If Tyra was looking for an positive, multi-faceted model ambassador to represent her as the winner of America’s Next Top Model: All-Stars … well, she passed over a solid candidate in cycle 10’s Dominique Reighard.

Of all the models I’ve spoken to after their eliminations this cycle, Dominique was far and away the happiest and most grateful. Her mission in returning for All-Stars, she told me, was to “be remembered for [her] sheer talent and [her] optimistic attitude toward life,” and that meant rolling with the punches, whether by singing a song, posing in a silly photo shoot or taking criticism from the judges.

And now Dominique’s “On Top of the World” with her brand new music video, which features, among other scenes, her posing nearly nude in a swiveling egg chair. This is the model Tyra eliminated this week for being “forgettable”?

Taking that elimination in stride was just part of Dominique’s overarching message of positivity. Here are her thoughts on her third time as a Top Model:

Were you surprised to be eliminated?

At first. But once I got in the bottom two, you kind of have to accept what happens and roll with the punches. After I got eliminated, I’m a very positive, optimistic girl. I don’t really live in the past. So once I got eliminated, I was like, “You know what? I have grown so much. I’ve accomplished so much. I’ve had opportunities and challenged myself in ways that I thought I’d have a chance to do.” All I can say from cycle 10, to Modelville and winning that, to the All-Star cycle … I’m proud of myself!

You seemed so much more positive and bubbly this time around. Is that because of the editing on cycle 10, or did your attitude change?

I’ve grown a lot from cycle 10, but on the other hand, the essence of who I am is still the same. From cycle 10 to this all-star cycle, I’m more of a self-assured woman now than I was on cycle 10. I’m very confident in who I am, I have a very strong support system at home. I’m in a different part of life, and a different place as a woman. So there are some changes, but at the same time, the reason I am where I am today is because of the woman I was yesterday. And that woman was willing to take whatever feedback was thrown at her, make it work for her and not against her, and willing to grow and get better. That’s been consistent, and I think that embodies my brand of being a survivor.

Is that what you were trying to say when you told Angelea that you saw parts of yourself in her, when she got so upset?

To a certain degree, yes. I mean, we’ve all been there as women. My mission and purpose in life is to add to the lives of other people, not take away. My goal coming into this competition was to be remembered for my sheer talent and my optimistic attitude toward life. And that was accomplished. Mission accomplished. I really don’t feel like I lost. I feel like I’ve gained so much. So whoever’s meant to win this competition as a part of their life’s journey, and I learned in my elimination that it wasn’t going to be a part of mine, but does that mean I’m not a winner, and I’m not on top of the world? I don’t know about you, but have you seen my new music video?

Yes, I have! You’re very much “On Top of the World”!

Yes, I am! Because I live my life with passion, and with love, and with a willingness to keep getting better. I was optimistic this cycle and I had fun with it. I didn’t let things get to me.

You’re maybe the first model I’ve talked to this cycle who didn’t seem upset about the all-star cycle. Everyone else has been frustrated and saying they were pitched something originally that didn’t play out that way.

I mean, c’mon. This is America’s Next Top Model. Whether it’s an all-star cycle or not, one of the cool and exciting things about it is that when you live in that house for however long, up to two months, you don’t know what’s going to happen the next day. Every day is a shock factor. It’s surprising. And it’s kind of like an adrenaline rush, like, “OK. I have to wake up at 4 AM. What are we going to do today? Who are we going to meet?” For me, it was a once in a lifetime experience. I embraced it. I felt like when Tyra called me to come back, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, but I knew that, regardless of anything, Tyra is giving me a platform. She’s giving all of us a platform, for millions of people to see us all over again. For me, this is a third go-around. So I was honored. Like, millions of people are going to see how much I’ve improved from cycle ten? I am just going to have fun with this!

The judges, when I walked into judging panel, I never took it as, “Oh my gosh, I’m going to get sent home.” I’m like, “If I get sent home, that means it was my time to go.” I was like, you know, I have Andre Leon Talley and Nigel Barker and Tyra Banks herself talking about me. So many other girls wish they were in my shoes right now. I’m going to take their feedback, because I have people at the top of their game in this industry giving me feedback to better.

Which photo shoot was your favorite?

Oh my gosh. OK, so I really, really, really loved my Express shoot. And I really, really love my Coco Rocha shoot. And I really liked the one with the Greek salad. But the Michael Jackson shoot was great, too! La Toya was amazing. Oh my gosh, her spirit and energy is just through the roof. That was an amazing experience to meet her. I’ll remember that for the rest of my life, and I hope to meet her again.      

Both of the times Nigel shot you, you went home. You don’t think he’s your bad luck charm, do you?

[Laughs] Oh no! No, Nigel is amazing, and I plan on working with him in the near future. He’s a great photographer, and he has amazing energy, and I love working with Nigel. I thought we had a beautiful shoot, and I had fun on that shoot. It’s a shame that I went home, but it’s a part of the game. Not everybody can win, there’s only one winner. Somebody has to go. And it was just my time. I will say that this episode, by far, has been my favorite episode. And I know it’s like, “Alright, c’mon now. You got eliminated. Get real.” But, really. The shock factor? I was watching it with my family and friends and they really did not know! [Laughs] They were like, “Oh Dominique got it again! You go, girl!” They had no idea. So it was great television. And my exit was beautiful, and I was portrayed exactly how I feel I am. I wanted to be remembered for my positive attitude and my sheer talent.

Definitely. That definitely came across. Are you going to continue with music now that you’ve released your music video?

Yes! Right now I’m working on my album. I have my first single out called “On Top of the World.” And I have another single that I’m dropping, and I have release party for that at the end of the month in Atlanta. Derek Blanks directed both music videos, and I have a pretty well-known rapper who’s rapping in the second music video that will be out next month. It’s called “Main Chick,” and her name is Diamond, and I was really excited when she agreed to do the song with me. It’s a really cool song, and it’s polar opposites from “On Top of the World.” I wanted to show some versatility. I love music, and if it wasn’t for Tyra giving me this challenge to write and sing in front of millions of people, who knows? “On Top of the World” might not even be here right now. So shout-out to Tyra for challenging me and telling me, “Hey girl, you can do this.” So I’m working on my album and as I finish singles, I will be shooting videos and just throwing them out there.

I plan on traveling internationally and reaching out to my fans overseas. I have a lot here and I love all the fans I have here, but I’m very appreciative of all the fans I have over there who have never had an opportunity to see me in person. I plan on traveling overseas for a couple months, especially as I get towards wrapping up my album. I’m excited!

Any last words for your fans out there?

I want people to stay tuned at my website, DominiqueReighard.com. And follow me on Twitter, @DominiqueANTM because that’s where you’ll get updates and music videos, you’ll be able to download music, you’ll see behind the scenes footage of music videos, which is coming very, very soon. I want my fans to really get to know me and see this progress. I’m glad that Tyra gave me this platform again to throw me back out there like, “Look at my girl. She is doing her thing. I’m proud of my baby.” Tyra is my mentor, I appreciate it. So stay tuned!
(Image courtesy of CW)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.