In December of 2007, interviewed Cycle 6‘s Wendy Wiltz following her elimination and appearance on the show. Here is the text from the interview (written and posted by Syrone Harvey):

Interview With Wendy of America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 6

At first, New Orleans beauty Wendy appeared quiet, shy and emotionally withdrawn from the Top Model competition. Surviving the recent devastation of Hurricane Katrina may have contributed to her slow response. Even the judges felt she had lost concentration and focus on becoming America’s Next Top Model. Wendy, the second eliminee, was charming, easy to talk to, and overall grateful to have made it as far as she did.

Hi Wendy! Thanks for speaking with us. I imagine things have been pretty busy for you.

Hi! Yeah, but it’s no problem.

Did you watch previous cycles of America’s Next Top Model?

Well, when I first started watching, I watched season 1, then season 2. Looking at everything that they did… I was interested in modeling as well. To me everything seemed so easy. I’d be like “Oh I can do that.”

At first I didn’t know how to go about applying for the show, so when they posted information on the internet I applied. That was cycle 3. I actually got a call back. Then I went to Atlanta to go up for the interviews with casting. I didn’t hear anything from that point on but it didn’t discourage me. I figured maybe I wasn’t what they were looking for this season, but maybe next season they were probably going to be looking for a different girl. Then the following season it was the same thing. I just kept on trying and the last time it paid off.

What compelled you to audition for the show?

I think what most inspired me about the previous winners is that all the girls are so different. It pretty much proved to the world that your typical top model isn’t this painted picture where everyone is like the same person. From looking at Adrianne, Yoanna to Eva… I mean they’re all totally different people. Then you have Naima and Nicole – everyone is so different so it’s like there’s not just this one model type out there.

Did you have prior modeling experience before America’s Next Top Model?

The experience I had was only a little taste of what I really wanted to experience. It was nothing compared to being on the show or auditioning for the show or what I’m doing now. It’s crazy. You know, I loved what I was doing before but I wanted to be in a busier atmosphere like New York City. I wanted to do more of it and I knew if I went back to New Orleans it would’ve never happened. Then when the hurricane happened it kind of put me in a place where I wanted to move and pursue my career.

What was your life like before Hurricane Katrina?

Before, I was trying to do as much modeling as I could in New Orleans. It’s just hard. You send out pictures then you never hear anything. Some people say, “Well, you have to wait 6-8 weeks for us to give you a reply,” then it just ends up in a pile. I just felt like I was so looking forward to living out my dreams but yet no one took me from New Orleans. I was planning to move away and I really like my hometown. Knowing that my parents, especially my mom is afraid to fly, so I figure wherever I move she probably won’t even come visit me. So if I moved and it’s a long drive… I think a part of it is that so many people are afraid to leave their comfort zone. I was comfortable with where I was. I had done a little bit of modeling and I was working and going to school. But the hurricane pretty much forced me to make some adjustments in my life. Looking at the aftermath of it now I think it was for the better. I don’t know if I would’ve auditioned. I’m grateful now that I had the opportunity to move forward

It sounds like you gained a lot of strength through this ordeal.

It definitely helped. I know that everything I go through now is only going to make me stronger. I know that in the industry there’s going to be some doors that are opened and some that are closed and I still have to be prepared each time. You know, whatever comes my way or knocks me down I just get back up and keep going at it. This experience definitely proved that and it definitely helped me get through it. That was the toughest thing because even through the show when I got eliminated, I didn’t really understand why, but I know that everything happens for a reason and I may not know what that reason is now but I’m like, in the end I will. Hopefully this is preparing me for the road that’s in front of me.

The judges were pretty critical. Jay Manuel thought your photos seemed lifeless and at times you looked stiff and uptight. Do you agree with their perception?

