20 year old Kimberly Leemans always knew she wanted to be a model. Growing up, her dad constantly took pictures of her and she got used to being in front of the camera. A fan of America’s Next Top Model, she tried out last season but got cut almost immediately. This year, it’s a different story and Kimberly was chosen as a semi-finalist by Miss Tyra herself. The Florida native was sent home early, the second to be eliminated, and feels she was robbed. Today, Kimberly talked to BuddyTV about the smoking ban, the drama, and being left on her own in photo shoots.
Below, you will find the complete transcript and mp3 of the interview.
Hey everbody. This is Gina from BuddyTV, and I’m talking to the latest eliminated model from America’s Next Top Model, Kimberly. Hi, Kimberly. How are you?
I’m good, how are you?
I’m good. Thanks for doing the interview today. I appreciate it.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, and if modeling was something you always wanted to do growing up?
I think modeling was always incorporated in my life growing up, ’cause my dad has been taking pictures of me since I was born. So I always kind of felt really comfortable in front the camera which is great, but I never had the high fashion thought of modeling in my head. I had more of the “smile and cheese” CoverGirl kind of modeling in my head.
Right. Was this your first year trying out for the show?
No, I actually tried out last season.
What was the audition process like for you this year? Was it very long, or did you sort of sail right through?
It was long because I actually made it further. So, I sent in my video submission in January, so this process has been before January, getting ready for it. But, I sent in my video and then I got a phone call from the casting director saying that they wanted to meet me in Miami for the open call. So I went and kind of went with the herd and got picked out of that. And then they narrowed it down again even more. And then they were like, “Hey, do some interviews and some runway stuff,” and then they were like, “Okay, we’ll call you if we want you.” So, no stress for two months and I was like waiting by the phone. And then, finally, I got a phone call from Tyra saying that she wanted me to be a semi-finalist. So that was awesome.
What was it like when you got to meet Tyra for the first time? It has to be pretty surreal.
Oh my God, it was! I felt like I was watching TV. I was like, “This can’t be! This can’t be happening. She can’t be just feet in front of me!” The first time we saw her was on the cruise and the first time we really got to interact with her was in panel.
Well, with the models going green and with the first photo shoot being anti-smoking, what’s your opinion on Tyra making a political stance this season?
I’m so, so proud to be a part of this season. I love it because I’m an environmentalist myself, and I’m a vegetarian. I talked about it all the time on the show, but they never showed it. But I was so proud that she was showing, you know, the biodiesel bus and the whole no smoking thing, because I never really knew it until I was part of the show what a young demographic we have. ‘Cause I watched it in college, but apparently it’s more 14-year-olds and stuff so that’s so good because we can influence them to show, you know, “It’s possible. Go get a hybrid, don’t smoke, it’s not worth it.” So I was so proud, so proud. And I’m sure they are going to do more amazing things that I wasn’t a part of.
Yeah, when we interviewed Mila, she had left right after the elimination where Tyra banned smoking. So, you got to go back to the house. What was everybody’s opinion of the ban? Were they okay with it?
I was totally okay with it. I’m against smoking. And my mom’s a smoker. I hoped that the photo shoot would have changed her mind, but it didn’t. But Jenah was definitely the smoker of the house. I know that other couple girls smoked just for fun, you know, to de-stress, but she definitely had a hard time with it. But she didn’t cheat as far as I was there.
What do you make of all the drama involving Bianca, Lisa, Saleisha. How did you deal with that in the house?
We went so long without having any kind of confrontation and we were all like, “Oh my God, this is so cool. We’re not going to be one of those drama seasons.” And then, you know, you start getting tired, you have long days, somebody says something and you don’t hear right, and then it starts going out of control. Basically, it was just Bianca saying her opinions in a loud voice, and then getting offended, and then throwing insults out. It wasn’t a malicious intent like they’re showing it like she always wants to pick fights and stuff. It was just, she was just saying her opinions and then it just went out of control. It started off as a good intention, but it always turned out really bad.
A lot of fans of yours and fans of the show didn’t feel you had the weakest picture this week. What did you think about the rock climbing photo shoot?
I thought I did a lot better than they showed. I definitely think that they picked the weaker picture of the show to panel to get me out, I guess. I definitely feel robbed. I didn’t feel like it was my time to go at all, and I was really shocked and bothered by that for a long time. Even now, when I watch the show, I’m like, “Why?” It doesn’t make sense to me.
Well, there’s lots of BuddyTV readers who picked you to go all the way to the finale.
I know, I read that. You guys are so sweet. Yeah, I was expecting to go all the way to the end and I definitely felt like I could’ve had it, and I would have been one of those girls that maybe didn’t start off super strong but that could have definitely learned. ‘Cause I hadn’t been getting any advice, photo shoot-wise by Mister Jay at all until after my second photo shoot. And then I went into panel and I was like, “Listen, I would hate to go home without showing you what I’ve learned,” and then I got cut anyways, which really sucks ’cause I didn’t get to show them what, you know, that I had absorbed stuff. But I didn’t get any advice at all before that.
Well, we hope that we’ll be seeing more of you in the future.
Oh, absolutely. You can count on it.
Well, I just wanted to thank you for your time, Kimberly. Good luck in the future.
Thank you so much.
– Gina Scarpa, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of CW)