Exclusive: Kasia Pilewicz talks about 'America's Next Top Model'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/29/2011
Kasia Pilewicz became the tenth girl eliminated from America's Next Top Model's sixteenth season during Wednesday night's broadcast on The CW.
On Thursday, the 26-year-old college graduate from Wheaton, IL who currently resides in New York, NY, talked to Reality TV World about her America's Next Top Model experience -- including what shocked her most about her elimination, what she wished Tyra Banks had kept her word about, how poorly she felt she was treated when stylists had trouble finding an outfit that fit her during the Noureddine Amir runway challenge, what she loves and dislikes about being a plus-size model, why she suddenly became very self-conscious of her body in the Moroccan desert, and which model she felt was consistently rewarded for her bad behavior.
Reality TV World: You said in your final words that you knew you were going to be in the bottom two but not the one eliminated. Who did you see going home instead of you? Was it Alexandria since she was in the bottom two alongside you?
Kasia Pilewicz: Yeah, I thought it was Alexandria. I thought she had enough chances to prove herself and that was my first time in the bottom two, and I thought I would at least have a second chance. But, you know, I guess she kind of stirs things up, maybe, like I don't.
But yeah, I thought Tyra would maybe keep her word on what she said with sending Alexandria home if it happens again -- the bad behavior -- so, that's why I was so shocked. I knew I was definitely in the bottom two, but I thought Alexandria was a for sure thing to go home because of that.
Reality TV World: Elaborating on the fact you said you thought you'd get a second chance, what was your reaction when you didn't? Why don't you think they gave you that opportunity because most often, Tyra will give a girl another shot if she lands in the bottom two?
Kasia Pilewicz: (Laughs) Really, I have no idea why I didn't get one other than the fact that they wanted to keep Alexandria on for some reason. I just think people could see from my reaction that I was like a mixture of shock, sad and angry. I thought it was the wrong decision, but it happens.
It happened and the main reason I'm upset is that I didn't get to go on and do more shoots with more amazing people and have more cool photos, but I got so much in already in that short amount of time that I'm just happy I got to do all that stuff.
Reality TV World: You also said you have a lot of aspirations, could you talk about what those are and what your plans are for the near future?
Kasia Pilewicz: Sure, do you want my schedule for everyday?
Reality TV World: Just in general. You don't need to get into that much detail (Laughs)
Kasia Pilewicz: Okay. (Laughs) I'm sorry. Yeah, so I mean, definitely as soon as I can, I'm itching to get back into modeling. I was working quite a bit before and I'm ready to go back now that I'm off the show.
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I'm already living in New York, so it's the perfect place. There's so much out here -- so much fashion -- I think now, I should be able to do more crossover work, which is what I really wanted anyway.
I did some stuff, some high fashion shows and editorials, and I've gotten to do some cool stuff. But it's just like, this is kind of going to take my exposure -- it's taking my exposure level -- to the next level. So many more people know me, so hopefully I can do more of that work that maybe would be originally like only assigned to a straight-size model.
And maybe they'll call me in for a go-see. Maybe I'll book stuff. Then I'm going to see which agency is going to be the best for me at this point and where to go and go from there and just start working. Then I'm also working on acting stuff.
I've gotten back from the show and started taking a look back at my acting studio, taking acting classes again, and I have been since then -- two different classes I'm in -- and I just started working on improve at UCB.
So, I'm going to start working and performing -- that kind of stuff -- just working on some little independent stuff of my own. I have lots going on. I'm doing some writing -- all different sorts of thing. But mainly, I'm going to be hitting the modeling as soon as I can.
Reality TV World: You seemed frustrated and a little upset when you were trying on clothes for the runway challenge for fashion designer Noureddine Amir. How long did it take them to find you something to wear and how would you say the whole process went over? Were people nice to you through the chaos or equally as frustrated as you? Did the struggle kind of lower your spirits a little?
