Lauren Utter surprised at 'Top Model' ouster, criticizes other girls
By Christopher Rocchio, 04/25/2008
Lauren Utter knew her America's Next Top Model's tenth-season CoverGirl commercial shoot would put her at risk of going home, but didn't think she was the worst one overall once it was all said and done.
"I knew I was going to be in the bottom two," she told Reality TV World during a Thursday conference call. "I wouldn't have thought I would have went home before Whitney. Hers was awful! What was with the gasping? I don't understand! It was horrible, and Dominique's was horrible. It was like watching a drag queen. The guy at the table looked more like a chick then she did! It was horrifying! She looked like a hooker!"
While Utter didn't think she was the worst, the judges disagreed and the 22-year-old artist from Brooklyn, NY became the eighth girl eliminated from Top Model's tenth season during Wednesday night's broadcast of The CW reality series.
Utter may not have been eagerly anticipating the commercial shoot, but she takes exception with the judging panel's comments that she was defeated before it even started.
"I don't think I was defeated. I was trying to be realistic about it because I'm not going to be amazing at it," Utter told reporters. "I wish I could have done better in the commercial, but that's how things work out."
As if knowing she wouldn't excel at the commercial shoot in Rome wasn't enough, Utter said she was also dealing with a finger injury that occurred while the girls were still in the States and she was slicing an onion.
"My finger was kind of screwed up and they made me take the bandage off -- they didn't show that," she said. "It was painful removing it and hitting my finger that hadn't even healed yet. That made me look defeated because I cut my finger off! They were playing it like I nicked it, but I cut it off. That's a lot to deal with, and I don't want it to be a copout. It sucked. I admit that. But so did everyone else's [commercial]. They all blew."
Despite not wanting her finger injury to be an excuse, Utter said it genuinely hindered her effort during the commercial.
"I can't really open a bottle of lipstick," she said. "I'm fighting through this pain, and I don't even get painkillers. We're not allowed to get that stuff. They tell you models are supposed to perform under these crazy, extenuating circumstances. But I don't think a real model would do a commercial with a chopped up finger."
Utter was the tenth season's edgy contestant, constantly professing a petulance for punk rock. However she said the way Top Model is produced and edited made her position as the outcast more overblown than it actually was.
"I wouldn't say it out of character, like one-on-one with someone else, 'I'm so weird. I'm an outcast.' They ask questions and get you to repeat what they say," she explained. "I wouldn't normally say those things. Every other sentence isn't, 'You know I'm punk rock, right?' That's just not how I talk, but they make you answer questions in a certain way."
However Utter didn't argue that she was the girl in the competition who had an "edge."
"I was a whole different person aside from being a model," she said. "It's kind of scary when someone lives their life in a certain way that they see is the best way to live when it's kind of fake. It's kind of sad to see."
Top Model judge Paulina Porizkova described Utter as "kind of Frankensteiny" -- a sentiment that was painfully obvious since Utter seemed so awkward whenever she was trying to walk in heels. To improve, she wore heels during the girl's tour of Rome.
"They didn't show it, but I was trying to learn how to walk in heels," she said. "It just takes me longer because before the show I had never walked in heels. I was trying to do it without struggling... I never mastered it. But I tried."
In addition, Utter criticized Top Model for not even taking the time to properly train her on how to walk in heels.
"I want somebody to actually train me," she told reporters. "They expect you to know how to do it and they throw these turns at you like you're supposed to learn over night. It just doesn't happen that way. They don't really train you."
While she was labeled as "awkward" and the "outcast," Utter was constantly praised for taking some of the best pictures on a weekly basis.
"After being on the show for a little bit, I saw that I can actually take good pictures -- some were actually better than other girls who have been modeling for a lot of years and said their childhood dream was to be a model," she said. "I was never that girl. I never walked in my mom's heels because she had boots. I wasn't raised in that kind of setting. I was very surprised at what I saw when I was made up."
Overall, Utter said Top Model was "just an experience on it's own."
"Every little aspect I tried to absorb. Some things I didn't want to take too personally because they can eat your soul if you let it. But I learned a lot from it," she said before offering some words of wisdom for future contestants.
"Just be yourself. You don't have to be like the girls that you see on TV. You just have to be yourself... You can be weird and be unique and it's okay."
As for what's next, Utter said she'd like to try her hand at modeling.
"I'm also an artist, so I continue doing that. I'm not giving up that part of me," she said. "But I'm going to model, I just want to be hooked up with some gigs here. Hopefully I will, because I've never modeled before so I don't even know the first thing."
Regardless of where she ends up next, Utter said viewers shouldn't expect to see her on television again anytime soon.
"I'm not going to act," she said. "I'm not going to go that route."