May 9, 2010
In May of 2005, the State Senate honored Cycle 4’s Kahlen Rondot for her accomplishments on Top Model. A press release was posted summarizing the senate festivities, her background and what she thought of her first trip to the capitol. Here is the text from the Press Release (written by Communications Division of State Capitol, Oklahoma City, OK 73105):
SENATE HONORS OKLAHOMA FINALIST FOR “AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL”
The State Senate honored another outstanding Oklahoman today. Last week, the legislative body honored American Idol finalist Carrie Underwood and today they recognized the accomplishments and talents of America’s Next Top Model finalist, Kahlen Rondot. The Broken Arrow resident just competed in Season Four of the nationally televised series on UPN produced and hosted by Super Model Tyra Banks.
“I am simply amazed at how much talent we have in Oklahoma – athletes, singers, actors, models…We have it all,” said Sen. Mike Mazzei. “The fact that we’ve had two young women recognized for their talents on nationally televised hit TV shows this year is incredible and speaks highly of the people of Oklahoma.”
Senate Resolution 51, authored by Broken Arrow legislators Sen. Mazzei and Sen. Scott Pruitt, recognizes and praises the 21-year-old for her tremendous effort and determination in fulfilling her dreams.
“This is a tough business and Kahlen showed that she has what it takes. She showed great will and courage even though she went through some times of adversity while competing,” commented Sen. Pruitt. “We just want her to know how proud we all are of her and that we wish her the best of luck in all her future endeavors.”
Rondot is a 2002 graduate of Broken Arrow High School. She then graduated from the Barbizon Modeling and Acting Center in Dallas, Texas. She is the daughter of Tom and Keven Rondot and the sister of Tara and Tori Rondot.
Kahlen moved to New York City to pursue a modeling career at the age of 19. She was working as a maitre d’ at a five-star restaurant when she was spotted by the show’s producers and creator Tyra Banks and asked to audition for America’s Next Top Model. She competed for twelve weeks against 14 other modeling hopefuls to become one of the top two finalists. During that time, she was challenged through various modeling assignments which included hiking across the South African countryside to pose at a remote waterfall, being lowered into a grave as one of the seven deadly sins and posing with a crocodile while made up as a gazelle.
“I just want to congratulate Kahlen for all of her hard work and dedication. Her success just goes to show that together determination and perseverance really can make a person’s dreams come true,” continued Mazzei. “She is an inspiration to all of us and has served as a wonderful role model for those who watched the show.”
Following the reading of the resolution, Kahlen signed autographs and took photos with Senate guests and excited fans.
“This was my first time to visit the Capitol so it was really special for me and the fact that the Senate gave me this beautiful resolution made it even better,” said Rondot. “It’s so touching to know that you have the support of your state and that so many people believe in you, even when you sometimes struggle to believe in yourself. I want to thank everyone at the Senate for their warm reception and words of encouragement. It means so much to me!”
In May of 2005, Reality Shack.com interviewed Cycle 4’s Kahlen Rondot. The interview discusses her issues with confidence, whether she’s going to pursue modeling after the show and her feelings about the graveyard photos shoot. Here is the text from the article (written by “Carrie”):
Interview With Kahlen of America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 4
Tyra told Kahlen on more than one occasion that she almost had the total package. Her photos were striking, she had a great sense of humour, and a perfect body for high fashion and runway modeling. The only thing Kahlen seemed to lack was self-confidence. That didn’t stop her from getting to the final two this cycle, and it seemed the judges were faced with a difficult decision in choosing the winner. Although Naima ultimately won the title, fortunately this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Kahlen.
Hi Kahlen, congrats!
During the initial interviews on the show, you said that you hadn’t watched Top Model on television. What was your motivation for trying out?
I was working in New York and the casting people, including Tyra, showed up near where I was working. The recruiters asked me to come by and audition so I decided to go for it. Modeling is something I’ve always wanted to do, so I thought this would be a great opportunity.
You were told over and over again that you lacked confidence in yourself. Has watching how well you did on the show helped to boost your self-esteem?
Absolutely. It really helped seeing what a good job I actually did on the show. While I was there I kept thinking to myself, “Well, I made it this far so obviously I don’t suck.” It took a long time though to actually believe in myself and realize that I can do this, I’m good at this. I’m very confident in my photos and my performance on the runway.
In the final episode, you said that there were people back home who didn’t think you could do this. What would you like to say to them now?
