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Sara Albert-Hallmark Interview with Fans of Reality TV (May 06)

July 23, 2010

In May of 2006, Fans of Reality TV (FORT) interviewed Cycle 6’s Sara Albert-Hallmark following her elimination and appearance on the show. Here is the text from the interview (written and posted by Hepcat):

America’s Next Top Model 6: Interview With Sara, 5/12/06

Finishing the competition in fourth place, regally blonde Sara fell victim to the theme that had been swirling around her as the weeks went by – that somehow by being new to the world of modeling (which we heard a dozen times), and being discovered in a mall by a show recruiter (which we heard five dozen times), she didn’t exude Model Ambition from every pore. If there’s one thing that Tyra has made clear over six cycles, it’s that she wants her winner to eat, breathe, and excrete modeling. So it’s a bit puzzling to see how a contestant so focused on improving herself that she studies the moves of her fellow contestants is seen as “not wanting it enough.” I thought that was good study habits coming to the fore, myself. But hey – I’m still amazed that Sara was able to make it to fourth place without being embroiled in any cat fights along the way. Surely we’re looking at a record holder, and not just for being the girl who Tyra said took the best photo in America’s Next Top Model history.

Good morning, Sara! Congratulations on finishing in fourth place.

Oh, thank you very much.

You have some vocal fans on our site, including your dad. Have you ever stopped by for a look?

My dad? (Laughs) Oh, get my dad off the blogs! I didn’t know this, actually. But from the beginning I swore to myself that I wasn’t going to look at the blogs. Maybe I can go back now, but I’ll have to talk to my dad about this. (Laughs)

Now, we know you came into the process a little differently from the other girls, having been discovered by a recruiter…

In a mall, as they said about a million times. (Laughs)

But had you ever seen the show before?

I’d watched one of the cycles, Cycle 3, with my roommates in college, but I haven’t really been an avid watcher of the show. Actually, maybe if I had, I could have done a little bit better. (Laughs)

Given your height and good looks, surely people must have told you you should be a model before, right?

Thank you! To be truthful, I had been approached in the past, but I’d always had other commitments. I had a strong commitment to my education, and I’ve always been an athlete, so I wasn’t about to quit my commitment to my teammates. This was almost perfect timing, because it was the first point in my life where I could really decide what direction I wanted to go in, as opposed to this pre-determined straight path that I had always been on. I definitely saw it as a little serendipitous that I was in the mall that day, but at the same time, they used against me a little bit. (Laughs) It came back to haunt me.

This is your chance to set the record straight about your intentions, since they kept saying you were unsure if you really wanted to be there. What is your take on all that?

It’s funny because I looked at it as something that was a blessing. I was really excited that I was there and that I got this opportunity, but I felt that people equated being discovered with not pursuing it, and not having a passion for it. I felt like I kept on having to defend myself the entire time I was there, instead of fully focusing on modeling and getting better, I had to model and I also had to prove that I love modeling. And to be honest, when I first came there, I had no idea if I loved modeling or not! I had never done it before. Throughout the competition, I discovered a different side of myself, and I can definitely say that I do want to pursue it now. I’m putting the wheels in motion to pursue it. I’m creating a webpage, and I’m open to moving. That was kind of like my theme on the show, but in no way do I want people to think that I was just shining that on, or that I took it for granted in anyway because I really do think it is an amazing opportunity.

Which photoshoot was your best, in your opinion?

I think my very favorite picture is from the elephant shoot, but I think my best photoshoot was the bald photoshoot. Tyra said it was one of the best pictures in ANTM history, and I can’t really argue with Tyra, I guess. (Laughs) But I really loved the elephant shoot.

What a neat opportunity that was, just by itself.

It really was incredible. Still to this day it just takes my breath away. It was amazing! But there was that whole, Joanie/copycat part of it that kind of detracted from it a little bit, but overall it was just so beautiful.

