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

Ousted 'Top Model' Atalya Slater "didn't expect to go first at all"


By Christopher Rocchio, 02/29/2008 

Atalya Slater is apparently in denial, as she still disagrees with the judging panel's decision of her as the first runway wannabe eliminated from America's Next Top Model's tenth season.

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"I still don't think I had the weakest picture.  I definitely think I did not have the weakest picture and I shouldn't have been in the bottom two either," Slater told reporters during a Thursday conference call. "I didn't expect to go first at all."

The 18-year-old student from Brooklyn, NY was booted after the judges complimented her for being "pretty" but criticized her for not standing out and questioned if she'd be able to cut it in the high-fashion industry.  Slater disagrees with that assessment and thinks she has a "versatile look."

"I think I could have done high fashion.  I think I could have done commercial," she said. "[Top Model creator and lead judge Tyra Banks] has actually put commercial girls forward in the previous cycles, and I wasn't even worried about being eliminated because I figured I would at least make it to makeovers and see if they can work with me then."

Needless to say, Slater also presumably liked her chances of not being eliminated after fellow finalist Kimberly, a 20-year-old customer service agent from Worcester, MA, quit the competition in the middle of the judging panel.

"We were shocked.  We didn't see it coming at all.  She didn't mention, 'I want to leave.'  We didn't see it coming," Slater recalled.  "When Kimberly quit, I kind of thought [Banks] was going to give us a break or something because she did that last cycle when [Ebony Morgan] quit.  But then she said, 'The show must go on.'  I still wasn't thinking that I was going to be the first to go -- let alone in the bottom two."

It was her performance during Top Model's first tenth-season photo shoot -- in which the girls had to portray a homeless person -- that put Slater in the bottom two. 

"I prepared myself by thinking it is fashion, but at the same time I do have to be aware of [being] homeless. I kept thinking that a homeless person is sad.  I just kept giving a sad face," she said.  "They said after that I could have done different things with my face, and I realized maybe I could have taken more risks with the photo shoot."

Slater said she's been watching Top Model since the show's first season.

"Modeling has always been something I wanted to do," she explained.  "I said, 'As soon as I turn 18, I'm going to go and audition.'  I did."

"I auditioned from New York -- where I'm from -- and I stood in line and they picked me out of thousands of girls," she continued.  "I also submitted a tape, and they called me back after the tape too.  I went down to the semifinal round in L.A. and then I came back here to New York and moved into the house."

Despite not winning Top Model 10, Slater said she was still able to learn a few things, including a sense of independence.

"I actually lived on my own for a while.  It was a long process, I didn't get to speak to any of my family members while I was there," she said.  "I just feel like I can do anything.  I just felt like this is what I want to be doing -- I want to travel... It just made me even more motivated to go after my goal.  Even though I didn't win, it's motivating for me."

Slater said her Top Model journey motivated her to continue in the industry.

"Modeling is definitely something I'm still going to pursue.  It doesn't end here.  I'm still going to work hard.  I'm going to prove them wrong," she said.  "Even though this door has closed, that doesn't mean anything.  I'm going to look at it as a positive thing for me."

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