I would really like to thank them. I love to prove people wrong, and they made me push myself to do that. No one is going to believe in you until you believe in yourself; that’s one of the things I learned through this whole experience. And I do believe in myself. On the show, I would work harder just so I could prove those who doubted me wrong.
What would your dream modeling job be?
Runway for sure. I would love to do runway work for Alexander McQueen. He’s a genius and has such a wonderful vision. His clothes are great, his models are fantastic, I just love him. He’s so different from anything else you see out there.
After finding out your friend had passed away, you had to do a photo shoot in an open grave at a cemetery. Obviously that was extremely difficult for you, but the resulting photo was one of the best we’ve ever seen from ANTM. How do you feel when you look at that photo today?
Proud. It was a hard thing to do for sure, but it was also a personal test for me. I really had to overcome my feelings and just do it. It was a test to see if I wanted it badly enough, and I did. I wasn’t about to give up. I just pushed through it. I was detached from the situation, but at the same time I used my emotions and gave that photo all I had.
The girls who have finished in second place on America’s Next Top Model have so far done very well for themselves with modeling careers. Have you had any offers yet, and will you continue to pursue modeling?
I haven’t had any offers yet since the show literally just ended, but I’m going to make a go of it. I’m planning to move to New York next week and look for an agent. I made a lot of good contacts through the show, so I’m looking forward to getting out there and working.
What advice would you give to other aspiring models who are trying out for cycle 5?
When I first went in there I was so worried – I thought I had to be loud and attention grabbing just to get noticed. Fortunately I was wrong. You have to be real, and be yourself. If you’re fake and phony, they will notice and you won’t last long. They’ll see right through you.
Even when you were feeling uncomfortable about situations you were in, it seemed like your sense of humour pulled you through. Do you think the editors portrayed you as too serious and self-conscious
When I was watching the show, I kept saying “Wow, did I really cry that much?” When stuff gets hard, I either cry or laugh it off. Apparently they caught me crying more than laughing or something. Really though, I try to laugh more. Nothing can be taken too seriously, or you just don’t have any fun. You have to be able to poke fun at yourself and roll with it.
I do think I was portrayed very well though. There is nothing else I would have added or not shown. That was me.
If you could put the four judges and Miss J through one of your photo shoots, which one would you choose and why?
Oh that’s easy. The wet and wild shoot! Remember that one? We had everything working against us; the winds were strong enough to blow the cars over, and you couldn’t tell but I think they transported that water in from Antarctica! It was freezing cold, and it was just such a shock to be standing there and all of a sudden you’re being pelted by icy cold water and hurricane winds.
I’d love to see them do that one!
Kahlen, thanks so much for your time! You were my favourite going in to the show, and it’s great to see how far you went. Best of luck to you for the future!
Oh, thank you so much!
In May of 2005, Reality News Online.com interviewed Cycle 4’s Kahlen Rondot. The interview summarizes why she auditioned, what she thought about Keenyah’s weight issues and what she felt was the hardest part of the competition. Here is the text from the article (written by Phil Kural):
“I Hated That Weave!”: An Interview With America’s Next Top Model 4’s Kahlen
The judges might have thought Kahlen came across have having low confidence, but you would have never been able to tell that in her pictures. Kahlen made it all the way to the final two this season on America’s Next Top Model, but came up short in the end. How does she feel looking back on the experience? Phil has the scoop.
When the show first aired, I looked at Kahlen as another “blonde hair, blue eyed” girl. She actually reminded me a lot of Shannon from season one, without the huge grin. That wasn’t the case, though. Kahlen really was her own person, and knew how to evoke any emotion in her photos. Even though she didn’t win, I have a feeling we definitely have not seen the last of her. I had a chance to talk to Kahlen, and she didn’t lack any confidence when we spoke, in fact, I think she commanded the interview!
RealityNewsOnline: Why did you originally decide to try out for the show and did you send in a video or go to an open call audition?
Kahlen: Actually, I had never seen an episode of the show. The producers came into my restaurant for lunch one day and told me that they were having open calls, and that I should go. I didn’t pay them any mind, but later, some of the crew was in and they told me the same thing. I thought the whole thing was a joke, but went anyway. Next thing I know, here I am!
RNO: Tyra said that you were not just a normal blonde hair, blue- eyed girl, but that you had edge. What do you think that edge was?
