Sundai Love should thank her legs. Despite being the shortest model in this cycle of shorties on America’s Next Top Model, she still managed to outlast most of her competition, making it to Hawaii and the final 5 contestants. In picture after picture, Tyra and the judges commended her for looking much taller than her 5’3” frame gave her credit for… and those legs even helped her outrun her competitors in their relay challenge, winning her a $1,000 gift certificate to Wal-Mart.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Sundai, 18, this afternoon about her experience on the show, including her literal highs and lows in the competition, from up on a horse to down deep in the ocean. She revealed her favorite models left in the running, what viewers would be surprised to learn about her, and how she plans to harness her youthful image–with hopes of being on our TV screens once more!
Check out the full audio and transcript of my interview with Sundai after the jump.
This is Meghan with BuddyTV and I’m on the line with Sundai from America’s Next Top Model Cycle 13. Has a been a busy day for you?
Oooh yeah. I think I did like a million interviews in five seconds, so it’s been a very busy day.
Forgive me if I force you to repeat yourself.
Oh, that’s fine!
Well, congratulations on making it to the final five. How’s it feel?
It actually feels pretty good. You know, I was pretty devastated and sad. I wanted to make it farther. But I am actually pretty happy that I made it that far.
Oh, you should definitely be proud. Well, if you could, in three words, how would you describe the whole experience of being on the show?
Three words… challenging, exciting, and rewarding.
What was the most challenging thing about doing the underwater shoot, for you?
The most challenging thing was definitely trying to hold my breath long enough to get a good picture at the same time, because I had to keep coming up for air, so that was pretty challenging.
What was your favorite photo shoot that you did?
My favorite photo shoot would have to be the horse photo shoot, and that’s because I love animals so much. And it was like such a beautiful day, and everybody was in such a good mood, until pretty much afterwards, after they took their picture, but when we first came, everybody was in such a good mood, so it was fun.
What about your least favorite?
Definitely the underwater shoot. It was a little bit too much going on, and too stressful, so that would have to be my least favorite.
So based on your performance overall, do you think you were eliminated fairly?
Um… I actually thought I was progressing through time, unlike most people. Some people were actually, you know, getting worse and worse with each week, but I actually thought I should stay at least one more round, that round. I felt like I deserved that one.
Did it upset you that Erin was in the bottom two three times in a row, and you were eliminated instead?
Yeah, yeah, it really upset me a lot, but at the same time, you know, the judges have been doing this for what, like thirteen cycles now, so I think they know what they’re doing. They must see something that they really like in Erin, and maybe she’s like made for America’s Next Top Model in particular more than I am. But at the same time, I was very shocked and devastated.
So how did you get over it since then? You seem like you’ve come to terms with it a little bit more.
Yeah, I mean I had some time. I had some time. I was pretty much just so mad because I know I’m 5’3” and I know that was going to be the only way I could possibly model, but now I see that I have a lot to offer, and I think it won’t be a problem for me to get into the industry, hopefully.
Was it difficult for you being the shortest one there?
It was definitely difficult because everyone kind of looked down on me, in a way, and then they expected twice as more as everybody else at the same time. So it was kind of… you know.
How about all the crazy challenges that Tyra put you through–are there any that stick out in your mind?
Definitely the Wal-Mart challenge. That one just was so fun, and I actually won that one. It was very fun, because I’m on the track team, kind of, so running, and Wal-Mart, and money… it all just sounded really good. And it was actually really fun.
Have you had a chance to spend any of that Wal-Mart money yet?
I haven’t even got it yet. But when I get it, I’m going to buy a TV.
Oh, awesome. So watching yourself on TV, do you feel like you were portrayed accurately on the show?
Kind of. I mean, they’re not going to put anything that you don’t say on there, I mean everything that’s on there is what you say. But I definitely think I’m a lot more nicer and funnier. I was always the one running around, making everybody laugh, type of person. They didn’t really get to show that as much.
What’s something that people who watched you on the show would be surprised to learn about you?
Probably that I love cartoons and that I’m really a nerd. And I love animals a whole lot. Like, if I see an animal, I’m going to try to catch it, no matter what it is, pretty much.
Now that you’re off the show, who do you think should win?
Definitely Laura, because she’s my best friend. And she’s so sweet, and she deserves it. She’s a very humble person, and she’s also grateful to be there, so I think she deserves to win. And also Jen, because she helped out everybody in the house the whole time she was there.
Well that’s good to know. What about Nicole?
Nicole also… I know, I don’t want to pick everyone!
I know, I’m just interested because she’s a little… bizarre.
I wish everyone could win, but we can’t. But yeah, I love Nicole, we’re really close, too. She’s a very close person to me.
Well I’m sure you’re not coming out of this empty-handed. You’ve gotten a lot of exposure, so what’s in the future for you?
Definitely still going to try and pursue modeling. I know I can get into something, some kind of print work, so I’m going to try and get signed to an agency, but also I really, really want to be on the Disney Channel! So I’m going to try and do that.
Oh, that’s awesome–in like a live TV show or something?
Yeah, I want my own TV show really bad. And then Tyra said I look 12, so I guess that’s going to work to my advantage, in a way.
Yeah, you should harness that! That could be your ticket.
“Tyra said I’m 12, so… give me a show!” No, I’m gonna try hard.
Maybe part of that was the haircut. Did you keep it?
Yeah, I actually definitely thought the haircut made me look a lot younger, and I didn’t end up keeping it. I did like the idea of a short haircut, but I think it needed to be like a different style, maybe, because that style wasn’t really for me, I guess.
It was great to talk to you Sundai, and we wish you all the best. It was fun to watch you this season.
-Meghan Carlson, BuddyTV Staff Writer
Image courtesy of the CW