On Thursday, the 27-year-old who previously appeared on Top Model's tenth season, talked to Reality TV World about her America's Next Top Model experience -- including whether she was surprised to be eliminated since she had received positive feedback on her javelin photo, why she didn't hold the judges responsible for her arguably early ouster, why she believed the judges didn't find her memorable, and what her thoughts were about Angelea Preston and the drama that played out between them.
Below is the first portion of our exclusive interview with Dominique. 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? Because for the most part, the feedback you got on your javelin photo was positive. Tyra Banks liked your film and Nigel Barker stuck up for you on how difficult the shoot was.
Dominique Reighard: Yes. I was shocked. I have to say I'm human -- of course I'm going to be shocked, you know? I put 100% percent into every shoot that I've done this far, but at the same time, I know that everything happens for a reason and that's one chapter that's coming to an end.
If I got eliminated, when I got eliminated -- when that happens -- I'm okay with it, because I look back and see how much I've grown and how much I've accomplished since Cycle 10 to Modelville to now my third time around -- I'm reminding people it's my third time [including Modelville] around on the all-stars cycle.
I think I'm doing my thing. I've accomplished a lot. I've challenged myself. I rocked a lot of the photo shoots on this cycle, and I have a lot to be proud of. On top of that, I have a music video out right now! I mean, Tyra gave us the opportunity on the show to make music videos and since then, since the show is over with, I've got to work in the studio and right now, "I'm On Top of the World" is out.
I have a lot to be proud of, so this is no pity-patty party over here! No, no pity at all. This is not a pity show. I have a lot to celebrate and be proud of, and getting eliminated on out, I wish the rest of the girls the best of luck and I feel like I've accomplished and done a lot. I have a lot to be proud of.
Reality TV World: Did you find it a little strange though that you happened to win best photo last week and then got eliminated during Wednesday night's episode? Did you think there was a little inconsistency there or maybe that you should have gotten another shot in the competition?
Dominique Reighard: You know, we could look at it like that, but at the same time, this is the all-stars cycle. Anything can happen at any time. All the girls in this competition were extremely talented.
At the same time, we were all polar opposites of each other. This is the all-stars cycle, so you know, it's even harder to judge and I really want people to kind of step back and to look at Tyra, Andre Leon Talley and Nigel and have sympathy for them.
Imagine how hard it is for them to have to judge us on national television knowing that fans are going to be like, "Ahhh!" -- upset or like or not like something or not like this. It's very difficult to be a judge and all I can say is that I'm glad I was not on that panel. (Laughs) I'd definitely rather be competing as a model in the competition than a judge.
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Reality TV World: I just want to get your perspective on this. Angelea had been in the bottom two many times this season and you hadn't been, but you were the one who ended up getting eliminated. Do you think the fact that the judges maybe saw Angelea as the underdog throughout the competition helped her case at all? Do you think the judges had a little soft spot in their hearts for what she went through in her past?
Dominique Reighard: I think whatever happens with Angelea in this competition happens because it was meant to happen. It was supposed to happen. As far as Angelea's brand goes, she's persistent. She's very consistent with being persistent and I wish her all the best of luck and she is right where she needs to be and I'm happy for her.
Reality TV World: It seemed like you wanted viewers to get to know the real Dominique and it frustrated you when the panel kept calling you Beyonce or J-Lo. As much as it was a compliment, it was clear your personality and who you are wasn't really coming across. So when Tyra said, "Dominique means X?" How would you fill in that blank? What would you say "X" is and in what ways would you tell everyone now you stood out from the other girls?
Dominique Reighard: You know what? It's not really so much I can say. I'd rather show you through my actions and results. People are now just getting to know me and this is the story. Cycle 10, I was the underdog.
I was the girl that people wondered why she's still here and I made it to Top 4, and then I came back to Modelville and I won Modelville, and people got to learn another side of my story and learn a little bit more about me.
I think that my career is an ongoing process. It's growing just like I'm forever changing and growing as a woman and I think overtime, my fans are really going to get to know who I am. I mean, Tyra's been doing this for a long time and it takes time to build a career. It doesn't just happen over night.
I've taken all the feedback that the judges have given to me, and the thing that is consistent about me -- since Cycle 10, Modelville, until now -- I've taken all the feedback that's ever been given to me and I made it work for me, not against me.
Because of that, I've been able to grow and I've been able to persevere through and be a survivor. So with that said, I'm honored that Tyra gave me an opportunity to come back. I'm very honored.
Reality TV World: Do you have any insight as to why the judges might have had a little trouble getting to know you or finding you memorable? Did you think you just got a little nervous or quiet at panel or maybe you held back a little bit?
Dominique Reighard: You know what? Tyra said it best at panel. She said, "Dominique, I seriously think that you're a professional." I'm very professional. This is business. I came to work and go hard. I came to produce results. I didn't come for the drama. I came back and I wanted to be remembered for my sheer talent and for a positive message. I can say that I accomplished that.
Reality TV World: During last night's episode, Angelea said you didn't have "a fighting chance" in the competition and that you were "boring." What was your response to that? Did that upset you, especially since you kept repeating the fact you loved Angelea and thought you were good friends?
Dominique Reighard: You know what? I can't control what other people say or feel. I mean, I will say this, that I'm thankful she has an opinion of me. What would be scary is if she didn't have an opinion about me at all. It's important in this industry that the industry has an opinion and it's important that your peers have an opinion.
It lets me know that I'm doing something right and (laughs) like I said, whether I agree with her opinion or not, it's not necessarily about that. I still like her and love her as a person. I mean, she has a fun-loving personality. I can tell you girlfriend has me rolling on the show and I love watching her.
Reality TV World: During the exercise you had with Miss J. Alexander where you had to judge your peers on their runway walks and portfolios, you were the only person to speak up and say Angelea didn't deserve or didn't have the potential to win the competition. Since Angelea clearly got so upset and seemed to take what you said the wrong way, do you regret saying anything at all?
Dominique Reighard: No, I don't live my life with regret. You know, this cycle, I spoke up when I thought it was appropriate to and I did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. (Laughs) So, with that being said, I don't have any regrets. I love Angelea. I look at her like a sister.
Us Top Model girls, we are a sisterhood. We're going to look back 10, 20 years from now and we're going to be like a sorority. Who knows, we may even be on the E! network's "What Happened with the Top Model girls?" You know what I'm saying?
So, I think we're all going to look back and we're going to look at the good and the bad and indifferent. We're going to laugh at ourselves and 20 years from now, we're really going to look back and be like, "Thank you Tyra. Thanks for giving us an opportunity to meet each other and giving us this platform so we can take our careers to the next level."
Because that's what this is all about at the end of the day. It's not about fighting and drama. This is about what we're going to do after the show's over with -- producing results on the show and when the show's over and done, Tyra has given us this platform. Now, what are we going to do with it?
The fighting and all that, that says nothing. I'm in the business of adding to people's lives and not taking away. I feel like my feedback was very positive that I gave her. I was hoping that she would use it and make it work for her and not against her and not tear herself down with it, because I was trying to build her up at the end of the day.