What did you think of the comment Joanie made behind your back that was aired in last night’s episode – that you were copying her too much?

To be truthful, this whole element of the show surprised me. I didn’t know it was even coming. Joanie and I are great friends. We hang out a lot – her boyfriend watches the show with us every Wednesday! (Laughs) We’ve definitely grown very close since the end of the show, and I’m not going to lie, it definitely blew me away to hear her say that stuff last night, just because I had no idea. At least with the girls, I thought I had put that theme — not having enough passion, not wanting it enough – I thought I had put that to rest. By no means did I ever want to step on anyone’s toes. I felt like coming into this experience I really didn’t have the fundamental knowledge of modeling that a lot of the other girls had, so I had to watch hard, and I had to listen extra hard just to stay on pace. I would take bits and pieces and try to make it my own, but during that shoot, she did awesome, and I was inspired by her. I tried one pose, that was the leg pose. And I think, partly just because, it really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It looked like fun! It looked like fun to balance on an elephant’s leg, you know! (Laughs) But at the end of the day, the picture that the judges chose was me doing my own pose. For some reason, now that this whole element of a copycat theme came up, it makes it look like I was doing that the whole way through, and I think that was falsely portrayed. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve learned to make it my own. And it’s my favorite one of the portfolio!

Did you get to see any of those pictures from when you were on the elephant’s leg?

No, we only get to see the one they show you.

You didn’t seem to get caught up in any of the house drama – is that a fair assessment, or was there a bitchy side to you that’s on the editors’ cutting room floor?

Sara going crazy! No. (Laughs) I think that’s definitely fair to say. I tried to not get caught up in the drama. It’s not who I am, and it’s not something I want to spend my energy on. It was an exhausting situation just as it was, and I didn’t feel like I needed to expend any other energy on unnecessary drama. There was plenty of it! I’ve been on a volleyball team with fifteen girls with their different opinions in close quarters, so I’m used to that part of it.

Okay, I’m going to read off some names of the other women in the house, and if you could, I’d like you to tell me what you thought of them in a sentence or two.

Sure!

Joanie: Like I said, Joanie and I are really great friends now. She is a really funny and down-to-earth girl. I think she’s a very genuine and kind person. By no means do I think what she says is any reflection on her personality, it was just a stressful situation. I love her!

Jade: (Laughs) Everyone always wants to know about Jade. I think that in itself a very special quality for her. She has a strong sense of self; she has unflappable confidence, and she does not make apologies for who she is. I think that’s a very admirable quality. She’s a very unique and great person.

What was your impression of Jade’s tears in front of the judges: fake or not?

I have no idea. I don’t feel like I have any right to judge anyone else’s emotions.

Danielle: She’s really hilarious. They could have a whole reel of outtakes just of Danielle, she’s so funny. She’s also very driven, and she came in with her eye on winning. She was very focused and was one of the few people who was able to show her personality to the judges. I think that definitely helped her, because she has such a great one. That’s a very special quality.

Nnenna: She’s probably one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. She’s really smart, and absolutely gorgeous. I feel like the whole thing with her boyfriend – being in the situation we were in would put a strain on any relationship, and I think that in no way should be a reflection on the sweet person she really is. I think she is very talented, and I can’t wait to see what she does next because I think she has so much potential for this industry.

Furonda: I absolutely adore Furonda. I talk to her once or twice a week, and she always cracks me up. She’s kind of like Jade in that she’s a very unique person. Some people would ask me, “Did you get annoyed with her,” and I’d be like, “No, that’s just who she is!” She’s hilarious, and she’s amazing. She never made apologies for who she was. She walked around with that tiara like it belonged on her head. I think she is really great.

How about Leslie? I’ve been playing phone tag with Leslie! (Laughs) I think she’s a wonderful person, too. It’s funny, because pretty much the two 18-year-olds (Kari and Leslie) were more mature than the older people on the show. They were just very poised, and I really enjoyed my friendship with Leslie.

