In December of 2006, Fans of Reality TV (FORT) interviewed Cycle 7‘s winner CariDee English following her elimination and appearance on the show. Here is the text from the interview (written and posted by Hepcat):

ANTM 7: Interview with CariDee — “I’m So Happy They Picked The Blonde Package!”

She’s here, she’s blonde, and she’s definitely on top! CariDee English, a photographer from North Dakota, was crowned the winner of America’s Next Top Model. In addition to a $100,000 contract with cosmetics giant CoverGirl, CariDee’s prize includes a contract with Elite Model Management, as well as a cover and six-page fashion spread in Seventeen magazine. But you knew that, faithful viewer. Now that she’s had time to get used to her life-changing prize package, CariDee took time out of her busy schedule to share all the love she’s feeling with her FORT fans.

Hi CariDee! Congratulations!

Fans of Reality TV, yes! Hello! Thank you! I’m so excited to talk to you, I love the website — I love, love, love, love, love the website! Trust me, I was there, like, five times a day.

How does it feel to be in the winner’s shoes?

Amazing – I’m sorry, I’m having lunch, so forgive me for chomping. Amazing, amazing. It’s such a blessing. It’s a crazy whirlwind and I want to hold onto it as long as I can.

Do you realize that you’re the first blonde winner?

Oh yeah, girl! (chewing) Sorry, again – food in my mouth. I know I’m the first blonde winner, and I’m so happy they picked the blonde package, they picked me. (laughs) I’m definitely excited and it takes it to a whole other level with the merging of the networks. Yes, I’m so excited.

Did having commercial appeal work for you on the show?

I think it definitely it was great for me, because a lot of American modeling is commercial, it is print. You’re out there, you’re talking, you’re “spokes”. I feel like it’s very friendly; I just try to be myself and have everyone relate to me in some way or another.

Can you tell us, how did you come to be on the show?

I tried out – I got the application from the Internet, and I drove to the Cities, and it was a process of elimination from there.

You say that you wanted to model when you were younger, but you had a skin condition that kept you from trying. You certainly don’t seem like you have any inhibitions or doubts about your looks these days. Where did you find that confidence?

I think I made up for my skin disease and everything with my confidence. I hate [psoriasis], I do – I hate it with a passion – but I had to accept it. Once I accepted it, I did a lot better. I should tell you that naturally, I’m just really out there; I’m outgoing and goofy. Even though I have it, I don’t let it have me, you know?

What was your favorite photoshoot?

Oh, my goodness. All of them? (laughs) A great day for everybody where there was great energy was the Celebrity Photo shoot. That was a great vibe. Everyone was just loving it, it was just fun, we were all different characters. Another favorite photo shoot – I can’t really say one! It was all of them. The skydiving was fun, it was crazy. It was fun. I really liked the Circus Freaks – I liked how it came out. I was totally out there, doing different things, switching it up. I was feeling really good right then. I remember feeling really confident.

On the water shoot, you got hypothermia – this was all explored on the show. But what sticks out to me is that you got a lecture from Tyra that you need to tell them when you’re suffering, and yet, all the girls surely know that if they complain they will hear about it when they’re in front of the judges.

Exactly, yes.

What did you think of being told that you should have said something sooner?

Yeah, it was a catch-22. I could have quit, and if I would have quit, I was a quitter. And if I stuck with it and just stayed it out — which is what I did. What happened was that Ken Mok, a producer, was like, “Get her out of the water, get her out of the water!” And I wasn’t allowed back in. And I know that when you’re going through the first stages of hypothermia, you don’t realize it. So I didn’t realize anything was happening, I just thought I was really cold. Also, the medicine I take for my psoriasis lowers my immune system. My immune system is so much lower than the average person, that cold really hit me hard. When it came time to do the pictures I really focused, but it was definitely a challenge for me.

Was that the most difficult part of the experience?

The water, wobbly runway – whatever the heck that was. That was insane! That was just too much for me. (laughs)That was scary. It was frustrating, it was … just scary.

Have you and Nigel Barker made up, or does he still have a stick up his ass?

