Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of chatting with Celia Ammerman, the latest girl to be eliminated from America’s Next Top Model. I’ve been looking forward to interviewing Celia all cycle, though I had hoped it would be after the finale, and Celia certainly did not disappoint. During her interview, Celia was the epitome of charm and wit, and I am quite certain that whatever she was wearing while we chatted, was absolutely fabulous.
During her time on America’s Next Top Model, Celia became a surprising fan favorite, while remaining a divisive character amongst ANTM fans. While Celia wasn’t your traditional America’s Next Top Model contestant, that’s what made her such an enjoyable addition to the show. Celia provided a number of firsts for ANTM. Most impressively, Celia seemed to be the first girl who Tyra praised, rather than lectured for her fashion choices. Beyond her fabulous fashion sense, Celia added intelligent dialogue filled with wit and charm galore, to the cycle. But it wasn’t just Celia’s charming personality and enviable wardrobe that enamored ANTM watchers; week after week Celia turned in some of the strongest performances in photoshoots and challenges, amassing arguably the strongest portfolio of any girl this cycle. Of course, not everyone loved Celia. Celia lost many supporters after confronting Tahlia at panel and many of you were not keen on Celia’s angular, androgynous features.
Celia and I chatted about her superb sense of style, what we didn’t see at the fateful panel when she confronted Tahlia, how America’s Next Top Model could have had her at 23, but chose to take her at the “too old” 25, and how she’s still confused as to how enjoying herself or wanting to be America’s Next Top Model was a bad thing in the judges’ minds.
This is Abbey from BuddyTV and this afternoon I’m speaking with Celia from America’s Next Top Model. So, you’re from a small town in Kentucky. I was wondering, how did fashion become your passion?
Ah, that rhymed. I love it. It started from such an early age. I remember just peering into my mother’s closet, and I remember trying on her wedding dress. It just completely transformed me and ever since that moment I just loved what clothes did. She was a sewer and she would sew outfits for us, and she always made outfits for us when we were babies, and she continued doing that. She would make our Easter outfits and she made what I called my back-to-school cocktail outfits when I was in third grade. It was just this flower print skirt-on-skirt – way over the top – for my first day of school and I loved it. I’ve loved what it does to me and what it continues to do for me. Fashion speaks for me when I don’t want to talk.
So you’ve been fashionable since you were, say, six years old?
I don’t know about fashionable!
Or a stylista?
Yeah! I was definitely aware of what clothing did to me and how I reacted when I was wearing certain items. Its my love.
How did you come to be on America’s Next Top Model?
Well, I tried out about two years ago and didn’t make it. This time a friend of a friend had tried out for Stylista and he knew Medford, one of the casting agents, and told me I should submit pictures to go to a closed casting call. I submitted pictures to Medford and on a whim he was like “Yeah, sure. Come. Why not?” I just kept lasting through the cuts and each time there was a cut I couldn’t believe it. There was a cut and I was still there, and a cut and I was still there. So that was it.
It’s interesting that you tried out two years ago – so you would have been 23 – and they made such a big deal about your age.
They could have had me when I was younger. [I told them,] “You wanted me when I was older.”
So what was life like in the Top Model house?
Oh my Lord. What was it? I wish I had a catchy phrase. It was surreal is what it was. We were kind of in this bomb shelter because we were in lock down all the time. You couldn’t leave and we were left to our own devices, which was talking because we didn’t have a phone, magazines, books, a computer. Nothing. All current technology was stripped from us. So we were left to talking or drawing on each other, having crying contests or truth or dare. Very primitive games and activities!
Sounds like the Top Model house was a sociological experiment as well.
It was! It was a science experiment. For sure. It’s like, “How long are these women not going to go insane? Will these women go insane? Let’s see.”
And let’s film it!
Exactly. I’d love to have a documentary on what goes on because beneath us there’s this massive station where all of the camera crew would come up [from] and where everything went down. I’d love to have a documentary about what goes on down there.
Film the life of the editors.
Obviously you and Allison were very close. Who else were you close with in the house?
Kortnie definitely. Ali and I got so close just because we lasted longer; but it was really me, Kortnie and Ali. Really to this moment. As I’m talking to you I got a text from Allison. We talk everyday and Kortnie is moving up to New York on May 11 and I’m so excited. They are my loves. I can’t even imagine my life without them now. We were meant to find each other there. I think that’s why I wasn’t supposed to be in the house two years ago.
You were fated to meet the friends from this cycle.
You mentioned how surreal life was filming America’s Next Top Model. Do you think it was more surreal to film it and to live it or was it equally surreal to watch it?
You know, it’s funny. It really hasn’t been that crazy to watch it. I’m definitely reliving it. It’s surreal to wake up every morning frightened because there’s a camera in your face. That’s kind of the surreal part is just to wake up and be like *gasp*… every morning for a week.
