In September of 2005, interviewed Cycle 5‘s Ashley Black following her elimination and appearance on the show. Here is the text from the interview (written and posted by Staff):

America’s Next Top Model Cycle 5 – Ashley Eliminated During Two-Hour Premiere of “America’s Next Top Model”

Being the first girl eliminated from America’s Next Top Model can’t be fun. It can also be filled with mixed emotions. Elation because you’ve made it to the final 13 out of thousands of girls. Heartbreak because it all ends too soon. But Ashley has a slightly different take on it all, and she summed it up perfectly in one sentence: “Who remembers anyone from the middle?”

Who indeed. Ashley pointed out that people remember the winner and they remember who went first. That may allow people to see that she has potential. “My family said I got robbed” and maybe they aren’t the only ones that think so. I for one was a bit surprised that Ashley was the first to go. With her knowledge of the industry and her natural beauty (the “pretty gene” in her family) I was sure she would go further. She did, too. “Nobody wants to be the first eliminated. I thought I’d done average. But if you look at past seasons, average seems to be the 1st to go.” When asked if she was angry about the way things turned out, Ashley gave an emphatic “no”. “Of course I was taken by surprise, but when I told the girls to make me proud, I also knew that I was leaving a group of women that are going to work their butts off. They’re going to take what they learn and be better…. I’m going to be proud of them.”

Getting into the final 13 was just the beginning. The girls were then thrown into a whirlwind of modeling activity. When I asked what her favorite part of being on the show was, she divided it into two categories. “As for the competitions, I really liked runway. It was really thrilling.” Ashley had never done a runway show before, and the energy and catwalk and being in front of the crowd was a challenge that she thrived on. But outside the competition? “The limo ride back after the Life Style party.” The girls were finally able to relax, be themselves, learn more about each other, and laugh. “I have never laughed so hard in my life!”

Ashley isn’t currently talking to the other girls right now, but not because of any hard feelings. “I want to be surprised.” Many people have questioned whether she and Kim would remain friends after not helping out her cosmetics-challenged friend, and the answer is yes. “Before the fashion show we had 30 minutes to either put on our make-up or go out and socialize. I had my make-up on and my goal was to network. It’s why we’re here.” She went on to explain that there can be friendship amidst competition. “In the house we’re friends. But walk through those doors and you need to shine. It’s nothing personal. Kim knows that. In fact we never even talked about it. We were holding hands backstage. We’re fine.” She then added “I can’t wait to see her again. I love Bre and Nick, too. I can’t wait to talk to them and have them tell me everything that happened. You can be sure I’ll be ready with popcorn every time a new episode airs!!”

Ashley remains tight-lipped about who her favorites are from this season, but shared with us who she has liked from the past seasons. “The only season I watched from beginning to end was the one that Yoanna won. It was a good season. I also really liked Ann. I got to see her in New York and I’m really impressed by her. I could also relate to Yoanna as someone trying to lose weight and wanting to model. I rooted for her.”

What came across the most in talking to Ashley, was how in awe she seemed by the fact that she has fans. “They have no idea what it is like to be heavy… and then to lose weight and try to model and have strangers support you. Of course your mom and your aunt can say you’re pretty, but to hear it from a stranger… it just means so much. It is so heartwarming. You can feel the energy from people.” I got the feeling that it is this support that shapes her advice for future America’s Next Top Model wanna-be’s. “Do it. Why not? Having never been to a casting call before, look how far I got. You need to put yourself out there… it’s scary. But do it.” She also warns of the scams and people to be wary of. “Don’t ever let someone make you pay to be a model. This show is great for showing people that. Don’t get involved in the scams. Work hard and soak it all in.”

For now Ashley is working on strengthening her portfolio and getting into an agency. She also wants to make sure that being in front of the camera is where she truly wants to be, versus the behind-the-scenes styling and make-up that she also loves. “It is so much fun. It takes one picture. To be given a character and having to bring it to life, it is so alive.” Just talking about it you can hear the spark coming through her voice.

If you would like to e-mail Ashely, leave comments for her, or just keep up with what she is doing, please visit her site at One Model Place.

To learn more about Cycle 5’s Ashley Black, visit her bio page here.

Photo: CW / Michael Ruiz