Mikaela was one of my early picks to go all the way on America’s Next Top Model cycle 16, but signs pointed the other way early on in the season: Her look was flawless, but the results were not showing up in her final shots. And when she wasn’t on a photo shoot she just seemed so … relaxed. So relaxed, in fact, that it seemed we didn’t get to hear much from her at all, as she kept herself out of the big drama between the other girls. A great strategy for being a human being, but not the best for making soundbites on a reality TV show.

So when it came down to the choice between Brittani, who has put up beautiful photos and also had a major blowout at this week’s panel, or Mikaela, who was showing promise but not results, the judges voted to keep Brittani. And while I didn’t agree with Tyra’s choice to tell Brittani that she wished Mikaela had stayed instead (harsh!), I did agree when she told Mikaela she saw a bright future for the 21-year-old Floridan student, who’s also studying theater.

I got the chance to chat with Mikaela yesterday about her Top Model experience. Here’s what she had to say:

You were one of my favorites this season because you have such a strong look. What do you think was holding you back?
I don’t really know. I think I just had a hard time between the photo shoot and panel. I felt like I was getting all this feedback and doing my best, but not seeing the results of my work in panel, which was frustrating.

Where did you stand on the whole drama between Alexandria and Brittani?
I think they both had good points. I don’t dislike either of them. I respect both of them and think deep down they are both good people, just like the rest of the girls there. But it was unfortunate the intense way it came up at panel. I don’t think any of us were expecting it to blow up like that.

One of our users wanted to know if you would be her friend! Do you have a Twitter or Facebook where your fans can find you?
[Laughs] Yeah! I have a Facebook, I have a fan page. I also have a Twitter, and a Tumblr. Tumblr is my favorite, actually, because I have such great fans on there, and I can post videos and answer their questions, so it’s fun. My Twitter is just @MikaelaSchipani, and they can search for me on Facebook, and there’s a link to my Tumblr on there as well.

What happened to your weave?

A lot of people have asked me that, that’s something that you didn’t get to see on the show. They gave me that long weave and then all of a sudden it’s gone! They had to take it out because it was irritating my scalp and giving me a rash.

It’s been a bad season for weaves, hasn’t it?
Yes, it has! I have no clue why they decided they wanted to give all the girls these long weaves this season. But I like that I can say I’ve had a weave before, that’s a fun thing to be able to say now.

What was your favorite photo shoot?
Definitely the Rachel Zoe faux fur one. I love faux fur, and I love animals, so I had so much fun on that photo shoot. I also loved my photo that came out of it. I thought it had some great intensity, so I was proud of that one.

Which shoot was your least favorite?
The last one. When I got on set I was just so overwhelmed by all the props and bags and everything, I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t know if I was supposed to open the bags or throw them around.

We didn’t get to see a whole lot of your shoot. Did Miguel and Jay give you any direction?

Yeah, actually, they did. It wasn’t working at first, but by the end, it felt like it was going better, that it had picked up and we’d gotten better shots, and Mr. Jay said, “This is great, this is working.” But in the end I guess it didn’t come out that way.

You seemed so laid-back throughout the whole competition. How did you stay that way with all the craziness going on around you?

I guess I’d have to credit my mother! I think that’s just part of my personality. I have a drive and I have focus, so that’s where my intensity comes from. But as far as fighting and having drama with people, I’m not interested, and I try to stay out of it.

Who should win?
You know, I’d have to say Brittani or Molly. They’re both such strong models. Early on I knew Brittani was big competition. She’s got such a strong look and she was always getting her photos called out early by Tyra, so I knew she would do well. I could see either of them going all the way. They deserve it.

What’s next for you?
I started modeling when I was 15. It’s what I did before the show and I’m excited to get back to work. I plan to go to New York and work this summer, and just see what’s out there and who will hire me.

(Image courtesy of The 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.