Exclusive: Terra White talks about 'America's Next Top Model'
By Reality TV World staff, 09/24/2010
Terra White thought she had escaped an early America's Next Top Model exit when she survived her bottom-two finish at the season's first elimination panel.
However Terra's Top Model stay still proved short-lived when she became the second girl to see her Top Model dream end right after the competition's subsequent makeover session.
On Thursday, Terra talked to Reality TV World about her Top Model experience -- including her thoughts on the uber-short haircut she received during the makeover session, what she thought of Anamaria's controversial elimination at the season's first panel, and how she felt about the season's new Italian Vogue prize package.
Reality TV World: So after watching your final words, it looked like you felt you should have gotten a T-shirt that said "I went on Top Model and all I got was this bad haircut" -- does that kind of sum up how you felt?
Terra White: Basically. (laughs)
It was like, "All of that for a haircut," that's kind of how I felt.
Reality TV World: When did you find out exactly how short they were going to cut your hair -- did [Top Model star Tyra Banks] eveal that when she came to the house or did you only find out when you got to the makeovers?
Terra White: She had told us we're going to do something that accentuates your bone structure, so I knew they were going to cut it short. But by short I thought maybe kind of like "Rhianna short" -- the singer Rhianna -- but not shaved, and I was like "Okay, I can maybe work with that, it will grow back fast."
And then when I get there, I'm talking to the stylist and I was like, "I'm going to have a buy a baby flatiron, aren't I?" And he was like, "You won't even need a flatiron," and I was "What!"
He was like, "We're going to perm you hair and color it black and then we're going to cut it." And when they're cutting, I'm like "Alright, it's not that bad..." and then he whipped out the shavers and I'm like, "Oh My God!"
So I was not prepared. I was prepared for "short" but not for "no hair short."
Reality TV World: After she was eliminated later on last night's episode, Sara said she trusted Tyra's advice and was going to keep her new hairstyle -- how about you?
Terra White: I still have it short. I don't like putting a lot of weave in my hair, it's not me. I've kept it short... I believe they know what they're doing to help you in the modeling career, especially with your new hairstyle, so I've been keeping it. And hopefully the modeling agencies will like my hair short.
And I've been getting more compliments on my hair since when it was long.
Reality TV World: So you think you might now actually -- when you have a choice and it starts growing out -- keep it kind of on the short side?
Terra White: Not for a long time. (laughs)
No, I'll probably keep it for a little bit, because I've always wanted me hair short but I've always been the kind of person who, "Oh, I like that but I'll never do it." I've liked it but never done it, and now that I have it I'm going to play around with it and see what works best for me.
And if it works very well for me and gets me places then I'll probably keep it short. But as time goes by, I'll probably start to let it grow back.
Reality TV World: Having your hair cut or dyed is one thing, but shaving your teeth down seems like a more permanent change -- were you surprised Chelsea agreed to let Tyra make her gap bigger?
Terra White: No. She was actually like when she got back, "I thought they were going to shave it down more!" She was actually excited about it, we were like, "Chelsea, are you okay?"
I guess because she's just like everybody else -- they know what they're doing, so just take their advice and go along with it. Because if I didn't want to take their advice I could have excused myself and said "I'm not cutting my hair, you can go ahead and eliminate me now."
So there's a reason for them doing what they do to your appearance. I was surprised she let them do it, but knowing Chelsea and how much she wants this, she'd have let them take her whole two front teeth out. (laughs)
Reality TV World: What do you think you would have done?
Terra White: I would have done it because it's something that I really wanted. I really wanted to win the show, so if that's what it took then I would have done it.
Reality TV World: You were in the bottom two at the seasonâ€™s first elimination panel but had expressed a lot of confidence it never going to happen again. Was that just talk or had you been that confident you were going to be able to turn things around?
Terra White: I had the whole mindset of the next photo shoot at I'm at, I'm going to kill it, I'm not going to let anything get in my way.
After the makeovers, we had the photo shoot and I did exactly that. [Jay Manuel] came from behind the camera and he was like, "Oh my goodness, I can see you improving, you look like you've been working, you look like you've been practicing!"
And I was "Yeah, I have been working. I'm in the mirror constantly and trying to show that I'm improving." So that's exactly what I did, I told Tyra I wasn't going to be in the bottom two anymore and that was my whole plan, I wasn't going to be in that position anymore.
Reality TV World: So then you weren't aware of those comments the episode showed them making about how they "could find a better girl at the mall" and such?
