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HOME > America's Next Top Model > America's Next Top Model 9

Ousted 'Top Model' Jenah Doucette: "I'm a very good role model"


By Christopher Rocchio, 12/19/2007 

Jenah Doucette was apparently more upset that her character as a role model for young girls was questioned by her fellow finalists than she was about being America's Next Top Model's third-place finisher.

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"In the right context, I'm a very good role model," Doucette told reporters during a Thursday conference call.  "I've been taking care of kids my whole life, whether it's taking care of my sisters or babysitting.  I know what's appropriate for what time.  But while I was on the show I was hanging out with a bunch of adults that should be able to take jokes."

The 18-year-old student from Farmington, CT was defeated during last Wednesday night's finale broadcast by winner Saleisha Stowers and runner-up Chantal Jones, both of whom made disparaging comments about Doucette during the penultimate judging panel that saw her elimination.

"Hearing those things really bothered me.  I thought this was a modeling competition, and I felt like those comments were sort of attacking personality as opposed to my modeling," explained Doucette.  "I don't think that I'm a disrespectful person.  I think my sarcasm can be confused with disrespect.  I can't really help it if people get mad at me because I'm being sarcastic.  That's how my attitude is."

Doucette's sarcastic personality landed her in hot water most often with Top Model judge Nigel Barker.  During the Week 9 photo shoot, Barker approached the girls and told them not to feel added pressure since he's a judge as well as the shoot's photographer.  Doucette incorrectly decided it was a good time to bust Barker's chops, telling him she felt "like fainting" because he was standing right in-front of her.

"I think that it might have hurt Nigel a little bit that I kind of insulted him.  I don't know," said Doucette.  "I feel like if you're going to be having an ego-trip, I'm going to call you out on it.  I don't think Nigel's a terrible person or anything, but I make jokes, and I'm a very honest person... Perhaps it was an inappropriate time, but what I said was just a joke.  I think he really took that to heart and I really hurt his feelings.  That's okay.  I can deal with that."

Prior to being booted from the competition, Doucette had an emotional breakdown -- complete with tears -- and Top Model lead judge and creator Tyra Banks was glad Doucette finally dropped her guard.  While Doucette said it felt like a "breakthrough" at the time, she's apparently not so sure in hindsight.

"I don't feel like it was particularly groundbreaking for me in the grand scheme of things -- like my whole life," she told reporters.  "I think on the show, I opened up a little bit more about some things.  I didn't really want to go there and share my life story with the whole world.  So I didn't really talk about my personal life a lot.  So talking about that on camera... that was really hard for me... It was a tough moment for me and I was really opening up, which is something I don't do a lot."

The Top Model judges also constantly seemed to be prodding Doucette to find herself, which was partially a lost cause.

"I think it was less about finding myself as a person, because I think I'll always be looking for that person, I'll always be searching inside myself for what's really there," she explained.  "But I think it was more finding my place in this competition... I really wanted to know who I was as far as in the competition.  This character that I was going to become.  I didn't really know who that person was... I don't really know what I was looking for, but I definitely found out a lot of stuff about myself."

Doucette said she does in fact have a personality and suspects it just wasn't the right fit for Top Model.

"I'm just really down-to-earth, and I think that can be confused with not having personality.  Especially when you're on TV and people are expecting entertainment and there's just one aspect that really stands out," she said.  "For me, I'm just a laid back person.  You're not going to get much out of as far as acting out or drama or throwing fits!"

All things considered, Doucette was pleased with how she was portrayed.

"You have bad things and you say things that maybe you shouldn't of said," she said.  "In real life -- not on TV -- that's okay.  Everyone knows you're in a crazy mood.  Sometimes out of context things that are said seem a lot worse than they are.  But I think mostly I was portrayed accurately."

While most Top Model participants gush about how appearing on the show was a life-long goal, Doucette unenthusiastically spoke about how she landed on the show's ninth cycle.

"Modeling is always something I've been a little bit interested in," said Doucette, adding she was also encouraged by a friend to audition.  "So I went and I stood in line for a while and my number kept getting called surprisingly.  I ended up on the show."

It was immediately difficult for Doucette once filming started since Top Model 9 participants weren't allowed to smoke cigarettes.  She described it as being "really, really hard at first," causing her to be "cranky" and go through "manic stages."

"But after a while it went away and I felt a little better," she said.  "I have started smoking since I've been home, but not nearly as much as I used to.  I'm down to one cigarette a day, which feels pretty good.  I'm trying to kick the habit completely again."

Doucette quickly established herself in the competition as the girl who took the "strongest pictures," a compliment given to her by Banks on more than once occasion.

"It blew me away that she said that I had the strongest pictures," she recalled.  "That was a wonderful thing to hear."

Doucette said has no regrets about her Top Model journey and is happy she placed where she did.

"I think that considering the reasons that I didn't make it to the top, I don't think that I would change any decision that I made.  I stayed true to myself, and I'm not going to change who I am to win.  I couldn't do that and I'm glad I didn't," she explained.  "Saleisha did have the type of personality that America's Next Top Model winners have -- very bubbly, very girly and sweet.  I think if that's what they're looking for, that's what they're looking for.  I can't help that."

As for what's next, Doucette said she plans to move to New York City in the spring and is interested in everything from acting to working with human rights causes.

"I'm definitely going to continue modeling," she said.  "I want to see what's available for me -- what's out there -- but I want to expand beyond that too.  There's a lot of things I want to do -- modeling is definitely one of them -- but I want to do everything, then see what I like.  Whatever gets thrown my way, I'm going to hit that up."

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