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HOME > America's Next Top Model > America's Next Top Model 10

Fatima Siad: Whitney Thompson shouldn't have won 'Top Model'


By Christopher Rocchio, 05/16/2008 

Fatima Siad thinks the wrong woman won America's Next Top Model's tenth season.

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"When [Claire Unabia] and [Lauren Utter] and [Katarzyna Dolinska] got kicked off, I was just like this whole thing is a joke," Siad told reporters during a Thursday conference call.  "They look like models.  If this supposed to be a modeling competition, one of them should have won or [Anya Kop] should have won.  But it goes to show you that it might be about politics."

The reason why Siad thinks "politics" might have played a role is because Whitney Thompson, a 20-year-old student from Atlantic Beach, FL, became the first full-figured woman to win Top Model during Wednesday night's tenth-season finale.

"Whitney took great pictures and she definitely knows how to conduct herself -- she's very outspoken and she speaks really well," explained Siad.  "I think that's why she won over Anya, otherwise I wanted Anya to win.  Anya has that high-fashion look and she really knows how to model.  But she lacks the confidence and speech skills that Whitney has."

In addition, Siad doesn't feel Thompson should be considered full-figured.

"To be quite honest, Whitney doesn't look like a plus-sized model to me.  I feel like she doesn't look like a plus-size model, and therefore it's sending the wrong message because there are women who are actually full-figured and they see her and say, 'Wow, if she's a plus-size model than what am I?'" Siad told Reality TV World.

"But honestly I think it's about time if that's what it takes to change the face of fashion, than that's a tiny step.  Hopefully we will have another woman who represents a larger portion of American plus-size models."

Siad was Top Model's third-place finisher, a position the 22-year-old student from Boston, MA said exceeded her expectations.

"I figured that I was going home," she told Reality TV World.  "Well, every week I think I'm going home.  But I'm actually really surprised that I made it that far.  I kind of had an idea that Whitney was going to win."

Despite making it as far as she did in the competition, Siad said her Top Model journey began on a whim.

"I never thought about trying out for America's Next Top Model and I never really watched the show completely," she said.  "So it was really a random thing.  I just went and auditioned one day."

Once she became a tenth-season finalist, Siad said she realized that the competition was going to be more difficult than she originally anticipated.

"It's not as glamorous as it looks on TV," she said.  "Definitely make sure you want to model and be on the show.  It's really hard and it's not as easy as it looks on TV.  It's not always so glamorous.  It's very tough."

Siad -- a Somali refugee -- immediately caught the attention of the judges because they thought she resembled Iman, a Somali-American supermodel whose career has spanned three decades.  While the judges often referred to Siad as "Baby Iman" -- a moniker that could be taken as a compliment -- Siad said she didn't take it that way.

"It's so funny because I actually did not like that at all," Siad told reporters about the nickname.  "I did say, 'Yeah, people think I look like Iman.'  I never said, 'I think I look like Iman.'  We look a little similar, but we don't look that much alike.  I was quite flattered to be compared to a supermodel, but at the same time I feel like it didn't help me at all... I want people to know me as Fatima.  I don't want to be known as 'Baby Iman.'  I want to make a name for myself."

Siad was one of the tenth-season contestant who never really held back what was on her mind, something that got her into a few arguments with the other girls.

"It's funny because I did say all the things [that appeared] on TV, but it's just hard because you don't know the whole story," she said.  "It's weird.  I mean yeah, I was portrayed accurately to an extent, but not completely.  That's not how I am all the time."

One of Siad's biggest criticisms from Top Model's judging panel is that she had a hard time listening to directions, and she has a simple explanation as to why that was the case.

"It's probably because I had no idea what the hell I was doing," she told reporters.  "I didn't know anything about modeling.  It was so foreign to me.  It was just so hard to concentrate with a camera in your face, people yelling at you, cold weather.  I know that models work hard, but that show is intense.  It's probably because I just didn't know what I was doing.  It's not like I purposely tried to sabotage myself.  Why would I try to sabotage myself and not listen?  That's so silly."

Siad was one of six tenth-season contestants who got to travel abroad to Rome at the end of the cycle, however she was almost disallowed from making the trip because she's not a U.S. citizen and didn't obtain the proper travel documents before filming started. 

However Top Model producers set-up an appointment for her at the consulate in New York City -- which just happened to be at the same time as an important photo shoot that she was unable to attend.

"All I know is that I had to go get my visa and I missed the photo shoot, but I'm like, 'How am I supposed to get my visa when my appointment's at the same time as the photo shoot time?'  Clearly they knew I was going to miss the photo shoot, I assume," Siad told reporters when asked if producers intentionally scheduled her consulate appointment to conflict with the photo shoot.

Despite missing the shoot, the judges still decided against eliminating her based on her body of work in the competition and instead gave the boot to Stacy-Ann Fequiere.

"That was such a weird moment for me.  I felt really bad for Stacy-Ann. They made it seem like I really did it on purpose or something like that.  But I honestly had no control of the situation," explained Siad.  "If somebody's an immigrant they'll understand -- immigration takes forever with everything.  For a moment I thought maybe I should give it to Stacy-Ann and step down, but then I was like, 'Well the show went through all the troubles to get me my papers.'  I felt like I'd be letting them down if I did that.  It was really strange and emotional."

Another aspect of Top Model Siad described as "emotional" was the fact that she openly talked about being the victim of genital mutilation -- which she told reporters was "something so horrendous" that was also a "prominent time" in her childhood.

"I was talking about things that I never really talked about before.  I felt very vulnerable," she said.  "It really helped me a lot because I feel like I'm more sure about myself now than I was before I went on the show."

Siad said she plans on using her exposure on Top Model to be a role model to young woman who have similar experiences to her.

"It's something I've always wanted to address.  It's something that I want to give awareness to," she told reporters.  "I heard some people saying, 'She's using her story to get on the show.'  But come on.  Really?  I feel that everybody has the right to share their life experiences and that was my life experience."

As for what's next, Siad said she plans on finishing school and embarking on a modeling career.

"I'm finishing my last week of college and then I'm going to hit the streets of New York to try and see what agencies I can get hooked up with," she said.  "I definitely want to take this serious and model now that I know I can actually do it because before I really had no confidence in terms of modeling because I didn't know what I was doing."

(Photo credit The CW)


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