Last week saw the sad demise of Victoria M, Yale ’09, from America’s Next Top Model. Eliminated for her “prickly” disposition while posing as a cactus, Tory left the show and returned to life as a History major. In an exclusive phone interview, everyone’s favorite failed model gave IvyGate juicy details from her life as television star.
After the jump, Yale’s Hottest Skinny Chick dishes on castmates, crazed fans, the quality of Tyra Banks’ boobs… and re-tells a scene Lady Banks didn’t want viewers to see (hint: it involves Tyra siccing her bodyguards on a tiny, defenseless Tory)
IG: How does it feel to be eliminated from America’s Next Top Model?
VM: I’m pretty relieved, to tell you the truth. Being a TV celebrity sucked. I didn’t cry and I didn’t catfight, which is not very good for reality TV.
IG: Does this mean you think your elimination was based on television, not modeling?
VM: No. I mean, my cactus picture wasn’t very good. I don’t consider myself very pretty. Most high fashion or editorial models aren’t that pretty in real life, anyway. I’m too pale, too gangly, and have too weird a face to ever be considered sexy. But the show’s definitely geared toward a certain kind of girl, and at the end of the day, I did go on as a joke.
IG: Do you think that affected the fact that you were ultimately chosen?
VM: When you get [to the casting call], they have you talk to a video camera, and all the other girls were talking about eating disorders and their fathers molesting them. I just talked about really obscene things, and the camera men thought it was funny.
IG: Is that the interview on the CW’s website?
VM: No, no — that video is the one where they got Yale in, which was unfortunate. They find out everything about you before you join the show, and asked me about [Yale] because I hadn’t been talking about it. And then they replayed that interview in every episode.
IG: I have to ask: What, exactly, is the “top history program at Yale“?
VM: It’s so funny, what you do [in the interviews] is the producers ask you questions and you’re supposed to take their questions and use them in a sentence. And the producers asked me, “Are you in the top history program at Yale?” And I was so tired at that point, I was like, “Yeah, I’m in the top history program at Yale.” I thought he meant Yale had a good history program, not that I was in the top one. I didn’t even tell the girls I went to Yale; the producers told them to try to make it a big deal. But I never actually talked about it, and nobody really cared, anyway.
IG: How accurate did you find the editing?
VM: Well, they portrayed me as the one who didn’t care too much about the show, which was true. But then they also portrayed me as the girl who went around like “I’m from Yale! I’m so smart!” which totally isn’t true. They just took those one or two interviews and kept playing them. But that’s the way reality TV is. I knew what I was getting into.
IG: How did you get along with the other girls?
VM: We got along really well. We all keep in touch. A lot of them come visit me here, it’s a lot of fun.
IG: So there are top models stalking Yale’s campus on a regular basis?
VM: There are! And nobody really notices.
IG: Tell me about the catfights. Which of the girls are actually crazy, or was it all for the camera?
VM: Oh my god, it’s so crazy but no one’s actually like that at all. If you’re filmed 24 hours a day, you’re bound to do stupid things. Everyone is also so sleep-deprived, which is why they fight a lot. You’re not allowed to read, watch tv, or to leave the house. All you can do is cook and talk to each other. You get tired and bored, and people get on each other’s nerves. … Every time you see one girl on the show, there’s usually at least ten people on the side: producers, cameramen, sound crew. You’re not allowed to talk to the cameramen or sound people, but one or two producers will ask you questions.
IG: In episode two, Tyra announced this would be ANTM’s first no-smoking cycle. Did everyone really quit?
VM: Again, they were trying to make drama happen. A couple of [the girls] smoke, and I smoke, too, but not a lot. We all just quit so it wouldn’t be a big thing. I was really proud of Jenah, the other smoker. She stopped cold turkey.
IG: What else did they do to create drama?
VM: The sleep deprivation thing really made everyone crazy. They would deprive me even more [than others] because I wasn’t manipulated as easily, I guess. I would get maybe two or three hours of sleep a night, and had to nap whenever I could. It makes you physically ill and mentally insane. A couple girls got sick.
IG: Tell us about your fans.
VM: [laughs] I have a huge fan base consisting mainly of thirteen-year-old girls.
IG: Do they contact you?
VM: Yeah, it’s crazy. I took down everything about me from the internet — my e-mail, my mailing address, everything — but people find a way. I get a huge amount of letters, and there’s stuff all over the internet. … I’m a really private person. It’s weird that this is going to be my fifteen minutes of fame, but I guess I’ll take it.
IG: After the premiere you e-mailed us about stopping a rumor that you were half-Asian. What was that all about?
VM: I’m not half-Asian, or Asian at all, but somehow on the internet people started saying that, and I got tons of really, really racist e-mail and letters about the impurity of my blood and the corruption of the white race by my “Oriental father.”
IG: Whoa. So it was white people writing hate mail?
VM: Yeah, white people sending these really anti-Asian or anti-mixed-race stuff. I’ve taken measures to prevent it since: I changed my mailing address, my e-mail and stuff. It’s like, not only did I manage to piss off two supermodels while on the show, I managed to be the target of racial hate while not actually being of that race.
IG: When you first wrote to us, I was afraid it was my fault, because I’m half-Asian.
VM: Really? I mean, I think half-Asians are hot. [ed.note: Tory thinks I'm hot! This is the best day of my life] It was just weird for me, to be getting all this anti-Asian hate. But it was kind of funny, in it’s own way, too.
IG: Did you guys really sleep in one big room?
VM: Yes. I felt like I was in an orphanage.
IG: Did you ever hug Tyra?
VM: I did, and I was afraid she’d eat me.
IG: Did her boobs feel real?
VM: You know, I didn’t check.
IG: Why do the girls scream every time Tyra shows up? Shouldn’t you get used to it?
VM: They’d actually make us do multiple takes ever time she entered a room. Like, she’d come in, and we’d be like, “Oh hi, Tyra.” And they’d be like, “Girls, we’re going to have to do that again.” We’d do it two or three more time before they’d finally leave us alone. … Whenever the girls are screaming, it’s something like the third take.
IG: Which girls are your favorites?
VM: Hmm. I would say Jenah or Heather. Jenah because she’s crazy and really funny, and Heather because she’s very serious about the thing. … She really does have Aspberger’s. It affects the way she interacts with people, but she’s a very sweet person.
IG: What are your plans for the future?
VM: I’d never drop out of school for modeling or acting, but I have been approached by a couple agencies. I don’t know what I’ll do, but if there’s a way to do both, I might be interested.
IG: Last thoughts?
VM: I didn’t cry and I didn’t catfight…. I made a lot of friends, and I’m glad I went on it.
After her interview, Tory thought of one more anecdote and sent it via e-mail:
I was reading a message board about the editing of the show, and I forgot to tell you about this part. It gives a spoiler by a mole from the show (probably an editor). It’s kind of funny, so I thought I’d shoot you an e-mail:
“The part of the Victoria elimination we also didn’t see was when she took off her high heels once she’d been cut, TYRA ACTUALLY THOUGHT THAT VICTORIA WAS ABOUT TO THROW THEM AT HER, AND SUMMONED HER BODYGUARD. Tyra also insisted (as Victoria has said) that the whole part where Victoria turned to the girls to ask them if they thought she was prickly be cut from the episode. Tyra did not like Victoria ‘trying to control my panel.’ Don’t mess with Ms. Banks. She’ll fuck you up.”