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Leslie Mancia Interview with AfterEllen.com (May 06)

August 5, 2010

In May of 2006, AfterEllen.com interviewed Cycle 6‘s Leslie Mancia following her elimination and appearance on the show. Here is the text from the interview (written and posted by Karman Kregloe):

Interview With Bisexual Top Model Contestant Leslie Mancia

Arizona State University student Leslie Mancia found an unexpected entry into the modeling world when she was selected as a contestant in UPN’s hit show, America’s Next Top Model. Though she was recently eliminated from the show, Leslie found it to be a good experience, and one that taught her a lot about modeling. She continues to pursue a career in modeling, and hopes to gain representation by summer.

She recently talked to AfterEllen.com about her experiences on the show, and how the reality of her life as a contestant translated to the edited version of the show viewers see each week.

AfterEllen.com: What’s going on with you post-Top Model?

Leslie Mancia: I’m finishing my sophomore year at ASU. I still want to model so I’ve been talking to agencies and trying to get that going. I hope to get signed by the end of the summer. I’m working now to save money. So I’m doing everyday life, normal kind of stuff. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to get more into modeling and things will change.

AE: You’re studying law?

LM: Criminal justice.

AE: That’s right, I remember that because of the photo shoot!

LM: (laughs) I’m not studying to be a dominatrix, which is what they switched it around to be.

AE: So when you get signed, will you take a break from school and model instead?

LM: I’ve thought about it a lot. I think right now I want to take a break from school. It is very important to get my degree, and you always need a Plan B. Modeling isn’t a very secure business. But I’m kind of old getting into this as it is. These girls are off when they’re 13 or 14, it’s crazy. I’m already 19 so it’s now or never. I just want to get into it and go full force force and throw myself into this business. I feel like school is going to be there, and I know I’m going to go back. I’ll finish it eventually.

AE: Did you make any connections on ANTM that you’re continuing to cultivate now?

LM: Well, not really. They’re very protective of us. We couldn’t really give our numbers out or anything like that. It’s up to us now. UPN will tell us, “This agency contacted you” or “These people want to do this with you.” But right now it’s up to us. Even as the winner, it’s up to you to get your career going. So I think that once I move out to Los Angeles, that’s when I’m really going to start my networking.

AE: You’re moving to LA?

LM: I’m going to go to a bunch of agencies and see who wants me. But right now because it’s closest to home—I live in Arizona—I think that’s where I’m looking to go in the future.

AE: Is it different for you on campus now that you’ve had the ANTM experience and are in classes with people who probably watched you on the show?

LM: It’s not anything too crazy. I was just talking to Jade today and she was telling me about some incidents she’d had where people were noticing her. And it’s never been that bad, like every minute, but I do go out and at least once a day someone will notice me. But nothing too crazy, no one’s following me, I don’t have any stalkers. (Laughs) I haven’t quite reached that status of celebrity.

I’ll be at school and someone will say, “Hey, you’re that girl from Top Model.” And I say, “Yeah, thanks for talking to me. Have a nice day.” (Laughs) It’s kind of awkward, you never know what to say. It’s flattering and it hasn’t been too nuts.

AE: Which were your favorite of the photo shoots?

LM: I have to say the dominatrix one, it was fun! (laughs)

AE: Okay, now you’re gonna get some stalkers! Do you really want me to quote you on that? (laughs)


LM:
Go ahead man, it’s okay. (laughs) No, but it was fun! You get these whips…I was eager. I’m not gonna lie. I was eager cause we had this male model, whips, chains and I had handcuffs. We had this table and I wanted to use the table too and they said, “No, we already used that for another girl.” And I got all depressed, I wanted to use everything! (laughs) It was kind of kinky, but not too crazy. It didn’t cross the line. But you can still be sexy without being slutty. It was fun to work with.

AE: Are you watching the show now with your friends?

LM: Yeah, I have since the first episode. I have viewing parties and we all get together every Wednesday.

AE: They must have gotten a kick out of your dom session.

LM: Yeah, they loved it. And I told my mom about it beforehand. She asked if there was anything she needed to know before she watched the show. And I said, “Well, it wasn’t a big deal or anything but, they kind of had me as a dominatrix. So don’t get offended or anything. Oh, and you might see me naked in the pool a couple of times.”

AE: Ah, the infamous hot tub. It’s a very important gathering place where a lot of things go down.

LM: Yeah, you come back at the end of the day and you’re tired and want to relax, so you get in there naked. (laughs)

AE: Well, this is where my mind goes now: Were you out as bisexual when you were on the show–-to the other contestants or the producers?

LM: It’s something that I first mentioned in my initial interview. They asked me to talk about myself and my sexuality is an important part of me, so I said this is what I am. Then I changed the subject, because I didn’t want to be “the lesbian” on there. I think they already had that last season, and I wasn’t trying to have a gimmick or anything. Not that she was, but that was not my intention. So I started talking about other things.

I think that’s something they didn’t decide to play up because there wasn’t anything to play up. It just is what it is. So they were aware.

