Exclusive: Laura LaFrate talks about 'Top Model: British Invasion (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/07/2012
Laura LaFrate, a 5' 10 1/2" 20-year-old from Scotia, NY, finished as the runner-up during last Wednesday night's finale broadcast of America's Next Top Model: British Invasion on The CW.
Laura was beaten out for the Top Model title by British model Sophie Sumner, a 5' 9" 21-year-old from Oxford, England.
On Friday, Laura talked to Reality TV World about her experience on the show and coming in second place -- including whether she and Laura had any idea the show was shooting their CoverGirl commercials throughout the whole season, whether she ever apologized and befriended Eboni again, how she left her rocky relationship with Kyle, and what she wished America's Next Top Model had addressed about her past as to not portray the wrong message about her life to viewers.
Reality TV World: The judges said Top Model took candid photos and shot random film of you girls throughout the entire season to use in your CoverGirl commercials. However, you girls seemed to be aware when you were being filmed or photographed because you were posing and smiling and such. So were you girls told at the beginning of the competition how the CoverGirl commercial was going to work or did it really come as a surprise to you when Jay Manuel said you basically had already shot most of the commercial?
Laura LaFrate: It was very strange because we'd be doing challenges and random things like that, and they told us that they were just going to be random little clips or random things just to show that we had the product from the show. But we didn't know that it was actually going to be for the CoverGirl commercial.
We just knew that it was somehow going to be product placement. (Laughs) So, it was a little bit of a surprise at the end, because it's like, here I am with no makeup on, my hair is all a mess -- it's like "Oh my God! I probably would've showered if I had known that."
Reality TV World: You seemed to become pretty good friends with Sophie, but throughout the season, Sophie was one of the girls who really thrived on being competitive and often joked about the other girls where she'd get herself involved in a little bit of drama. It seemed like Alisha was her sidekick for awhile, so what did you think of all the drama in the house? Looking back, do you feel like some of the girls went too far at times or did you kind of see it as being harmless throughout the season?
Laura LaFrate: You know, I really believe it's the situation we're in. Half the girls have never done this before. You're cut off from your family for awhile -- no TV, no cell phone, you can't listen to music -- it's all really the situation, and every girl takes it differently. Yeah, there's drama, but I gotta say, I don't think it was as bad as most people believe it was.
I think the biggest thing was really truthfully that some people just needed to focus on something. They needed something to take that stress out on, and sometimes it was just somebody talking about somebody else. But at the end of the day, it's just a small part of our lives. This does not define who we are or what we're going to do with our lives.
Reality TV World: You seemed to have the biggest problem with Eboni this season because you thought she was very vain and what not. Could you talk a little bit about what your relationship was like with her and was there ever a time you two kind of squashed your beef and became friends again or no?
Laura LaFrate: I apologized actually about a month ago because they had put in a clip where I told her that I just didn't like her, and I was like, "You know what? We were all under stressful situations. I think you are a good person." And I told her that and I made my apology.
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But really, on the show, she was like a little sister kind of type -- just very -- you know when a little sister tries to get into the group and she gets really excited and kind of crazy to get attention?
I felt like that's what it was, and I never had a little sister, so it was weird kind of dynamic for me. I don't feel bad about what I said at the time, but you know, I did apologize for it because she's got her own things and I've got my own things, but I wish her all the best in life.
Reality TV World: Were there any other girls you happened to not get along with well while you were on the show or had issues with? It seems like besides Eboni, Seymone and Kyle were also some big targets this season for a trash talking.
Laura LaFrate: (Laughs) I think that my opinion of Kyle was just never a good one. It was just one of those things where two people -- I just think me and Kyle's personalities didn't match up and there's nothing you can really do about that. I don't think it's a bad thing.
There will be some people in this world you just don't get along with and after everything that happened between us, it was just one of those things where it's not something -- I just feel like I said my piece, you have a great life, I'll have a great life, but I don't think we're ever going to be friends kind of thing, you know? But she's got her own stuff and I wish her the best as well.
And then with Seymone, I feel like the angry [moments] she had, I feel like those were just brought on by the fact she was inexperienced to the modeling world and any ridicule that did happen was mostly because all of us had been modeling before.
It was very frustrating to kind of get through her head what's going to happen and what you're going to feel like after all the disappointment. She was kind of unwilling to listen to us, and that was the biggest thing.
Reality TV World: Many of the girls I've talked to this season told me they thought AzMarie was their biggest competition right up until her elimination. Do you think if AzMarie chose to participate in that booty-tooch activity and survived that week, do you think the outcome of the season might've been different? Do you think she had the potential to maybe have stolen your spot in the finale or claimed victory in the end instead of Sophie?
Laura LaFrate: No, I definitely think that she was an extremely fierce competitor and I don't know how the season would've turned out personally if she had stayed, but at the same time, when it comes to ads -- she's just got her own style and personality.
This show gave her a little bit of exposure and she's just going to blow up. She is a very unique different kind of person... In my eyes, I think nothing is going to stop her.
Reality TV World: During the show, you mentioned a few times what you went through as a kid and your parents struggling with alcoholism and such. I don't find a need to make you rehash any of that, but is there anything you'd like to share with our readers that maybe the show didn't address? Is there something you wished your fans knew about your past that the show didn't air?
Laura LaFrate: I think my biggest thing is that the show really made it seem as if my parents were still in that state. I did tell them that my parents were sober for two years and that's why I was just so proud of them. Also the fact that they would cut and edit it to make it look bad I guess. I feel like I've got support from my parents right now, which is beyond the truth.
They're very supportive, they're excellent, they're loving, they're my inspiration. And that's the one big thing that I want people to know about the show -- is that I cherish my parents and I think they're absolutely incredible. You've gotta give people the room to grow and they really did. I can't thank them enough for being such a wonderful example for me to grow up to.
Reality TV World: Tyra Banks fired Nigel, Miss J. and Jay Manuel, and they won't be returning for Top Model's next season. And The CW recently announced Rob Evans will be a new judge and stylist Johnny Wujek will be the new creative consultant. What are your thoughts on that and how big of a loss do you think it's going to be for the show to have Nigel, Miss J. and Mr. Jay. all missing from the action? Also, what do you think of the new additions?
Laura LaFrate: I definitely think there comes a time when you need to press the "refresh" button and do different things and spice it up. I think Jay and Miss J. and Nigel -- they're all guys who have tons of things going on. Jay with his line, Nigel with his photography -- they all do brilliant things.
I think they have a 50/50 chance next season whether it gets picked up or the ratings continue to kind of [drop]. Truthfully, I don't know. But I didn't even watch the show before I went on it.
Reality TV World: What's next for you? What are your plans for the near future?
Laura LaFrate: Oh, I'm already on that train to modeling work. I'm now going into New York City and there's a couple agencies that I'm deciding against -- like which one I want. I've also started my own T-shirt line... I might be on a new reality show that just started filming at the end of the year. There's a bunch of different things.
I've been doing commercials and I've been doing shoots. I'm just so happy right now and after awhile, I will be going back to Hong Kong to be on the set of something I had won on the show. So yeah, I just don't stop. (Laughs)