Terra White: No... I mean they were making comments to some of the girls... but I had no negative feedback on that photo shoot at all.
And when he was finally like, "You were complaining," I was like, "Yeah, you might have seen that I was pissed off on my face." When they came and asked me the questions about how I felt about that makeover that's when I kind of broke down, but I think besides that I didn't want to say anything because I was upset. I just stayed quiet.
Reality TV World: So if you hadn't heard anything negative, you obviously must have been pretty surprised when they said you were the one who was going cut?
Terra White: I was very surprised. You could see my face, I was like "You have got to be kidding me!" I'm a very humble person so my first reaction was I just wanted to cuss everybody out and walk off the set.
That's what I really truly wanted to do, because I was so hurt. I was like, "Oh my god, they have to be kidding. They could not cut my hair, give me this good feedback and then [say] 'I don't think this is going to work out.'"
But you know, I was taught better than that, so I told them how I felt and that was the end of it.
Reality TV World: You kind of had a unique perspective on Anamaria's situation given you were the other person in the bottom with her at the first panel. What are your thoughts on the judges' decision that she was too thin, even for a model, to stay in the competition?
Terra White: I think they made the right decision. Just by looking her, looking at her body type, you can't say. Because like Anne, they both eat and they don't gain any weight. But Anamaria, she looks -- it almost comes off as negative, when she's not trying to be.
And there are girls out there who will probably look at her say "I want to look like that. She can be on America's Next Top Model so I want to look like that," and that's when you have problem. But [Anamaria] does eat.
Reality TV World: Do you think she was aware of the judges' concerns before the panel or do you think it came as a surprise to her?
Terra White: I think she kind of figured that, she kind of had that [idea], especially once she got into the panel and they kind of got on her weight. Then she kind of realized that "maybe I might be going home because of my weight."
But I don't know if she expected it before.
Reality TV World: The reason I'm asking is the issue has come up that the judges were the same ones that put her on the show to begin with. They were the same folks who had seen her at the semifinals, so it just seemed kind of strange that suddenly they would feel it was an issue when they hadn't seen it as a major issue before.
Terra White: Right. I didn't notice her body until we had to do our first photo shoot with the swimsuits. And I know when Tyra was talking she said she wasn't that skinny when she put her on the show.
So I'm not sure -- it seems weird -- but I didn't really realize her body shape until we did that photo shoot. I was like, "Oh, wow!" But before that, I'm not sure.
Reality TV World: So your saying the comments you heard from Tyra were that they felt her body shape had changed pretty significantly...
Terra White: Yeah, her weight had changed. Tyra said from the moment she was at casting week until now, her weight had changed.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction to the news that you were competing for Italian Vogue this season?
Terra White: You really can't describe that opportunity. There's been 14 other cycles that have gotten the same exact thing and I'd tried out three other times, and I was trying out for the same three prizes.
And then the time that I make it, I make it on the best season to ever be on. It was a blessing to actually compete for these prizes and to be a part of this prize package.
Whoever wins it, they better own it, that's all I have to say! (laughs)
Reality TV World: Do you think it made a big difference in how the girls approached the competition?
Terra White: No, I think it has something to do with it but I think everybody that was in the competition, whether it was Italian Vogue or not, they were going to fight to the end. Because everybody this season just seemed like they were eager and ready to fight everyone for the title. So the prize package just added to it.
Reality TV World: In hindsight, do you feel having your sister Chris there was a positive or negative?
Terra White: I think it was a positive. I hear it all the time from fans, "Oh my goodness, we love you and your sister -- we don't ever want to see you one without the other, y'all made the TV show!"
So I'm glad we both made it because it really shows who we are together. When we're together, we just have a ball -- we always have a ball, but it's so much more fun together. It was a great experience but I wouldn't change it.
Reality TV World: I know its only been a couple of episodes so far, but we haven't seen a lot of the usual drama in the house yet. Was this a quieter cast or has the editing just not really focused on it?
Terra White: I think it's coming, but the majority of the girls are drama-free. They're not there for that, they're not there to create drama, they're not there to see who can be the biggest bitch on the show.
They're actually there for that title, they don't care about anything going on in the house. They're there to learn, go to sleep, wake up, and do the next challenge, photo shoot or runway.
Reality TV World: Was that a big relief to you?
Terra White: It was a big relief to me because I knew nobody on there was trying to play. Like, nobody should be playing with those types of prizes [at stake], this should not be a game to anybody.