'Top Model's Angelia Alvarez: Twist was "cruel, mean and evil"
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/25/2011
Angelia Alvarez became the first girl eliminated from America's Next Top Model's sixteenth season during Wednesday night's broadcast on The CW.
On Friday, the 20-year-old student and Pembroke Pines, FL resident talked to Reality TV World about her brief America's Next Top Model experience -- including why she was surprised to be eliminated, what she thought about the season's semifinals elimination trick, and whether she has any regrets.
Reality TV World: You said in your final words you were shocked to be eliminated, so can you elaborate more on why? Obviously you had no idea it was coming beforehand.
Angelia Alvarez: I was shocked to be eliminated because I feel like I did well at the photo shoot. I mean, the picture they took of me was not the best one, but I knew once I saw that picture that I was going to be eliminated. Because I knew that I had -- I felt like I had -- better pictures.
Reality TV World: You also said you were never the pretty girl in school and didn't see yourself as just a pretty face. Could you explain a little bit about what you meant by that, why you thought that, and why you seemed to think it's a such a bad thing in the modeling industry to be known for having a pretty face?
Angelia Alvarez: I don't think it's such a bad thing in the modeling industry to have just a pretty face, but the way that they said it was that I'm just the prettiest girl in high school that gets all the guys and that's not true because yes, I was a pretty girl in high school, but I didn't get all the guys. And I feel like I do have modeling potential.
Reality TV World: Would you consider yourself to be a high fashion model, having that edgy type of look, or do you think you would be more successful in commercial modeling?
Angelia Alvarez: I felt like I could be a high fashion model -- that I could be successful as a high fashion model and commercial modeling -- everything.
Reality TV World: What would you personally say is the difference between high fashion and commercial modeling?
Angelia Alvarez: Well I feel like a high fashion model is a little more professional than commercial modeling and it's more difficult to get into because in high fashion, they're very picky about the girls. But I feel like I have the height for it and the look for it because I have a different look, and commercial modeling to me is more catalogs, like Macy's or something, or commercials. And I feel like anybody could just go to the casting and get that.
Reality TV World: You said you will definitely make it on your own in your final words, so how do you intend to do that and do you plan on continuing modeling still?
Angelia Alvarez: Yes, I plan on going to agencies. I'm hoping to get signed and I want to go to New York and LA and maybe get signed down here in Miami, FL. So, I'm definitely not giving up my modeling career. I'm going for it.
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Reality TV World: Is there any agency in particular that you'd love to work for?
Angelia Alvarez: I would love to work for [IMG Models], of course, but next is [Next Models] a good agency in New York. I would like to work with them... or LA Models.
Reality TV World: Since you were the first girl to be eliminated, do you wish you just had not bothered trying to go on America's Next Top Model at all, or are you happy you made the attempt and got to experience what you did up to that point?
Angelia Alvarez: No, I'm very happy that I tried out and I got into the house. It's a big step and a lot of girls don't even make it to LA and I got the cut to go into the house. So, I definitely don't regret it and I would do it again for the experience.
Reality TV World: Did you have any modeling experience before going on the show and how knowledgeable would you say you were about the fashion industry then?
Angelia Alvarez: I was a little knowledgeable about it, but after leaving the show, I had more knowledge about the fashion industry and before going into the show, I modeled locally in... in order to do runways or small photo shoots.
Reality TV World: You are listed as being originally from Germany before moving to Florida. What's the story behind that and what brought you to the United States?
Angelia Alvarez: Yes, my mom is American and my Dad is Dominican, and my mom was in the military. So, that's why I was born in Germany and then we ended up moving back to the States and then moved back to Germany. So I traveled around... My Mom was in the army so I had no choice.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when you thought you didn't make the cut after Jay handed everyone their envelopes and your picture was not inside?
Angelia Alvarez: I was shocked when my picture wasn't inside the envelope. I had to take like a double look at it, and I looked around and all the girls that I thought would make it inside the house -- we all didn't have pictures -- so we were frustrated and angry and we just wanted to go and they wanted to bring us upstairs and wait, like an hour we had to wait before they finally told us that we made it into the house.
Reality TV World: When you girls thought you were being sent home, how did you feel when Tyra told you that it was all a trick and you really made it after all?
Angelia Alvarez: It was an emotional rollercoaster, because when we thought we didn't make it everyone was all upset and angry and frustrated, and then we get upstairs, and they drop the curtain and tell us we're in the house and we were just ecstatic. I think I ran in place and fell on the ground. I can't believe they did that to us.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when you realized casting week wasn't going to be the normal routine and that Tyra had already picked her 14 finalists when you girls arrived? Were you thankful you didn't have to go through the ropes of the interview, the initial photo shoot, and showing them your runway walk?
Angelia Alvarez: We did have to go through all that... We had to go through casting week and it was very stressful. We did all the interviews and all the runway. You could see the -- they showed a little preview at the beginning of the episode of the premiere -- when we were outside. That was one of the runways.
