Interview with Lenox Tillman from America’s Next Top Model!

Hey readers,

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.

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(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! : )

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Keep up with Lenox! (FACEBOOK/INSTAGRAM/TWITTER)

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! 

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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.

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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!

Cool!

 

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.

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(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!

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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).

The Graffiti Culture

Hi readers,

Graffiti is a controversial topic and a widely infamous form of expression which, interestingly, falls awkwardly in between the two categories of ‘art’ and ‘vandalism’. It’s one of those unsolvable, continuing,  Möbius strip-like subjects that have people fervently arguing on both ends. While graffiti is respected and even preserved sometimes as pieces of original artwork in some places, in others, it’s degraded and frowned upon as a crime.

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Graffiti originated in New York, but there’s evidence of ancient ‘graffiti'(more like ‘wall paintings’ back then) in Rome, Italy, and also from ancient times. Graffiti has developed/is developing rapidly. Ever since graffiti became acknowledged as a renowned art category by some people, the graffiti culture has been thriving, and is spewing out newly established artists and graffiti art platforms every year. (I don’t see much in Korea though… I don’t think it’s as prevalent here as an urban art form or as a social issue.)

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(image above: Graffiti artist Lee Quinones.)

“Graffiti is art and if art is a crime, please God, forgive me” – Lee Quinones

Lee Quinones is one of the rising artists involved in the New York City Subway graffiti movement. Here are some of the comments on Lee’s video about art on the Khan Academy website.

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(image above: comments from https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/MoMA/moma-artist-interviews/v/moma-lee-quinones)

The collision of viewpoints on the issue is interesting. While graffiti does definitely have merit as art, in a way it’s also destroying someone else’s art(the building). So how should the logic work? I think it depends on where your personal values lie. We’re not yet completely sure whether graffiti should be a severe crime or a harmless antic, but one thing we do know for sure is that it’s becoming more and more pervasive, and it’s unstoppable.

In fact, graffiti can be seen almost anywhere in the world, sometimes in the most seemingly impossible places. 

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(Yeah, I know, seriously-how did they do that?! )

As you can see, graffiti can exist on wherever and whatever we, the human race, can get our hands on. Since it’s such a widespread issue, even TV series like Switched at Birth or 90210 feature graffiti as a thought-provoking topic. Graffiti also makes frequent appearances in music videos or as backgrounds of urban magazine fashion shoots.

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(image above: from Switched at Birth, ABC Family.)

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(image above: 90210, The CW. Ivy and Diego’s graffiti wall.)

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(image above: fashion photoshoot from http://www.carlton-photography.co.uk/carlton-photography-blog/a-fashion-photography-shoot-northern-quarter-manchester-graffiti-and-snow/)

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(image above: from the music video of ‘Ugly’ by 2NE1.)

I remember my mother saying “This music video beautifies graffiti too much.” while we were watching 2NE1’s music video for ‘Ugly’. And I remember thinking, “Mum, it’s just a music video! They’re trying to express freedom and rebellion, let them do what they have to do to let the message get through!” But at the same time I also felt uncomfortable because of my acknowledgement of mass media portraying a type of vandalism as merely cool and beautiful.

I’ve noticed that mass media targeted towards the younger generation depicts graffiti in a way that makes it seem artistic, cool, and even beautiful. In modern music, movies, TV etc.. graffiti represents youth, freedom, excitement, the art of the people, and ironically, exquisite crime. I think this is because younger people are usually more compelled to graffiti as an art form. It’s the youth that bears the role of being the rebellious rugby ball in society. It’s the youth that wander around the streets with their tousled hair and ripped jeans, excitedly looking for a nice wall to paint their heart out on.

Is it cool? I’m confused. The logical, brainy part of me says “That’s technically vandalism, and vandalism is a crime. Graffiti is childish and in a way, immoral.” And then the #YOLO, teenage, free-spirited part of me keeps popping up and shouting “IT’S REAL ART IN ITS MOST ORIGINAL FORM!! IT’S EXPRESSION AT ITS BEST!”

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Amid all this confusion, what I find the most intriguing about this strange art called graffiti is that in a lot of cases, the things written on the walls are actually very deep and thought-provoking, and the fact that these meaningful messages or implications are put on walls in the context of graffiti makes it even more artistic, in a certain way. For graffiti artists, the process and the actual deed of putting their art up, against social regulations, are indeed part of the art itself. This almost convinces me that graffiti should be considered as legit art, since it does what art should do-provoke people’s emotions and thoughts-and does it well, sometimes it expresses certain themes in a much more convincing way than it would have been if it were hanging on the wall of a posh art gallery.

What do YOU think?

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Image credits:

http://www.loveitsomuch.com/