I don’t know if I was uptight or lifeless, I think that maybe sometimes I was trying a little bit too hard to get my mind off some things that were going on and I think that I wasn’t really that focused. In the back of my mind I wanted to be there so I tried to stick it out and just do whatever I had to do to keep my mind on the set and not on other things. And then I think I was distracted with always watching the show and trying to do this and then actually being there, it’s totally different. I was like, “Wow, I know I’ve watched it but now I’m here what do I do?”

Was it difficult sharing a house with the other girls?

Well, it was a big house and we weren’t all in one room so you pretty much had a little privacy besides the fact that there were cameras around. We were pretty safe and the house was set up so that once we got home from doing whatever we were doing, everyone kind of went their own way unless we met up by the pool or in the kitchen or something. I’ve lived with girls before so it didn’t really bother me in any way but I know there were times where I just wanted to be left alone or be able to read a book or just be by myself and I was able to do that. I didn’t feel that I could never have privacy.

Did you have conflict with the other models?

I don’t think I did. I know they said on the show that me and Jade might’ve had some conflict but I didn’t really look at it as conflict. I just kind of brushed it off.

So far, Cycle 6 has offered a unique variety of photo shoot challenges. Which shoot was the most difficult for you?

Probably… honestly I think I’d have to say the bald shoot was the hardest only because the photographer was telling me, you know, I didn’t really get in front of the camera and do what I wanted to do. He was telling me like, “Do this, do this, do this,” but then I’d hear Jay Manuel say, “Why is she doing that?” I was like, “Oh no.”

I don’t want to not do what the photographer is telling me but they were like back and forth with that so I kind of felt like I really didn’t have a say so. Jay’s like, “I want her to do this…” and the photographer was like, “Do this…” I was like, “Who do you listen to in that situation?” Then he was like, “Oh it didn’t work out…” Really I’m thinking in the back of my mind, “Well if it didn’t work out it’s your fault it didn’t work out.” But of course I can’t say that so I was like, “Oh my gosh!” So, when it was over with I just kind of thought about it and wished I had sort of got in front of the camera and pretty much did my own thing.

Did you notice areas of growth or improvement from being on America’s Next Top Model? If so, which ones?

Being on Top Model, the one area I’ve improved on is my presence. It’s not that easy when you’re 12 years old and you’re almost 5’ 9”. You walk in the room when you’re in school and you’re like the tallest one in your class and you’re taller than all the boys. You know, that’s not even going through high school. I went through that. But it’s like now this is what I want to do and the field I want to be in. I’ve kind of developed this confidence. I don’t really walk out of the house if I don’t have on 4 inch heels. It feels different than it was like being a kid. When you went to a dance in high school you didn’t want to wear high heels because you didn’t want to be taller than your date as opposed to now it’s like… you know, I have to have heels on when I’m walking around so people will feel my presence and know that I’m here. Like, I want to be the tallest person walking in the room now which is kind of weird. That’s what it helped. It boosted my confidence and even gave me the determination to make it through this struggle.

I’ve heard some people say, “Oh you know if I had been in your shoes I never could’ve done that.” It means a lot to me when I hear people say those things because I was really trying to stay strong at the time. I think I did a pretty good job at it and now that everything is all said and done I’m still willing to move forward with this and not give up but keep on trying. Even though that didn’t work out for me, I mean, I made it. I made it to the top 13. I mean 13 out of 10,000…that’s pretty good. If anybody has anything bad to say about it I’m like, “Well I didn’t see you in the house.”

Did you feel intimidated by any of the judges?

I’m not going to say I was really intimidated by Twiggy but I guess our personalities like just didn’t click or didn’t vibe or something. I know she made a comment on the show that she kind of just didn’t get me but at the same time I kind of really don’t get her either. With some of her comments, I don’t know… but I’m sure if I had a chance to talk to her and get to know her as a person she may be my favorite judge but I don’t really know much about her so it just seems kind of weird to me.

Well Wendy, it’s been nice chatting with you. Best of luck as you continue to pursue the field of modeling.

Okay. Thank you. Bye!

To learn more about Cycle 6’s Wendy Wiltz, visit her bio page here.

Source: The CW / Jim De Yonker