Reality TV World: Viewers saw you girls walking that runway when you arrived, but normally each girl gets critiqued and checked out one at a time in front of panel, in that they ask you all these questions and stuff.
Angelia Alvarez: Oh, yes. I understand what you're saying now. And yes, I was actually looking forward to seeing that. I see it on all the shows, so that's what I had prepared myself for, and then to get there and have everything changed, it was like, I had no idea what was going on. I didn't know what to expect.
Reality TV World: Just to clarify a little bit, Tyra basically said flat-out that she threw casting week right out the window. So, could you talk a little bit about what you thought the difference was between the process of what you girls went through and what America's Next Top Model normally does within its pattern of casting week?
Angelia Alvarez: That's different between the cycles, of course. First of all, yes, we didn't have the normal casting week with the judges and everything. And I don't know if... Casting week was different, and also the challenges are different. They're more -- besides the bubble -- they're more professional... I'm sorry, could you please rephrase the question?
Reality TV World: I was just wondering you said you still had a couple things that were like the normal process, but Tyra had mentioned she threw casting week out the window, so what was the difference between what you girls initially went through from what casting week normally entails?
Angelia Alvarez: Okay, yes. Besides the judges, like walking up to panel and getting critiqued in front of the judges, I honestly don't know what goes on during casting week before. I didn't know what they did in the cycles before, so I don't know if we did the same thing at casting week in the same way or not.
But in front of the judges, it was different because we didn't have panel, and then we were judged after a runway. That's when we -- I think that's when they made their decision.
Reality TV World: So, basically what viewers saw was what happened?
Angelia Alvarez: Exactly.
Reality TV World: How do you think the girls who received their pictures in the envelopes and were so excited to move on in the competition felt once they realized they were the ones who actually didn't make the cut -- did you ever get a chance to talk to any of them?
Angelia Alvarez: You know, I have not gotten a chance to talk to any of the girls who got sent home. My heart goes out to them because I can't imagine being on that side, where you were told, 'Yes, you made it into the house,' and then all of a sudden you're back down at a bus [to leave] and they tell you, 'No,' you're going home.'
I'm grateful that I was on the side that was told "No" first and then I made it in. I felt horrible. I felt bad for them, but at the same time, I was happy that I got in.
Reality TV World: Do you think the envelope process was worth the "life lesson" that a model needs to learn to face rejection, or do you think it shouldn't have been handled that way?
Angelia Alvarez: Honestly, I think that it was cruel. It was mean and evil, because you got these girls here all the way high up. In the industry, somebody's not going to tell you, 'Okay yes, I want to book you for' -- let's just say a $20,000 job -- and then say, 'No. We're just kidding. You're going home.'
I think instead, we're going to learn our rejection either way. The girls would have learned rejection if they would have just said, 'No, sorry. You're not going to make it.' That's rejection, and the way that they did it, I don't think it was right.
Reality TV World: Do you think it was basically just for entertainment purposes in that the producers chose to trick you girls like that for ratings and such or do you feel it was truly for the purpose of teaching you girls how to face rejection as upcoming models? Maybe it was a combination of both?
Angelia Alvarez: It was maybe a combination of both. I know it is a big part of production for ratings too, and I know it's for excitement. It's a TV show; It's a reality show. People want to see that and drama, and at the same time, they do want to show the girls rejection. Like I said, I think they could have handled that another way.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised that Dominique was in the bottom two with you? What did you think about her as a person and as a model? She was unfortunately one of the girls who fell during the runway show.
Angelia Alvarez: No, I've seen that. I saw it in the episode, and I knew it happened, but no, I love Dominique and all the girls. I didn't have a problem with it, and I was brought up to think that everything happens for a reason, and I don't mind Dominique staying there and me being the first one out of the house. I had no regrets toward her whatsoever.
Reality TV World: What were your impressions of Alexandria and her potential in the competition? She said she wasn't there to make friends and she seemed to come off strong, especially when she was attempting to train Jaclyn with her runway walk.
Angelia Alvarez: I wasn't there long enough to make assumptions about girls, and I personally got along with all the other girls. I was a close -- well, I was a little close to her -- because during casting week, our room was by each other. We were neighbors and we would always be by each other and eat by each other and we could have socialized and talked, but we had a connection.
And then in the house, we hung out a lot and talked a lot. We bonded a little, and I think that it's a misconception, because while I was there at least, it looked like Alexandria was legitimately trying to help and it came off as being bossy.
Reality TV World: What advantages did you think you had over some of the other models from what you got to take in and learn about them while you were on the show? And do you think you were at a disadvantage at all for any reason?
Angelia Alvarez: I don't think I was at a disadvantage, and one of my advantages that, I believe, is my unique look. I was the only Latina looking one with dark hair and I was myself, like I didn't change myself for the show. You can definitely see my personality.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction to Tyra's critique of your photo in that she doesn't want boys to be attracted to you but wants girls to be attracted to what you are wearing?
