Isis America's Next Top Model Exclusive!
Tell us about how you got involved in Top Model.
As you know, I was a background extra for the homeless photo shoot in Cycle 10. I told myself that I would do my best and stand out because you never know what could come out of this opportunity. Lo and behold, I was asked to come audition for Cycle 11.
What did you learn from your experiences on the show?
I learned that I need to say I can go for it no matter what people think and to give every experience my all. You never know what can happen from opportunities like these. They could open a door to something bigger.
Have you been watching the show?
Yes! I watched it last night, when I was eliminated. Even though I’m gone now, I will continue to watch the show. I’m friends with all the girls and I’m excited to see who wins.
While watching the shows, how did you feel about some of the girls’ reactions to you?
I never knew that Clark felt that way. We talked in the house and I thought we were cool. I didn’t know that. Most of the girls, though, we were friends. I ones who didn’t make the comments you saw are the ones I’m still in contact with.
Has Tyra been helping you with your career at since, during or since your time on the show?
No. I didn’t get any one-on-one time with Tyra during the show, or after. I’m hoping it will happen in the future, but it hasn’t happened yet.
What does the future hold for you?
I plan on pursuing modeling. I’m also an artist and a fashion designer and I hope to pursue that too. I hope to be on runways and be in campaigns. I also want to get into acting. I hope this show will open many doors for me. I’m ready to get out there and use all these opportunities that are coming my way.
How has the GLBT community reacted to you being on ANTM?
It’s been positive and supportive. A group in Maryland wants to honor me at their lunch next month. Overall, I’ve been hearing lots of good feedback. They’re glad that the show put on a regular person who struggles and has issues, just like everyone else.
Do you think it was fair that they had two swimsuit shoots in a row? Would you have stayed longer if that was the case?
Well, I can’t say whether or not it was fair because I’m sure the shoots were pre-determined a long time go. I was giving it my all and doing it my best, but, like Tyra said, my spark did start to leave. Mentally, the show became a lot. 24-hour surveillance is tough. I stuck it out and gave it my best. Had the shoots been different, maybe I would have stayed longer. Who knows?
Are you still going ahead with your sex-reassignment surgery?
Of course! Right now, it’s pushed back because of financial issues. I’m hoping that by being on this show I can get work so I can make some money so I can get the surgery. I want to have the surgery within the next year.
Did you have any problems with any girls on the show?
I didn’t have any problems with anyone. I see comments on the show now, but while I was there, I got along with everyone. I feel that I’m a likable person and get along with most people. They didn’t show our relationship a lot, but my best friend in the house was Brittany. I was close to Brittany, Samantha, McKey, Marjorie, Lauren Brie, a lot of the girls.
Do you feel more accepted in the modeling and fashion industries since being on ANTM?
The show was an amazing experience. I wouldn’t take back anything. I look at it like this: I want to be in entertainment and in fashion. I want to put myself out these and let everybody see that I’m the same person and I plan on continuing with everything and take the opportunities that come my way.
Did you ever feel that you were at a disadvantage?
In a sense, yes. But I just tried to not think about being born sexually different. I try not to dwell on it. The more I dwell on it, the more it consumed me and affect my ability to perform. I tried not to think about it, but I guess it was inevitable.
What are some challenges that face transgendered models?
Honestly, I didn’t do any research. I know there’s always been transgendered mode, but I didn’t want to segregate myself. I didn’t want to be about the issues. I wanted to be on the same level as everyone else. I think that other models would have the same issues I had on the show. People do what they have to do to survive, but everyone is different.
what were some of the best modeling tips you picked up?
During Cycle 10, I picked up a lot about lighting and angles. When I went and talked to Nigel in episode two, I knew a tiny bit about lighting. I learned to smile with my eyes. The judges said I needed to soften things up a bit, but I interpreted that in the wrong way and it came across as sleepy. They kept saying how good my eyes were and that it’s important for me to be aware of what I’m doing to them.
Where did you learn to walk?
I’ve been walking since 2001, so that’s seven years. Since high school, I’ve walked or practiced walking almost every single day. It’s something I enjoy doing. I just kept practicing. I did shows in college and I’m constantly walking and building my confidence around my walk. I’ll do it while I’m on the phone or at the end of a hall. I just put on some music and put on some garments I’ve made and just practice. I practice alone so that when people are around it takes you to a higher level. It’s an adrenaline rush to walk in front of people.
What did you think about the judges’ comments about your clothes at panel?
My style is pretty diverse and eclectic. But when you go to panel, you have to take a lot away and be very basic. I’m not basic! I love colors and accessories, but I had to be simple and it was hard. When Tyra made that comment, it was a very bittersweet thing. She called me “that girl in high school.” But I never got to be that girl in high school and it made me feel emotional. I finally was that girl. So I took it both ways.
Were you surprised when you were eliminated?
Yes, I was. I really thought I was going to go all the way and be the next top model. There’s so much stuff I’m going to miss–the trip aboard and all those photo shoots. It’s all uphill from here, but at the end of the day, what happens, happens.
How do you feel about being called a role model?
I never set out to be a role model, but it makes me feel good that people are actually looking at my story and can relate to me. I just came on the show and was being myself. But if people think that me being myself makes me a role model…wow, that’s wonderful. But trying to be a role model would be too much pressure to put on myself. I decided to be myself and let people see me for me and if they like me, that’s great.
Who are your personal role models?
My mother and my godfather. My mother is my biggest role model. She was a single mother for years and years. She had me at 17 and was a caring young mother. She missed out on a lot of life experiences. She was a model back in the day and loves fashion. I think I get a lot of that from her. She even looks like me. Even though it took her a while to come around to my transition, she supports me now. She calls me Isis. She’s wonderful and I love her.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
I want to say thank you for supporting me and continue to support me and keep me in your prayers. I’m going to move my career forward from here and hopefully be on everyone’s minds and have everyone wearing my designs. Know that no matter who you are or where you come from, you can achieve your dreams. It’s a cliche, but it’s true. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m moving in a positive light and I know I’ll make it.
Thank you for speaking with us today, Isis.
Isis America's Next Top Model Exclusive!