Exclusive: Mike Scocozza talks 'America's Next Top Model: Guys & Girls'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/30/2013
America's Next Top Model eliminated Mike Scocozza during The CW's broadcast of the twentieth season's fifth episode last Friday night.
Mike, a 6' 5" 26-year-old vending and catering company employee from Los Angeles, CA, was eliminated from the competition after he found himself in the bottom two alongside Jeremy Rohmer, a 6' 3" 19-year-old nutritional supplement salesman from Mission Viejo, CA.
The pair of male models landed in the bottom two based upon their challenge score and total combined scores from the judges and viewers for a photo shoot which required the contestants to portray a mix of redneck culture and beauty pageant glam in a "sheek" trailer park setting. Mike lost to Jeremy by a tenth of a point -- 33.10 to Jeremy's overall score 33.20.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World, Mike talked about his Top Model experience. Below is what he had to say.
Reality TV World: When you realized you were in the bottom two with Jeremy, what was going through your mind? Did you think you stood a good chance against him or were you really worried about going home?
Mike Scocozza: I had been in the bottom two before. It's not a good feeling. When you're in it, you never really know which way it's going to go. But in that moment, a sense of calmness comes over you and you just hope that it's not your time. Unfortunately for me, it was.
Reality TV World: Are you surprised you got eliminated considering you had just won best photo the week prior? Did you initially think that getting best photo would probably keep you safe at least the following week?
Mike Scocozza: You like to think that you're safe after winning best photo, but the reality [is], you're never safe. After each challenge and photo shoot, it seemed that someone got stronger and someone else got weaker. We are all on the same playing field each week, and you just go out there and try to do your best.
Reality TV World: Tyra Banks said the judges were worried you winning best photo that week was "just a fluke." Since you didn't have any modeling experience prior to the show and everything was so new to you, would you say you actually agree with that statement -- that maybe you just got really lucky that time around?
Mike Scocozza: No, I don't agree with that. No model is going to hit every single shot, every single time. That's why you shoot a lot of frames. The Alessandra shoot was probably my strongest in the entire competition, it's just unfortunate for me that it was followed up by one of my weaker photos. I feel that overall I grew and improved throughout the competition, and for me, that's what's most important.
Reality TV World: Why do you think your photo shoot with Alessandra Ambrosio came out so great and then you struggled so much with the trailer park one? What was going on there?
Mike Scocozza: I really liked shooting with Sarah Silver, the photographer for the Alessandra shoot. I felt for that shoot I really got into the role and just embraced the part that I was trying to play. I just happened to struggle a little more with the following week at the trailer park. I'm not really sure why.
Reality TV World: Did you feel like you were just getting into your element and really getting the hang of things right as you were eliminated from the competition, or did you think you still had a ways to go before feeling comfortable in front of the camera?
Mike Scocozza: I was totally coming into my element. It's no secret that I was new to this and was definitely nervous going into some of the earlier shoots. But as the competition progressed, I felt much more comfortable. I love it now. Being able to tell a story through a photograph is such a cool thing.
Reality TV World: Tyra was obviously a big fan of yours because, for starters, she discovered you. Could you sense a little favoritism happening there? Do you think the fact you basically represented her recruiting skills kind of reflected in the scores she gave you at all or maybe you think she went a little easy on you at times?
Mike Scocozza: She obviously was a fan of mine, but if anything, I felt more pressure to do right by her. She went out on a limb for me and put herself on the line. I wanted to show everyone that she was right for seeing something in me. Not many people can say they were discovered and hand-picked by Tyra Banks. It's a lot to live up to, but I think I handled it well. You'll definitely be seeing more of me to come.
Reality TV World: That day when Tyra discovered you working in the ice cream truck, could you tell us a little bit about how that conversation went down? What did you two discuss and how adamant was she about getting you on Top Model?
Mike Scocozza: I was working a regular old shift, one that I had done numerous times. Towards the end of the shift, two girls came up to the truck to order something. I did my normal ice cream pitch and we ended up chatting for a few minutes.