Angelia Alvarez: What I think when she told me that, after thinking about it, it's more like she wants to sell the clothes. If a guy sees me, they're not looking at the clothes because they want me, and the girls look at me and they want the clothes. So, if the guys see me, they want me, not the clothes. They're not paying attention to what I'm trying to sell, you know?
Reality TV World: Right, could you talk about what the photo shoot was like behind the scenes before your runway show? Viewers only got to see a glimpse of what was going on.
Angelia Alvarez: Behind the scenes, I felt like [fashion photographer] Russell James paid attention to me, and I feel like I had a better picture. Just, it was all chaos everywhere, and I know that's how it is like with Victoria Secret and everything, but it was good. I liked the experience and now I know, like when I'm in that situation, I know what to do.
Reality TV World: How difficult was in to walk in that giant plastic bubble down the runway and how nervous were you about falling or not showing what you're capable of because of the circumstances?
Angelia Alvarez: The bubble was difficult. All I was trying to think of was walking down the platform on the water, looking straight and not falling, and the dress I had wasn't enabling me to move because it was long. So, it ended up looking like I came out there marching. I couldn't wait to get out of it. I felt like I was suffocating.
Reality TV World: You mentioned you didn't have any regrets about going on the show, so were you happy with your overall performance or would have done things differently if you were afforded the chance to go back and do it all over again?
Angelia Alvarez: If I could do it over again, I would. But if I could get cast again and go back, I would do it, because I feel like I could pursue my career in a different way.
Reality TV World: Can you talk a little bit about what you meant by "pursuing your career in a different way?"
Angelia Alvarez: Yeah, by going to agencies and giving them my portfolio and I mean, my name's already out there now, so.
Reality TV World: What went through your mind when you saw that Erin Wasson was going to be watching the runway show and would serve as the guest judge at panel, and are you a fan of her as model and designer?
Angelia Alvarez: I'm a fan of her as a model, yes. I've known her -- I saw her in the Maybelline and the True Religion campaign -- and I loved her look, like the rock n' roll look. So, I definitely admire her as a model and I didn't know she had a designer line of jewelry, and now I like that as well.
Reality TV World: She gave each of you girls a piece of jewelry after your runway show, right?
Angelia Alvarez: Yes.
Reality TV World: What piece of jewelry did Erin Wasson give you?
Angelia Alvarez: We got a bracelet -- I got a bracelet -- all the girls got a bracelet.
Reality TV World: Oh, that's nice... What did you feel when you met Tyra and has she inspired you? Also, what other models have inspired you in your life?
Angelia Alvarez:Tyra Banks, when she was a model when she was younger, I'd say I was inspired by her. But as a model now, I never really idolized her and I still don't idolize her, but as a model, I respect her and I know that she's changed the industry for a lot of women.
So, I do give her a lot of respect for that. And then a model that I look up to is Alexandria from Victoria's Secret. She's my favorite model just because she has a sexy look that's fit for editorials, she's high fashion, and she's in the sexy Victoria Secret catalogs. And that's how I see myself being -- somewhere like a model like her.
Reality TV World: How did you get cast on America's Next Top Model? How did you end up on the show and was it your first time applying?
Angelia Alvarez: It was my first time applying. I actually never thought about applying. I was always told, 'You should apply. You should go try out. Go try out.' All my friends were like, 'You're tall, you have a different look, and so for the past three years they've been telling me to go try out. And I was at Broward College, one of my campuses, and every time I would leave, I would see a sign at a campus across from me saying, 'Model. Model.'
But I thought it was just something local, and before they did the casting, that's when I saw America's Next Top Model. It was a sliding billboard. And I was like, 'Okay, I'm going to go home and I'm going to take pictures and I'm going to go for it. I'm going to go to the casting and whatever happens happens.' If I didn't get it, I could have said I tried out at least.
So, I went home and I had my niece take pictures of me on the balcony because they said they wanted natural pictures with no makeup, bathing suits. They were just Polaroid. So she took them on my balcony and the next day I went and I went to casting and after casting we just spoke a few words, did our runway, and walked out.
I wasn't expecting a phone call and then in about a week, no, two weeks later, one of the PR's called me and they told me that -- they left me a voice message -- It's funny because they left me a voice message while I was in school.
They said, 'You had sent in an application and we were wondering if you still wanted to go for it.' And when I checked it, I didn't know what application -- I never sent an application -- and I called back, and they're like, 'Oh, Top Model. You made it through the Nashville cut.'
And then I went to Nashville and there were like 300 girls there and we did our rounds and some got cut there, but I made that cut too. The whole time, even now, when it comes to agencies and getting jobs and everything, I just keep like a mellow attitude. If it happens, it happens, and if it doesn't, it was meant to be.