I’ve picked up a new habit of doing, not saying. As the Tyra Banks(a major role model of mine) once said, “Don’t make excuses, make improvements.” Which is why, as I was watching America’s Next Top Model(ANTM) last week, I thought, “What’s stopping me from getting closer to pursuing my lifelong dream in fashion?” All the contestants on ANTM seemed to be making their way through rubble to achieve their dreams(heck, they walk down buildings and pose mid-air and walk practically naked down a runway full of strangers just to prove they’ve got what it takes). ANTM is a perfect embodiment of the bittersweet glory of reaching out toward a dream in fashion. The ANTM theme tune goes, ‘Wanna be on top?’ And this time I immediately think, “Hell yeah?!” And what did I do next? Reach out to ANTM, of course.
(Tyra Banks and Lenox Tillman)
So here I am, a week later, with an interview with the smart, talented, and beautiful 19 year old Lenox Tillman from ANTM Cycle 21(the current cycle that’s currently airing). She’s one of the most talented contestants on the show right now, and it’s unbelievable that she started out as just a sweet, quiet small-town girl. Now she’s just rockin’ the whole competition with her amazing photos. We talked about what it’s like to be on ANTM(obviously!), working with Tyra Banks(gosh I can’t even), modelling in front of the judges, hardships, and some personal stuff.
You can watch Lenox and the other remaining ANTM contestants on the CW. Wonder who will win…(http://www.cwtv.com/shows/americas-next-top-model/)
Now without further ado, here’s my exclusive interview with Lenox! Enjoy! : )
1. Tell us a bit about your childhood. What were you like at school?
I was a pretty shy but active kid. I played softball all of my childhood and was almost always outside if I wasn’t sleeping. In school, I would tend to be the quiet and weird kid to everyone and I definitely wasn’t the most confident. I usually was just drawing and kept close to my small group of close friends.
Haha, I can definitely relate to this.
2. What/who inspired you to run for ANTM at first?
I always said I would try out for the show once I was 18 because I was such a huge fan of it, but once I actually turned 18 I felt like it was unrealistic to think I could get on! It was actually my mom who saw an ad for a casting call and talked me into going and trying. So I guess my mom was the one who inspired me!
3. Have you watched the episodes released so far? The other contestants talked on screen about how they thought that your ultimate weakness was your lack of self-confidence. How do you feel about that?
Yes, I have seen all of the episodes. I love watching it just like I did with all of the other cycles but me being on it now makes it even cooler, I have to admit. Haha! As for the lack of self-confidence comments, I wasn’t surprised by that when I heard them. I think they’re right, and while I think I’ve come a long way with being okay in who I am, I still am super tough on myself. This competition definitely brought that out in me, too.
You’re only two years older than me but you’re so much wiser!
4. What was trying to model when you had to act “sexy” like?
It was awkward since I had a giant crowd of people watching, but I did my best and tried to laugh at myself throughout it since I wanted to be a good sport. I’m working on it!
5. What’s going through your mind when you’re modeling in front of the camera? Is it nerve-racking or does it make you more confident? Have you gotten used to it?
When I first started modeling I was absolutely terrified during shoots because everything was so foreign to me. I have gotten so much better since then, though. I now tend to just be constantly brainstorming from the moment I walk on set to the moment I walk off. I am much more comfortable with it and just try my best to see it as an art experiment that photographer, makeup artist, stylist, and I are doing together.
6. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Eat an onion.
7. Who’s your ultimate role model?
In my modeling career? Lindsey Wixson. In overall life? I have so many; I would say Jill Bolte Taylor, Stevie Nicks, and Florence Welch if I had to narrow it down.
8. Tell us something no one (referring to the general public) knows about you.
Hmmmm, I can lick my elbow! It is said to be impossible but I can do it!
9. What are your plans for the future?
I plan on growing up and working hard at whatever I am doing, mostly. Hopefully, I can continue modeling and enjoy all of its adventures for as long as I can. One day I hope to own my own avian rehabilitation center or sanctuary, too. That would be amazing.
(Lenox with Cory from Cycle 20!)
10. If, in the future, your child wanted to become a model and follow in your footsteps, would you tell her/him to go for it?
I want my kids to do whatever makes them happy. If modeling is what makes them happy then I will gladly encourage and support them.
That was such a flawless response, haha.
11. Are you a feminist?
Yeah, duh. Equality between men and women is awesome. Men are cool and women are cool, that is obvious.
12. What’s it like to stand in front of the ANTM judges at panel? What was is like to work with Tyra Banks?
It is terrifying! All of your hard work from that week is about to pay off or be thrown in your face and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. As for Tyra, she is a great business woman and I really enjoyed getting to see that behind the scenes. I hope I can learn to juggle that well- haha!
Lenox is just amazing. Inside and out.
I’ll be back soon with more : )
Here’s a huge thank you to ANTM’s publicity manager Ellen who helped me reach out to Lenox, and of course thank you to Lenox herself for giving such thoughtful answers(and being awesome).