Kasia Pilewicz: Yeah. They were not very nice to me at first. It took a long time. I was just really surprised. I was like, "Oh, that's so weird. All the other go-sees had my size. They know my exact measurements. It's so strange that oddly enough, nothing in the store fits me."
Your mind goes to different places, whatever, but it took awhile and the women who were helping dress us -- the dressers -- didn't speak English. So, there was a bit of a language barrier there, but you know how there's non-verbal communication.
I could definitely get a sense of them like really disliking me and kind of -- that's what I was referring to when I was like they were thinking, "What the hell is she doing here?" -- I was referring to the people working there. They were kind of not acting nice to me. When nothing was fitting me, they were like ripping the stuff off me and yelling, "No, no, no, no, no," -- disgusted.
That was really difficult to handle so I was just trying to keep it together. Eventually, the designer came over and was trying to find something that would work. He was really sweet about it. He was really nice. I finally found a skirt that fit, and then I had to take deep breaths, compose myself and walk for [Top Model judge Andre Leon Talley].
I was proud of myself that I could pull it together, make a good impression on Andre Leon Talley, and I did that. I think it took a lot to not just completely breakdown there. You gotta stay professional. You need to keep it together.
Reality TV World: You mentioned the fitting problem had never happened to you on a go-see before, so was that the only time you encountered a problem with the clothes during your time on America's Next Top Model considering all the photo shoots you participated in and everything?
Kasia Pilewicz: No, that was the first time. They normally had stuff specifically for each of us, so no.
Reality TV World: You came across on the show as having a lot of modeling experience prior to Top Model. Did being a plus-size model ever present the same or similar problems for you during your past that occurred on the show and how did you overcome such adversities?
Kasia Pilewicz: I have. I mean, I've heard the nicest things said about me and I've heard really horrible things said about me, so both extremes. It's really hard at first when you start modeling. I just kind of learned that you really can't take it personal, you have to have a thick skin, and slowly, you kind of build up that thick skin.
So, it's helped me in that way that I've had all this experience already and I've been through those initial bits of criticism. I mean, for the most part, plus-size models get sent on plus-size castings, and my look lends itself a little bit more to high fashion than most of the models that were at least on my board.
So, I would get sent out on castings with straight-size models, so of course it's stuff like that. Sometimes, people are not so accepting of that or they're just not so responsive, but some people are. Some people are so excited, and that's the great thing.
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with straight-size models, but I think a little mixture once in awhile is great. Women love seeing that. They love seeing like, "She's wearing this and it looks great on her and another girl's wearing this with a different body type -- awesome."
They just like to be represented a little more and I think that's where the industry is going, but as far as my personal experiences, I've had some times that were not the best -- not that easy to deal with -- but that's how you learn to handle it basically. There's no other way than to know it's not personal. You are kind of a product when you are a model.
Reality TV World: You talked a lot about what you'd like to do in the future, but could you talk now about what you've done in the past? What modeling experience did you have before Top Model?
Kasia Pilewicz: Yeah, yeah, sure. So, I was with, most recently before the show, was Wilhelmina. I did some high fashion stuff including V Magazine, the big editorial everybody knew. I did a fashion show with them, with V-Man, with a lot of top models, like supermodels were in it. It was an amazing eclectic mix of models. I got to open that show, which was really cool.
I've done New York Fashion Week at Bryant Park -- recently moved to Lincoln Center -- but what else? I was in Seventeen [Magazine] seven or eight times. I've done a lot of TV stuff like [Live with Regis & Kelly] and the Rachael Ray Show, The Early Show, that kind of stuff -- those kinds of segments, which are always cool because you have celebrity stylists or something talking about new fashion.
But then that's kind of the everyday stuff, like the catalog stuff, and then every once in awhile you get a V Magazine spread and stuff. I'm just hoping -- that's what I've done in the past -- and I just hope that stuff is going to come more frequently for me now.