Kahlen: She knew that I understood how to look edgy in my photos. Naima didn’t have to do that since she “looked” edgy. I looked edgy in my photos, not so much in person, and I think that’s what Tyra was trying to say when she said that.
RNO: When it was down to the final three, did you truly believe that you would be the one going home at that point?
Kahlen: Oh, I so thought it was me going home at that point. I knew I took a good photo, but my commercial segment wasn’t really that great, and the judges kept saying that I needed more confidence. When they praised Keenyah for having a lot of confidence, I thought that my time was up.
RNO: Do you feel that Keenyah gaining weight had something to do with why she was eliminated?
Kahlen: Yes, in a way, I do. I’m not totally sure about it, but I think it did play a small part, since the judges continually said something about her, and she didn’t really pay attention to their comments and kept on doing what she wanted. That might have been a reason they cut her.
RNO: Out of all the girls eliminated, who did you miss the most?
Kahlen: I would say I missed Rebecca the most. Nobody saw it coming when she was eliminated, and when the show first started, I thought she was going to be there longer than I was. I wanted to be everyone’s friend and stay focused, but when Rebecca was eliminated, I realized that anyone could go at any time. In a way, Rebecca being eliminated made me strive even harder to win.
RNO: Do you really think that the photo shoots are “coincidental?” Keenyah getting gluttony and the elephant, and the seven deadly sins shoot?
Kahlen: Yeah, I think it’s coincidental. They have to plan those shoots weeks ahead of time so that they can book the costumes, and the photographer and even the location. Keenyah getting the elephant and gluttony was just a misfortune, but yeah, I think it was purely coincidence.
RNO: Why were you so upset when the other girls were fighting in the hotel room?
Kahlen: I don’t like fighting and I’m more the kind of person to sit and talk out my problems before I start yelling. I thought it was totally disrespectful to be yelling at one another, and the whole thing upset me. I get a little emotional over things like that.
RNO: Out of all the girls, whose performance and growth impressed you the most?
Kahlen: I would say that would be Keenyah. She has great photos and the judges always seemed to love them. Of course, she had an off week, but we all did at one point or another. Naima grew a lot too, and I definitely think she deserved to win.
RNO: What part of the whole experience was the hardest to adapt to?
Kahlen: That would probably be the lack of sleep. The hours were outrageous sometimes. I’m used to sleeping so much, but they kept us constantly busy. I missed my bed!
RNO: Do you have a boyfriend yet?
Kahlen: No, I don’t. I’m kinda… well, no. Haha!
RNO: Which shot in your portfolio are you the most proud of? Are there any that you don’t care for?
Kahlen: Well, I didn’t like the Wonder Bra shoot or the one where we were dancing and posing, but I adored my Zodiac shot and the animal one. The first shoot we did, as the aliens, was probably one of my favorite as well. I enjoyed the shots where we put on all the makeup and transformed. They were the most fun.
RNO: At the final elimination ceremony, did you think that you were going to beat Naima?
Kahlen: Yes, I did think I was going to win. I knew that I had a stronger portfolio, and I thought I rocked it on the runway. When they showed us the clips of the show though, I saw that Naima nailed the runway too. I had a little doubt at that point, but I thought it was going to be all the way up until Naima’s face showed up on the screen.
RNO: Are you still sticking with the weave, or did you go back to natural?
Kahlen: Oh God, I hated that weave and got rid of it. I retract my last statement and let me say that weave was the worst part of the whole experience, not the hours! I couldn’t even run a comb through my hair, and it got to the point where it was so bunched up that they had to cut it out of my head. Ugh, just thinking about it…
RNO: Is modeling still something that you want to do?
Kahlen: Oh yeah, definitely. I’m moving to New York at the end of the month and hopefully with the contacts I’ve made, I’ll be able to sign with someone and continue on that road.
RNO: Wow, all the girls are moving to New York now. Are you all going to live together again?
Kahlen: Definitely not! Some of the girls have called me and said, “Oh, I’m moving to New York too, do you want to live together?” and I had to tell them no! There is no way I’m going through all that again, haha!
RNO: What kind of advice would you give to girls that are thinking about trying out for future seasons of the show?
Kahlen: I would just say that you have to be yourself. Don’t be fake because the judges will see right through it. They know everything that’s going on, but don’t give up. If you believe that you can do it, you can!
RNO: Thanks, Kahlen!