Renee Alway, the stay-at-home-mom from Hawaii, was the 2nd runner-up on America’s Next Top Model Cycle 8. Although she may not have been the most likable model in this competition, she was nonetheless a strong and talented competitor who produced very impressive photos consistently, week after week. Last night was no exception to her performance, as Renee wowed Tyra and the judges by nailing her Cover Girl commercial and photo shoot. Nevertheless, Renee found herself going home early, but not because she failed to perform with the same caliber as weeks before. Instead, she was sent home because her face suddenly looked old, mature, and all too familiar. As you can imagine, the confident and even sometimes too cocky Renee was not pleased with the results, and had a lot to say about the events that transpired last night during our exclusive one-on-one interview earlier today.
Check out the interview by reading the full transcript and listening to the mp3 audio below.
How did you initially get involved with American’s Next Top Model?
I just went to the castings in Chicago, I heard about them the day before it happened and I got the call back so…
Did you have any experience with modeling prior to being on the show?
Yeah, I actually did some modeling when I was younger and just some commercial stuff here and there.
What expectations, if any, did you have going into the house? Were you pretty confident that you’d make it as far as you did?
Yeah, you know, I thought that I would make it all the way. I thought I was America’s Next Top Model. So you come in there and you got your dukes up and you’re ready to go to war. But half way through your spirits start to go down a little bit, you start to miss your family, there’s like lots of other parts…there’s a lot more to Top Model house than what you just see. There’s a lot of…I wouldn’t say behind the scenes, but there’s a lot of stuff that the general public doesn’t know about what the girls actually go through. So it’s more difficult than what they make it look.
On that note, was there anything that you wish they showed about you on TV that they didn’t?
I just wish that they showed more dimensions, like the other dimensions of my personality because reality TV shows tend to make people very one-sided, you know, like this is how they are. They’re this person, because of this fight, this makes them this. But it’s not like that. Women are very funny creatures, there’s lot of sides to us, we can be angry, happy, sad, and everything…we can have all those different emotions within like three minutes. So I just wish that they would have showed the other side of me and showed like my motherly side and I was taking care of the girls, cooking dinner for them, helping them when they were sick, and I just wish they would have showed that part too.
The picture they kind of painted of you was early on in the show, they showed you having a lot of different issues with the other girls, and then there was a point where you were confronted, and you seemed to go through a transformation. Was that something that was a result of the way that the show was edited or was that something that was real and a transformation that occurred during the competition?
I mean, obviously when Tyra sits you down and gives you a scolding because you’re being too mean, you’re going to try to be a little bit nicer. But I wouldn’t, I don’t, like looking back on it, I didn’t really change who I was. I never stopped saying things that came to my mind right away. I bit my tongue a little bit here and there and didn’t say some things that I wanted to, but I’m a very blunt person and I like my opinions and I will always say them.
During your individual evaluation last night, the judges loved your Cover Girl commercial; they loved your Cover Girl shoot. However, the thing that they kept saying was the fact that you didn’t look as fresh and as young as the other girls and you had more of a mature look. How did that make you feel?
You know what, I kind of laughed it off. It’s kind of humorous to me. I was 20-years-old, and they’re telling me that I look old. It’s completely asinine in my opinion. You know, they’re saying, “Maybe she doesn’t look the freshest, maybe she doesn’t look the youngest.” You know what, I am what a Cover Girl is. I am a woman and I am a mother and I am like, I do everyday stuff, I’m very normal. I’m not like this diva girl who like walks around…you know, I don’t know? I felt like I was the perfect Cover Girl, I just really did. I did a very good job at all my commercials and I look at the Cover Girl, beside the Top Model Cover Girl commercials, I look at regular Cover Girl commercials, and they’re women on there. Not young little girls, it’s women. So I just laughed about it. It was just an easy out for them.
What was going through your mind when it came down to you and Natasha there?
I was just thinking of what I was going to say to Natasha when she got eliminated. So when that didn’t happen, I was a little bit like, “Oh, okay.”
So looking back on your whole experience, what would you say was the best part?
It was really cool to see how you act under pressure. Like when you’re under all this pressure and you’re constantly scrutinized, it’s very interesting to see what comes out of you. So it was just a very cool experience for me. I mean, when they say that stuff like that is a once in a lifetime experience, like, they literally mean once in a lifetime because you’re never going to want to do it again. Like if I got offered to do that again, I would say, “Um, no. No thanks.”
So how did you feel about Jaslene winning?
I mean, if it wasn’t going to be me, I’m happy it was Jaslene. She really wanted it, almost as bad as I did. It’s just great that another girl who had the passion for it, and has the passion for the entertainment industry, and she has a lot more passion for modeling. So I’m just really proud of her. I’m very, very happy for her, it’s so cool.
Do you still keep in touch with any of the other girls from the show?
A few of them, yeah.
So what are your plans now? Will you continue to model?
Um, yeah. I think I will continue to do modeling. I’m going to be moving to L.A. in a couple of weeks. I want to get an acting coach. I’m really going to push hard for film, but I’m going to pay my dues, I’m going to get coached on it and get the lessons that I need. I know I have the talent. I just have to take care of it and water it and do whatever you do to talent.
Do you have any final thoughts about last night or the show in general?
I would just say to anybody who’s got big dreams you know, of doing whatever it may be, so you want to be a gardener; do what you want to do, do what makes you happy. That little thing: follow your bliss; that’s very true. If you follow your bliss, you’re just going to be happy. Just find your bliss, and follow it.
(Interview conducted by Royce Yuen)
(Photo courtesy of CW)