Exclusive: Leila Goldkuhl talks 'Top Model: College Edition' (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/25/2012
Leila Goldkuhl was eliminated from America's Next Top Model: College Edition during The CW's broadcast of the nineteenth season's fifth episode Friday night.
Leila, a 5' 11" unemployed 20-year-old student from Framingham, MA attending the University of Rhode Island, was ousted from the competition after she found herself in the bottom two alongside Brittany Brown based upon her total combined scores from the challenge, Top Model's three judges and home viewers' fan vote.
However, Leila will get to participate in most of the upcoming photo shoots against previously-eliminated contestants Destiny Strudwick, 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 Monday, Leila talked to Reality TV World about her America's Next Top Model: College Edition experience -- including how she explained being shocked but not shocked about her elimination, whether she blamed Kelly Cutrone's low score of four for her ouster, what she had to say about Kristin Kagay, and how she viewed her friendship with Laura James before and after watching the season's latest episode.
Below is the first half of Leila's interview. Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: After you got eliminated, you told Tyra Banks you thought you had a chance to go home because your photo shoot didn't go that well but yet you were beyond shocked to be out of the competition. Could you talk a little bit about how you were feeling in that moment? It sounds like you were somehow both surprised and not surprised at the same time.
Leila Goldkuhl: Yeah, I was very, very shocked because I had been doing so well and I expected myself to go further in the competition. I know my photo shoot didn't go as well, but a lot of the girls have made it through to next week with photo shoots that didn't go all that well.
So, I was very scared but I was still confident in myself. So seeing my elimination on the screen was just -- it was really hard and it was shocking. But I think when I realized I was probably really going home was when [Kelly Cutrone] gave me a four and I just didn't think that I would be able to recover from that.
Reality TV World: You weren't crying at all before the results were read aloud but Brittany was bawling. So do you think she assumed she was the one going home, and did her emotional reaction maybe persuade you even more to think you were safe?
Leila Goldkuhl: No, I was definitely trying my hardest to be strong. I really did have a feeling that I'd be going home just because the math of it. It just didn't add up. I knew I'd have to get a social media score much higher than Brittany's, and even though I was confident in having a higher social media score, I didn't think it would be all that much higher than Brittany's.
So, she was very upset and I was just telling her, "It's okay Brittany. It's okay. You're going on. You'll be okay." Because I knew. I knew it was my turn to go and I didn't want her to have to go through the pain of just thinking she was going home.
Reality TV World: Based upon the fact you did have a very high social media score, did that kind of worsen the blow of your elimination knowing that you had a lot of fans supporting you and you still got eliminated or did it actually make you feel a little better knowing you went out on kind of a high note?
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Leila Goldkuhl: I actually was so happy to see my high social media score because it just means that I do have fans out there, and it was positive for me because it made me feel good about the comeback series [of challenges] and that maybe I would still have a chance. And I did leave on a high note. Even though I had the lowest total score, I had one of the highest social media scores, so it's a win within a loss for me.
Reality TV World: The judges gave you a total score of 17. Seven points were from Rob Evans, six points were from Tyra and Kelly gave you four points, whereas Brittany got six's across the board. Considering you had a higher fan vote but Brittany had a higher challenge score than you, it seems like Kelly's low score of four is what put you under Brittany and caused your elimination. So do you kind of blame Kelly for ouster since she gave you such a low score?
Leila Goldkuhl: It was really upsetting when I saw Kelly's four. That totally threw me off, because I knew she wasn't going to give me the highest score, but the four was just ridiculously low. I mean, a four? I didn't think my picture was a four.
But at the same time, I know Kelly has told me from the beginning that she's holding me to a higher standard and she's going to expect a lot from me. And because of that, I think that's where the four came from. I don't think it was fair because I don't think that it was judged based on the picture. It was judged because she held me to a higher standard.
Reality TV World: Some viewers have commented that it seems like the judges just throw out random numbers when judging you girls, like whatever comes to the top of their heads. Do you feel that way? Do you think the judges throw out scores too carelessly and maybe didn't put enough thought into how that score could significantly affect which girl goes home?
