Interview: Kortnie Coles talks about 'America's Next Top Model'
By John Bracchitta, 03/31/2009
Kortnie Coles sure knows how to live up to her self-description as an "old male comedian stuffed in a curvy chick's body."
The 24-year-old non-profit organizer from Houston, TX made a name for herself on America's Next Top Model as one of the more charismatic and outspoken girls in the competition. However despite her personality, Kortnie's lack of modeling experience, along with some challenges that come with modeling with a curvier figure, led to her becoming the fourth girl to be cut from the CW reality modeling series during last week's broadcast.
On Friday, Kortnie spoke to Reality TV World during a media conference call about what she thought about Celia, a 25-year-old designer in fashion sales from Cynthiana, KY, and her panel confrontation with America's Next Top Model host Tyra Banks, how she reacted to jabs by Sandra, a 19-year-old student from Rockville, MD, who said that she was not taking the competition seriously enough, and what plans she had for her modeling career post-Top Model.
Reality TV World: You were in that group that Celia was speaking to when she said that she wanted to tell Tyra about [Tahlia, an 18-year-old student from Phoenix, AZ, and her] lack of interest in remaining in the competition. Did you agree with what Celia was saying, and did you ever think about bringing it up once you were in the Bottom 2?
Kortnie: No. I kind of wanted to take the graceful route and accept my fate. I think when we were talking about it we were getting so riled up and we thought it was just so unfair and that none of us have ever said we wanted to go home, especially multiple times to multiple people so we kind of felt betrayed.
Once the judges had me and Sandra in the bottom, personally, if I may offer my opinion... I think she should've went home. But I think if Celia's (pauses) how do I say this... Celia's got balls, and I know a lot of girls that were thinking a lot of things but no one gets in front of Tyra and is like "Hey, this is what I think." So hooray Celia, way to go.
Reality TV World: Earlier in that episode you described yourself as a "old male comedian stuffed in a curvy chicks body," which I'm sure isn't exactly what [Toccara Jones] was expecting to hear from anyone. Could you go into a little more details about why you describe yourself that way?
Kortnie: I really do think of myself as that way. I'm just kind of like always joking around and make really inappropriate comments. I think when people see curvy girls they don't always think that's what's going to be coming out of their mouths. (Laughs) So I guess it's just like a mix of Ron Burgundy and George Carlin inside of two boobs and some hips. Some child birthin' hips.
Reality TV World: How did you feel about Sandra's comments that were shown right after that in which she said you didn't take the competition seriously?
Kortnie: Well obviously taking the competition too seriously is getting her nowhere, it's also getting her no friendships. So, to me I'd rather be successful in my own right and have some friends along the way than be all alone at the top where everybody thinks you're a jerk. So I think the way that I do it's just fine and Sandra, obviously she's okay being a loner. So she can live the rest of her life with no jokes and no friends and we'll all be laughing.
Reality TV World: Are you still planning on pursuing modeling as a career?
Kortnie: Oh yeah, definitely. What I'm definitely going to do after the show, I have some nice things that I'm working on now: modeling, spokes modeling. I think that goes hand-in-hand with other forms of entertainment, so anywhere I'm wanted I'll be there.
Reality TV World: Last week you and [Nijah Harris] pulled "SoHo artists" for your shoot on the tour bus. Nijah told us that she never didn't like that idea and would have preferred any other of the assignments. What did you think [of the idea]?
Kortnie: I thought that one was actually fun. We got to play with props and have a concept of being artists, and being an artist means you can try all kinds of different things. And it was like a free double decker tour of New York City, I thought it was kind of a fun atmosphere.
And also that we got to work together and have a partner. I think I work well when I feed off of other people's energy and things like that, so I thought it was great.
Reality TV World: What was the most difficult part of the shoot at Ellis Island for you. [Photo shoot director Jay Manuel] said you struggled a little.
Kortnie: Um. (Pauses) I think trying to exude that fact that the pictures from back in the day were kind of bland, and people had just gotten off of the boat. So to mix the concept of being that way, but also bringing a little spice and flavor to that attitude. I think I went a little bit more towards the bland side
Reality TV World: There was a quote of you on the show where you were saying you were very interested in being on Ellis Island during the shoot there because of your family history. Could you go into some detail about that?
Kortnie: Sure. I guess not many people know my ethnic background, but both sides of my grandparents are immigrants. My father is Mexican, both of [my grandparents] came from Mexico. And the other side of my family is Polish, and my great grandmother from Poland from that side. So I'm immediately half Mexican and Polish, I think that's a fun thing that I really didn't get to express on the show.
Also in the call, Kortnie told reporters about what she, a first time model, had learned during her time on the show, why she had a little more on her mind during the "Pose Off" than most of the other girls remaining in the competition and who she wanted to see win the competition outright.
Kortnie: I learned definitely some modeling tips. I didn't have any experience coming into the show, and so I just tried to take everything at panel and soak it in. One of the things that Tyra always said [was] "Smile with your eyes" and "Make sure you always have that tension in your face" and "Don't forget the world you're in" and to create a theme for yourself and to imagine yourself in it so that way you're kind of acting through your facial expressions and then it'll come through in photos.
Who are you planning on keeping in touch with from the show?
Kortnie: I made some great friends on the show. My two best friends from the show would definitely be Celia and [Allison, a 20-year-old artist from New Orleans, LA]. We still keep in touch and hang out and all that good stuff.
What was it like to do that "Pose Off?" Did it feel a little uncomfortable or were you in your element?
Kortnie: It was a little nerve wracking because I guess I'm only one of two girls out of the ones that were left that actually had breasts. (Laughs) So to me I'm thinking "Oh Lord, this is gonna be a double challenge for me because I'm not gonna have Grandma watch the episode at home and see one of the girls pop out, so I definitely think that was on my brain as far as an added challenge. It wasn't exactly my element, if I could have been a little more silly it would have been my element, but I kinda had to keep it together and keep the girls on lock down so that I wasn't the girl on Top Model who gave a little peek.
Do you think that it will be easier for you to get into a modeling career because you are a curvier girl and not a stick figure and can go down a different path of modeling?
Kortnie: Yeah, hopefully. I think that it's kind of starting a little revolution, I think more and more plus size is being accepted. I mean, a plus size model won the whole competition last year. There are certain laws in Europe that you have to have a certain body mass index to even get on a runway. So I think people are really getting keen to getting back to that curvy body size of the sexy-60's and all of the women with curves from back in the day. Hopefully that's coming back on fashion. I'm happy to be a part of it.
Have you kept your makeover?
Kortnie: Yeah I did actually. I think that the red hair looks super fun and it was nice to have a change. I trust Tyra's opinion on what looks good on me more than my own mirror. Before the show I just had long curly brown hair and that's the way it is when it dries and I was lazy. So it's kinda fun to have red hair now.
Who are you rooting for now that you're out?
Kortnie: I'm definitely rooting for Allison, not only because I think she has a really interesting face, but I know her personally and she's a great girl. She's very humble and respectful and fun and quirky. So I'm definitely rooting for her on all levels.