Exclusive: Camille McDonald talks 'America's Next Top Model' (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/07/2011
Camille McDonald became the fourth girl eliminated from America's Next Top Model's all-stars edition's fourth episode during Wednesday night's broadcast on The CW.
On Thursday, the 33-year-old who previously appeared on Top Model's second season, talked to Reality TV World about her America's Next Top Model experience -- including whether she was surprised to be eliminated, why she feels she was "set up" for elimination based on photo shoot director Jay Manuel's behavior at the Express shoot, and whether she believed she was at a disadvantage or felt defeated because she was the oldest contestant on the show.
Below is the first portion of our exclusive interview with Camille. Check back with Reality TV World on Monday for the second half.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised to be eliminated or did you somewhat see it coming beforehand?
Camille McDonald: Do you want the truth or the politically correct answer?
Reality TV World: The truth please.
Camille McDonald: I already knew that it was coming from the photo shoot and the challenge -- not to say that I did a bad job at the photo shoot, because I did an exceptional job -- and you know, I was pretty much told by the Express executives.
But I felt it when I was dealing with Jay Manuel. I already knew it with what I was doing and the comments. I said to myself out loud, "This is sad." That's how I felt. So, it's reality TV and the reason why I went on America's Next Top Model was to brand myself. That was my number one goal.
I just wanted people to know who the real Camille McDonald is and I want to show the world my vibrant personality, what I had accomplished over the last nine years since the show, how I've grown spiritually, mentally and physically and to stay afloat with the investments I've made in the past years -- which is the reason I came back on the show because it was a paid opportunity and it's all about the brand factor.
So, I had a feeling or whatever. Call it intuition, but I was like, "Okay." But it happens and when you don't get your picture, it's still a shock, because I know that I served that and gave fierceness -- which is not really what you saw on television.
Social media is a crazy one because a lot of my fans, they take pictures of the actual shoot -- because they can video your movement -- and they're like, "Why did they choose this picture? Why didn't they choose this frame?"
And I'm just like, "The professionals are there. They're judges, and that's supposedly the best picture that they found." [Lisa D'Amato], she's amazing. I love her to death. She's been through so much and she definitely deserves to win.
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All of us do and I can't pick who, because the judges give a positive comment and a negative comment. They say positive things on the photo shoot and they say negative things on the photo shoot. So you really don't know. It's the surprise element.
However, when it comes down to the difference between Lisa and myself -- who were in the bottom two -- she bombed out during the acting challenge, you know? She cursed onset and in real life, if that's a client and you do that, it's disrespectful. That's it. So, I felt like I did a good job in that acting challenge since I have a phobia on me since Cycle 2's acting challenge, and you see my hands shaking in the thing.
But my hands were shaking because I was acting because of the dead body on the table! I played an intern. I wasn't shaking because I was nervous. (Laughs) They zoomed in on my hands. I did get some of those words. The shoot, I felt like I had some amazing pictures for Express and I worked with them after during their fashion night out.
So, for whatever it's worth, it was definitely an experience and I said at the end of Cycle 2 that I was going to leave and make Camille a better Camille, and that's what I came back and did.
I was hard as nails before, sassy and little bitchy. I have all of that personality inside me, but this show kind of didn't show all that. It was more one dimensional. They just showed a softer side, which is great. So take Cycle 2 and Cycle 17 and mix it up in a pot with a big spoon and you have Camille.
Reality TV World: You were shown saying before the photo shoot that you felt Express would probably be looking for a younger model because you are 33 years old. Do you think you walked into that photo shoot already defeated because you felt you weren't able to offer what the client was looking for or were you still optimistic you that you could shine and impress?
Camille McDonald: No, I don't remember what my exact quote was. I don't think I said that they were looking for a younger model. I was just making a generalization of the fashion industry in itself. The skinny is, is that it's a very age-oriented business. Music, fashion, entertainment, period. Nobody tells their real age. Nobody tells their real age in this business.
I've done a really amazing job fooling the masses, but I really felt like last night, they must have said 33 like four times. I was just like, "Really?" That's just going to make my job a lot easier going out there and saving face, but it's still a factor. I always say that your biological age is worse than your geological age.
If you did not know that I was 33-years-old and you just watched the show, I think it's very difficult to tell that I was a significant amount of years older than the rest of the contestants. One of the youngest was, I don't know, maybe 19 or something like that.
Because I really make sure that I get my butt in the gym, that I eat healthy, that I exercise, that I try to live a stress-free life. I applaud myself for it, because those girls will have to be where I am at some point so take notes.
Express could have definitely selected me, like I said, I worked with them after the fact. So, I know my creative direction was exceptional. That was also supposed to be part of the challenge. I didn't hear them talking about that on the show.
Reality TV World: Jay Manuel said you were only giving him 60% percent of what he expected out of you during that shoot. What would you say he expected from you, your personality and your modeling, and were you aware at the time of what he was looking for? Did he make that clear and did you have any idea you weren't really delivering what he was looking for?
Camille McDonald: I was delivering what he was looking for. That's why I already said I knew going into the shoot that I was going to be eliminated because I already felt like a setup. The times when you see me and I'm kind of quiet, kind of looking at him like, "Really?" He's like, "Oh, I know you!"
[I was like] I haven't seen you in nine years, but if anything that I do gives diva or gives fierceness or works the camera -- I mean, if you go on Facebook and Twitter and you see what fans posted, like images of the actual video, you can see that I was giving body and I was giving face. So, it's whatever makes for great television and it's a show. It's a reality TV show, so you can't really take anything personally.
You can't take it to heart. At the end of the day, yes I didn't win America's Next Top Model, but I won in real life. The prizes that are offered to us whether it's blogging for a magazine, correspondent work, a show, like all of these things are still very much possible. It's not the end of the world and I've received some offers, so I'm content. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.
Reality TV World: When I talked to Isis King last week, she told me that she figured you would have been sent home instead of her after the stilts photo shoot because she thought the judges gave you more negative feedback, but you were obviously safe because you were on the winning team. So what is your reaction to her opinion? Does it frustrate you and do you agree or disagree with her?
Camille McDonald: You know, Isis is an amazing person and it's a competition, so it's the shock value. It's the shock factor. My critique on the Express shoot was a lot better than some of the other girls' critiques, but when it comes down to that judging, it's based strictly upon the judges' opinion.
My shoot for the stilts, I'm just blown at Tyra Banks and that image. Like I said, go back to the fans, go back to the images that they posted. My family's from the Caribbean. I'm in Miami right now and it's a carnival. People are on stilts, so like yes, think of it in that sense but bring a little bit more edge or so on and so forth to it.
There were a whole list of other images that could have been chosen, but the great thing is that Isis and I had amazing chemistry and the other girls applauded and clapped for us, as you can see in the video on the show. It just boils down to being subjective. Somebody has to go.
Everyone on that show, we are all stars because we went in. They gotta choose somebody at some point, so it is what it is. Honestly, no one ever thinks that they should have been the one to go home. I can say that Isis does take a fabulous picture.
You can go on her website or her Facebook, or even her Twitter, and mine as well. This is what we do. Nine years in the game, I just wanted to highlight more of the positive and maybe do something else -- show what else we've been doing in the meantime. I think that's definitely something that people want to know and they have the information. Great television.