With her delicate bone structure, striking red hair and confidence, Brenda Arens, 23, had all the assets to break out from the crowd on America's Next Top Model
this season.Latest Episode Recap: "Shut Up, Shut Up, That's How Girls Get BEAT Up!"
But, as on any reality show worth its salt, stress met her around every corner. A botched makeover, harsh criticisms from the judges, a fellow model who loved to just "poke and poke and poke" and Tyra's crazy modeling jobs that required, among other things, nudity and blindness, eventually led Brenda to her personal "breaking point"--at about the same time that Tyra and her judges decided to break it off with Brenda, too.See Where Brenda Landed in our ANTM Week 6 Photo Rankings
But that's not the last you'll see of this striking mother from Houston. I spoke with Brenda after her America's Next Top Model
exit about the drama, the judges and her favorite modeling moments, as well as her future in the field. Read our full interview after the jump.
A lot of your screen time during the season focused on times when you were upset or nervous. Did you have fun during the show or was it mostly a stressful experience for you?
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I had a lot of amazing experiences. I had extreme highs, extreme lows. I do get frustrated a lot. I cried a couple times, but other than that, no, I had a really good experience on the show.
What was your favorite photo shoot while you were there?
I had so many, but I enjoyed something different from each photo shoot. I would definitely have to say-it sounds crazy, but the nude photo shoot was the one I dreaded the most. But when I actually got there and got the black wig, and found a way to work with getting the watch, it turned out to be, I think, not only my best picture, but I learned to relax. It was kind of like an accomplishment because I was stressing on being nude in front of that many people. I would have to say my first photo shoot was probably the best.
How about your least favorite?
As we all know, I would have to say the vampire. I've really never worn contact lenses in my entire life. The first time I put anything in my eye, they're twice as large and thick as normal contacts. They have to cover from corner to corner. They were painful, and I think the other girls have more of an advantage because they wore contacts. I don't know what it was, we all have our own problems. But for me, it was just too hard.
Who was your favorite judge?
I would have to say Nigel has always been really, really fair. He's not quick to judge and he seems to always have the opposite opinion of Andre. It's kind of funny watching the footage, because I never knew that they do disagree a lot. But I'd have to say Nigel. He was always really fair with me. He always found the good and the bad about a picture for me. He'd go out of his way to find something positive to tell me for next time.
How did you like that challenge where you guys tried to woo him in that trolley car?
It's probably good that they didn't show mine! You know, I don't get intimidated by a lot of men, I really don't. But I didn't realize how tall he was in real life! He's always sitting down when I see him, but he's at least 6'3" and he's just gorgeous. It was just funny. I don't think I'm the best at flirting, and so I think if they had shown it, it would've been crickets. It was ... interesting.
There was a lot of drama in this last episode between two different groups that were butting heads. Where do you think the source was of the animosity that divided the house?
I think that the first week we were there, everybody was just trying to be on their best behavior, being nice. But after a while, everybody's true colors come out. Then you live in a house with that many girls. I think a lot of the girls - Alasia, Angelea, Krista - I feel like they have very similar backgrounds, as maybe how they were raised. Then you have Raina and Jessica and myself. I can relate to what they went through as a child, and vice versa. I just think that the girls let how they were raised, where they were from, get in the way and distract us all from why we're really there. It's a competition and it's hard to even tell how we first became divided, but it happened and it was very cliqued up in the house.
There's some particular tension between you and Angelea. Now that you're off the show, how do you feel about her?
I've had a lot of people ask me in the streets, on my fanpage, "Why do you hate her? Why do you hate her?" And I'll say it again, I don't hate anybody in this world. If anything, I feel really sorry for her. I think that our personalities--I'm very, very, very patient, but if you keep poking and poking and poking like you saw, when you make comments - "How does it feel to be in the bottom, Brenda and Raina?"--after weeks and weeks and weeks, everybody has a breaking point, and l think last night was just mine. I don't know if she's intimidated, or I don't know what the deal is. You'd really have to ask her, but she definitely came on really strong since day one on me.
Did your haircut ever grow on you (no pun intended)?
See, I had two cuts and I've been watching this show for a long time and I've never seen, in the history of Top Model
, a girl to get two makeovers. But the first cut, I liked it better than the second one. And I would've been okay with the first cut; I just needed a few days. When you have a drastic change like that, you just need it to sink in. So I needed a day or two and I started to embrace it. But then when I got the second one, I think that just sent me downhill so fast. The buzzed side, it looked beautiful on Simone but I just feel like it didn't work for my personality so I never really got used to it. It's growing out. It's about probably the bottom of my nose. It's in the awkward stage. I'm trying to get it to a cute chin bob, that's my goal.
Now that you're out of the competition, who do you think should win?
I'm not just saying this because she's a good friend of mine, but I think that we all know that Raina has had the attention since day one. Her face is amazing, so I'm really rooting for Raina. Also for Alex, because she's the only plus-sized and she has to work harder than anybody else. So I kind of wish them both the best of luck.
Are you going to keep modeling? Is that in the plan?
Oh of course, oh yes. I was in two modeling contracts and I had to get out of them to go on the show. So yeah, I plan to expand myself. I want to do commercials. Maybe host a show. I have huge plans. I might be going off to LA for a couple of opportunities, so it's just the beginning for me.