Exclusive Interview: America's Next Top Model Winner, Jaslene Gonzalez
Exclusive Interview: America's Next Top Model Winner, Jaslene Gonzalez
Jaslene Gonzalez is undoubtedly very proud to be the first Latina to become America’s Next Top Model. BuddyTV had the chance to chat with Jaslene in an exclusive one-on-one interview yesterday to about her experience.  As you might expect, she didn’t hold back and made some pretty bold statements about both herself and some of the other competitors.

Check out the full interview transcript and listen to the mp3 audio below.

BuddyTV: How does it feel to be America’s Next Top Model?

Jaslene: Wow! Well…To be the first Latina to win America’s Next Top Model, it brings me great joy. I mean, I’m so excited, I can’t wait. I got so many things coming my way and I look forward to my $100,000 contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics. I also have my first cover with Seventeen Magazine, which hits the stands nationwide June 5th. I mean, I’m making TV appearances left and right, interviews back to back, and many, many, many more opportunities are coming my way so my life right now is just a whirlwind, I’m just enjoying the whole ride and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

How did you initially get involved with America’s Next Top Model?

Well I auditioned just like anybody else. I drove 6 hours, the same drive I guess, 6 hours to Cleveland, Ohio which was the closest casting they had where the casting director was gonna be present. So I drove out there and…they called me and were like, “Okay we want you to come back for the second day.” And from the second day they called me again to make it to the semifinals and from the semifinals I made it to the top twenty and the top twenty…that was it for Cycle 7. So I got another call back to come back for Cycle 8 and here I am.

So you went from not making the house on Cycle 7 to winning Cycle 8. What was the difference for you this time around?

I was very, very focused this time around. I definitely went in there to compete. I went in there with the objective of winning and I was very determined, I was very focused and I think that’s what led me to where I am now.

How do you think your season compares to previous seasons of America’s Next Top Model?

Oh my God, there’s no comparison. There’s no comparison, I think we are the hottest group of girls, like we are actual models that came in. You know we all look like models. We didn’t look like girls who they were trying to make models out of. I feel like we had so much diversity in our Cycle, we had so much different cultures and backgrounds and so many different personalities. I mean, I know in other cycles we have many different personalities but I think the ones that we had just stood out so much. Yes, I loved the Cycle, I was just such a big fan of the cycle. I’m one who was a faithful watcher from Cycle 1. I thought it was beautiful.

You had a chance to work with CariDee, winner of Cycle 7 during the finale; how was that?

Oh my God! CariDee is such an amazing person. I love her and we were able…and it’s so funny because me and her, we were the two who stood in semifinals together and she looks at me and tells me “Oh my God! Jaslene I wanna be the first blond to win America’s Next Top Model!” And I would sit there and tell her and said, “No, CariDee. I wanna be the first Latina to win America’s Next Top Model!” And look at us now and I see her out here on my trip to New York in my finale party we were just like, looking at each other like wow! Like, can you believe this? We were just sitting like together like nobodies because we were nobodies back then, you know. And to now stand here as America’s Next Top Model, and me as the first Latina and her as the first blond it’s just crazy. I love CariDee.

I know this might be a tough question to answer but if you and CariDee competed on the same season, who do you think would win?

She would say herself, I think I probably would’ve. I mean, just because I know what I want. This is something I really, really want and I have a passion for modeling. She went in there just trying to get somewhere...she went in there, she took the chance. You know what I mean, just like all of us, she wasn’t sure of the thing she wanted. She…I don’t wanna put words into her mouth, I don’t wanna say things about her, I just feel like I’m more devoted, and I feel like I have more passion and I think that that would’ve led me farther than her.

So how confident were you going into this competition? Did you think you had a good shot at winning it all from the very beginning or was there a certain point in the competition where you started thinking to yourself, “Gosh, I can really win this thing?”

