About.com interviewed Cycle 4’s Michelle Deighton following her appearance on the show. The interview discusses the reason behind auditioning, coming out of the closet on TV and her skin issues she endured during the competition. Here is the text from the article (written by Latoya West):

Interview With America’s Next Top Model’s Michelle

This season of America’s Next Top Model just wouldn’t have been the same without Michelle, a 19-year old wrestler from Terre Haute, Indiana. Before she became the ninth girl eliminated from the competition, she had viewers glued to their television screens when, among other things, she got a nasty skin virus and revealed to the world (and her parents) that she is bisexual. Here is what Michelle had to say about her experience on America’s Next Top Model.

What was the best part of the Top Model experience for you?
The best part was me changing personally myself. When I started out on the show, I didn’t even have a smidgen of confidence. I didn’t even think I should be there in the beginning but then by the end, I really felt like I deserved to be there and that I had a chance to make it to the end. My confidence is a lot better.

What made you decide to audition for the show?
Actually, I had an agent before. And I was about to quit that agent because in two years, he had not gotten me a job or anything. And they saw my picture on his website and they actually called me. They asked me if I can send them an application…I sent it to them and I got to the semifinals. That’s how it got started.

People tend to think that models have high self esteem because they have put themselves in that glamorous field…
Well before, when I started with it I always had my mom with me. That helped out a lot because she would handle the business side of it and I would just be there. I never had to really present myself and be there by myself and she was always like the backbone of that.

Looking back, how do you feel about the fact that you didn’t connect with the other girls on the show?
I guess it was more important to me then than it is now. It’s just that I was away from home for so long and I wanted to connect with someone and talk to someone and all of that, instead of calling home. You can’t really say much when you call home so I was just trying to connect with them. But every time I made a comment, there would be like little jokes because someone would say something. So I was just like screw it, I’ll just sit here by myself and read.

Why do you think they picked on you?
The main reason is that I didn’t stand up for myself at the time. I let them get away with their little comments in a way.

While you were watching the episodes from home, did the comments they made behind your back hurt your feelings?
Not anymore. I was just like that’s their problem and not mine. I definitely don’t really care anymore but my thing is if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. I try to do that. I try to put the best out there.

How hard was it for you to reveal your bisexuality on the show?
I thought it was going to be really hard actually, to let someone know. I had been hiding that for four years. I think that’s why I felt disconnected from the girls. I was trying to hide that and it hid some of my other emotions that I needed to express. And when I started talking to Noelle about it, it kind of slipped out and she was just like ‘Oh really?’ I just started talking about it and it was really easy. I turned around and there was a camera there and I was like ‘Oh, shit.’ Besides that, it wasn’t too hard to talk about.

So the people in your life found out about your bisexuality by watching the TV show?
Actually, a couple of my friends knew about it and that was it. So when I said that, not only did my family and parents find out, but all of America.

Did you try to talk to them about it before the episode aired?
I talked to them about it a little after I was off the show but besides that, no. So it was a big surprise.

What was their reaction?
At first they weren’t too happy about it but by that point, I was like ‘You can accept it or you can’t. If you have a problem with me being bisexual, then it’s your problem.’ I just let them know that I wasn’t any different. I hadn’t changed in any way. I had been that way for a long time. It’s just they had never known about it. So, they’ve gotten over it. When it’s on TV or something like that, they still get a little uneasy. But besides that, I think they’re OK with it.

Wow. So much happened with you on that show. Tell me about the skin problems you had.
I’ve never had any skin problems until I got on this show. I think I was the least freaked out about it. The other girls were freaking out and running around, calling people and I’m like O.K. I didn’t think it was a flesh-eating virus but I thought it was something serious. I talked to Tyra about it and I got the dermatologist appointment. It turned out to be nothing and I overcame it. I didn’t want to cry too much about it but when it was getting worse, I did freak out a little bit there.

Before the episode aired, I saw clips on those entertainment shows where they were making it look like a flesh eating disease had hit Top Model. What were you thinking when you were watching those shows at home?
My mom freaked out about it when she saw the previews for it. I thought it was actually kind of amusing. Everyone was freaking out about it and I was like ‘You guys just have to watch the show.’ I couldn’t tell them what it was. I actually got a kick out of it.

So you were a wrestler before getting on the show? Tell me about your wrestling.
I started about a year and a half ago. I was actually the first female to start in my [local] federation.. I was the first woman champion but now there are three other girls that I dragged into it. My last wrestling show is actually coming up here soon because I’m moving to NY. I had to choose between one or the other.

What’s more difficult – wrestling or modeling?
[Laughs]. I’d have to say that modeling was more difficult. In wrestling, when I go out there I am like a character, a totally different person. So I can do whatever the hell I want. When it’s my character, it’s alright because after the show it’s all done and over with. In modeling, it’s a lot more competitive and I think especially for women in the modeling world, it’s a lot more competitive. In wrestling, there aren’t that many women so you have a better chance of getting in.

You mentioned that you’re moving to NY. That’s a big step!
I decided when I got voted off the show that no matter what, I was going to NY. People kept saying that you don’t want to go to NY and all that. But a while back, I set the date of June 1 and June 1 is the day I am leaving for NY. I’m actually really excited about it but my mom isn’t too happy. I’m the first kid in the family. I’m the oldest so there’s definitely going to be a big change. I’m the babysitter of all the grandkids.

Who do you think should win the competition?
That’s a tough question because now you don’t really know what the judges are looking for. They’re looking at so many different things so if you falter once, that could be it even if you had a perfect record up until then. I think all the girls deserve to be there so it all depends on how they perform…I have some people that aren’t on my favorite list on the show but they’ve overcome a lot. Hopefully, the person who wins deserves it.

To learn more about Cycle 4’s Michelle Deighton, visit her bio page here.

Source: About.com
Photo:  CWTracy Bayne