Exclusive Interview: Ren Vokes of 'America's Next Top Model' Cycle 14
Exclusive Interview: Ren Vokes of 'America's Next Top Model' Cycle 14
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Getting hand-picked for the cast of a modeling reality show probably sounds like the perfect opportunity to many girls trying to break into this harsh, competitive business.

But for Ren Vokes, being that extra-special addition to America's Next Top Model cycle 14 presented more challenges than she was prepared to encounter, especially as someone who had never really watched the show. After that initial pat on the back for being Tyra's special thirteenth contestant, Ren then got shoved into a environment full of suspicious roommates (her competition) and unexpected pressures--one of which was the weight of being "hand-picked" in the first place.

All these stimuli in the foreign world of reality television, in Ren's words, "drove [her] a little nutty," and after three weeks she decided to leave the show, at the same time that Tyra Banks declared she would have been eliminated, anyway. As far as mutual break-ups go, this was certainly one of the most public.

After the jump, read and/or listen to my exclusive interview with Ren to find out more about her Top Model break-down, how she feels after the show and more.

This is Meghan from BuddyTV and I'm on the line with Ren from America's Next Top Model Cycle 14. How's your day going?

My day is long, and tiring, but, oh yeah, I met John Cusack this morning. That was pretty funny.

Whoa, how did that happen?

For the KTLA news, he was being interviewed as well. We both shared a bagel together ... no, just kidding, he walked by and picked up a drink, and ... [Laughs]

Wow, so this experience has been surreal for you, I'm guessing.

Yeah, it's been ... something! No, it's been funny. Actually, I've been saying this a lot, I mean I look back on it now, and it's a lot funnier than it was then.

Yeah. I just wanted to start off and ask how did you end up getting hand-picked for this show? How did that process happen?

Well, I actually suddenly decided I wanted to live in L.A., so I told my best friend, bought a plane ticket and she told her receptionist, who knew someone who knew a casting director. They were looking for people. I submitted my picture, and then a week or something later, I was in the wonderful city of New York with all those great babes.

I know that editing can change our perception a lot of how events go on on the show. So can you explain a little bit about how you became so disillusioned with the show? And was it a gradual thing, or did it happen as suddenly as we saw?

I think it was more ... I think it kind of started the moment that I got there. The moment that I got there. Because, I mean, I came in ... I didn't even know that I was going to be this surprise person. Everything that happens is a complete surprise to everyone. I didn't know that was how I was going to come in. So people didn't take it too well. Things got real annoying real quick. I mean, it was just such a drastic life change from what I'm used to, so things like that, being taken away from from real life, kind of drives you a little nutty.

When you say people didn't take it too well, you mean your addition to the group?

Yeah, yeah. I mean, at first, there were people, Angelea mostly, just did not like that I came in, started grilling me on everything, questioning me, mean-mugging from across the room. You know, just not welcoming me with open arms. I mean, for the most part, I got along with mostly everybody. I don't know, I'm not used to that, at all. I don't think I got the chance to get used to it, living with all of them, because they got to hang out for a week or two before, with each other, so I think maybe that's where I had a problem.

Had you never seen the show before you went on it?

No, not really. I've seen a couple of random episodes before, but I've never really watched a show all the way through. It's been a good six years, five years, since I've had any kind of TV besides VHS tapes and movies, so ... [Laughs]

So it must have been a double-shock for you, to be in such an environment where you have cameras in your face all the time.

Oh yeah! It's like, whoa ... I am TV! [Laughs]

What's your friends' reactions been like?

They think it's probably the funniest thing that anybody could have possibly done. I don't know. I'm really a ridiculous person that somehow ends up in the most ridiculous situations, and this is just another one that I can add to my list! So, pretty cool.

Which girls did you actually become friends with? Because it did seem like you got along, generally.

Yeah, I mean ... no, it wasn't bad. I got along with Gabrielle, she was cool, and Tatianna. Talked to Brenda a lot, but that's really the only people I keep in touch with now. But, I mean, there are no hard feelings, really. I don't really hate anybody, really. It takes too much effort to do that. So I just think everybody's cool.

Alright! So at that last judging panel, you said you wanted to stay, and then when it came down to you and Brenda, you said you wanted to go. So what made you change your mind?

There's a lot of waiting time period in between that two seconds that it looks like we're waiting for the answer.

The commercial break?

Ha, yeah. So it just, I don't know ... everything that I was thinking about, I was just sitting in this room, getting more and more angry, and I go, "No! I don't want to be here, why don't I just say that? Like, what does it do to lie?" So the more I kind of ... I just was like, I realized that "I'm not serious, I'm not serious," so yeah, they didn't know that I was going to say no right then.

Were the other girls giving you any advice about staying versus going?

Oh yeah, they were all like, "Yeah, you should go! Go, if you don't want to be here! You should go!" Like, they were so down for that, are you kidding?

Why doesn't that shock me?

"Another one bites the dust! My turn!"

What has your mom's reaction been to you saying on the show that you did the show for her?

Oh, I haven't talked to her yet. She's back in Dallas. I have to wait until these phone interviews are done. I'm a little scared to call her. [...] I love my mom so much, but she's a fickle character, so I can only imagine what she has to say to me. But she's great, she's really cool. I say that completely jokingly.

Once that was all said and done, and you left the show, were you relieved, or did you feel a little bit of regret about deciding to go?

I was so relieved. I was really relieved. Certain people are capable of doing something like that. That's not to say they're wrong or they're right or whatever, it's just ... that's not my thing. I can't be tied down to one house, being there unless we're being escorted to a shoot or escorted to run across a street in enough time, risking our lives in the cold weather ... no, just kidding. It's just, it wasn't that much fun. I like to meet people all of the time. Like, if I met all of them randomly and briefly, I'd probably really like them all if I got to choose how much time I saw each and every one of them. But I didn't get to choose, so it drove me nutty.

What was the first thing you did when you got home?

The first thing I did when I got to L.A. was I went straight to the beach.


Yeah! I mean, coming from New York to going to the beach where it's sunny and warm. There's nothing better.

I've got to wrap it up, but what's in the future for you, are you going to continue modeling?

Yeah, I've got some people contacting me so hopefully I'll have the ability to model, or the opportunity, better yet. So modeling, getting a job, doing something. Going to the beach. Whatever happens, but yeah, I would really like to continue modeling.

It was a pleasure watching you this season. I'm glad you look back on it as a fun experience.

Yeah, it's funny to watch. I mean, who wouldn't think it was funny to watch them on TV?