'Top Model' Interview with Hannah: 'This Experience Taught Me to Shoot for the Stars'
'Top Model' Interview with Hannah: 'This Experience Taught Me to Shoot for the Stars'
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
It's not always an advantage for a model to wear her heart on her sleeve, but Hannah Jones, the 20-year-old Texas native who made it to the final three of Top Model cycle 16, proved that it's not always the nice girl who finishes last. Final three is quite an accomplishment, especially for a girl with very little modeling experience coming into the show.

A scheduling conflict kept us from being able to chat on the phone as we typically do for these interviews, but Hannah was sweet enough to answer some questions for me over email, which gave her plenty of freedom to share her most meaningful thoughts on her Top Model experience, including her favorite moments and what she thinks of the final two girls. Here's Hannah:

Which was your favorite photo shoot?

I had two favorite shoots. I loved the Rachel Zoe's fierce faux fur collection at the Los Angeles Zoo and the Michael Cinco's gorgeous eco-couture designs at the landfill. Every piece for the jaguar shoot was fun and sexy. It was an honor getting to model Rachel Zoe's line of faux fur, which looks and feels real, as well as meeting Rachel Zoe herself at panel. We all looked striking in her collection. The team of stylists did a great job of transforming us into high fashion wild things. Plus, I love felines so holding a baby jaguar the entire shoot was empowering.

Both shoots truly inspired me and I think that is why I did particularly well at them. The landfill shoot was a different type of empowerment. When we stepped on to the set, the overwhelming atmosphere was a little hard to handle. There were thousands of seagulls flying over head. Looking up with your mouth opened was a very bad idea. Once I got used to the awful smell and the thickness of the air, the shoot was actually really cool. I loved Michael Cinco's vision. His pieces were like nothing I have seen. He is my favorite type of designer, the one who breaks boundaries and finds new materials and silhouettes. It was a pleasure meeting and working with him. At the landfill, I got to stand on top of a platform and my dress's train seemed to go on for days. I loved the feeling of being larger than life. I felt like an ethereal earth goddess whose mission was to save the planet.

Which of your fellow models got on your nerves the most?

Honestly, we all got on each other's nerves at some point. It's not often that you find yourself living in a house with 13 other strangers from across the country. We all have different experiences and come from different lifestyles. When you live in a house with strangers, you really don't know what you're in for until after the fact. But who ever likes their roommate 100% of the time? After competing with them in challenges and photo shoots as well as spending good quality time together, I started to bond with everyone. We began to act like sisters to one another, sharing clothes, cat fighting, etc. I'm sort of the instigating type so I always had fun playing the devil's advocate when those certain strong personalities started to flare.

Who did you get closest with in the Top Model house?

I was closest with my fellow Texan, Jaclyn, who is a genuine sweetheart and such a pleasure to be around. I also became especially close with the girls that went to Morocco. We experienced the beauty of Marrakech and all of its wonders together and share an experience that very few people have.

What was the most stressful element of the competition for you?

The most stressful element was definitely performing well at photo shoots. There was so much pressure to get a good shot because that was mostly how the panel judged us. The frustrating part was that sometimes what the creative director liked on set was not necessarily what panel was looking for and vice versa. The time frame that each model was allotted for their shoot was also very challenging.

What did you enjoy the most?

Although the photo shoots were the most stressful, they were also one of the best parts of the Top Model experience. I love the transformations we went through on set. We were so lucky to get to work with the photographers, the designers, the stylists and everyone else involved in the creative process. Not to mention, we got to work with pieces that some of us dreamt of, but never thought we would ever get to touch, much less wear. You can only imagine how ecstatic I was when I found out I was modeling the Carolina Herrera gown. When Lori Goldstein put that Swarovski crystal jaguar clutch in my hand, you would have thought I had died and gone to accessory heaven. It felt surreal.

What is the most important lesson you took away from the experience?

Be confident. Not in the cocky, egotistical way, but in the self-loving way. I learned that I deserved it. I learned I was worth it. Going into the competition, I thought I had confidence, I thought I was strong. The first week I realized I wasn't. They challenged our personal facades of what we thought was confidence and throughout the competition I worked on building myself back up. It was a great process for me because growing up I had been protected by loving parents that I never had to experience that kind of world. ANTM made me a strong and confident individual, but first they had to break me down, so that I could build a stronger foundation. Now I know who I am and what I want to represent to the rest of the world.

Who was your favorite judge?

Nigel. Now, I'm blushing. It's not that I had a crush on him, but his aura is definitely something to gush over. Both Nigel and Tyra command the room. You can feel their energy, and it's really awesome that I got to experience that. But Nigel ... wow. He is so cool! I was lucky enough to get to shoot with him as many times as we did. It's not every day you work with an established model and noted fashion photographer. I'll never forget the day he called me "unmemorable." After that day, the fire inside me, my drive and passion for the fashion industry, grew immensely. I am far more passionate now than I ever was. I am thankful for what Nigel said. Not just that day, but at panel and on other shoots. He helped me find my voice as a model. He was very adamant about teaching us how to connect with the camera and how to model from a place of authenticity.

Give us your rundown of the final two, Molly and Brittani. What are their strengths/weaknesses as models? Who are you rooting for?

Molly: gorgeous face, we all know that. She was blessed with amazing bone structure and great lips. She's a pistol. I really love her for her brashness, because she knows how she can come across, yet is able to make a joke out of it so that everyone can laugh about it. She's got a very unique look as well as a sense of humor. As a model, I know she will do great things.

Brittani: fierce walk, sick haircut, and piercing eyes. She is the total package for the type of model ANTM represents. I love her personality; she is very quirky and sarcastic, at the same time insightful.

The final two both come from their own struggles and have broken through many of their own mental barriers. This is one of their shared strengths -- the determination and the want to prove the people who said they wouldn't be able to do it wrong. Weaknesses... I feel Molly's domineer is easily misinterpreted by clients. She also needs to work on expanding her tolerance to certain situations that all models end up dealing with at some point. Brittani, I think her biggest weakness is similar to mine; we both get ourselves worked up. She's great at modeling, but when she feels she isn't doing well it seems to all go downhill from there. Just as long she believes in herself, she will accomplish great things in the fashion industry.

What's next for you?

Victoria's Secret hopefully! Now that my dream of competing on ANTM has actually come true, I feel like anything is possible. Hoping to follow the footsteps of Tyra Banks as a Victoria's Secret Angel is a high platform to aim for, but this entire experience has taught me to shoot for the stars. There is no limit to what a person can achieve if they only believe in themselves and stay positive no matter what. L.A., New York, Asia, Europe or anywhere else I can find work. I am so excited to find my niche in the fashion world and sell myself as a professional model.

Before Top Model, I had only done test shoots with local photographers in Austin and Houston. Now, I've shot with several extremely talented photographers, modeled fabulous works of art, and walked for Tyra Banks, Andre Leon Talley, Nigel Barker, Jay Alexander and Ivan Bart from IMG Modeling Management. This experience has given me so much more than I could have imagined. I'm ready to utilize everything I have learned from the show and to establish myself in the entertainment industry. If I go to L.A., I'm definitely going to pursue acting as well. I love performing-whether that be on a runway, in a photo shoot, or on screen. I simply want to inspire people.

(Image courtesy of CW)