Exclusive: Destiny Strudwick talks about 'Top Model: College Edition' (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/18/2012
Destiny Strudwick, a 5' 8 1/2" 18-year-old sandwich shop cashier from Columbus, OH attending Aveda Institute of Columbus, was eliminated from America's Next Top Model: College Edition during The CW's broadcast of the nineteenth season's fourth episode Friday night.
Destiny was ousted from the competition after she found herself in the bottom two based upon her total combined scores from the challenge, Top Model's three judges and home viewers' fan vote.
However, Destiny will get to participate in most of the upcoming photo shoots against previously-eliminated contestants Jessie Rabideau and Darian Ellis and future-eliminated girls in attempt to gain the highest social media score and earn a spot back in the competition.
In an exclusive interview on Tuesday, Destiny talked to Reality TV World about her America's Next Top Model: College Edition experience -- including whether she thought she had a better chance to stay in the competition over fellow bottom-two candidate Yvonne Powless once at panel, why her zombie photo shoot was "terrible" and what she believed could've made all the difference in her modeling performance, and what her thoughts were on Kristin Kagay and her "bitchy" personality.
Below is the first half of Destiny's interview. Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: When you landed in the bottom two next to Yvonne, considering both of you had been in the bottom two before, did you think it was going to be her or yourself going home?
Destiny Strudwick: I really had absolutely no idea. It was so up in the air and usually the media scores are the ones that break it, and they're always super, super close. So I was hoping for the best, but I had no idea.
Reality TV World: During the zombie photo shoot, the show featured you saying that you basically got down on the ground to try to do something different than the rest of the girls and then you just didn't know how to pose anymore. Could you talk about what happened there? Did you just get nervous all of a sudden and psych yourself out, were you just not comfortable with your clothes and surroundings? Like, what made you lose your edge in that moment?
Destiny Strudwick: Oh God. Well, I did try to get on the ground, and like literally, I don't know why they didn't emphasize this on the show, but my dress was made out of zippers. So I could not move my arms. I could not -- my knees were unbendable. So any position I got in looked pretty ridiculous and strange.
And I was like, "Well, maybe that'll be okay because it'll look super awkward and high fashion." No, it was just so hard to move. It was the most constraining thing and it's not that I was nervous.
It was that I could like not breathe. And any of the other girls would vouch for me. That dress -- it was wild. I begged to have a different dress so that my shoot would go better, and they were not having it.
Reality TV World: Do you think had you gotten a better dress things might've turned out differently for you?
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Destiny Strudwick: I truly believe so. It's just -- and then ontop of that, since I felt so restrained and the dress made me super -- well, I couldn't eat because I couldn't move my arms before the shoot. And it was too hard to get it on. It was too hard to zip it up and it was just too much, so they were like, "Maybe you should just eat after."
And I was like, "You don't understand. I haven't had anything to eat all day. I'm going to pass out," because I have anemia -- and I don't know why, but if I don't eat for awhile, I get super light-headed. And yeah, I was being honest. So I was feeling pretty dead at the zombie shoot, and right after I got off set, I was like, "Take me to the bathroom. I have to throw-up right now."
So for some reason, I threw up and I didn't throw anything up, but it was terrible. It was all-around terrible. I felt terrible and [Tyra Banks] is like, "You just look so dead!" And I'm like, "One, it's a zombie shoot. And two, I felt pretty damn dead." I felt like I was dying.
Reality TV World: So it sounds like that should've been the perfect combination for the photo shoot! (Laughs)
Destiny Strudwick: Yeah, exactly! (Laughs) It just didn't turn out right I guess.
Reality TV World: It seemed like Kiara Belen had a big issue with Kristin saying she was nasty and a spoiled brat, etc. And then Friday night's episode showed you getting into with her. So what was your problem with Kristin and how did you come to the conclusion she was a "bitchy" person?
Destiny Strudwick: Probably the same way everyone else did -- just listening to her. But she was like going through my purse to get something, and I'm like, "Hey, what are you doing?" And she's like, "Chill the f-ck out." And I'm like, "Whoa, are you kidding? Is that a joke?"
And she just kept coming at me like super bitchy, and I was like, "What is your deal? Dude, do you want to squash this right now, because it's probably in both of our best interests." And she was like, "No, you're a dumb bitch." And I was like, "Are you kidding me? Are you serious? Why? Why are you saying this for no reason?" I was just shocked that someone could act so high school. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Kristin apparently thought she was making it impossible for you not to hit her, but then it looked like you had absolutely no intention to lay a finger on her because you mentioned that's simply not who you are. So while you were fighting, what was going through your mind and was it difficult to restrain yourself from hitting her when she was asking you to?