Leila Goldkuhl: I know they do put a lot of thought into the scores they throw out, but at the same time, sometimes it is just like -- it seems so random. It's like, "Are you sure? Do you want to take a second to think over your score?"
But I know that they put thought into it and every score is picked for a certain reason. But yeah, it can feel like it's just random and they're not really putting thought into it. But I know that they're all invested in the competition.
Reality TV World: A strange storyline in this week's episode was how you and Laura seemed to be great friends but once Laura determined she wanted Kristin to join her in the Tyra suite, it seemed like Laura kind of started to talk about you as if you were creepy or something. Looking back on that friendship you had with Laura, or lack there of, what do you think was the turning point for Laura? When do you think she went from being your best friend to basically wanting to ignore you?
Leila Goldkuhl: Yeah, that was really weird for me, because I was feeling that this was going on just based on what some of the other girls were telling me. But I confronted her about it a couple of times and she assured me, "Oh, Kristin is putting a wedge between us, but it's fine. Don't worry about it."
But you can only say that for so long before it really kind of catches up to you and the truth comes out, and it really hurt because I did think we were friends, and in no way was I obsessing over her.
I just thought we had a lot in common and that we got along. Apparently, that was not the case. We may have a lot in common as far as activities and musical interests, but personality-wise, I don't think we were a good match for best friends.
Reality TV World: Would you attribute Laura's change of heart entirely to Kristin in that maybe Kristin planted those thoughts in her head that you were an "obsessive" friend into her mind? Do you think Laura was trying to get close to Kristin and therefore had to push you away? What are your thoughts on that?
Leila Goldkuhl: I don't blame Kristin entirely for it. I mean, Kristin has to be extremely manipulative to have [done] that. But when I saw Laura come into the room and say like, "[Leila] wrote me a note about why I should pick her," that was just uncalled for because that was a conversation I had between Laura [and I] when she had asked me who she should pick, because she felt bad and this and that. But I don't think it was right of her to say it like that, because that's just asking for gossip.
Reality TV World: I've talked to all the eliminated girls so far this season, and the consensus is that everyone thought Kristin was basically a bad person on the inside and didn't really deserve to be in the competition. Based upon Friday night's episode, I think it's safe to say you agree with that. (Laughs) But could you talk about why exactly most of the girls thought Kristin was so "ugly" and maybe give a couple examples? Because viewers haven't seen too much of that behavior from her yet.
Leila Goldkuhl: I mean, I think what has been shown shows what she is like most of the time. I mean, with every person, you could have your good moments -- you can have your bad moments. I think Kristin just has a lot of bad moments and I think she's just a little misguided and doesn't think before she speaks, and it could really hurt people's feelings.
It can really rub people the wrong way, and what you see in how she treats even [Johnny Wujek] and some of the other talent on the show, it's just, she can be a little disrespectful and that's really why people say she's a bad person.
Reality TV World: The judges clearly haven't seen that side to Kristin yet, except Johnny -- like you just mentioned -- made a couple comments like he thought she was kind of high maintenance and bossy during some of the photo shoots thus far. So do you think Kristin is going to drift through the competition fooling the judges or do you think they're going to figure out her true colors sooner rather than later?
Leila Goldkuhl: I think if enough gets back to the judges, they'll question it a little and they probably will see her true colors. But I mean, at panel, she's pretty respectful of the judges, so who knows.
Reality TV World: Kristin started off getting the highest social media scores of the season and then Laura joined her at the top after a bit, as did you. And it seemed like you and Laura started getting high ratings after you both had makeovers and became blondes. So I don't want to take anything away from your talent or credibility as a model, but do you think it's a little predictable of America to be voting so highly for the blondes in the competition? Do you think that's just a coincidence the blondes have had the best social media scores?
Leila Goldkuhl: Yeah, that is interesting. I've seen that a lot, but with my makeover particularly, I like my blonde hair and I like my brown hair. But it seemed to me that a lot of the fans liked my brown hair better and don't like my makeover.
So, I don't know if I'd be put in the blonde category because I'm not nearly as blonde as Kristin and Laura, but I wouldn't attribute my makeover to the whole blonde thing, because I know the majority of my fans miss my brown hair. (Laughs)
Above is the first half of Leila's interview. Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion.