Nnenna Agba Interview with TVGuide.com (May 06)
July 30, 2010
Top Model Bursts Nnenna’s Balloon
She looks regal. She acts snobbish. She seems insensitive. She is weird. All of these things have been said about America’s Next Top Model‘s Nnenna Agba. But which of them are true — well, aside from the regal part, that is? (Pictures don’t lie.) To find out, TVGuide.com rang up the 24-year-old from Texas (by way of Nigeria) and asked her a series of subversively revealing questions. So, as you count down the minutes to tonight’s episode (8 pm/ET on UPN), you can draw your own conclusions about the runway also-ran.
TVGuide.com: After you’d won so many competitions — including one in your final Top Model episode — I was stunned that you were sent home. Were you?
Nnenna Agba: Not really, considering the picture of the week was trying to transform me into a mermaid. I don’t think I came close to the image of a mermaid.
TVGuide.com: But you’d think all of the other good pictures would have bought you some goodwill from the judges.
Nnenna: I don’t think the challenges are that important.
TVGuide.com: It did sort of seem as if you felt they were silly. The baby-doll shoot, for example.
Nnenna: Yeah. I wasn’t surprised with the response I got with those photographs — the falling picture, the baby doll or the mermaid. I didn’t transform, you know? That’s a big part of modeling, but I also feel like that’s why we have different types of models who fit different themes. You go through casting to get different jobs as a model, and I don’t think I’d be cast as a baby doll in real life.
TVGuide.com: I suspect you’re right.
Nnenna: I will probably be more marketable in different aspects, but a baby doll didn’t fit me too well, especially since [after my makeover] I am bald. Even if you put a wig on me, it does not look that realistic.
TVGuide.com: Given the drama that unfolded between you two, I have to ask: Are you and your boyfriend John still together?
Nnenna: We’re working things out, you know? It’s a bad time that was captured [on the show].
TVGuide.com: It seemed downright terrible — especially after you let that male model kiss you.
Nnenna: And it was terrible. But [the drama] didn’t last that long… probably two days, and then we reconciled. But bits and pieces of the argument were played through several episodes [and] highlighted more than they should have been. I don’t think it had anything to do with the competition, so I was surprised. They should not have put so much emphasis on it.
TVGuide.com: Hmm. But when John was brought to the house for a visit, you even admitted that you weren’t very excited to see him.
Nnenna: Yeah, I mean, like, you know….
TVGuide.com: No, I don’t know. Tell me.
Nnenna: I love John, but at that point we were not on good terms. So it was hard for me to fake that kind of excitement. But actually, minutes later, we talked about our issues and I was happy again and glad to see him. The first initial surprise, though, I was thinking, “We are on bad terms. I don’t want to fight on national TV.” I was afraid to bring any more of our personal life into the spotlight. It’s not that I didn’t care for him. I did. I just was afraid to attack or talk about anything personal on national TV anymore. But after we talked, everything was fine. We made up, I cooked for him. They didn’t show any of that. So what you saw was not representative of his entire visit.
TVGuide.com: That’s reality TV for you!
Nnenna: Yes. I regret some of the mean things I said to him. He’s a really nice person. No one has ever treated me as well as he has, and I never take that for granted. At that point, I was just mad and disappointed that he wasn’t willing to support me 110 percent and deal with any issues when I got home. But it’s hard to wait when you have emotions and want to deal with them.
TVGuide.com: Again, especially when you’ve just been told your girlfriend is kissing a hot male model!
Nnenna: Exactly! I made some mistakes, definitely. I know that I let him take full responsibility. But I definitely take 50 percent of the blame. I regret it, and I was extremely apologetic, but they didn’t show that.
TVGuide.com: No, but they showed lots of clips of Jade acting as your advisor… which I know really surprised the other girls.
Nnenna: Yes! That was a really low point for John. I had never seen him so low, and I had to experience that in front of the whole world. Eventually, I ran out of options.
TVGuide.com: You’d sort of have to, to have turned to Jade.
Nnenna: I tried to plead with John by saying, “Honey, please, let’s talk about this when we get home.” I was withdrawn and, watching myself, I realize that I was extremely vulnerable at that point.
TVGuide.com: But to confide in Jade?! Even she admitted that she was using your personal problems to her advantage!
Nnenna: What you must understand is that the point of view the audience gets to see of Jade — through the private confessionals and interviews — is not the Jade I saw. The Jade I saw in the house is the one who cooks dinner for us on occasion, makes me laugh and is a strong person. Viewers got a different [perspective].
TVGuide.com: How did you feel seeing the confessionals where she talked about using your problems with John to throw you off your game?
Nnenna: Well, she never directly said that. It was implied. But when I spoke with her after the show aired, she told me that she meant well and that it wasn’t malicious but rather taken out of context. I give her the benefit of the doubt.
TVGuide.com: That’s big of you. What about Brooke? You were kind of harsh toward her, when all she wanted to do was use the phone.
Nnenna: You know, I never singled Brooke out. I never talked behind her back or called her a crybaby. The only thing I did was, after our little scuffle when the girls said, “Brooke called you this and that,” I replied, “Brooke cries every day. I’m not going to go exchange words with her.” I said she was an emotional wreck, but that was as harsh as I got with her.
TVGuide.com: What about the fact that she wanted to call home and you were always on the phone?
Nnenna: I would pay a lot of money to see the phone bill from the house to see who was on the phone at what time. I went when it was my time. There were a lot of other issues that reached a boiling point, including girls telling her that I was calling her a crybaby behind her back. That wasn’t happening. There were issues in the house that you did not see. When Brooke stormed into the room, I told her that I had left the door open so that if anybody wanted me to, I would get off [the phone] immediately. I do wish I had approached it differently. I didn’t mean to be hard on her.
TVGuide.com: Apparently the girls had some very nasty hobbies in the house, what with talking behind one another’s backs and all!
Nnenna: Yes. You never knew what people truly thought about you until the show aired.