My final interview of the day was with America's Next Top Model Cycle 7 Winner CariDee. And needless to say, she was ecstatic about her win. Check out my interview with her below and find out how that "situation" with Top Model Judge Nigel Barker wasn't exactly what it seemed, just how much she loves all the girls from her season, and which famous rapper's club she kicked it at last night after she was named the Top Model winner...
Me: Hi CariDee!
Me: How are you?
CariDee: (Joking) Omigosh! I'm having a horrible day!
Me: Well, congrats on winning the big "heavyweight" Top Model title!
CariDee: Thank you so much!
Me: So how does it feel to be the winner?
CariDee: (Whew!) I mean, there's so many emotions, winning Top Model was absolutely a dream come true. I feel like Cinderella! I could go on for hours!
Me: Wow! Ok, so who was the first person you called like right after you won?
Caridee: I was with my family last night, I was in New York and we went to the Club 40/40, and it was awesome! My family was with me, and it was just a great thing.
Me: Isn't that Jay-Z's club?
CariDee: Yep, that's Jay-Z's club, and it was awesome!
Me: So you're from Fargo, North Dakota aren't you?
CariDee: Yes, I'm from Fargo, born and raised.
Me: Have you seen the movie "Fargo" it won an Oscar a few years ago.
CariDee: Yeah, that movie was pretty stereotypical, it was actually filmed in Minnesota.
Me: Was it really? Because I saw that movie a few years back and the accents were really heavy. I don't really hear that accent on you though.
CariDee: Yeah, they kind of overdid everything in that movie.
Me: So you were a photographer before making it onto Top Model?
CariDee: Yes I was, I used to photograph Kindgergarten through Senior portraits. And it was so fun to just create and be on the other side of the camera.
Me: Well, how were you selected for Top Model?
CariDee: It was just a process of elimination. I downloaded the application online and then I went to an open call in Minneapolis which is about 4 hours away from where I live.
Me: You were pretty funny while you were on the show. A couple things you did made me laugh, one in particular was when you had to "hide dizzily" in one of the panel challenges.
CariDee: Aww thanks! I thought that was funny too, I had to laugh at myself with that one.
Me: Were you always that way?
CariDee: Always. I don't know how to be anybody else.
Me: You had a few "slip-ups" on this season of Top Model, most notably, the one where you made an "off-colored" comment to Nigel who was your photographer for that day, and a Top Model judge! What were you thinking?!
CariDee: That was blown out of proportion, really. I joked at him and he actually joked back, but they didn't show that. We were all laughing and having a good time, but I think that the producers decided to show it in a different light because they didn't want the viewers to be nervous about someone who could possibly win the competition. But Nigel didn't take any offense to it at all. Although I do know not to ever take it there with another client. I guess the moral of the story is to be careful about what you say to other clients because other clients won't have the patience and understanding that I got there. You know, if you mess with the bull, you might get the horns.
Me: Right, well let's get into the final challenges. It was down to the final 3, You had gotten your photo and it was Melrose against Eugena. When Melrose finally got a photo and Eugena didn't, you made an obvious "stink face", were you really disappointed that Eugena wouldn't be in the final 2 with you?
CariDee: Oh, of course! Eugena was my girl, you know I was thinking that if Eugena and I were in the final two, and I lost to her, then good for her! Not that I wouldn't have been mad and upset that I didn't win, but Eugena is someone who I respect as a friend, not just a competitor. But now that I look at it, I was so glad that Melrose was my competitor in the final two because I wanted to go against someone who wanted it just as much as me. I wanted to try hard and I wanted to walk away a winner knowing that I busted my ass and just know that I went against someone who trying for it just as hard as I was.
Me: Well I spoke with Melrose earlier and she told me that she was genuinely happy for you that you won the Top Model title. She also said that she didn't think that you would feel the same for her if she had won, do you wanna speak on that?
CariDee: Well that's a pretty loaded question. I mean, if she had won, I wouldn't have been like "Alright! Go Melrose!" I would have been like, "Dammit! I wanted that so bad!" See the thing is, Melrose has another career designing clothes, and she's got even more exposure for doing that by being on the show. Melrose has a degree in fashion and she's very talented, I've seen some of her designs and she's gonna go far. She has that to work on and that's a huge passion of hers and it always has been.