Destiny Strudwick: Yeah, I mean, obviously for awhile there, I was like, "Okay, you're making a dumb ass out of yourself and I don't want to do that." But then, I was like, I didn't feel offended.
So I didn't feel like I needed to defend myself in any way. But then she just continued and continued. I'm like, "Okay, do you want to stop now? Do you want to stop? Is that okay if we just stop this?" And she's like -- she just kept going on.
And I'm like, "Oh my gosh. You're really just going to keep doing this. And ontop of that, we're in the same room. And ontop of that, I can't get away from you! This is so ridiculous." I just had to realize, one, she just really wants me to hit her because then I'd be gone for no reason.
So that would be giving her something and it would be screwing myself over at the same time. So, it's like, "Just don't do it. Just don't do it." At one point in time, I even went behind-the-scenes and asked the producers if I could just pour a gallon of milk on her head.
Reality TV World: And I'm guessing they said, "No?" (Laughs)
Destiny Strudwick: Yeah, they were like, "No, that's not right!"
Reality TV World: That's kind of shocking actually.
Destiny Strudwick: I know! (Laughs)
Reality TV World: You ended up with a score of five from the fans. Why do you think you just got an average score from home viewers? Do you think they had trouble relating to you or something or do you think they were just strictly judging your photos?
Destiny Strudwick: Yeah, I think it was that. That they only got to see the photos and how much went into the photos as much as how much people were trying actually and how much they wanted it, etc. Me and Kristin, obviously -- I mean, this is going to sound like I kind of don't know what I'm talking about -- but literally, every single person in that house wanted it so much more than Kristin.
It was so unfair that she could stand in front of the camera and do absolutely nothing, and it's like, "Oh great, you look like a Hollister model. You can do that. That's great, you're doing great." And then she would get upset and complain about it. It's like, "Okay, well there are people who are trying, and just because America loves blonde hair and blue eyes, it's like you win because they don't know who you are."
Reality TV World: I was just going to ask you something about that. It sounds like you thought it was a little predictable then that the pretty blonde girl like Kristin was getting the highest social media score from fans, right?
Destiny Strudwick: Yeah, definitely.
Reality TV World: To dive into that a little deeper, Laura James -- who recently became blonde thanks to her makeover -- had the highest social media score yet in the competition this week. So what are your thoughts on that? Do you think that's just a coincidence that she became blonde and then got an even higher score than Kristin or do you think that only happened because Laura really did have the best photo?
Destiny Strudwick: I think it's a mixture of both. I mean, I wouldn't say that her entire score leans on her having blonde hair. She did have a really great photo. I just think that she got blonde hair and she loved it so she worked it super great, which I mean, that's nothing to be mad at.
Reality TV World: Tyra said in a recent interview that she finally felt good about giving home viewers a voice in the Top Model voting process because she had trained them over the years to appreciate and understand all different types of beauty -- some of which she explained is often in a girl's flaws or what makes her look different. But based upon how the fans have been voting so far, do you think she really succeeded in doing that after all?
Destiny Strudwick: Not at all. (Laughs) No way. I mean, it's not like a person -- a single person with a TV show is not going to make America know what beauty is or understand what natural beauty and all that stuff is. She is -- I don't know. She obviously thinks really highly of herself, but no, I don't think she accomplished that whatsoever.
Reality TV World: The judges were clearly convinced you had amazing potential as a model and Tyra said you had an antelope face that was also great for a model. So why do you think your look wasn't translating into your pictures? I know you mentioned the zipper issue with your zombie dress and everything, but Brittany Brown had suggested in one of the show's clips that you kind of lacked confidence. So do you think that was a factor as well?
Destiny Strudwick: Yeah, I definitely do. Even during semifinalists week, I remember going in there like, "Oh my God, these girls are all so much prettier than me." Even now, I think, "How did I ever even manage to make it that far?" It's like, I don't know.
I'm really, really good at seeing beauty in every single person I meet, and for some reason, it's just hard for me to do that for myself. I mean, that obviously comes with how I grew up and stuff -- which is whatever -- I'm over it. But I think it definitely contributes in how my eyes looked in the photos and how my expressions come out.
Above is the first half of Destiny's interview. Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion.