On Thursday, Laura talked to Reality TV World about what area she thought she was better than Nicole in; if she's recovered from being "crushed" by her finale defeat; her thoughts about a contestant who was tall enough to be eligible for Top Model's earlier seasons winning the "petite edition;" and how the show will help her to continue to pursue her dream.
Reality TV World: What was going through your mind right before the final judging panel? Were you confident you'd be able to beat Nicole?
Laura: Well at first I really was. I was like, "My personality is really strong compared to Nicole's." So I was like, "I might really win this thing. I'm confident." But then again in the back of my mind I was like, "Well I really haven't [been called out first at any previous panels], except for Cirque du Soleil -- and that was kind of iffy because it was a group shot and I didn't really get [my photo] displayed in the house." So at the same time I was thinking, "How could I win without [ever] having the best photo of the week?"
It was tough. I really didn't know what to expect.
Reality TV World: How did you handle it when Tyra Banks revealed Nicole as the winner?
Laura: I cried like a baby. I was so hurt. I was crushed. I thought my life was over. But the next morning I woke up and I was like, "It's going to be all okay Laura." I know it's going to be okay because I know I'm going to work a lot and I'm really confident -- even if I don't have the title of America's Next Top Model. I will be a model. That's my dream, is to be a model.
Reality TV World: Why do you think the judges chose Nicole over you?
Laura: Umm... I guess because she did have really strong... My pictures were pretty strong, but hers were really strong. That's really the best thing I can come up with. (laughing)
Reality TV World: While you were consistently one of the judges' favorite finalists this season, so was Nicole. Did you view her as your biggest competition?
Laura: At first, I thought she was going to be sent home for her personality problem. She never talked at first! But she finally opened up and she's a nice girl. Then I kept seeing her pictures. Every time with the judges, she could do no wrong in front of them. They really saw her as perfect.
Reality TV World: Was there anything more you think you could have done to improve your chances of winning?
Laura: Sometimes I still second-guess myself about some of the photo shoots. I think maybe I could have done this or I could have done that and I really could have pushed myself more. I just held back because I was a little bit insecure I guess because living with your competition really gets to you sometimes.
But now that I can go out and be a model I know that I will be good in my professional photos shoots because I won't have any competition around me.
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Reality TV World: Were you surprised you stayed around during last week's double elimination?
Laura: When it got to the Top 4 or 5, I really did not know what to expect. I wouldn't have been surprised if I went home because they were all doing so good. But then again, I was like, "I haven't been in the bottom two. So hopefully I can just keep pushing forward and win this whole thing."
Reality TV World: How did your grandma feel about all the attention on the show? Does she have any interest in becoming a designer?
Laura: My grandma's so stressed -- she wanted to kill me at first. She goes, "Laura, look what you have done!" (laughing) I was like, "Well grandma that's my everyday life! I had to say it and stuff!" But no she's not looking for any day jobs or anything. But if she did get special requests for clothes or anything she would do it because she ain't going to turn down the money.
Reality TV World: Do you feel you were portrayed accurately on the show?
Laura: Oh yeah, I think I was portrayed more accurately than anybody. I was really happy with it.
Reality TV World: Is there a specific reason why?
Laura: Not really, just that I know [Kara Vincent and Sundai Love] maybe were made a bit meaner than they was, but everything somebody says is kind of behind the back. Sundai would say it to your face, but it kind of made it luck like she was saying it behind my back. She wasn't like that.
I know Kara, she said a lot of things about Nicole, but I would kind of think that she has a reason to because I know that Nicole had said something about Kara's labia -- and that's really hurtful. So I didn't blame Kara for saying all that stuff. Everybody thought, "Kara's so mean," but she really wasn't -- she made was really sarcastic and really funny and they didn't get to see that side of her.
I was doing things like making people laugh -- I know that was portrayed a lot - -I'm really sweet to people, but I also can stand up for myself too.
Reality TV World: How were you cast for America's Next Top Model? Is it something you always wanted to apply for but never could because of the height requirement?
Laura: I've always wanted to be a model, period. I got online and looked at all the requirements and stuff that you had to do to be on America's Next Top Model. My height was an issue, so I didn't really apply for it. But it was a good thing I didn't because my time came.
When I heard about it I was in New York trying to model for my college spring break. My grandma called me and was like, "They're having 5' 7" and under tryouts in Chicago." So my car was broke down. So me and mama bought a $200 Cadillac and I packed my bags and said, "Mama, I'm going to Chicago." She's like, "Excuse me? Why?" I said, "Because I'm going to try out for America's Next Top Model."
It was spur of the moment. I just could not wait one minute longer to pursue my dreams. So I drove up there and for two days -- from 6AM to 2AM -- I just kept making it to round after round after round. Finally I got to a round where I filmed a tape for Tyra. They were like, "We might call you, we might not." They tell all the girls that. The next week I got a call to come out to L.A..
Reality TV World: You just mentioned the 5' 7" and under angle for this season, so what's your take on Nicole being 5' 7" and winning -- considering she could have applied to all of the previous seasons if she was old enough? Do you feel it was unfair that someone 5' 7" won?
Laura: Umm... No, not really. I'm just like half-an-inch from 5' 7" and you really do have to at least look tall. So it doesn't surprise me that they picked someone 5' 7".
Reality TV World: You've already discussed how it's your dream to model so I'm assuming that's next for you?
Laura: I'm going to go to wherever I believe I'm the most marketable and really pursue modeling hardcore. I just want to try to model as much as I possibly can. I really think I'll do a good job at it.