Were you surprised with how the judges reacted to you wanting to do some of the same poses as Joanie during the elephant shoot?

It’s funny, because there’s kind of a disconnect from what happened when I was there and what they showed on TV. I thought that what they were saying to me came across on the show as more negative than what I felt when I was there. It is true, you need to take things and make it your own, and if you’re going to copy, you need to make it better. Sometimes you succeed, and sometimes you fail, and in that case, I failed. It was made an issue, but I feel like at the same time, I know myself that I’m not a copycat, and just because I tried one pose, I don’t feel that’s a reflection on my whole potential as a model.

Was there ever a time when you saw your photo in the judging panel, and thought, “I had a better shot in there, I just know it!”

To be honest, definitely with the ice shoot…I mean, obviously, I have no idea what the whole roll looked like, but when I was doing it, the reactions I was getting from Jay on the set and the photographer made me think, “This is going to be a great shot, I’m going to be so excited to see it!” But when it came up, I was definitely disappointed with the outcome. I have to trust the experts in the industry to pick out my best picture, and I don’t see the whole roll, so obviously, I don’t know.

What about the judges: who was the harshest judge, and who did you feel was pulling for you?

That’s a funny and kind of difficult question for me. I really felt like different judges were pulling for me at different times, and would have nice things to say. I never felt like the greatest champion. In the beginning, I thought Miss Jay was very complimentary of me, and towards the end it was more Twiggy who I felt like had nice things to say about me. Throughout it all, I felt the most confidence and inspiration from Tyra. She really wanted me to get better and I felt that from her.

You’re tall, blonde, and beautiful – do you think being “conventionally” pretty worked for you or against you in this competition?

I don’t know. The haircut I got was definitely not conventional! (Laughs) That gave me a little edge, I guess. I think coming into this, I didn’t really get it. In modeling, what one person thinks is ugly is the most beautiful thing in modeling. Like they always said to Brooke, “You’re so wrong you’re right.” On camera, she looked amazing! So I don’t necessarily think being conventionally pretty hurts you, but I think in high fashion modeling it’s not just the conventionally pretty girls that are the most successful.

On the other hand, people look at you and think “CoverGirl.”

I think that’s a great compliment! I would love to do something like CoverGirl. There really are so many directions you can take in modeling. I really want to explore all of them and see which one I have potential in.

What has been the hardest for you to learn as a beginner in the world of modeling?

I can’t put my finger on one thing, I’ll tell you that. (Laughs) That’s a really good question. I felt like for me it was putting everything together. I was trying to be a sponge and learn everything I could. But when you’re up there, and they’re telling you you’re too tall and you need to make your height work, and you need to find your lighting, find your eyeline – it was just overload. For me, it was just putting everything together and then relaxing. Because when I started to overthink everything, it would show on my face, and I would look tense, and stressed, and I would be stiff. Looking back on it, I do wish I could have just stepped outside of myself and laughed at myself, and told myself to relax and not take things so seriously, because I think that would have helped me.

What’s ahead for you, Sara? Volleyball? Modeling? Grad school?

(Laughs) Well, I’m not “almost a lawyer” – I think that was funny. I haven’t even taken an LSAT! I really want to pursue modeling. I want to just give 100% and dive into it right now and see what I can do. I think going from “the girl in the mall” edit to being top four on America’s Next Top Model I can finally see some potential in doing this, and I really just want to pursue it and take advantage of this opportunity.

You really have come a long way from the mall.

I feel like I have! (Laughs) I still have a ways to go, but I think that I have come a long way and I’m very thankful for the opportunities that I’ve had.

Thanks to UPN for granting the interview, and we’ll definitely be seeing you, Sara!

To learn more about Cycle 6‘s Sara Albert-Hallmark, visit her bio page here.

Photo:   The CW / Nigel Barker
Source: FORT

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