Exclusive: Lisa D'Amato talks 'America's Next Top Model' (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/14/2011
Lisa D'Amato was crownedAmerica's Next Top Model'swinner of its first ever all-stars edition during last week's broadcast of The CW reality competition's seventeenth-season finale.
On Friday, the 30-year-old who previously appeared on Top Model's fifth season, talked to Reality TV World about her America's Next Top Model victory and overall experience -- including whether she stands by her claims that runner-up Allison Harvard wasn't passionate about modeling, why she believes she had ultimately won the competition, and what characteristic she feels disqualified finalist Angelea Preston lacked in the competition to be successful in the entertainment industry.
Below is the second half of our exclusive interview with Lisa. Click here to read the first portion.
Reality TV World: During the finale episode, Allison said she mainly wanted to go on the show for the exposure and had many interests besides just modeling. Many of the girls this season have criticized Allison's passion for modeling and even said she hated runway modeling. What's your opinion on that? Would you say maybe she didn't deserve to win because she wasn't very passionate about modeling?
Lisa D'Amato: Well, it was definitely difficult to be in a competition with Allison when you genuinely can see that she's not enjoying it.
Reality TV World: Could you talk about why you think the judges ultimately picked you over Allison? It seemed like they preferred your CoverGirl ad over Allison's and your final runway performance, but do you think other things weighed into their decision as well?
Lisa D'Amato: Yeah, I think that I was crowned the All Star because my genuine love for this industry and the performing arts and being a model, actress, quadruple threat is genuine. It's undeniable. You can see it in my eyes that I love every single moment of every single day of everything they throw at us. And not to mention, they also know what I've been working on over all these years.
They've seen me on Perez Hilton. They've seen me in my music videos and they're checking my IMDB. It's funny because you're in a competition and girls are like, "Oh!" As soon as it was a music challenge, "Oh, I've always wanted to record music! I've always wanted to do this!" And it's like, "Oh wow, really? Okay, so you've never been in a studio. Oh, you've never written a song. Interesting."
It's like check my Myspace music page. And then it's an acting challenge and it's like, "Oh, I've always wanted to act!" Well, "Oh really? That's so funny. You never did a workshop. You never had any training or you've never gone on a commercial audition. Interesting. Check my IMDB." You know what I mean? So that's kind of where I always stood with it.
Reality TV World: Do you think one of the reasons why the judges ended up picking you was because they had an idea that you wanted it so much more than Allison?
Reality TV World: You and Allison were clearly complete opposites in many respects. You were known for being daring and outgoing, while Allison was very introverted. How much of a surprise was it to you that two polar opposites ended up in the Top 2 fighting for the All-Star title? Do you think that was a sign at all that the judges weren't entirely sure what they were looking for in their winner from the beginning of the competition?
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Lisa D'Amato: No, I think that it was so beautiful that the All Stars was embracing such different eclectic, dynamic personalities and beauties and they weren't embracing just something that was conventional, and they were really pushing the envelope. I thought that that was beautiful and I loved being a part of it.
Reality TV World: You were shown saying a couple times throughout the season that you felt like all Allison had to do to succeed in photo shoots was just look at the camera because her eyes were very unique and captivating. It seemed like whether her eyes were open or closed, most of the time, the judges loved her work. Do you still stand by that comment, and if so, how frustrating was that for you throughout the season? Do you think she didn't have to work as hard as the rest of you to get a good shot because she had such unique natural qualities?
Lisa D'Amato: I think Allison is definitely a force to be reckoned with, but at the same time, luck is definitely on her side. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: What was your reaction Nigel Barker and Andre Leon Talley both really liked your CoverGirl commercial but Tyra Banks didn't? She said you only gave 50% percent of yourself in your performance and she wanted more of your personality, but what did you think about it? Did you agree with Tyra that you could have done more or would you argue that it was just right?
Lisa D'Amato: I definitely gave them a bunch of different takes that were a lot different than what was shown on the show. I can't control what they pick, but there's always, always room for improvement -- always in life. I'm not perfect.
Reality TV World: Your personal brand on the show was daring and your wild side really came through during the season -- which is great -- but some viewers feel that isn't really a good fit for Express's branding, which is kind of sophisticated and reserved. What are your thoughts about that? Do you think your personal brand is a good fit with the Express brand or do you understand the perception that they clash a little?
Lisa D'Amato: I think that Express is all about embracing who you are and being unique and being confident. The name is "Express" and one thing that I do all day long is try to find creative ways to express myself. So, I think that it's a perfect fit.
Reality TV World: You seemed very disappointed when you got the second call-out at panel during the week when you girls had to star in your own music videos. That particular episode concentrated heavily on how you thought you owned that challenge and needed to win it because you thought music was your strong suit. When Allison ended up winning, your face kind of dropped at the announcement, so how were you feeling in that moment? Were you a little angry you didn't win because you felt music was your niche or was that not the case?
Lisa D'Amato: I won the songwriting challenge. I'm not in control of how they're going to film our videos.
Reality TV World: Okay, so you were basically just very happy with the fact you had won the songwriting challenge, right?
Lisa D'Amato: Yeah, absolutely, and being a performer in my video, I definitely think I did a really great job. But it's also a challenge that people just thought that I had the upper hand in, but a lot of the time in challenges, because I am who I am, they're just like, "Okay, let's just let Lisa go" whereas a lot of the other girls get a lot of direction. So, it kind of evens out the playing field.
Reality TV World: What does your music career look like at this point? Are you still planning to heavily pursue music or are you more focused on modeling right now? Which aspect of entertainment do you have more of a passion for?
Lisa D'Amato: What I'm the most passionate about is being the ultimate extreme Lisa D'Amato extraordinaire. I, of course, music, it speaks to the masses. It has no language barriers and I definitely want to broaden the dance floor worldwide for me and everyone with my music.
But with being the ultimate celebrity brand personality, comes with everything -- photo shoots, interviews, and being able to sit across from Chelsea Lately and Jay Leno to do an interview, to being the spokesperson for CoverGirl and representing a fragrance line -- those are all things that are right up my alley and I couldn't be more prepared, more thrilled, more appreciative, and more ready to execute it and take it to the stars.
Reality TV World: You kept insisting during the show that you didn't think Angelea had enough confidence to be crowned America's Next Top Model's All-Star. You said she broke down way too often and had to stay fierce during all times no matter the circumstances. Looking back, do you back your claims and would you say you were surprised that the judges kept advancing Angelea throughout the competition despite her frequent breakdowns?
Lisa D'Amato: This industry is very cruel. That's the nature of the beast and one thing that I have that I have earned from also coming from a very humble background -- but luckily I did get therapy -- is something that is priceless and that is thick skin. To be in this industry, you need that.
Reality TV World: So what's next for you now? I'm assuming you already shot the Express ad and CoverGirl parts of your prize package, but what's in store for you?
Lisa D'Amato: Oh, I have a lot of work to do. 2012 was already, before All Stars, was already going to be a huge, huge breakout year for me in the entertainment industry with my own unveiling of a TV project that I've been working on. Also, this iPhone -- I have a free iPhone app that everyone can download on their iPhones called "Earth to Lisa."
You can watch me in all my exclusive videos of my adventures in Hollywood. I have my second album -- "Flipping the Bird" -- with the producers like The Cataracs, who produced "Fly Like a G6" [among others]. My video for "Whiplash" was produced by The Cataracs and it comes out soon.
So watch out for that! And then now, I also have all the prizes fromAmerica's Next Top Model All Stars and I'm now excited to turn them and create them into more opportunities. I'm just going to drive all these opportunities into the ground and take it to the stars and back.