In a way, you wanted to be the best ‘you’ you could and the most interesting ‘you’ you could be, the most witty. But after a while it was just like, “Ugh! I can’t. I can only be me.” And you can see us settling into ourselves as the show goes on, and I think that’s really interesting. You would say things and do things you never thought you would say or do. Ever. So it was surreal in that way. It pushed you psychologically and in many other ways.
What are your thoughts now on bringing up Tahlia’s comments at panel?
The show has an insatiable thirst for controversy. I provided that. I had said earlier that if Tahlia doesn’t get eliminated I’d think that was really crazy because for the past few days she’d been talking about how she wanted to go home, and how she thought this was silly for her to do and she wished she hadn’t done it. And I was like, “Well, that’s no good!” You know?
Thousands of girls tried out for this show. I watched them. I remember this one girl fell to her knees because she didn’t make one of the cuts. This was in the beginning. And I was like, “That girl is watching right now. She’s watching Tahlia be like, ‘I don’t want to be here. This is awful.’ And you know she’s like, ‘Oh, I would kill to be there.'” So I was considering that, and also when I went to panel… they didn’t show this but Tyra was like, “The floor is open. We don’t know what goes on in the house so if you have something to say, say it now.” So I was like, “Ahh! I guess in a way she’s saying ‘Talk!’ And even Toccara said, “Show your personality! Talk to panel.” I wasn’t forced to do what I did but it’s kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. You know? I can choose to do what I said I was going to do and make things interesting.
Was anything you saw or heard watching the show painful or hurtful or enlightening?
As far as the other girls comments are concerned it was just like we were saying earlier. It was a surreal experience. At the time nobody knew what the hell was going on. It was such pressure we underwent. I couldn’t imagine having grudges against any of the girls. We all went through this together. Even though we might not have gotten along, this is a place and time that we all endured together. We’ll always have that. Whatever they said, it’s just water under the bridge because… it’s all good! I’m, like, such a hippie!
What’s done is done, though.
Yeah! Exactly! You did things you never thought you say or do because they came up. They’d interview you for hours and hours. You kind of just became a little puppet, or I did. I didn’t want to be, but sometimes you just fell to the mercy of the editors questions. It became so exhausting. We would sometimes do interviews at one or two in the morning. We were exhausted and we’d just say things that now it’s like, “What? I don’t even remember saying that!”
Yikes! Sounds really unpleasant.
I don’t mean to put it in a bad light. I really did love it so much. But it got rather exhausting at some points.
Everyone is obviously absolutely enamored with your sense of style.
Aww! That’s what I was looking for. I was like, “If I get eliminated in the first episode I at least just want to leave a good taste in everyone’s mouth – a fashion mark.”
By far, you’re the most stylish girl who’s been on ANTM.
Oh wow! That’s a huge compliment! Thank you! That’s so sweet!
Your look is very unique, so I am wondering how you would describe your sense of style? Your aesthetic?
I try to be whatever I’m feeling. I like finding a balance, whether it’s like feminine vs. masculine or girly or rocker. Whenever I’m feeling that way I want to make sure that I have clothes to represent how I feel. When I was in school I was so shy that I didn’t talk to anyone. The only time people would approach me is if I was wearing something interesting. I was like, “Huh! Interesting!” That was a way for me to communicate and it just kind of grew from there I guess. I like anything that makes me feel happy. Or sexy. Or edgy. Revisiting all of the decades is also really, really fun.
So, you really excelled during the Creative Director Challenge. Is that something you’d be interested in doing?
Oh, yeah. Well, styling? I would want to be all encompassing. I would want to be a creative director. I wouldn’t just want to style. I would need more. Coming up with the concept playing God and [being] multi-faceted as opposed to a straight vision.
Do you think that your sense of style and the fact that it was focused on so much opened doors for you in that world?
I most certainly hope so. Well, it already has. I just did a shoot for the New York Post. In fact, I’m coming off of that shoot right now. The reason that I’m here is because I met one of the photographers and she had really liked me on the show and thought I would be a good candidate for the style section in the Post. That’s what so incredible – the little things that can happen, the people you can meet that help you along the way.
Well that’s exciting. Congratulations on that.
Thank you so much! There are just the sweetest people here. I can’t believe it, but they’re actually letting me use their phone right now. I’ve been interviewing for the past two hours or something and they just let me sit here.
Cheers, New York Post!
Yeah, exactly. I feel like I should send them a fruit basket or something.
An edible arrangement of some sort.
Oh my God! I’m all about edible arrangements! No joke.
So do you have a favorite designer to wear, or a designer who you think matches your design aesthetic particularly well?
Right now it’s probably [Giambattista] Valli because it’s so voluminous and it just kills on the red carpet. I don’t know. I’m definitely up for experimenting. And, like, Nina Ricci was doing the fishtail effect – shorter in the front and longer in the back, that 80s style. I’m a fair weather fan. It depends on the season.
