara getting into a lot of arguments with the girls whereas Victoria was often the topic of discussion. So what did you think of the both of them?
Leila Goldkuhl: Well, Kiara definitely has a strong personality. Luckily, I was not on the other end of things. We got along fine. She was a great person to have in the household. She was a great person to talk to. She was very real and understanding, and sometimes, she was kind of my rock in the household -- which is really nice to have.
As far as Victoria goes, she was very strange sometimes. (Laughs) But she has a distinct personality and she won't compromise that for anything. So I do respect that about her, but at the same time, it could be a lot. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: It sounds like you were close with Kiara, so besides her, did you leave Top Model with any real close friends or not really?
Leila Goldkuhl: No actually, I miss a lot of the girls. I got along great with [Yvonne Powless]. I miss her so much. At first, I didn't know Brittany all that well, but by my elimination, I loved her. She was so sweet and I wish we had a chance to become closer friends. I wish I had picked my friends a little more wisely.
Jessie was eliminated first, but she was like my No. 1 pick for best friend the second I got there, so it was sad to see her go. She was my pick for the Tyra suite but she got eliminated. So, I did come away with a lot of friends from the show. And you may not realize that watching the show, but I definitely did get along with a lot of the girls.
Reality TV World: Do you think you'll ever reconcile with Laura or is that not an option at this point?
Leila Goldkuhl: I don't really know. I mean, me and Laura, we don't see each other, so it's hard to say. But after seeing that on TV, it's just not what I expected was going on.
The argument with her did weigh on my conscience, because I did feel bad that I made her cry. But after seeing that, it's just hard to feel bad about it anymore, because it hurts my feelings pretty bad. So, I don't know. If she wants to apologize, then that's fine, but I don't know.
Reality TV World: Who did you think had the most potential to win Top Model while you were still in the house or even out of the girls who were competing for that one spot to come back -- besides yourself, obviously?
Leila Goldkuhl: Out of the eliminated girls, I obviously think that I had the most potential just because I want to come back so badly. But of the other girls remaining in the household, I think [Nastasia Scott] and Brittany have so much potential.
It may not be noticed yet, but Nastasia has one of the most unique looks. So I think that will get her very far. And Brittany, with or without the show, I know that she'll have a good career in modeling. I think I would love for either one of them to win.
Reality TV World: What's next for you? Are you going to continue to pursue modeling? Do you have other goals in mind?
Leila Goldkuhl: I definitely want to pursue modeling all I can. It's something I can see myself waking up everyday happy to do, and even if I have to work hard for it, I'm going to be really happy working hard for it. But at the same time, I am in school, so that is a priority of mine.
And I just need to focus on making modeling work with my school, my education, with my friends, my family, and my boyfriend, and all of that. It's going to be really hard, but I want them all to mesh together.
Reality TV World: I'm not sure if this information's out there, but what are you majoring in?
Leila Goldkuhl: Textile, fashion merchandising and design.
Above is the concluding portion of Leila's interview. Click here to read the first half.