Reality TV World: During the photo shoot on the camels, you said you got self-conscious about how your body and posing, but viewers haven't really seen that attitude from you yet this season. You always seem very confident. So besides the camel, what do you think made this photo shoot more difficult from the rest and why all of a sudden were you so aware of your body and how it looked?
Kasia Pilewicz: It had a little to do with coming off that designer go-see or casting challenge, and I don't know how to put it, but it's like you see the effects but you don't see the cause. So, it was certain things -- I think it came off like it was my inner critic -- and all this stuff all of a sudden like I'm down on myself and have a poor body image, which isn't true.
It's just enough things were coming at me with outside critics saying stuff enough to break me down. I finally just had a little moment of weakness and unfortunately, that's what people got to see. Me on the camel, looking super awkward, was so misleading I thought because that's not really when I was posing.
I was between moments, and if you really pay attention and you see me moving my scarf to the other side, that wasn't a pose. That was an in-between moment where the photographer wasn't shooting. So, I thought it was just a little misleading, making me look all awkward and uncomfortable.
Yeah, like, it got to the point where everything I was doing I would get criticism from someone telling me my body looks bad.
I know I had some really great shots, so it was out of the blue because I am so confident, and I do so good, and I know how to pose, and I know I had some stuff that worked with the camel and with that horizontal striped outfit -- which everybody knows, it's horizontal stripes -- with a baggy middle.
Reality TV World: Yeah, not so flattering (Laughs)
Kasia Pilewicz: I worked as hard as I could, yeah. They didn't make it easy for me.
Reality TV World: So, basically the criticism from people and what happened at the fitting discouraged you a little, right?
Kasia Pilewicz: Yeah. I think it was what I had to work with, but I do think it kept me discouraged, yes. I would take it as discouraged.
Reality TV World: Right after you were eliminated, Tyra told you she loved editing your film but found it to be so inconsistent. What was your reaction to that and why do you think you would have such good pictures one week and then questionable ones another?
Kasia Pilewicz: I felt mixed messages a lot when I was on the set and then at panel. Like for example, the shoot with the group -- the mud shoot where it was blondes versus brunettes -- I heard the whole time that I was looking from Mr. Jay [Manuel] that I wasn't looking right, nothing I was doing was working, and I was awkward. And I felt great. I thought I was working it.
Then I got to panel and Tyra was like, "Your film blew me away. It was unbelievable." I was like, "Thank you! That's what I thought!" So, there was a little -- I know I'm not the only girl who thought that -- I feel like Mikaela had that every week. She was like, "Wait a minute, I heard two different things and sometimes it's just kind of a weird discrepancy."
I don't know, but the inconsistency -- you hear one thing onset and you hear a lot of criticism -- for me specifically, it's always harping on my body. I think I know how to work my body like, so at a certain point, sometimes I let it go and do my thing and at panel, they love it.
So, it's kind of learning to balance those things. I think that's where the inconsistency came in. It's not really how it is. At a real shoot when you're out working as a model in the regular world, you usually are a little bit more involved. Like here, you can't look at your own pictures.
It's just very different, and it's very much just like you are out of control. It's the nature of the competition, but that's just not how it is and it's very different from the way people work when you're on a job -- just booked on a job as a model that's not in a modeling competition.
Reality TV World: Touching upon what you said about the "weird discrepancy" between the comments you girls received at panel versus the photographers or Mr. Jay onset, when I previously talked to Mikaela, she said there seemed to be a disconnect there in that the feedback she received would be often be opposite -- one's positive and the other negative. It sounds like you agree that information gets lost in translation, so did you feel there was a gap between what the experts told you at the shoots versus at panel and how do you think that happened? Do you believe it could have just been a lack of communication or some other reason?
Kasia Pilewicz: I can't really say for sure because I don't know. I don't know if it's just a complete difference of opinion. I don't know if it's made to get certain things to happen. I can't really say. I have my suspicions, but I don't know. I have no answer for that... I wish I knew. It would have made my life easier.
