I was sad to see Dalya, the 21-year-old beauty from Clear Lake, Texas, get eliminated from Top Model
this week for a few reasons. First, as I just said: Beauty! She has such a gorgeous, strong face, unlike any of the top 8 left in the competition. Second, I didn't feel like we'd seen her best work yet. And third, she seemed so down to earth and self-possessed despite the ups and downs of Tyra's crazy challenges. It may not always make for the most exciting reality TV, but I always root for the girls I think are lovely not just in photos, but in real life, too.
Alas, while Tyra and the judges loved her look, they didn't think she was using it as best she could, and she was sent home after her jaguar picture failed to make their hearts roar
. But I was happy to find out when I talked to Dalya yesterday that she's just as sweet as we saw on screen. Here's what she said about her time on the show, what she thought of the Diary Drama, who should win and more:
I was so surprised to see you go. Were you expecting your elimination?
was in the same boat as you. Going into panel, I felt fine. But when I
got the feedback I got, that's when I was like, "Hmm. They're sending
me home." I felt like I disappointed not only myself, but I disappointed Tyra
because she knows I can do better than what I put out there, what I put
out there that last photo shoot. I told myself if I were to stay
another week, I was going to prove myself and prove why I deserved to be
in the competition.It seemed like you weren't the only one who struggled with this week's photo shoot. What was so challenging about that baby jaguar?
The baby jaguar wasn't that bad. You know, he was heavier than a normal cat. But it was fun, and it was experience. I feel like everyone should, you know, play with a jaguar baby. No lie! But I can't blame anybody for what happened that day but myself. I can't sit here and say, "It was the jaguar! That's why I was having difficulties." I can't say that. He was fun. I enjoyed playing with the jaguar.Which photo shoot was your favorite?
My favorite was the bee photo shoot with Michael Rosenthal. I enjoyed that so much. I was excited, had never gotten to shoot with bees before ... I'm not scared of bees. I'm scared of wasps, mind you, but I'm not scared of bees. I got in there and I was having fun with it, playing with the camera, trying my best and having fun. That's what I try to do with any shoot. Just have fun with it. As soon as Mr. Jay walked over to me and said, "Your film right now, not looking so great, soften it up a bit," I turned that around.The big drama so far this season surrounds Alexandria. How did you two know each other before the show?
We modeled together with the same agency. Not on the same shoots, but we went on the same casting calls so I ran into her often.How accurately is she being portrayed on TV?
Knowing her before Top Model
... the first time I was shocked was when she attacked me. Over chicken. That was a shocker to me. When I was seeing how strong and in-your-face she is, that's how she is outside. She is in-your-face to let you know. I don't think she has knowledge of how she comes off toward people. I don't think she sees that. She's being portrayed how I saw her, but it seems more elevated.Were you there when Monique looked in her diary?
I was in the room, but I had to remove myself because I felt like that was an invasion of privacy. It made me wonder if any of the girls went through my stuff. Which I highly doubt, because I don't know why they would. But it makes me wonder, if you're living in a house full of girls you can't trust, going through your things.That crossed a line I was really surprised to see get crossed.
Yeah, me and a couple of the other girls just left the room. It was totally uncalled for. I don't care how much you dislike the girl, you don't go through people's items. You just don't do that. I do not like stuff like that.I haven't done the research to back this up, but after you got eliminated I thought this might be the first time we've ever seen a Top Model final 8 that was entirely white girls. Do you have any thoughts on that?
I don't. I don't really look at the ethnic background or the skin color of the girls. I felt like I was just as equal with the girls up there with me. For me to go home, I was like, OK, that's their decision. For the rest of them to go on, I'm like, "You go on, girl." I don't really look at it in terms of skin color.Who do you think should win?
It's a three-way tie. I really, really, really think it's between Molly, Brittani and Jaclyn. Those are my top three. Brittani, I was like, "This girl. I have to watch out for her." She's amazing. I could see her in Italian Vogue, so I pinpointed her from the beginning, and she proved it. Molly, I really love Molly. I could see her in Italian Vogue. I was basing it on that, whether I could see them in there based on the work they were producing. And Jaclyn, she's the underdog because of her baby voice. Do not underestimate her.What do you think of Molly's weave?
Oooh, I can't believe you just asked me that! Molly's weave was a disgrace! I don't know who did that, but it was horrible. I felt bad for her. I would never wear something like that. If someone did that to my head, I would be pissed the heck off, so she has every right to be upset. What's next for you?
I've been researching agencies that might fit me. You have to go out and look for agencies that fit you. I've been on the internet, researching and looking for an agency from L.A. to New York. I'm hoping to find an agency out here and then make my way to New York so I can use my bone structure to its ability, because out there in New York, my look is what's out there in New York. I personally think I will be more successful there, more so than in Los Angeles.What's the most important thing you learned from being on the show?
I listened to everything the judges had to say, and anything they said to the other girls, I took it as if they were talking to me. My biggest lesson was to take negative feedback and turn it around into something positive. I'm an optimist. I learned this from my older brother. I grew up around him and he taught me to think in a positive way. So with negative feedback, go home that night, sleep on it, and change that around into something positive. That way you can be better. You're going to defeat yourself or hurt yourself if you let what little things people say get to you. That's the toughest part of being in this industry. Tyra said that. There will be people who don't like you or doors shut in your face, but you have to keep going. That's good advice no matter the situation. Thanks so much Dalya. We're excited to see what comes next for you.
Woohoo! Thank you!(Image courtesy of CW)