Exclusive: Seymone Cohen-Fobish talks 'Top Model: British Invasion'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/02/2012
Seymone Cohen-Fobish, a 5' 11" 19-year-old from Augusta, GA, became the eighth girl eliminated from America's Next Top Model: British Invasion during last Wednesday night's broadcast on The CW.
On Friday, Seymone talked to Reality TV World about her America's Next Top Model: British Invasion experience and how she felt about all the drama that existed in the house amongst the girls -- including whether she was surprised to be eliminated, why she believed she wanted to win more than anyone else on the show, what made her so upset during casting sessions, how she surprisingly described her relationship with the other models, how a couple of girls tried to "break her down," and whether she was absolutely convinced an American or British model will win the whole thing.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised to be eliminated or did you somewhat see it coming beforehand based on your "Hello Kitty" photo shoot and being in the bottom two a couples times prior to that moment?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: Actually, I was surprised because I got good feedback from [Jay Manuel] during the photo shoot and I don't know. I just wasn't expecting it and I most definitely wasn't feeling that way, you know?
Reality TV World: In your final words, you seemed very frustrated because you said other girls should've been eliminated due to the fact they were ready to walk out and you had no intention to give up modeling. Would you mind talking about that a little bit and what you meant by that? Who were you referring to exactly?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: Well, it's just that some of the girls who were still in the house were talking about how they wanted to go home, and if they went home, it wouldn't matter because they had agencies that they were already with.
It's just that we had a group discussion already beforehand talking about the fact this meant the most to me and I wanted it the most, and I just thought it was kind of unfair. But life is unfair. It's not meant to be fair at all.
Reality TV World: Before Tyra Banks revealed your elimination, she said the judges were concerned you weren't taking the photo shoots and challenges seriously. Your face seemed shocked when she said that, so what was going through your mind at that point? Did that make you angry, because the show made it look like you always tried hard and wanted to be there badly.
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: I most definitely tried really hard to be there and I tried in all my photo shoots. I think mostly what she was referring to was the castings and to be honest, I was upset at the castings because the castings weren't even for me.
I really didn't see a point in me going if they weren't going to have me cast for anything, like that makes no sense at all, you know? Why send me to a casting when they won't even bring my size in clothes for me to try on and actually audition. I just don't understand why they'd do that, and then not only was it once, but it was twice.
And so, I was upset, and the girls didn't understand. They didn't know why I was upset, but nobody asked me. And so all they did was assume, "Oh she's upset because she didn't get a booking." No, I was upset because I didn't get to audition at all.
Reality TV World: So it kind of sounds like Tyra was confusing the fact that you were upset with you weren't taking the photo shoots and castings seriously, right? Those are two different scenarios to you right?
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Seymone Cohen-Fobish: I think it was a misunderstanding and I think if it was looked into or if I was asked exactly what was going on, then I think other people would have went home. But I'm pretty sure that she knows what she's doing. She's been running the show now for 18 cycles, so I can't tell her how to do her job.
Reality TV World: The season so far has showed a lot of you getting upset at times and getting into arguments with the other girls and stuff. Would you say the editing was pretty much accurate and it depicted your relationship with the girls well or do you think it focused on those types of situations so it made things look a lot worse than they really were?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: Actually, I got along with the girls very well and we were always laughing and stuff. They never even really showed me hanging out with them, and whenever we were really hanging out, I was just sitting there not saying anything -- which is not like me at all, because I talk a lot.
But I mean, it's editing and if you, I guess, get upset and they catch it, then they catch it. It's reality TV. It's what you signed up for when you signed those papers, and I'm okay with that. If people want to judge me off of a reality TV show, then that's their problem and that's their loss, because it's reality TV. It's far from real.
Reality TV World: It seemed like Mr. Jay took and ran with your complaints about the hair wig you had to wear during the "Hello Kitty" photo shoot. Do you think he blew your complaints out of proportion or would you say you shouldn't have said anything about it and regret speaking up?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: I don't regret saying anything at all -- at all. Actually, (laughs), it kind of suck when he was saying that. Because he was just like, "How do you feel?" And I was like, "Well, I'm in pain."
