Exclusive: Sophie Sumner talks about her 'Top Model: British Invasion' victory (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/06/2012
Sophie Sumner, a 5' 9" 21-year-old from Oxford, England, was crowned America's Next Top Model's first-ever British winner during Wednesday night's finale broadcast on The CW.
Sophie beat out runner-up Laura LaFrate, a 5' 10 1/2" 20-year-old from Scotia, NY, for America's Next Top Model: British Invasion's title.
On Friday, Sophie talked to Reality TV World about her experience on the show and her victory -- including whether she agreed that Seymone wanted to win the competition more than anybody, how she felt about her pink hair and whether there was ever a time she was ready to throw in the towel and give up on modeling.
Below is the concluding portion of our exclusive interview with Sophie. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: When I talked to Seymone earlier this season, she said basically all the girls remaining in the competition following her ouster didn't care to win America's Next Top Model because they all had agencies at home to go back to. She said she wanted to win more than anyone. So would argue that you wanted to win all along or did it become more important to you as it got closer and closer to the end?
Sophie Sumner: No, I definitely went into that to kind of win it, but I mean, lots of girls did -- American girls had agencies, the British girls had agencies -- but for us Brits, it's a big thing for us.
The prize isn't just the agency. It's Extra and the single and it's the fragrance and CoverGirl. There's more to it than that, but Seymone, she'll do really, really well. She's studying and she's got other things on her plate. I hope she pursues it, but who knows.
Reality TV World: You were one of the girls this season that seemed to thrive on the competitive atmosphere and often joke about the other girls. It seemed like Alisha was kind of your sidekick in that for awhile, so would you mind addressing that? Looking back, do you think your competitive side kind of got the best of you at times and do you regret any of your behavior or do you stand by everything you said or did?
Sophie Sumner: I think I stayed out of the drama quite a lot. (Laughs) I didn't think I was really involved in that much drama. Lots of the girls kind of had things going on, but I thought I managed to stay clear of it quite well. (Laughs)
But yeah, I think I managed to stay out of it. But it's a competitive competition and there's no point in being in the competition if there's not going to be that hint of competitiveness. But I just had fun. I enjoyed it. I've made some great lifelong friends and I don't think it ever spun out of control. I thought it was all very tongue and cheek.
Reality TV World: You just said you made a lot of friends this season, but a lot of the girls seemed to have an issue with Eboni, Seymone and Kyle earlier on. Could you talk about that a little? Did you get along with them or did you personally have a problem with either one of them in particular?
Sophie Sumner: No, I think in the house in general, everyone did get along quite well. It was after kind of no sleep and everything and people snapped and they probably wouldn't have in normal life said the things they said oncamera.
But I always talked to Laura, I always talked to Annaliese, Ashley -- there are loads of girls there -- and I hope we all do get to meet up again. It's such a special experience and we all share it together. So, it would be really sad if none of us stayed friends.
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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? Not to diminish your win at all, do you think she could've taken Laura's spot or maybe even your own in the Final 2?
Sophie Sumner: Who knows! Who knows. You could say that about anyone. You could say that about Seymone or anyone. There's just so many factors that contribute. But AzMarie is definitely destined to go far. She's got an amazing strong look, she takes amazing photos -- but who knows what could've gotten in her way that she might not have been able to do. So I think you can't tell these things. It's so difficult when you're in the house.
Reality TV World: You came into the competition platinum blonde and then they dyed your hair pink. Do you really like your pink hair or do you think it might give you some trouble when attempting to book go-sees or photo shoots in the future? And do you plan to keep it pink or no?
Sophie Sumner: Oh, I'm actually blonde at the moment but I love the pink hair so much! It just fades so quickly. When I got it done, it was like three days later I was back to blonde again. So I would definitely love to get it back at some point, but it's quite high maintenance actually -- that pink hair.
Reality TV World: I can imagine! So the show mentioned you waitressed for awhile to pursue a career in modeling. Would you mind elaborating a little bit more on your struggle in the modeling industry leading up to your appearance on America's Next Top Model? Was there ever a time you considered giving up?
Sophie Sumner: No, I'm not a giver-upper. There was definitely not a time when I wanted to give up. It's just like anyone, you know? You needed the money coming in and you need to pay rent, etc. So I worked as a waitress in kind of a Cheesecake Factory [type of] scene. I did that from when I was 16 for like three, four years.
And then I did some hostessing. I worked at castings during the day and then I'd go at night, five days a week, to do hostessing. So, I've always worked hard, but I've always had fun in what I do, and I've met great people all along the way in modeling and my work. I'm just very lucky now that I can concentrate on doing modeling.
Reality TV World: Tyra Banks 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?
Sophie Sumner: It's definitely so sad. The show has been going on for what are we -- like 18, 19 seasons? -- and those guys have always been there. So I think everyone will really miss them, but at the same time, they've got such a bright future ahead of them and I'm sure they've already got hundreds of projects in the pipeline.
And it's quite nice that Top Model is kind of shaking things up a little bit and doing this whole interactive thing, but it's definitely going to be a big loss.
Reality TV World: The CW has recently announced that international male model Rob Evans will be a new judge and stylist Johnny Wujek will be the new creative consultant -- basically taking the place of Jay Manuel. So I just wanted to get your thoughts on that. Do you think they'll be great new additions to the show and do you know anything about those people in particular?
Sophie Sumner: Oh my gosh, well I only heard earlier that this was going on, (laughs) so I don't know too much about it, but I mean, I'm sure the new guys are going to do really well. I think it's really cool too that the public can get involved -- terrifying for the contestants -- but it's nice that now they're keeping up with the times because social media is so big at the moment.
Reality TV World: Out of everything that you and Laura had to do during the finale episode, what would you say was the most difficult challenge for you? Was it the commercial, the photo shoots, runway?
Sophie Sumner: Ooh, I had so much fun with all three things. I think everything throughout the whole series has been pretty challenging. (Laughs) I think despite the finale, definitely being ontop of a tower was the most challenging thing that I've had to do in my life. But in the finale, the pressure was so high. So I think it was all equally as hard definitely.
Reality TV World: Looking back throughout the entire season, what would you say was your favorite moment or task?
Sophie Sumner: Oh my gosh, just meeting the people I got to meet and getting the advice I got to have. It's not everyday that somebody can get advice from Kelly Cutrone, Tyra Banks, Nigel Barker -- these people know what they're talking about and this advice is going to last me for the rest of my life, so I think that's a pretty amazing thing to walk away with. Also all the people from my photo shoots -- it's all just amazing. I'm a very, very lucky girl.
Reality TV World: What's next for you now? I'm assuming you already shot the CoverGirl ad and Vogue Italia parts of your prize package but what's in store for you? When will all these prizes come into play?
Sophie Sumner: There's still more Vogue Italia to come! (Laughs) I have more to shoot for Vogue Italia. The single is released. You must listen to it! I'm definitely going to keep everyone up-to-date on what I do after Top Model.
I'm on a shoot in the south of France at the moment and I've been filming bits for my bog on my YouTube channel to kind of show people what happens after Top Model -- and then go to the states side and I think I'm going to try to make the maneuver into presenting! It's something that I've wanted to do and I think it will be -- I think I've got such a great platform now.
Reality TV World: So you definitely plan on staying in the U.S. then and move here for good?
Sophie Sumner: Oh definitely. I'll never properly leave the U.K. I'll always keep going back, but I will definitely, definitely say ASAP.
Above is the concluding portion of our exclusive interview with Sophie. Click here to read the first half.