AE: So if you’d had a girlfriend that you were on the phone with all the time—well, I’m assuming you didn’t because we never saw it.

LM: No I didn’t have a girlfriend at the time, and I don’t have one now. But maybe then they would have.

AE: One of the rumors I’ve heard is that there have been other openly lesbian and bisexual contestants on the show last season (the season with Kim) and on the current show too, but that the Top Model producers have played it down, with the attitude of “we’ve already done the gay thing, it’s played out.” Did you get that impression?

LM : Well they do want the ratings…Again, if I had something for them to use—like if I had a girlfriend or had seduced someone in the house, they might have chosen to do it. It is kind of played out because there have been other lesbians in past seasons as well. I think with me, they weren’t trying to hide it. I guess I just wasn’t very vocal about it. I don’t know what they would have done if I had been.

AE: Speaking of bisexuality, when Janice Dickinson is on the show I always think she’s flirting with the contestants.

LM: I have a funny story about her. Remember the first episode when they staged the press conference? She asked this question, “What would you do if another girl hit on you during a photo shoot?” Everyone looked at me and kind of laughed because they all know I’m bi. So I felt the question was kind of directed at me. So I answered it, but they didn’t air it. Then she gives feedback to each of the girls afterwards, and she says to me, “Leslie, we know you’re bi. We don’t really care.” I was like, okay, well I wasn’t trying to make a big deal, like “I’m a girl lover!” But she says, “That’s boring.” But they didn’t show that. I thought “Whatever. I wasn’t trying to excite you.” (laughs)

AE: I know we can’t talk about the outcome yet, but–to date—were there any people who you were surprised to see eliminated as early as they did?

LM: I think the biggest surprise for me was Kari. She’s gorgeous and she has a good look. I didn’t necessarily expect her to be the winner, but I didn’t expect her to get kicked off as early as she did. Especially instead of Gina. And that’s not because I have anything against Gina, but Gina would tell you herself that she was doing horribly and she didn’t want to be there.

So for Kari to be eliminated before her—especially when she has such a great photo the week before. She kind of messed up the week she got kicked off because she fell on her heels. But girls were falling all over the place! Hello, my walk was horrible! At least she could walk! She wasn’t doing bad and so for her to get kicked off…I was angry, I couldn’t believe it.

So after that, I thought if she can get eliminated at this point in the game, then anybody can go next. As for Nnenna, when you watch the show, she started off so great. And even though she was winning all of these challenges, her beauty wasn’t translating into the pictures. So that wasn’t a surprise for me either.

AE: On the show, it seems like the people who are more contained get underestimated. If you’re not having a nervous breakdown in the hot tub then you’re almost critiqued for it. You and Mollie Sue both seemed like pretty normal, together people, but because you’re not making anyone scream and cry it’s deemed as not being good TV.

LM: I agree. The oddest thing about Mollie Sue is that the way she was in the house was completely the opposite of the way they edited her to be. She had one of the biggest personalities there, and it was just odd to see how they edited her. Even me—in my normal life I’m very outgoing, very friendly. There, I was a little more reserved than I usually am, so I kind of expected my edits. But I didn’t think they would go as far as they did where they never showed me! (laughs)

AE: What do you think wins the competition? Is it really great pictures and a great walk? Or is it more about what kind of person is this and can we trust them to go around representing the show? For instance Lisa on the last season, she was amazing to look at and she was an interesting character, but she was a loose cannon. Would they ever let her represent the show after she peed in the diaper at that photo shoot?

LM: Honestly, I don’t know—I don’t think so. I think each season they’re looking for something different. Last season Tyra kept saying that they chose Nicole because they wanted someone who was high fashion. With Eva, they wanted someone who was more of a celebrity. If you look at her now, she’s almost gone more the celeb route than modeling. I think she’s doing movies now.

I think this season they’re looking for someone who has a personality that the viewers could relate to, who people would really love. And obviously with potential, who could model, has the runway down and can take good pictures. They want the whole package this season.

AE: Is there anything that you experienced on the show that really doesn’t come through on the televised version?

LM: Arguments get blown out of proportion, and the way they edit people. Like Jade, especially early on, they made her look like an evil person. But she’s not nearly that bad, I got along with her fine. We’re friends and we talk. They need their ratings and so they need the girls to play their roles. That was her role, she was “the bitch” and that’s not really who she is. Little things like that. But it’s to be expected. It’s reality TV.

AE: Was it a good experience for you? Are you glad you did it?

LM: Definitely! I never would have tried modeling had it not been for the show. I was interested but I probably wouldn’t have had the guts to do it. Everything I know about modeling I learned from the show.

AE: And now you have a great portfolio.

LM: Yes, at the end of the show they give all of us the portfolios to take with us to agencies.

AE: Anything else we should know about you or the show?

LM: Any hot chicks out there, I’ll give you my number later. (laughs)

AE: Thanks for talking with us, and good luck with your career.

LM: Thanks!

To learn more about Cycle 6’s Leslie Mancia, visit her bio page here.

Source: AfterEllen.com
Photo:  The CW

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