I was just ready to get on with the photo shoot and I was ready to go. I was excited, and again, I think nobody actually asked me exactly what I meant or anything, so it was taken out of context I guess. I mean, you can't change it now, so I just gotta live with it.
Reality TV World: Kyle said during the show you two were very close because the other girls often ganged up on you two. Viewers have seen a lot of footage in which the other girls bashed Kyle but they haven't seen as much about them talking about you prior to last night's episode. I know you just mentioned you got along with the girls well, so is it accurate to say you two did often separate yourselves from the group? Did the girls ever say things to your face that they were telling the cameras or each other behind your back?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: See, I wasn't aware of everything they had said behind my back, but we didn't separate ourselves at all. I was always either in the Jacuzzi with them or out at the pool or in the room -- like we had plenty of slumber parties in their rooms -- plenty of slumber parties.
The girls and I, we had this thing where I don't like when people talk behind my back. I just find it disrespectful, and so, if you have an issue with me, I'd very much like it if you just come to me and talk to me about it.
And that's understating what we had, like if we had an issue, we'd talk about it and I did just the same with them. Whether they listened or not, that was on them and that's when they got the bad out of me. (Laughs) But yeah, they said it to my face and they had no need to talk behind my back.
Reality TV World: When the girls did have a problem with you, do you think it was due to a personal issue in which maybe you guys had conflicting personalities, or do you think it was a result of the competitive atmosphere and they were just jealous of you or something like that?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: Oh, we're a very competitive bunch. We were very competitive, but at the end of the day, we never held a grudge against anybody and we never went to bed upset at each other. It was either in the beginning of the morning, "We're upset at you, okay? We're upset." But towards the afternoon, it was over and done with.
We were one big family and just like with families, you do have issues, you know? Being in a house with a bunch of girls with different personalities and emotions, all that is going to make you conflict with different people. But like I said, we never really -- They never really showed us having fun. We had a pizza party and they didn't show that. But like I said, it's reality TV!
Reality TV World: Did anything surprise you watching the season from home?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: No, not really. But I was, I guess, kind of surprised with some of the responses that the girls were saying in their confessionals, but the thing was, we all talked about it and we all still talk.
We Skype and everything, and they were like, "Well, we said this about you in our confessionals," and I told them, I was like, "Well, to be honest, you already know how I am. I didn't say a thing about you in my confessional. I didn't say a word about you in my confessionals."
So other than that, it was just the confessionals that surprised me, but it's not that big of a deal. It's a competition, so you're going to have some bashing going on.
Reality TV World: When I recently talked to AzMarie, she said she got along with the girls great just like you've been discussing, but she also said that Alisha and Sophie and some of the other British models had a "process of elimination within the house" outside of the judges' decisions in which they thought, "How can I make a girl cry?" Did you see that going on during your time on the show and what's your reaction to that? Would you agree with AzMarie?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: I don't think it was more so trying to make them cry. I think it was [the girls] trying to make them break down, and I'm not somebody who's easily broken. And so, I know Sophie would go and talk about my family and stuff like that. Because both of my parents are in the military and I hadn't seen them for a long time -- a very long time -- and it really didn't affect me.
And then she'd talk about the fact I was plus size, and I was just like, "You know what? I really don't care. I like to eat. It is what it is. Actually, I am normal-sized. If I was to walk on the streets and just be out, I am average-sized. I am a realistic size for women out there, and you're actually an unrealistic size because nobody walks around that small. Like, who's a double zero?"
You don't see many people like that. So, I mean, in a way, yeah. But it was also not just "try to make them cry." There was a lot more going on than what people think was going on -- a lot more.
Reality TV World: So going into the show as a plus size model, were you worried about potentially being at a disadvantage throughout the competition? If so, did it end up being as bad as you might've envisioned it to be at first?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: I wasn't worried about anybody. I'm not easily intimidated and I'm still not intimidated by any of them. It's just a competition and I'm a very confident person, and I feel if it was anybody's fault that I got eliminated, it was my own. I don't blame me getting eliminated on Sophie or Alisha -- none of them. It's my own fault.
Reality TV World: Who did you see as being your biggest competition while you were on the show, and at this point, do you see an American girl or a British girl taking the cake?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: I think a British girl is going to win. Personally, I think a British girl is going to win. I hope an American will win just because of the fact of how people would react to British girls being America's Next Top Model, you know? I hope an American girl wins, but I know a British girl's going to win.