Me: Her passion for fashion did come across in our interview. Well, right now, I'm gonna give you my honest opinion about the final 2 challenges. I think that between you and Melrose, that your CoverGirl shot was far better than hers, but honestly speaking, I thought Melrose was better on the final runway. She even told me in her interview that she thought Eugena was more competition for her on the runway than you. What are your thoughts?
CariDee: Well, what I want people to understand is that I was a rookie walking into this competition. And when people want to do something and they are passionate about something, they don't go into it being flawless, they learn. And it was a learning experience for me. So yeah, I wasn't the best, but I wasn't horrible either, I mean I wasn't chopping it up. So yeah people have their strengths and weaknesses. Like walking for Eugena. Effortless. Walking for Melrose. Effortless, you know, she's got it. It's about where you're strongest. It's like some people are book smart and some people are people smart. There's different smarts in everything, so there's different smarts in modeling. Like someone who would do well in print might not do well on the runway, that's why models are specialized in certain things.
Me: Well the judges obviously saw something in you that they felt would be more successful working in the modeling industry, what do you think that "something" was?
CariDee: I think it was a collaboration of things. But overall, I think it was because I had spunk and I just came off as being real and being me and I really did not care what people thought about me. And of course I continually strived to be better, because the judges warned me time after time to "tone down my personality" but the last thing Tyra said to me was that I got picked because I stayed true to who I was, and that was so vindicating knowing that I won not being a fake person.
Me: Were you surprised when you saw your photo up there?
CariDee: Oh yeah! But it wasn't like a shocking surprise, it was more like I was pleasantly surprised.
Me: Well, let me tell you, I've interviewed a few girls from your season, starting with Anchal, and after asking each one of them the question, "Since you've been eliminated from the show, who would you like to see win it all" I can safely say, that just about all of them said "CariDee!"
CariDee: Aww, that's so awesome! I love the girls, like I LOVE ALL THE GIRLS. I mean all of them had something about them that was just so great. Even Monique! And Melrose too, because outside of the competition, we could be really good friends, because we're both motivated, self-efficient women. I just can't wait until we all meet up again!
Me: Well are you aware that Eugena and Melrose have pretty much "buried the hatchet?"
CariDee: That's great! Because I don't feel like there's any need to have animosity towards anyone. I mean because when you are in a competition, you aren't really thinking about the next person's feelings, you're just really thinking about yourself. But as for Eugena? Love Eugena, Love her, Eugena is my girl, loved Anchal, loved Michelle, I loved everyone!
Me: So it was a love fest.
CariDee: Yep. The girls from this season were just great people.
Me: How was it working with Danielle, excuse me "Dani" the previous Top Model winner? Was she nice?
CariDee: She was so beautiful, and she's so great! It was really fun.
Me: Is your family excited that you won?
CariDee: Oh yeah! It was great to finally let my family know that I won and that I have a legitimate career ahead of me! You know they're very proud of me and they're a big support system and they're gonna continue to be a great support system for me because when I have no one else, I have myself and I have my family. My family and my close friends, I have some of the best friends anyone could ask for.
Me: Will you making the big move to one of the fashion capitals?
CariDee: I'm moving to New York in January! I'll be starting my cosmetic ads for CoverGirl and beginning my contract with my modeling agency Elite.
Me: What are some of your immediate plans?
CariDee: I have none right now, but look for me in the Seventeen Magazine next week, then CoverGirl, absolutely, and Elite Model Management, awesome, it's all a dream come true for me!
Me: Well, the Christmas holiday is practically here, are you done with your shopping?
CariDee: (Laughs) Girl, I haven't even started none of that, I haven't had the chance!
Me: Well I'm so happy you won! You were a lot of people's favorites!
CariDee: Oh, that is so awesome! Because I was just being myself, I wasn't trying to be anything that I wasn't.
Me: Well, congratulations again, thanks so much for talking to me, and I know that we'll be seeing a lot more of you real soon!
CariDee: No problem! God bless.
Check out my interviews with ANTM Runner's Up Eugena and Melrose!
More interviews with ANTM Cycle 7 Castoffs:
My interview with Amanda
My interview with Michelle
My interview with Jaeda
My interview with Anchal