She may have missed out on her second chance to be named America’s Next Top Model, but it’s safe to say that Laura Kirkpatrick has solidified her unofficial title as the show’s most lovable model. Certainly of this All-Star cycle. Possibly ever.

Laura also proved that her second-place finish in the “shorties” cycle was no fluke. She could model — and often out-model — alongside her taller, more experienced competition. Still, and even though she’d gotten best photo just one week earlier for her depiction of an ancient Greek archer, the judges sent Laura home this week, just shy of the All-Star finals, saying her adorable personality didn’t always match up with her sexy photographs. But they didn’t do so lightly (at least, not as lightly or arbitrarily as so many decisions on Tyra’s show seem to get made). As viewers saw, this came after the longest judges’ deliberation in the show’s history.

I spoke to Laura (and asked as many of your questions as I could!) the day after her elimination episode aired. Here’s her take on the crazy ride that is the America’s Next Top Model All-Star cycle:

Congratulations on being brought back for All-Stars, and doing so well. What did you enjoy most about the All-Star experience?

I think the #1 thing that I could take away from this show was the girls that I met. I mean, you fight with them and you have ups and downs with them, but that’s what makes you really close with them. I can honestly say that they’re my sisters for life.

You girls certainly got put through the wringer together, so I’m not surprised that you bonded. When you look back on it, do you feel like you learned anything from all of the challenges Tyra put you through?

Mostly just to keep pushing. Because there are a lot of times you want to give up. They really push you and really test you. The best thing is to just push yourself through it and have a good attitude about it. Because, in the end, it’s about how you dealt with that bad situation.

You definitely dealt with everything well, so I commend you on that.

Thank you!

What was your favorite photo shoot?

I have two. Definitely the stilts. I’m very athletic and love to be very active, so that, for me, was so fun. I felt like I was a natural on the stilts. But also, the one I got best photo, of course. When you get best photo, it just makes you feel so good. It makes that photo shoot so much better.

That photo was beautiful. Tell me about that shoot. How did you feel as a Greek goddess?

Oh, well the styling was so amazing. The stylist we had on set was so sweet, and she just made us all so beautiful. Letting us wear all this beautiful stuff she had. So you go on set feeling good, so you do good.

You did so well, but if you could do it again, is there anything you would have done differently?

Probably not a whole lot, because I was just me. And that’s the best way to be, because if I was anyone else, I definitely would have gone home a lot sooner. Maybe I could have just proven myself that I’m not always country. I think that’s the only thing different that I would have done. But I would have still shown where I came from.

The judges deliberated for a very long time this week. How did you all feel while you were waiting?

Oh, it’s awful. You feel just like it lasts for an eternity. I mean, every deliberation feels like it’s forever, because you’re like, “Oh my gosh, am I gonna go home? Who’s gonna go home?” You’re really just sweating bullets. So this one, to be the longest ever in Top Model history, I feel like it just went on for days. That it was never gonna end.

Did that make you feel better about going home? That at least it was a really tough decision for the judges?

Oh yeah, definitely. It definitely makes you feel good when you know that somebody wants to argue that long to keep you in the competition. It makes you feel better. Because, you know, when you’re going home so close to being America’s Next Top Model, I felt like it really could have been me. So when people are fighting for you, it just makes you feel great. So it helps a little bit.

We saw Angelea dip down into the bottom two a few times, and this was your second time.

Yeah, it was my second time. In my first cycle, cycle 13, I had never been in the bottom two before. Let me just say, it feels awful.

So were you frustrated that Angelea got so many second chances, or … how did you feel about that?

Um, no, because Dominique — she had never been in the bottom two, and she went home her very first time. You just never know how the judges are going to fall that day. I mean, it’s kind of like whatever mood they’re in. If they’re in a Dominique mood, if they’re in a Laura mood, it’s just kinda their mood that day.

What did you think of the motion editorial?

We had a blast. We actually shot for two days. Two very long days. Everything we did, it was fun because we did so many different things. It was a good switch-up from just doing a photo shoot every single week. And the place we shot was just adorable and beautiful. It was something I took back home in my memories, just how beautiful and fun it was to get to work beside all the girls. Because, you know, in the photo shoots, we’re kind of just one person against the rest. So we were kind of working together, even though we’re still in a competition.

Which of the other all-stars did you get closest to?

Definitely Angelea, Allison and Lisa, those were the girls I was closest to. I was also close to Bianca, too. Which, people think she’s just a mean old girl, but she’s not. She’s actually very sweet. Usually when she fights, it’s because she likes to play-fight. She’s like a little puppy-dog who likes to growl and wrestle. I know people will never, ever believe that, but it is the truth. And Angelea, I was voting for her on her cycle. I was a true Top Model fan before. I was watching it when I was really young. And then I got to do commentary for Angelea’s cycle, and I rooted Angelea on. That was one of the first things she said to me, she said, “I seen that. And you was always voting for me,” and I said, “Yup!” Also, Allison was my sister’s favorite. And we got really close in the house. Me and Lisa are both in L.A., and she really watches over me, so I’ve really gained a lot of friendships from this cycle. Even more so than my last cycle.

If you could describe each of the final three in one word, what would they be?

For Allison, I think you’d definitely have to say “unique.” Or, like, “odd.” I mean, it’s obvious.

For Lisa … “crazy” is too obvious. Everyone says, “Oh, she’s a crazy girl,” but really, there’s so much more to her. She’s very intelligent. Because she’s making everyone think she’s so crazy, but really, she’s so put together in her head.

And Angelea, I would definitely say, just … probably “beautiful.” But she doesn’t know it. That’s something I would tell her all the time. “You don’t know how pretty, how beautiful you are.” But when she does, she’ll have so much strength. So much power.

What’s next for you?

So many things. I’m really hoping to go overseas to model, and every day it gets closer and closer to actually happening. Also, I’ve started my own t-shirt brand, which I’m so happy about. Most people didn’t know I was an artist, but I actually am — I was an art major before Top Model. And, you know, I’m just hoping that takes off, because it’s something I really love. I love art, and I love fashion, so to get to put them together is just amazing.

Are you selling them locally, or online?

Yeah, I’m selling them online. It’s Grumbage, by Laura. It’s just kind of a word I made up with my friends, just kind of teasing me about spelling. And I’m like, “Well, if I made up a word, I can’t spell it wrong.”

That’s great! Well, I did have one reader wondering if your grandma was going to start a fashion line, so maybe you two could go in together?

Yes, I actually sell my grandma’s stuff on my website, and she actually has some really amazing pieces. They’re in all ranges of prices, like from $25 to, like, $600. Of course the very unique, one-of-a-kind, tough pieces are the more expensive pieces. But it’s really exciting to get to work alongside my grandma and sell both of our fashions, although they’re completely different kinds of fashions.

(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.