Dominique Reighard: I'll be more successful than 'Top Model's winner
By Christopher Rocchio, 05/09/2008
Despite being ousted from America's Next Top Model, Dominique Reighard still isn't short on the self-confidence that made her so memorable.
"Everything happens for a reason. If I wasn't meant to be America's Next Top Model, do I feel like the winner is going to be more successful than me? No. No," Reighard told reporters during a Thursday conference call. "Do I feel rejection and like a big door slammed in my face? No. I made it really, really far. I've learned and grown so much. Now I can make whatever I want to make out of my career. It's all about my ambition and my confidence. I think that's obvious. You've seen it enough on the show."
The 23-year-old receptionist from Columbus, OH became the tenth girl eliminated from Top Model's tenth season during Wednesday night's broadcast after the judging panel expressed concerns that her "hard" facial features wouldn't work with the CoverGirl contract the winner will eventually receive.
"I can't say I disagree with the reason and I can't say I agree," Reighard told reporters when asked what she thought about the reasoning for her elimination.
To make matters worse, the judging panel compared Reighard's look to that of a transvestite -- albeit a "beautiful transvestite." Reighard said she was able to find the humor in the criticism.
"It's so funny. Everybody's always said stuff about me. It doesn't really bother me," she said. "As far as the transvestite thing is concerned, I think that's so funny. I embrace it because transvestites for me are some of the most beautiful women in the world. Why would I be insulted by it? Half the time when you see a transvestite, you think she's a woman and she has all this grace and poise and makeup done perfectly. They carry themselves better sometimes than most women do. I wasn't insulted. I really appreciate the compliment."
"There are times where we didn't get along," she told reporters. "But being on the show was a great experience for me because I have tons of personality. I'm really high strung. I have a lot of confidence. That can sometimes be taken a different way by other people. What I learned is to step outside of myself and see how people perceive. I learned that I need to somewhat be kind of a chameleon because everyone's different. Some people are intimidated by all of this."
While she feels she might have "intimidated" the other girls, Reighard added she still left the final three a positive note before she departed.
"I don't feel like by encouraging somebody else that it's going to hurt me. I know I'm going to be successful. I'm confident in myself and I love helping people," said Reighard. "I care about all those girls, honestly. I loved everyone. I got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with these 14 girls. I got to share something that's so special with these girls. So of course they're always going to be special to me."
One of Reighard's biggest arguments came when she accused Whitney, a 20-year-old student from Atlantic Beach, FL who is the tenth-season's plus-sized model, of being racist.
"First of all, on my part, I apologize for even saying that to her. Really what I said, I said it was fair for me to call her racist," explained Reighard. "She made a lot of derogatory comments -- which they did not air on the show -- towards other girls in the house that were black. Not me. It was really inappropriate and wrong."
Reighard said she doesn't think viewers "really got what our argument was about."
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"Our argument was more about her disrespect towards other people," she continued. "She wasn't even disrespecting me, but I saw it and I said something about it. Nobody else was saying anything about it, it made me uncomfortable. She wouldn't answer me on why she was making the comments that she made, so I said, 'Well I guess it's fair for me to call you racist' -- which is still wrong. It was wrong for me to even say that. Later I went back and apologized to her. I told her I was sorry because I said it out of the emotion. It was wrong and it was inappropriate."
Still, Reighard wouldn't come out and tell reporters she doesn't think Whitney is a racist.
"Whether she is or not, I really can't say," she said. "She made a lot of inappropriate comments, and I really don't want to say the things that she said."
Reighard said she has aspired to be a model ever since she was a young girl and has been a Top Model fan since the first season.
"Every time I saw it come on TV, I was like, 'I want to do this. I can do this. They're doing it, I can do it too,'" she said. "It just kind of sparked from the very first cycle... I started trying out. I tried out about five times and finally I made it."
Reighard added she's "had a ball" watching the way she's portrayed on Top Model.
"It's so entertaining. I watched myself and just been cracking up and enjoying it. That's who I am. I'm grounded and I'm confident," she explained. "So for me to look silly on TV or have ups and downs on TV -- that's fine. I think it's quite entertaining and I'm glad everybody's enjoyed watching it just as much as I have."
As far as some fans seeing her as the tenth-season's villain, Reighard said "everybody has a different opinion."
"I feel like I was portrayed accurately," she said before adding a disclaimer. "Also at the same time, there were a lot of things that were left out -- if they weren't left out, you would really understand what was going on, why certain things were said, why things were done a certain way. It was left out simply because there's really not enough time to see everything."
In addition, Reighard addressed her tendency to speak about herself in the third person.
"I think it's so funny because nobody says anything to Tyra! She talks in third-person all the time!" said Reighard. "I think I got it from her. Maybe I did. It just kind of came from the middle of nowhere. That's a part of me too. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I'll work on it the day somebody confronts Tyra about it and she works on it."
Reighard assured viewers that there's more to her than what was seen on Top Model.
"It's TV. Yes, it was reality and some thing were shown and some things weren't shown -- but part of all that is who I am," she explained. "There's so much more to me than all of that. I think if you're trying to be in this industry and you're trying out for America's Next Top Model, everybody's going to have something about you. Everybody's going to have an opinion... That's okay."
As for what's next, Reighard said she's moving to Los Angeles to pursue several endeavors.
"I plan on doing a lot right now," she said. "I want to dibble-dabble in some modeling, acting, correspondence work -- I'm also thinking about my own clothing line. I want to get involved with everything. This is what I love to do. I'm going to give it my all and keep on pushing. I know something's going to pull through."