On Thursday, Annette and her daughter Alana talked to Reality TV World about how a Tuesday night in-front of the TV turned into the adventure they were looking for; why they thought their nickname "Silent But Deadly" had a double-meaning that fit them well; why they were surprised to be the second team eliminated; and what's in-store for both now that their time in the competition is over.
Reality TV World: How were you two cast for Crowned?
Alana: You want to take this one mom? Annette: Yes, please... Alana: Go. Annette: No you take it! (laughing) Alana: Oh! (laughing) It was one of those few nights -- I must say -- that I am home with my mother, hanging out with her on like a Saturday or Friday night I believe it was... Annette: It was actually a Tuesday (laughing)... Alana: Okay... Any ways, we were watching The Search for the Next Doll, that Pussycat Dolls show?
Reality TV World: Yup.
Alana: We were just watching The CW all night, and we noticed they have this advertisement for a casting call in San Francisco for the new The CW reality show called Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants. "If you and your mother -- or you and your daughter -- are interested and have a great relationship, this is the show for you."
So my mom and I kind of looked at each other, and we were really at a point in our lives where I was bored with school, my mom was kind of going through the routine at her job, and we needed to do something to shake things up, to bring an adventure. So the fact that we could embark on something together was perfect. And the fact that Crowned was targeting mothers and daughters was just sent from God (laughing)... Like, "This is something we have to do. It's clearly meant for us." And the rest is history.
Reality TV World: Did either of you have any previous modeling or pageant experience?
Alana: Modeling experience... I have some. I do have modeling experience. Pageant experience, no.
Reality TV World: So based on that, how confident were you heading into the competition? Did you think you had a shot at winning?
Annette: First of all, we love pageants. We've always watched them so we're familiar with what happens during a pageant. With the twist of it being a reality show, we assumed that we'd be doing similar pageantry... like the talents and interviews and things like that. We just assumed that they'd be taking that and taking it to the extreme. So we went in believing, "We can handle this." We were willing to do anything. We were so ready for adventure, just to shake things up in our lives that we were willing to dress up in the most sophisticated gowns and see ourselves crawling through the mud. We were like, "We could do that for $100,000!" So we went in believing that this is a reality show and not a really serious pageant.
Reality TV World: Did you initially butt heads with any of the other teams in the house?
Annette: Not quickly (laughing with Alana)... Alana and I are pretty even keeled, easy going kind of gals. We do have attitudes and hormones like most women do... We expected to maybe bump heads with a few -- as women do at certain times of the month -- it's just a given. But we didn't go in with a mind set to start anything. So we weren't looking to pick a fight, but we were ready for it if it was to come our way. Alana: I know myself -- the kind of personality that I have -- from the first day, I knew who I would have issues with. I could tell by their personalities, I kind of knew, "Okay, I may get into an altercation with that person. I may get into a little fight with this person." So I was just waiting for it to happen but I didn't go searching for it. Annette: Our strategy was to try at all costs -- at any stake -- not to really rise to the antics. Not to really get caught up in the drama that way so it wouldn't take away from our focus in the competition itself.
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Reality TV World: You just mentioned some of your strategy. Would you say you formed any alliances with any of the other teams as part of your strategy?
Alana: I feel that there was no possible way to create an alliance in the house that would benefit us, because it was all... It was each team for themselves.
Reality TV World: That's a good point.
Alana: I understand to keep certain people closer to you and to work with each other -- like the good people around. But it was really every man for themselves in that house (laughing)...
Annette: It wasn't a "we" thing, Alana chose it (laughing)... No I'm just kidding. Alana: You're not kidding I did choose it. I chose that name and watching back that show I noticed that the editing was done to make it look like we didn't know what "Silent But Deadly" meant. Of course we knew it meant a silent fart that smells really bad. I was very aware of that. My mother and I are very silly people, we're constantly laughing and just big goofballs. So it made sense to incorporate that to me -- but to also have that double meaning behind it -- was I think also good. Because we were silent in the competition because we had no pageant experience; we were going in there fresh-minded, open-minded. Once we learned everything that we needed to learn, we were prepared to knock the judges dead. So I was like, "Oh! 'Silent But Deadly.'" So it had a double-meaning.
Reality TV World: Did you think it was childish at all for judge Carson Kressley to call you out on that?
Alana: He's a man. He can say whatever he wants to say (laughing). I was not surprised at all that he had a funny little thing to say... I expected that actually. Annette: I have to admit -- as everyone saw -- I was leaning towards "Sophisticated Ladies." We went along with ["Silent But Deadly"] based on the double-meaning Alana described. It made sense. It truly did reflect who we were being in the house. Even as intelligent as I am, the "Silent But Deadly" moniker didn't dawn on me at the time when we were sitting there, in the moment, making the decision. It didn't hit me until later that day why it sounded so familiar to me (laughing)...
Reality TV World: Explain why you eventually chose "The Realists" as your new nickname. I remember you commenting how you were even sure if it was a word. What do you think it represented?
Annette: That truly reflected who we wanted to be known as and who we were in the house. We felt, we believed and we knew that we were "The Realists" -- the most realistic mother and daughter in the house -- not putting anything on for the cameras. We were true to ourselves. Our personalities didn't change. It was part of our strategy to be who we are and to be true to ourselves. Being "The Realists" really stood for how we wanted to be known.
