Americas Next Top Model, CariDee English

Bryan Lynn & Denise Crew/The CW

Okay, so maybe it's a little sick how excited I get every Wednesday when I see the words Top Model on my TiVo, but it's even more pathetic how disappointed I'll be this week when I don't! To curb the withdrawal, I chatted with finalists Eugena, Melrose and (winner) CariDee, who ponied up a few secrets of what we didn't see on the show—and separated fact from fiction!

Rumor: Everyone hates Melrose.
Verdict: False!

Melrose is not nearly as hated as the show made her out to be. In fact, she and Eugena met up last Wednesday, and both girls told me separately that they're actually—hope you're sitting down for this—friends. Although Eugena admitted that some of them did dislike Melrose during the competition, she said it was made into something it wasn't. "It's funny to see the edited version, which was completely different than what we actually went through. I'd be watching the show and think, 'I was talking about my dinner! Not Melrose!' "

Rumor: Eugena is a bore.
Verdict: False!
Eugena is not the contestant we saw on TV. This girl has got personality—loads of it—in real life. "I'm outgoing," she tells me. "I'm loud and energetic and funny, but none of that came through on the show. You're deprived of so many of the things that make you an individual: your music, your family, and also having, like, no food. So, you get to the point where you're just trying to get through it."

Rumor: Melrose is teaming up with Michelle Rodriguez.
Verdict: True!

Yup, you read that right! Michelle Rodriguez, better known to us as Ana-Lucia of Lost fame, has apparently taken an interest in Melrose as a blossoming fashion designer. Though Melrose's main focus is getting her catwalk career going, she's signed on to design clothes for Michelle's line, Ishkidada. "I'm really excited about designing for [Michelle]," Melrose says, adding that her work is scheduled to debut in September '07 for spring '08.

Rumor: Nigel was pissed at CariDee for her comment that he had a pole up his rump.
Verdict: False!

According to CariDee, her clash with Nigel toward the end of the season was totally blown out of proportion. "Nigel actually joked back [when I said that to him]," CariDee told me. "It was edited dramatically for the suspense, I guess."

Eugena and Melrose wanted CariDee to win.
Verdict: True—sorta.

Eugena and Melrose both insisted that the competition ended the way it should've—with CariDee getting the big win. "It was difficult at first, because I had put so much into it, but everything happens for a reason," Melrose told me. "Now, I'm free to do all the things I'm interested in, like designing and hopefully hosting. I want to hook up with Entertainment Tonight." Eugena, too, has other dreams, and insists CariDee deserved to win. "She wanted it so bad. This is her passion, her life. I'm really happy for her."

—Additional reporting by Korbi Ghosh

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