Yeah I mean, I went in there very competitive, a little bit naive thinking I had it all, you know because I was super focused, so driven that I wasn't gonna let these girls get the best out of me you know? So I was just trying to blow them out of the water from the minute I got there. so yes, there was definitely a point where I felt like “Okay, I know I’m not gonna get eliminated because I had one bad photo or one bad challenge.” You know, it would have to me more than that. Especially how I came in, but when I got to at least like final four, I mean top four, I was like okay. I’ve seen myself maybe that far but I don’t know about winning, you know cause we had Natasha with a beautiful personality, beautiful girl. We had Renee who did great pictures, Brittany who also did great pictures. It was unfortunate that she couldn’t pull through because of her personality but the girl took some smoking pictures and Dionne, another beautiful black African-American girl who had a great personality was gorgeous and they’re all doing well. You know, at that moment everybody was doing so good that it was so hard to pick, you know. And in that point I had doubt in my mind but I’d be banking on how much hard work I’ve put in and how good I’ve performed that it still gave me hope that I was still gonna win.

Were you at all surprised that Natasha made it into the final two with you over Renee?

Yeah, extremely surprised. I couldn’t believe it. You know I thought like…I mean, they’re both great, you know. They’re both beautiful girls and they work hard, they work hard and they both did amazing pictures but I guess because of Renee’s experience, I thought she was gonna excel more in the competition, you know and become a greater model than what she was and I saw her in the final two with me but when they called Natasha I was like, wow. Wow! You know, like this is…that was a shocker.

So when it came down to just you and Natasha, what were you thinking? Were you pretty confident?

Yeah I was pretty confident, very confident at that point, you know. I was just like “Man, let me—just give me the opportunity to walk that runway. Give me the opportunity to do the last photo shoot.” Cause I know this is the end of it, and I’m gonna finish this off with a big old bang.

Both you and Natasha did extremely well in the final runway show. What do you think Tyra and the judges saw in you that gave you that edge over Natasha?

Well the whole competition, how I came in, from photo to photo, doing so good. I mean, it was obvious. There was no comparison between me and Natasha even if they tried, you know. The only thing we had was my accent and diverse background, but as far as experience, but as far as fashion and all that stuff, I had it all.

What would you say was the most challenging part about your entire experience being on the show?

The most challenging part? I thought like the acting was a little bit challenging for me, I’m not so much into acting, and I’m not so much of an actress so I found that very challenging.

Do you feel you were portrayed pretty accurately on the show?

Yes, of course and like I’ve told every other interviewer, like it’s funny how you guys ask me, how…if I was portrayed right or how else I was supposed to be portrayed. I said what I said and did what I did and they're not gonna change what I said and they're not gonna change my movements, you know what I mean? They can edit scenes and make the situation a bit different but you are who you are you know. You say what you say and you do what you do, you know. I mean I think it’s a pretty excuse that these girls use when they say oh it’s the way they edited it but wasn’t it you who said what you said? I know they didn’t edit that, I know that they put words in your mouth, know what I mean? Like that’s how I see it. I was happy, you know I was who I was and I’m not mad at all. There wouldn’t be no reason for me to because that’s who I was. At any moment I did anything wrong I would have to swallow that so that’s what I said and that’s what I did but I was really, really happy and satisfied with the way they portrayed me.

Were there any particular moments that maybe you wished they showed on TV about you that they didn’t?

No, I thought they pretty much showed everything that I felt was important.

What advice do you have for young, aspiring models out there?

Just stay true to yourself, love yourself, believe in your dreams. Perseverance is the key, you know and you keep on knocking on that door until they open. That’s exactly what I did.

What’s in store for you now? Can you tell the fans what you’ll be doing in the coming weeks and months?

Yeah. Definitely…Like I said I have my CoverGirl contract, and I’m gonna be working with them and also Seventeen. I just did a photo shoot and it comes out on Wednesday, I've been doing interviews, TV appearances. I come out on Regis and Kelly’s tomorrow morning live. I just did TRL and TV Today, I plan…they’re already calling me that I might have the cover of Latina magazine, so I’m working really, really hard as to be successful at this moment.

Do you have any final words for your fans out there?

Yeah. Thank you all. I love you guys so much for your love and support. You guys don’t understand how much I appreciate it and for all my Latinos, stand up, I love you guys and Boriqua in the house!

(Interview conducted by Royce Yuen)

(Image courtesy of CW)