But I’m always up-to-date on what designers are doing. It’s all I do with my free time. After this I’ll probably go home and check on Style.com and Red Carpet Fashion Awards and see what people are wearing. That’s all I do; just research all the time. Even when I was in college I would take pictures of fashion on campus. Basically college was just a platform for me to show off my fashion. I didn’t care much for college other than wearing cute clothes.
So you were like the campus Sartorialist?
Yeah, yeah, exactly. I would take pictures of both good and bad fashion and I literally had a thousand pictures of what people are wearing on college campuses. I always wanted to do a story with it but I never got a chance to.
You spent a lot of time practicing your poses before a photoshoot. Do you think that helped or hurt you? Are you that meticulous in other aspects of your life?
I haven’t seen the episode from last night but they were saying it came across like I was so stressed and over-thinking and over-analyzing, but I think that’s okay. Not to be stressed – it sucks to be stressed. I was stressed because I could tell my elimination was coming up soon. But I feel like being a perfectionist isn’t a bad thing. I thought of something really weird. I remember Paulina saying to me, “You’re enjoying this way too much!” I thought that was the most odd comment. I was like, “Isn’t that a good thing?”
“Aren’t I supposed to be enjoying this?!”
“Way too much!” I don’t know. It was so bizarre to me. Should I not be enjoying being in Brazil? I don’t know. It was so weird. I was getting such mixed opinions. I was just getting mixed feelings from the judges. What else did she say? She said, “Desperation isn’t sexy.” Oh, and she said “She wants it too much.” Then they cut to Aminat, and Aminat is like, “I want this so bad.” Fo’s like, “I want this so bad.” I thought that was such a weird comment – to be like that’s one of the reasons I should be eliminated. A) I’m enjoying it too much and B) I want it too much. I was like, “I don’t get it.” To this moment, I don’t get it.
I commented on that in the review I wrote last night. It seemed so strange that with you they talked about how your desperation isn’t sexy, and then they’re like, “What we love about Aminat is that she really wants it!” Huh? What?
Okay, I’m so happy that someone else picked up on that, and I was happy the editors left that in there so they can be like, “What?” That’s such a head-scratcher.
The same thing made me scratch my head. And they did it twice! They harped on you for practicing your poses but in previous cycles they’ve been like, “Oh, great job being backstage and practicing your poses and learning your angles!” And I was like, “What?”
So what was your favorite teach or challenge that you had during the cycle?
The Blondes. Most definitely. And I also enjoyed the Cover Girl commercial.
Did you have a favorite photoshoot?
For various reasons I really, really love the one we did with Tyra. I just felt like that is the epitome of getting into character and dressing up. Playing with fashion. Playing with music. Transforming a person. I feel like that was our biggest transformation. I thought that was really, really fun, and I was obsessed with my hair.
They had to take it out because the second we finish our photoshoot we have to go interview and our hair has to be the same way it was from Week One. I was just like, “I would pay to leave this hair in for the rest of my time as a human being!”
I thought it was one of your strongest photos of the cycle too.
I really loved that. I didn’t mind the armpit either. I really didn’t. I think Nigel said something about that but I really loved it a lot. That little nest they built was so beautiful.
Yeah, it looked like a stunning place for a photoshoot.
It was so stunning and it smelled so good.
So what was your favorite moment that we didn’t see on TV?
My favorite – Oh! You know what it was? It was something simple. We had a food fight between me, Ali, Kortnie and London. Oh! It was two things. It was the food fight in New York. It was the time we completely let loose. You’re undergoing so much and it was the most freeing time. And the other time was when we swam in the ocean in Brazil and we got de-miced. And we’re never without a microphone ever. It starts feeling like you’re wearing handcuffs. That was so amazing. We’re swimming in Brazil in the ocean. We were all there together. We’d just finished a photo shoot. It was just so liberating.
That’s freedom on many different levels. I think Kortnie said that the food fight was her favorite and Fo said the thing about the ocean too.
Yeah, well there you go! They were genuinely incredible experiences. I was fortunate enough to experience both.
I wish we’d seen that food fight, actually.
It was so good! We were dropping bombs. When we came into the house there were twenty jars of candy. One of these things of candy was black Twizzlers. I was like, “Who eats that shit?” You know? Sow we used that to throw at each other, and Alison took out one of her extensions and put it around a Twizzler and threw that. It was just so great. It was so great! It was an epic moment that unfortunately went amiss.
Yeah, Kortnie said there could have been a whole episode about that and the truth or dare game and I was like, “I would like that!”
One last question Celia, now that you’re out of the competition who do you hope will win America’s Next Top Model?
I hope Allison will win. I think she so deserves it. She’s so humble and she had such grace throughout it all. She hasn’t yelled at anyone. She hasn’t called anyone names. She’s just been so pleasant. She’s such a faerie. She’s perfection. Like, there’s no flaw in her. She’s such a role model in that way. She’s divine and she’s dazzling and I think that’s something to be praised for.
–Abbey Simmons, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image Courtesy of CW)