Elina Ivanova dishes about her time on 'America's Next Top Model'
By John Bracchitta, 11/11/2008
Elina Ivanova has a bone to pick with America's Next Top Model's judges. After constant criticism for her lack expressiveness and tendency to control her emotions during her shoots, Ivanova fell short of accusing the judges of playing favorites, but still was clear in her opinion of them.
"I just don't think it was very fair," Ivanova told reporters during a Thursday media conference call that followed Wednesday night's broadcast of her America's Next Top Modelelimination.
"I know that I do have a lot of potential as a model, and [the 'control' issue] was kind of blown up. It didn't get in the way of my modeling as much as the judges think that it did," she added.
Ivanova continued by saying that the judges' repeated criticism of her had become "really frustrating" as she progressed deeper into the show.
"It was actually the first time I'd really heard that [criticism]. In the first couple of photo shoots it seemed to be going well and I didn't really get that critique, and then all of the sudden it was probably the only thing I ever heard," Ivanova told Reality TV World. "I didn't really know what to do with that. I tried to get as much explanation as I possibly could so I could improve somehow but it just seemed like anything I really did it didn't please the judges and I couldn't really figure out what they wanted from me exactly."
Ivanova also told Reality TV World that she felt she had done a good job during her final photo shoot, and based her opinions partly on what she had heard from photo shoot director Jay Manuel and America's Next Top Modelhost -- and guest photographer for the shoot -- Tyra Banks.
"I was actually pretty surprised by the commentary from Jay and Tyra saying I was still too stiff, because I remember shooting on the ladder with that extreme look [and] actually getting positive feedback," she told Reality TV World. "I was very puzzled to why they still felt that everything was controlled. It still puzzles me right now."
She added that if some type of "one-on-one" conversation with the judges regarding her "controlling" nature taken place that many of their issues with her could have been explained.
"I think in my personal life I wouldn't say I'm controlling. The best way I can really describe it... is I think my main issue is just being a little too self conscious and I kind of hold back sometimes because I'm either afraid of looking silly or afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new with that thought of 'Oh, what if I'm gonna fail and how is that gonna make me look,'" she told reporters.
"Sometimes I think I hold myself back a little bit because I'm afraid of putting off a certain image, or a fear of failure," she added. "But that's not unique, I think we all have a little bit of that sometimes"
Ivanova said she also hopes to have a conversation with Marjorie -- a 19-year-old from Seattle, WA, whom Ivanova considered to be her closest friend on the show -- after admittedly being confused by her private show comments that she felt Ivanova wasn't trying hard enough in the competition.
"I don't know what she meant by that. She definitely didn't say that to me when we were in the house, so that kind of came to me as a surprise. I wish I could talk to her and kinda see what she meant by that," Ivanova told Reality TV World. "But I was definitely trying, you can't possible receive that strong a response from everyone on panel, and also everyone else on set, and not try so I definitely disagree with her."
Ivanova also went into further detail concerning an argument between she and some of the girls in the house after she won, and decided to take part in, a holiday pictorial for a magazine even though she is an admitted atheist.
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While Ivanova said that many of the girls regarded her decision as "hypocritical," she added that she had later explained her decision to them in a scene that didn't make it onto the show.
"I later explained to them... that I wasn't actually against holidays. I'm not against them at all.... I just don't celebrate them in my own life," Ivanova told Reality TV World. "I thought that it was okay for me to do that shoot and wasn't being hypocritical."
"Now, if it was something that I was against I wouldn't do the shoot," she added to Reality TV World. "If it was something for a milk ad or a meat ad, those are things that I'm against so I wouldn't do that. For holidays, I'm not against them. I just don't celebrate them in my own personal life."
Now eliminated from the show -- and despite the comments that were made against her -- Ivanova told Reality TV World that she was pulling for Marjorie to win the show's eleventh season.
"I'm rooting for Marjorie. I definitely do think that she's got a lot of modeling potential and I really hope that she can work through her nerves," Ivanova told Reality TV World. "I see a great deal of potential and she's was [also] the closest person to me in the house and I think she's a very, very smart woman. An incredible lady."
As for any regrets that she had following her time on the show, Ivanova told reporters that all she could have done was try to satisfy the judges requests more than she had.
"I guess I would try to let go more, whatever that means," Ivanova said.