Interview with 'Top Model' All-Star Sheena Sakai: 'They Did Me a Favor' By Relieving Me from the Drama
Interview with 'Top Model' All-Star Sheena Sakai: 'They Did Me a Favor' By Relieving Me from the Drama
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Tyra keeps saying this season of America's Next Top Model: All-Stars is all about personality. But in week two, she let another of her biggest, most entertaining personalities bite the dust. What gives?
 
According to the judges, Sheena didn't embody her branding word, "unexpected," well enough in the Pink's Hot Dogs photo shoot, and that means she doesn't have what it takes to be a walking, talking brand who's even better in photos than in person. On Top Model, expect the unexpected -- especially when it comes to Tyra's elimination logic.

I spoke to Sheena yesterday. Read on for her thoughts on her unfulfilled expectations for the All-Star cycle, the show's suspicious "agenda," what "unexpected" means to her, and more.

Congratulations on being an All-Star. It's too bad for us that you didn't last as long as some of the other girls.

Oh, don't cry for me, Argentina! I'll be fine!

Yeah, you know you did leave with a really positive attitude. Why is that?

I think I'm pretty consistent with my exits, aren't I? Because, I honestly don't feel like I had anything to lose. And to be honest, like honest-honest, that show ... they try to disdain you, by saying you're not good enough, you're not established enough. You're going through this training process all over again. But really, we are established, we're recognized, we're working. We're actually working in the industry. So for me, I felt like, "Look, I'm doing you guys a favor, because you needed us to come back on this show to make this happen."

If anything, we should be getting a lot more respect than what we've been given. You know, enough with the criticism, enough with this whole chopping you down, from image to photos. Because we already know what we're doing. You know, we're working. But I was just disappointed that I wasn't able to really stay on for the fans and be able to showcase my strengths, which is in entertainment more so than modeling. And it would've been fun to do all those things, and to continue entertaining everyone. But I wasn't sad because, I would be just fine. I'm going to go right back to work, which I'm doing, and continue to just do me, like I've been doing. And girl, I'm so happy I got to walk away keeping my hair on my head. That gives me more pleasure! They did me a favor by relieving me from the potential and foreseeable drama that is gonna occur.

When I heard this season was about branding and personality, I definitely thought you'd be one of the best girls at making that transition. So, is there anything you think you could have done differently to show off those strengths of yours? Or do you think that was just how it was going to end up, no matter what?

I think the show has their own agenda, and I feel like the last time, I had a lot more energy and spunk because I was more excited. This was so new to me, and I thought that was a great opportunity. This second time around, I've come in a veteran, like some of the other girls. And I was a little more calm and relaxed, and I know people were saying that. But you know, as you get older, you just get tired of the bullsh*t, so you're just kind of calm and go with the flow. And that's how I was feeling about it. And when I got there, it turned out to be almost completely different, so I was a little disappointed. I was expecting a different treatment. I thought we were gonna get more personal, one-on-one interaction with mentors, or people in the industry, or Tyra herself. But it wasn't like that, it was still the same repertoire. So I was kind of like, "Ugh, this is kind of ... whatever." And maybe that's why they had no use for me, because I wasn't contributing to the drama or excitement of the show, and I wasn't participating in anything negative. I was just chill. I think I slept more than I can imagine. I took so many naps!

In the branding exercise, what did you think of your word, "unexpected"? What does that mean to you?

"Unexpected" means everything to me. I've always related and resonated with that word. I never grew up telling myself I'm unexpected, but I always felt like I was different, I truly did. I couldn't feel like I could identify with anyone, in my community so much or my family or my friends. I always felt like I was just different, and when they said that, I wasn't surprised, but I was kind of like, relieved to know that, "OK, it's not just me. People understand that, too." And I really felt like they were on point about that. It's who I am. I mean, it's not everyday you get an Asian girl with a big personality that has swag. Angelea was hatin', wasn't she? Throwin' shade like that. Come on, girl.

Did any of the girls end up with words that you thought were wrong, or you felt bad for them?

I think every girl's word was assigned accurately. It was very accurate. It's amazing, but it was very accurate. The way the public perceives you is everything. Your brand belongs to the public.

About that photo shoot ... how do you "unexpectedly" eat a hot dog?

Well, I always say it's a double-edged sword with the show. You can't take it so serious. If you do it literally, you get criticized for it. If you do it underwhelmingly, you get criticized for it. Either way, you don't win. It really depends on how they feel at that time, or what they agree on. But for me, I just felt like I'm not going to take this so seriously. I'm going to enjoy myself. I am happy, I got to keep my hair, I'm gonna eat a turkey hot dog, I'm gonna decorate it all pretty and make it look unexpected! You don't eat hot dogs with flowers on it! So I thought that was good enough.

Were the flowers decorative or were they edible?

Decorative!

Oh, OK. Just making sure.

I had a great time on set! I even threw the flowers into the frames, the rose petals, it was fun! The photographer and I connected really well. They didn't show a lot of it, I guess because they were pressed for time. But even Jay had much to say other than a couple sentences and it seems like he had a lot of issues, but he didn't really, honestly.

All we saw really was when he said, "You look like you have to pee," and asked you to look like Kim Kardashian.

Yeah, but it's like only for that one pose! I was giving so many different versatile looks, so that one pose made him say that, and it was just highlighted as if it was the only thing he said? No, I did good. He actually didn't have a lot of comments, and he did not call me "hoochie." And he was like, "You did good, Sheena!" He told me I did really well, and he knew that I worked with the photographer well, and he was like, "Yeah, I didn't have much critique. You know, when I'm quiet, that's usually a good thing."

So, what's next for you? What kind of jobs and roles are you looking for now?

Well, I'm definitely still, as far as modeling, just commercial to print modeling. I'm constantly going on my castings, getting work here and there, working on television, whether I'm a featured model or something like that, you know. But not a real, real model. And I'm working on a music project, I have a new show coming out on the 27th at Halogen, it's called Noble Exchange. I'm also hosting, and definitely working on my music project, still working in television. You know, I'm just doing what I love! And everyone can follow me on my website. On Sheenafied.com. And I have my business, online store, so if you love my jumpsuits, I have an amazing collection of wonderful jumpsuits and pieces that I'll be putting up on my website. You can check that out. I also want to get involved in stopping or raising awareness for human child trafficking. My trip to Peru really inspired me to take a role in something like that.

Oh, that's exciting. We look forward to hearing about that. One last question for you, who do you think should win?

I think the person who should win is -- I think we're all winners, to be honest.

Yeah, but who are you rooting for?

I would love to see Allison, Lisa or Laura win. I really would.



(Image courtesy of CW)

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