Reality TV World: I'm sure you've heard the story by now, but Tyra has apparently fired Nigel Barker, Miss J. Alexander and Jay Manuel and they won't be returning for Top Model's next season. What are your thoughts on that and how big of a loss do you think it's going to be the show?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: I know it's not going to be the same at all, but to be honest, what season of America's Next Top Model is the same? I feel as if Tyra's a smart businesswoman. She's been doing the show for 18 cycles. She knows what she's doing. Nobody can tell her how to run her show.
You can't tell her what to do, and obviously she knows what's best. So, if she feels as if she needs to let some people go, then she needs to do what she needs to do. I wish the best for them actually, because they're amazing. They are so funny and they're cool, but yeah, it's her show.
Reality TV World: Do you think one of the three men leaving the show stands out to you as potentially being a bigger loss than the others for any reason?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: Well, I'm not exactly sure, you know? They're all very important...
Reality TV World: So you'd consider them to be equal basically?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: Yeah, they're all very important people to the show. Mr. Jay, he helps with the photo shoots. Miss J., Miss J. is the diva of walking, period. She will show you how to walk, and Nigel, he's a legendary fashion photographer. You can't get anybody better than that.
Reality TV World: Can you think of any people off the top of your head who might serve as good replacements for any of the three guys on the show?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: Not necessarily. I'm pretty anxious to see who she picks.
Reality TV World: Kelly Cutrone obviously replaced Andre Leon Talley on the judging panel this season. What were your thoughts about that? Were you disappointed Andre wouldn't be on the show? And did you really like Kelly and think she was a good judge or did you believe she was too harsh?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: Honestly, even though she wasn't feeling my walk and everybody thinks she was really hard on me, I like her, because she's really upfront. She's honest. She's not going to sugarcoat it. She's not going to baby you because you are an adult, so you need to take it like an adult.
If she thinks your walk is trash, then your walk is trash. And honestly, yeah, my walk is complete trash. I think she's -- I've never really worked with Andre, so I don't know. Until you work with somebody, you don't really have an opinion of them, so I can't base what I see off of the show because I can't judge him like that. So I really don't have a judgment on him.
Reality TV World: The show made it look like you barely had any experience prior to appearing on Top Model. Is that true? How much experience did you really have?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: None. (Laughs) I have never in my life modeled and it was (laughs) nerve-wracking, because I was so confused. But I think given the fact I'm still getting into it and I'm still learning about myself and I did this well in the competition, I feel as if when I do learn how to model some more and become fully comfortable with it, I'm going to be a force to reckon with.
Reality TV World: So it sounds like you're going to continue to pursue modeling then, right? Is that your plan for the future right now?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: That is my plan for my future, my life. It's just my dream. I'm going to model whether you like it or not.
Reality TV World: How did you end up on America's Next Top Model? What was that process like for you and was it your first time applying for the show?
Seymone Cohen-Fobish: It was my first and only time. I actually auditioned for the wrong cycle on accident. I didn't know that it was going to be the all-stars cycle, so I sent in my pictures to Tyra and I also sent it in through The CW to the producers.
And Tyra, and the producers, picked me to come onto the show. And I went through the audition process in Atlanta, because I was going to college in Georgia, and went through the audition process with about 600 girls. And then 30 made it through and were just waiting to be called. I knew there were auditions in multiple different states, so I was just like, "Oh, I hope I get it. Oh my gosh, I hope I get it."
I didn't get a callback, and so I was thinking, "Oh they found somebody else" -- just different things like that. And I was just like, "Oh that's horrible. I really want to be on this show."
I was like devastated and then I got a call and they were asking me if I wanted to audition for Cycle 18, and I was like, "Wait, do I have to go through that whole process again?" And they're just like, "No, just re-do your papers and come on through."
So I sent in my papers and they flew me out to California for the auditions. And then we got to the hotel, we had to do this big audition process of walking, and then we finally got to meet Tyra. And when I met Tyra, I didn't see her at first. I was looking at all of the producers and was talking to them and then I looked again, like a double take, and I freaked out. It was crazy.