They were very nice and towards the end of the conversation, one of them asks me, "Have you ever done any modeling?" My response was, "No," to which she replied, "Well I'm casting for America's Next Top Model, we're doing guys and girls this season, I think you'd be great on the show. Can I get your number?"
It was once she asked me this that I realized that I was talking to none other than Tyra Banks herself. I fumbled around for a moment and she said, "I'm not hitting on you, but I'd like to get your info so I can send it to my casting people." I then wrote down my name, email, and phone number on an order ticket and handed it to her. She smiled and the two girls walked off.
It was such a random coincidence that I didn't think it could actually be real. But sure enough, about two weeks later, I got a call from the casting department at America's Next Top Model. After a number of phone calls, emails, and video exchanges, I was invited out to the final round of auditions for the show [casting week]. Sure enough, I ended up in the final cast, and the rest is history.
Reality TV World: As a guy who had never modeled before, was there a part of you that wanted to turn Tyra's offer down? Did you ever think, "Modeling is probably not for me..."?
Mike Scocozza: There's always that fear you have when you're doing something new, but this was something that I had to do. Tyra herself asking for your info and seeing something in you is huge.
People had told me for years that I should get into modeling, but it was something that I never took that seriously and didn't really know how to go about doing. It just took a push from the right person to make me realize it.
Reality TV World: A few of the models were shown questioning your modeling skills and basically saying you didn't belong in the competition. What's your response to that criticism? Did you get that vibe from the other contestants while you were in the house?
Mike Scocozza: I didn't go through a lot of the audition processes that they did. A lot of the contestants knew each other already because they had gone through numerous auditions together already. So I felt a little alienated in that regard, plus I was the oldest.
But everyone there agreed it was such a great story. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter to me what they thought. I was there for a reason and that's all that matters.
Reality TV World: Were you crushing on any of the girls in the house at all? If so, who and why?
Mike Scocozza: I had a little fling with Bianca. It was obvious that there was chemistry between us. We would flirt with each other in the house and cuddle, but it was really PG. Once I got back from filming, we started hanging out more and eventually ended up dating for a bit. We're not together anymore, but we're still good friends. She's an incredibly talented girl who has a bright future ahead.
Reality TV World: Tell us a little bit about your experience with the separate competition amongst the eliminated models. Did you feel more or less pressure than the original competition? Did you feel your chances of coming back onto the show were low or just the opposite?
Mike Scocozza: I can't give away too much, but we had some fun once we were eliminated. It was a much less stressful environment and the shoots were a blast. You could just let go and have fun with it. Since Chlea and I were the first two eliminated, everyone else after that sort of became our kids. We looked after them and welcomed them to the other side and told them that everything is ok.
Reality TV World: At this stage in the game, which girl and which guy did you think was your toughest competition? Who did you think had what it takes to win the whole thing?
Mike Scocozza: I always saw Jourdan as one of the strongest girls. She embodies a model the most out of all of them. The guys are tougher though. We're all very different and have unique looks. One week you're up, the next week you're down. It was always very tough to gauge. Reality TV World: How familiar were you with Top Model before competing on the show? Did you watch prior seasons?
Mike Scocozza: To be honest, I really didn't know much about the show. I went into it with a very open mind and just took it for what it was. It's such a unique experience that I was happy to just be a part of it. And now that it's done, I've met a lot of the contestants from previous seasons. I'm part of an ANTM club now. It's a cool thing.
Reality TV World: Now that you've gotten a taste of modeling, high fashion, runway walking, etc, is this definitely something you want to pursue as your career going forward? Did you find you're truly passionate about modeling or was Top Model more of just a challenge for you in which you found yourself determined to try hard and win?
Mike Scocozza: Going into the competition, I wasn't sure if it was something I could fully do, but having gone through it, I'm going to be pursing modeling 100%. I've been doing a lot of test shoots and just learning everything I can about the industry. It's an exciting time and I'm looking forward to what the future holds.