"I felt that editing played a big part in what the audience saw, but everything I said, I said," Golden told reporters during a Thursday conference call. "When you put it together in a certain way -- it comes out as entertaining television -- and I have no problem with that because I'm a reality-TV junkie. I don't have a problem with it because that's what reality TV is. I knew what I was getting myself into."
The 18-year-old college student from Queens, NY was the tenth girl eliminated from Top Model 9 during Wednesday night's penultimate broadcast of The CW reality series -- and while it occurred on the cusp of the finale -- she sensed her ouster was coming.
"I think it was my time to go. I honestly did," said Golden. "The girls there, they had really strong portfolios and they were ready. Mentally, they were more ready than I was. So, I wish them all the best of luck and I just felt it was my time to go."
Golden's competitive nature was definitely on display throughout her journey as a Top Model runway wannabe, while at other times she seemed to be more carefree and fun.
"I felt that I can't just be one person," she explained. "At home, I'm just a nice girl that you see always laughing, always telling jokes... But I do have a competitive side and I've always had a competitive side. Maybe it came-out to the extreme on this show, but I do have my days when I'm not the nicest person."
It's for that reason that Golden said she's kind of glad she didn't achieve her goal of winning Top Model.
"During the show, I wanted to win and that's the only thing I thought of," she said. "When I sit back and realize what happened, me winning wouldn't have been good for me at that time because I already have that competitive spirit and it was going in a negative place. If I would have won, I don't know if I would have been the most humble person. Now I have time to sit back and realize how I can change as an individual and how I can be a better model."
Golden said she's been a "big fan" of Top Model since it's first season and knew that she would try-out for the show once she turned 18, which is exactly what happened and she's grateful for the opportunities it will give her.
"When I was younger I tried modeling, and it didn't actually work for me because everyone told me I was a bit urban and it wouldn't work," she explained. "So if I got a chance to make it, I would go far. I just needed a door to get my foot in so I could make it. Top Model was that door for me."
As soon as she arrived at the Top Model house for filming, Golden said she quickly "got used to the cameras" and had no disillusions about why she was there. However it did land her in hot water with fans, as Golden was one of the more vocal critics on fellow contestant Heather Kuzmich, who suffers from Asperger's, a mild form of Autism that hinders her social interaction and verbal communication.
Golden said she has since spoken with Kuzmich and cleared the air.
"I love Heather. We're still friends... I apologized for everything that came out wrong -- with editing -- I told her that's not how I meant for it to come out," said Golden. "She said she completely understood, and told me that she really appreciates the tough love that I gave her because she got tired of people treating her like a child. I actually treated her like an adult, and she appreciated it... I really care for her and I really want her to do well."
While other girls cried and opined because they missed loved ones back home, Golden she took another approach that resulted in much of the anger viewers saw her vent on a regular basis.
"I just got angry and I took it out on everyone around me, which wasn't the best thing to do but I didn't want to show that much emotion," she explained. "So it came out not in the best way."
Not surprisingly, Golden said she "enjoyed and appreciated" the criticism she received from Top Model's judging panel because she doesn't like things to be "sugar-coated." Immediately after Golden's elimination, Top Model creator and judge Tyra Banks commented that she should add as many photos as possible to her portfolio.
"At first I didn't quite understand that and thought it was a slap in the face," explained Golden
However she's since realized what Banks meant.
"She was trying to help me. She gave me the best advice she could give me, which was go take some more picture and go practice some more," said Golden. "If I would have went into the modeling world with my portfolio and thought, 'This is the best [portfolio] in the world,' and wasn't getting booked, I wouldn't understand why. Tyra telling me to continue to practice and build my [portfolio] up, when I go out there, I can be more confident because I have a good [portfolio]... Practice makes perfect."
Golden plans to take that practice and continue to pursue her modeling aspirations.
"I plan on continue modeling. I'm going to go to agencies all around New York City until I get booked, until I get hired," she said. "I would love to be a fashion writer. Fashion is going to be in my life somehow, someway... I'm currently in school, and I'm doing physical therapy as my major. But I might have to change that now!"
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