Reality TV World: Some of the moms seemed to be uncomfortable during Wednesday night's swimsuit challenge. How about you Annette? Were you comfortable with the swimsuit challenge?
Annette: I was comfortable, yeah. I don't have any poor body images, I'm very pleased with what I'm working with these days at my age. I felt really comfortable in what I was wearing and enjoyed the critique to possibly look even better in a swimsuit.
Reality TV World: You already touched upon this a little bit, but what was the "positive" energy group you talked about during Wednesday night's episode? Where did that riff in the house develop?
Annette: I think actually the first day -- if you want to use the word "cliques" -- they formed. The positive people did gravitate toward the positive, and the negative kind of went their own way too. We went to the extreme in selecting the rooms where we slept. We really did form an alliance, with just how we bonded as positive people. It was our survival technique. the competition was fair game, but when we were not competing, to live in the house with one another the positive group agreed that we would work together to keep that positive energy between us. So with that, even through the competition, we were there to help one another, to critique each other in a positive way and still compete fairly.
Reality TV World: Alana when you were planning the exercise routine, did you think your mom was going to struggle with the jump-rope portion of it?
Alana: I knew it was obvious that the jump rope wouldn't be that easy for her. When I chose it, I really didn't... I honestly just tried to choose the easiest workout routine from the options we had. Because I know my mom isn't -- no offense mom -- you're not that active in the sense that you never really played sports in high school, you were always in books as opposed to being an athlete. So I just tried to choose the easier things. I figured, "Jump-roping? How hard could it be?" I kind of forgot to realize that my mother's very blessed in the upper area (laughing). I had no idea now difficult and how uncomfortable that would be for her.
Reality TV World: In hindsight, do you regret that decision?
Alana: No, just because it challenged her... It put her out of the norm. It was something that she doesn't usually do, and it challenged her. It was good for her I feel.
Reality TV World: Annette why do you think you struggled so much with giving your daughter control during the challenges?
Annette: Because Alana's my only child, I'm used to having the last word, the final say. I'm the mom. We've never been in a situation where I haven't had that control. However with her being 18 during the time of shooting the show, we were at a point in our relationship where I was trying to become a better listener -- to take a different role in her life -- and I'm still in the beginning stages of that.
Reality TV World: The judges commented they didn't think you worked as a team during the exercise routine. Do you feel you worked as a team?
Alana: It's so funny because they made it seem like my mother had more control over the competition than I did. So I thought it was funny because the only way it appeared that way was because I get really nervous when I have to compete in something. When it comes to high school and college, I do really well on homework but when it comes to tests I always have issues. So it was kind of like that. I practiced, we were good. But it was me who really messed up when it came down to having to sell the judges. The fact that I kind of fumbled up there made it seem like my mother knew what she was doing and I didn't -- as if she controlled everything and I had not control over it. So it was just kind of frustrating because I knew that I let my mom down because that's just something that I've always done when it comes to having to prove that I know what I'm doing. I get the jitters and my nerves show.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised to be the second team eliminated? Did you sense it coming?
Alana: I had no idea... Annette: We were surprised... Alana: I was not expecting for us to go home at all. Not even... No.
Reality TV World: Who did you think deserved the boot instead of you?
Alana: I'll be honest (Annette laughing), I felt like the "Tomboy Queens" [Pamela and her daughter Felicia] were going home. After seeing their routine and stuff on television, I noticed that, "Okay, we weren't the worst people out there." The three [teams] down there -- yes -- we really did deserve to be in the bottom three. I agree with that. But I didn't feel that we were the worst people out there to go home yet. I feel like we were just getting started! I really felt like the "Tomboy Queens" should have went first.
Reality TV World: Who do you want to win Crowned? Any team you don't want to see win?
Annette: I don't think we can speak to that question... Alana: Yeah we can. I don't want the "Redhead Bombshells" [Patty and her daughter Laura] to win. I don't really feel like they're real people... in more ways than one (laughing). I didn't get a good vibe from them, they were talking a lot of mess about people that I thought was unnecessary. I don't feel that they're worthy. Annette: I think they should put us back on the show and we should definitely be the winners!
Reality TV World: At the beginning of the interview you talked a little bit about why you applied for the show. Do you think participating in Crowned strengthened your relationship? If so, why?
Annette: I gained a greater appreciation for my daughter's independence -- I've seen the intellectual side -- her being articulate, her being able to handle herself as a mature adult. I don't get to see that side of her very often and I walked away with a deeper appreciation of who she is and a much stronger bond and respect for her. Alana: I would say that seeing my mom always in control of her environment and people, I felt that kind of seeing a vulnerable side of her on the show -- not being in control -- kind of showed me she is a real person. She can get flustered. She always doesn't have the answers to everything. I just saw a different side of her that I didn't know was there.
Reality TV World: So what's next for you two?
Alana: I'm going to say, this is just the beginning of Alana Hoffman (laughing)! I am going places. I have dreams, I have goals. I would love to do another reality television show, such as America's Next Top Model or a new one on Bravo called Make Me a Supermodel. I love modeling, I've been doing it since I could walk. I love fashion. If I could just continue on this adventure, I would be the happiest girl. Keep a lookout for me... Annette: For me -- being the professor, the doctor, the author -- I would like to write more deeply about the mother/daughter mystique, the bonding experience, and to share with other mothers out there how to improve upon this bond. How it can deepen. How letting go can be a positive for both lives. I'm hoping to follow-up with a best-seller!