Oh, no, no, no — Nigel is great! Nigel is great, he’s so nice. We actually had a dinner that they never aired, and I really, really like Nigel. When I made the joke, actually, what they didn’t show was that he joked right back, instantly right back, and everybody was laughing. The show made an issue out it just for the viewers’ eyes. And also for him to make me realize that you can’t be doing that in other situations — which I never would; like, I would never go into a client situation and just say that out of nowhere. But you just feel like you know him, and he jokes back. The moral of the story is that if you mess with the bull, you get the horns. (laughs)

So you’ve learned to take the “class, dignity and respect” route. Good for you!

You were portrayed on the show as having a wild and crazy personality. Is that accurate in real life?

Definitely! I’m wild and crazy, but I’m not like, (crazy voice) wild one second and then (quiet voice)really down the next. It’s just who I am, I have a lot of energy in me. And I think that’s very, very important to have in the modeling industry, because you’re going constantly. You’re on, you’re going, you have to think of new things, you have to be innovative, you have to be creative. It’s an important characteristic to have if you want to succeed in the long run.

You’re eating lunch during interviews…

(laughs) Yeah, exactly! I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Come on, everyone says they get a bad edit. You’re saying you’re like that in real life?

(laughs)Well, there are certain things that went on, like, they made it look like I was happy one minute and falling apart the next. It wasn’t really like that. They didn’t show a lot of like hanging around the house and just being chill. I loved a lot of people, I got close to a lot of the girls, and had great conversations. They just showed highs and lows of me, which is frustrating, because there were definitely something else with me. I can be very chill and I feel like Jaeda was really funny, I wish they had shown that more. Megg had more sides to her than just “rock and roll” and she was awesome. Monique was pretty accurate, though. (laughs)

I understand you have a boyfriend at home, right?

Yes, I do.

Did you have any explaining to do about that Spanish guy?

We’ve been going for two years, but when I was filming, we took a break because we were having troubles like any other couple, especially, you know, that two-year thing. And we just took a break before I left, and we just recently got back together about a month ago, officially. On November 27th, actually. It’s good to step away from something if you really want it. We were always in contact, and friends, and everything, but I think it was best for our relationship to be apart during all that. And also, I could concentrate more on the competition, not missing him and not so involved in him, that helped too.

The reason I ask is that people have said it was cheating on your part, and I wanted to give you that chance to address that.

Oh no, absolutely not. That’s why there was never a big deal about it on the show, because it wasn’t a big deal. I’m glad to clear the air on this, definitely. The editing made a mistake, like early on, saying “CariDee’s boyfriend” – they knew we were having troubles and were apart. They knew he was dear to me and I still talked to him and everything, because he is my best friend first and foremost, but yeah, we weren’t together during it, and that’s what the big misunderstanding was.

Who were you close to in the house?

I wish I could answer that, I really do. I knew that question was going to come up and I don’t have a certain person, but I can’t answer because I really loved everyone, honestly. It hit me in different ways. They are all so beautiful, they were all so great. I loved Megg, she made me feel so good. When she walked into the room, everything just lifted. All of your worries just kind of melted, you know? She was wonderful, a beautiful person. A.J., she was a great person to talk serious with. Anchal, beautiful, was so fun to just have fun with, to laugh, and giggle, and just be goofy with. She used to dare people to do things. And Michelle was the person who would put other people first before she would ever think of herself. A completely selfless person, just awesome. Amanda was so sweet, she was shy, but she was sweet. Eugena—oh God, loved Eugena. Love, love, love Eugena. We got really close during the time in Barcelona because…I don’t know! I just loved her. She was just so funny to me. I wish they would have showed more, but the things she would do were just so real, it’s just funny the way they came off.

I really got close to everybody. Megan, so sweet, so sweet and so kind, and now she’s doing great! I saw her on the cover of a magazine, and it was beautiful and smart. She was very reserved, but very sincere and just loved to have fun. And even Christian was an awesome person. I only got to meet her for a little bit, but she would always laugh at the things I would say, and I told her, “It’s so fun that we’re getting close,” and stuff like that. I just got close to everyone at one point or another. It was so hard to see them leaving, you know? Oh my God, Brooke – wise beyond her years, and the most intelligent girl her age I’ve ever met, and probably the whole competition.