Reality TV World: During the camel photo shoot, you told Jay you really want to be a high fashion model but that a lot of it just doesn't work for you. Could you talk about what exactly doesn't work for you and why?
Kasia Pilewicz: I was referring to his comments to me throughout the shoot, because everything I was doing was sort of not working and that was like a little bit confusing to me. I have that awareness and I know what works for my body and what doesn't, and yeah, it's a little different on a camel.
But like I said, what you saw were kind of awkward in-between moments and that's not true to what my shoot was, unfortunately. Yeah, so what I was saying was referring to the way he had been critiquing me throughout the shoot.
I know I want to be -- I am a high fashion model -- I want to do this, but you're basically telling me nothing I'm doing with my body is working in a rude way. So, I heard that throughout the shoot.
Reality TV World: Alexandria tended to fall in the middle of the pack throughout the show and was mostly just portrayed as the villain, but now it seems like she has really stepped up her game except for landing in the bottom two this week. How do you view her improvement in the competition and what were your impressions of her while on the show?
Kasia Pilewicz: (Laughs) Well, like I said during the episode, I was surprised like, "People like her, apparently." It just surprised me. My first impressions of her were not the best. You know, when I got to know her a little better she has -- and I told her straight up -- she has different sides to her. I like one. I don't like the other.
I don't treat people badly. That's not okay with me. Regardless of whether it's on camera or not, don't be rude to people onset, don't be rude to the crew -- that's not okay in my book. Unfortunately, she seemed to be rewarded for her behavior sometimes.
Maybe that's not the intention, but it was kind of like confusing. She's middle of the pack. She had some really good photos. She had some that were just like, whatever. But, I don't know. I wasn't thinking she would stay over me. I think that was pretty obvious.
I kind of felt like based on the behavior, if that happened again -- bad behavior onset -- then for sure, she was going to go home. So, that's why I was really shocked that she got chance after chance after chance to change her ways and that was my first time in the bottom two. I never even got a second shot.
Reality TV World: During the Warriors in Pink photo shoot, do you think Brittani was justified in speaking up like that because she was so fed up with Alexandria at the time or do you agree with the judges that she should have internalized her opinions and waited to get home to express how she felt? How do you think that compares or contrasts from Brittani's subsequent breakdown at panel?
Kasia Pilewicz: I think it's all lack of experience and immaturity. I was feeling upset too, but I knew better than to have an outburst onset. A side of me was like, "Okay, yeah. She's stating her opinions. Good for her."
But the way she went about it was not right. She knows that. We all know that. They shouldn't have started yelling at each other. That's just inappropriate. I think it's common sense. But maybe not. They just let it get to them and let their emotions take over.
I don't know, but I think the judges took it too far in panel. I think it was blown way out of proportion and it was a little bit much the way they went attacking her. I just think the whole thing was completely blown out of proportion and it shouldn't have ever of gotten to that point to where it was this big huge thing.
Reality TV World: While you were in the competition, who did you see having the best skills and most modeling potential to make it all the way until the end? Has your opinion changed since you've been watching the show at all?
Kasia Pilewicz: Yeah, I guess certain people now, I think that I would say that I'm a little surprised. Throughout the competition, I was like, "If I want anybody to win it, it's Jaclyn." I wanted -- I think she's the sweetest thing ever -- if anybody deserved it, she'd been improving and she's like so nice to everybody and really great to work with.
It's sad that she had to go home. I didn't see that coming either. It's like time after time, I think it was kind of interesting to see who was going home, but she'd be my pick. But yeah, I don't know. It's just different to see everybody on camera, but I also know them from experiences we had.
Sometimes things were edited in a certain way makes people look different. I know there's that aspect to it, so I don't -- until I talk to them, I'm not going to judge them on things they say just on TV.
Kasia Pilewicz: I was asked to audition by them. I guess they knew about me and called me in, and then I went to the New York audition and then the callback the next day. Then I went to LA a few weeks later, and then onto the show! (Laughs) -- after the mean little trick they played on us.