Cassandra Whitehead, a good friend of BuddyTV, was a contestant on America’s Next Top Model’s 5th cycle. Her infectious personality quickly made her a fan favorite. Although she is the only America’s Next Top Model contestant to ever quit the show, she did it on her own terms. Cassandra recently talked with us at BuddyTV about her season, the way she left the show, and her thoughts on the most recent season of America’s Next Top Model. How did you initially get involved with America’s Next Top Model?
There was a local modeling agency that was owned by the director of Miss Corpus Christi Pageant, and they were sponsoring an open call for America’s Next Top Model. And, at the time, I was with Corpus Christi, so she had asked me to go for her. So I went, and went to the open calls there. Before America’s Next Top Model, were you doing a lot of modeling already? No, I was doing mostly pageants. I didn’t do a lot of modeling. I did a couple commercial print things in Houston, where I’m from, but nothing serious. How was your overall experience being on the show? It was definitely a different experience for me than most of the girls, I think, but it was worth my while absolutely, and I would totally do it again if I could go back and do it, even though it didn’t end up how I had expected. It was a lot of fun and I actually got one of my best friends out of it, so it was definitely worth the experience. You were the only contestant to ever walk out on the competition. Do you regret it? I don’t regret it. And if I had gone back and they had given me the same kind of ultimatum that they had given me, I would still have stuck with my decision. I would do it again, but I’d also make the same decision. I mean, I wish I could have stayed a little longer, obviously, but I still completely back up my decision 110 percent. And that’s how I feel, that’s how I still fee,l ever since I made it. A lot of contestants have mixed feelings about Tyra after being on the show. Given what happened in your situation, what are your thoughts about her? Well, I think what the issue was…I feel like a lot of girls aren’t comfortable around her, or they have mixed feelings one way or another, because I feel like we really didn’t get to see the real Tyra. Every time we saw her, it was in front of the camera. So, I kind of feel like maybe, I don’t whether she was putting on a front, or if that was the real her. But I don’t think we could really tell because every time we did see her, we didn’t really have any time with her that wasn’t on camera. You had mentioned that one of your best friends is from your season? Yeah, actually Kyle, she’s from my cycle. She’s one of my good friends – we’re roommates, we hang out all the time, obviously, we live together. We became really good friends when we were doing a bunch of the promo stuff at the end of the season and we stayed in touch ever since, and then we both moved out here (LA) together. We also became really good friends with Sara from Cycle 6, and then we also occasionally hang out with Christina from Cycle 4 as well. Did you get a chance to watch Cycle 7? I didn’t get to see every episode, but I saw a lot of them. What did you think? Were there any surprises? Well, I didn’t expect Melrose to get as far as she did, but I was definitely glad that CariDee won. We really liked her. Sarah, Kyle and I would watch it. We liked CariDee a lot. But other than that…I can’t remember, I think her name was Eugena that disagreed all the time and got kicked off earlier in the show, and we weren’t big supporters of her. So, I guess we kind of followed the general consensus of what most people thought. So what happened for you after the show? Well, after the show, we are required to all go back to our hometowns and all go back to our normal lives, obviously, because there’s a gap between when the show is taped and when it airs. So, we really can’t do much until after our episodes where we lose is aired. I had to finish college – I was in my last year of college and I had decided to finish that before I moved to LA – but I was doing a lot of work in LA. I was out here once or twice a month. I worked on a couple of projects for MTV and just modeling, I was out here all the time. It was tough for me to finish school because I was only home three or four days a week. I only spent two weekends at home the entire semester, and one of the weekends I was hosting Miss Corpus Christi, so I was working. So, I didn’t get a lot of sleep for those six months. But after I finished school and graduated, I moved out here and it’s been good ever since. Are you actively pursuing modeling right now? What have you been up to in LA? I do a lot of commercials and commercial modeling. I don’t do a lot of editorial or high fashion, and I don’t do a lot of runway. But I don’t mind, that’s how I kind of prefer it – I make more money with commercial, it’s more fun…I really don’t mind not being in high fashion. Do you have any advice for other young girls out there and fans of yours that are aspiring to be models or want to get on a show like America’s Next Top Model? I guess the only thing I can really say is stick to your guns and stay true to who you are because the industry just doesn’t care. So if you aren’t true to yourself, you can really easily get lost in the mess of it, which happens to girls all the time, which is why people come out here to New York and then fail, and then go back home. And that’s true of the show too. You have to really stick to who you are and you can’t win them all like that, but at least you’re true to yourself and in the end it’ll work out. Do you still get recognized a lot by fans and people who remembered you from your season? Not as much as when the show had first aired. I think we get recognized the most when I’m with Kyle and Sara and Christina or Joanie. Whenever I’m with one of the other girls is when we get recognized the most. Thanks, Cassandra.

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