Last night at the 30th Annual American Image Awards, the three finalists from America’s Next Top Model made a brief appearance just one hour before Whitney was announced as the winner. Since we were at the awards and missed the finale, we got our ANTM fix by chatting with the lucky ladies — Whitney, Anya, and Fatima — in person! They dished about what happened behind the scenes (drinking!), making up board games to pass the time (Model-opoly, anyone?), confirmed Miss J is a “she,” and pontificate on why past winners never reach the Top.
We know a lot of funny stuff doesn’t make it to air. Care to fill us in with many funny anecdotes we missed?
Whitney: There was one point — I know it was around Christmas time — when Anya, Stacey, Ann, and I went to this hotel. And we didn’t have any music in the house, and the hotel had all these Xmas CDs. We put in the CDs, and we were singing these carols and dancing around the house like crazy women. The cameramen weren’t there, thank God. We let loose.
So what else happened that we didn’t see?
Fatima: There’s so many to choose from.
Whitney: I’m kind of scared to tell you.
Fatima: Me, Kat, and Lauren — one night went to the castle thing. We were trying to do push-ups, and we were so tipsy we were falling down.
What did you do in your downtime?
Whitney: We made up games!
Anya: We made up Couture Twister and Model-opoly! Katarzyna made it up.
Whitney: We would do the Twister and then someone would yell, “Couture!” and you’d have to, like, do a couture pose, and someone would say “commercial!” and you’d smile or do whatever. It was so funny. But we were really bored, so at the time it was a good idea. Hindsight, not so exciting. We made an entire Model-opoly game with cars and pieces.
We can only imagine how it was working with Miss J and Mr. Jay.
Fatima: Miss J is hilarious.
Anya: Miss J is such a good walker. I mean I know he, she, is—
Whitney: Yes, it is she [Looks at Anya sideways.]
Okay, so it is she for sure.
Whitney: Yeah, just to clarify that.
Anya: Yeah, she is a fabulous walker.
You guys seem to get along well, is the drama on the show manufactured?
Whitney: It’s not manufactured. You have fourteen girls all living in one house. It’s just hard.
Fatima: You’ll be in bed and freak like, Your leg’s on my thigh!
Whitney, how does it feel to have made it further than any plus-size model in the past?
Whitney: It’s incredible. Already I’ve received mail from people all over the world who are battling eating disorders and struggling and are proud of me for having a body. That’s just such a great feeling, having people backing you. I wish I’d had that on the show because it was so hard. It’s hard to be by yourself.
Fatima: Being on the show you are just so vulnerable, if you don’t go there emotionally stable. Because they ask you so many questions and they draw everything out of you.
Whitney: And even if you have a friend, she’s also your competitor.
Fatima: The competition brings out a different side of you.
You girls are in the tenth cycle. None of the nine previous winners have really broken out. How does that make you feel about your future after the show?
Anya: A lot of people just want to ride on ANTM and the title of it, but you really have to push yourself and the fashion designers and the fashion industry. You can’t just be this “winner.”
Whitney: Winning Top Model is just the beginning, that’s what people don’t realize. You can’t just win and be, like, “stop.” You have to keep going. Jaslene is a great example — she’s working every day, and she’s knocking down doors, and she’s really trying and making it work. You really have to try or otherwise you’ll be just be “that girl from cycle whatever.” We all have such drive, that whoever wins, we’ll be well.