You didn’t mention Melrose, what can you say about her?

Melrose was a good person. She was – I still don’t really know how she is, but she was a great competitor, let me tell you. If I was going to lose, which I wasn’t – no wait. If I was going to win, which I did, I didn’t want to win in a way that implied it was given to me. She gave me a run for my money. She was a hard competitor, and she’s great, she’s smart, she’s motivated. There’s a lot of things that she embodies that I wish I did, as far as just like – I mean, I’m driven, but she’s – there’s a smartness to her that is so inspiring.

As far as that little showdown on the final runway challenge with Melrose – did she think you stepped on her dress on purpose?

No. I just know her. It’s the fact that she just loves fashion, and the dress got a hole in it. She was upset because she has a passion for clothes, you know. It was just intense.

It’s not like you were going home with the dresses, so why did she take it so personally?

Well, I would never, ever, ever ruin a designer’s dress. It was only by accident. Those trains were four feet long, and it twisted around me when I turned really quickly, and my heel got caught in it. It’s a live show, that’s the thing, she had to understand that. It’s a live show and things happen, you’ve just got to roll with it, keep going, and not let it affect you. Of course I was worried that the designers were going to be mad at me, but I apologized.

Do you think she was just trying to psyche you out?

No, she psyched herself out. She didn’t even bother me. I’ve been in theater and acting before, and I know that anything can go on at any moment, and if it does you do not let it show. The show must go on.

Were you surprised that you received so much criticism from the judges for the final runway show?

Yeah, they gave me good points, too. A lot of people expect a model going on this show to automatically be great, but it’s a learning process. Like me, photos are easy for me. It just comes naturally. Walking? It’s good for me but I was so nervous, that I forgot to breathe. I was just like, (breathing in noisily) so intense and so nervous. And the competition itself, I just forgot to have a good time. Now that the pressure’s off, on a runway I’ll totally just have a lot of fun. I’ll show everything because I’m not thinking, “this is SO important.” There’s a whole different motive behind it.

What do you think of Tyra after this experience? What can you tell us about her that we wouldn’t necessarily know from watching her on TV?

She is so smart and so full of knowledge that’s even beyond her comprehension. She affects people to the core. It’s a lingering effect that she leaves on people. I owe everything to her. She’s amazing. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t even talking to you right now, or having these experiences. I owe my life and my career to her, and for that I will always be thankful. People don’t realize that she’s only human, too. They’ll criticize and say, “why’d you wear that?” or “why did you look like that?” – well, she’s only human! That’s what’s made her go so far, is that she takes these things gracefully. She makes mistakes, or she does well, and she’s not so full of herself to the point of being worried about being out there. She’s a real person, and that’s what’s gotten her so far. She’s great with people. She’s got her own show, her talk show, she’s one of the top women in entertainment right now and she’s 34. 35 this week. It’s amazing.

Can you tell us about your future plans?

Thank God I’m a CoverGirl! One of the best things about this is that not only am I an Elite model, but I’m with CoverGirl. I love CoverGirl, I’ve loved their products since I was a little girl, and honestly, I’m not just saying that. I’ve really loved their products ever since I was young, and to be representing them and have them behind my name, you know? CariDee, CoverGirl model. It’s amazing. I appreciate everything that is coming with that. I can’t wait. We’re shooting our commercial in Australia next week. I’m just so excited, and I’m so grateful. I feel like I’ve been through so much. I hope that somebody saw it and I motivated them to do the same thing, too. I could have taken the easy way out. I still wanted to model, but with my psoriasis no one even gave me the chance. It was my incentive to do it.

Is there anything else you’d like the posters on FORT to know?

I love all the fans you have there. Tell them thank you for posting and the support and everything. It definitely would make my day. Whenever I was feeling down I would read there, and people on there, I’ll never meet them, but they made me feel so good, and I appreciate that so much. So, thank you so much and God bless!

FORT congratulates CariDee, winner of the seventh cycle of America’s Next Top Model! Thanks to CW for another great season of interviews.

To learn more about Cycle 7 winner CariDee English, visit her bio page here.

Source: The CW / Oliver Bronson and Dylan Don
Source: FORT