America's Next Top Model, A.J.

De Yonker/The CW

The self-described "creepy" contestant on the current edition of America's Next Top Model, A.J., a 20-year-old student from Sacramento, California, speaks her mind about getting eliminated, girls in the house and how the show capitalized on everyone's insecurites. 

Hey, A.J., how are you? Sick of doing interviews yet?
It's not so bad. They're feeding me, so I'm happy.

Nice. So, did you watch the show Wednesday night?
Oh, definitely.

How did you feel living through it all over again?
I don't know. It is what it is. It already happened, so it's not like it felt any different. It was like, "Yep, that's what happened."

When you were eliminated, you made a couple of comments as you were exiting the house, including, "Tyra eliminated me for the right reasons. If I could give up my spot for another girl who's more deserving, then I'm really glad I gave it up." What's that all about? You didn't think you deserved to be there?
It's not so much I didn't deserve it, I just think they were looking for the typical girl, who basically had watched the show, had followed it [religiously], had wanted to be a model since they could walk type thing. And I had never been that girl. I had stumbled into this, and it just kind of happened for me. It wasn't my dream come true, and I know the show is about making dreams come true. And I'd rather them make someone else's dream come true.

Is that why you said you may have sabotaged yourself self-consciously?
What I was referring to was, basically, I was not feeling the whole [process]. As the competition went on, I started getting really sick of the whole thing. And it was like, Okay, I'm over it.

You were ready to go.
I was ready to go. I really enjoyed the modeling part of the show, but a lot of it was about television not modeling, and it just didn't seem right to me.

You had some issues with the girls in the house, too.
No, not really. Is that how it seemed?

Well, at one point in Wednesday's episode, you broke down while talking to Tyra, saying how hard it was to be under all this pressure while you're around these girls who don't understand you.
Well, I actually had a lot of friends in the house. They just all kept getting eliminated. I was really close to Megg, and when she left, it was like there was no life left in the house. 

And the situation with Melrose seemed to be particularly difficult for you. Do you think she acted the way she did because she was intimidated by the other girls?
Absolutely. I think she felt threatened and intimidated by the other girls, and that's why she was the way she was. A lot of times the show tried to capitalize on people's insecurities. Melrose was considered the old one, so they had her playing old people in our photo shoots. Jaeda was thought of as the masculine one, so they had her playing masculine roles. I was the creepy one, so they had me in blood and guts and gore. I think Melrose felt the pressure being in the house and that's why she acted the way she did.

Do you think that strategy worked for her?
Definitely. The judges loved her.

When you were eliminated, you went to give her a hug and you said "Melrose, you have it. You should be nice, okay?"  She seemed to nod her head when you said that, and she hugged you back.
You know, I don't know how she took it, and I don't really care. That was for my own piece of mind. I've made peace with it.

So, now that it's all over, are you going to pursue modeling, or are you done with it since it's not your dream?
No, I mean, it wasn't my dream, but I actually like modeling quite a bit, so I will try to pursue it.

What was your favorite photo shoot on the show?
I guess the cannibal one. That was cool. I liked the photo shoots, but runway was really more my thing. That's what I liked best.

And the viewers voted you Cover Girl of the Week.
I won it twice in a row! It's really kind of ironic. Very ironic, actually. I definitely smiled to myself when I saw that.

Do you still have that illustration of Tyra that you drew in the house?
I do.

Perhaps art is in your future?
Yeah, art will always be a part of my life. That's what I originally went to school for, so it could be a part of my future. I'm not really sure what I'll end up doing. I'm open to possibilities.

Last question: Who do you want to win the competition, and who do you think will win?
I hope Anchal or CariDee goes all the way, but I've come to realize that these things are really tough to predict.

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