Saturday, October 11, 2014

Exclusive Interview with America's Next Top Model KARI

America's Next Top Model

By Belinda Trotter James

Kari is the fourth contestant to lose a chance at becoming America's Next Top Model. During her makeover they bleached her entire head including the eyebrows. She was not a happy camper and did not like the way she looked at all. Every year there is a contestant who is upset with their makeover and in this cycle Kari is the winner. She had hoped she didn't get eliminated after having this drastic look done to her hair. Her angels must have heard her prayer because she was in the bottom two right after the makeover however, she managed to survive another week at the models house. I guess she only had one good luck pass because the next week she was in the bottom two again and was eliminated. In our exclusive interview Kari reveals exactly what happened.
The first question I asked was why she thought she was eliminated from the competition.  "I think they could see that  I was unsure of myself and I was struggling with my makeover", says Kari.  "I think that not being comfortable with the makeover was coming through with everything I was doing. There were other people who were stronger than I and wanted it a little bit more."

Even though she was eliminated from the competition it was still her fate to be there. You see Kari was found by one of the top model casting directors at the gym. "One of the casting directors was in a dance class at the gym and she asked if modeling would be something I would be interested in doing," explain Kari.  "So, I just followed through with what she told me to do and I ended up on the show.  It was really an unexpected organic thing that happened to me."  When things like that happen unexpectedly without you networking or picking up a telephone, it's your angels in action. When you cannot explain why something happened or how it happened to you, it's your destiny in action. In that moment the only thing you can do is hold on; it may or may not be a bumpy ride. Kari was at the right place, at the right time, with the right people and now opportunity is knocking and it's her turn to open the door. Let's see what she does with her 15 minutes of fame.

It is a horrible thing when something like hair and makeup can destroy one's confidence. However, in this case it's a modeling career where transformations happen all the time. It doesn't matter if you like it or not. It is your job to become the vision of the designer or creative director.  Many going into a modeling career know this already however, when reality sets in and it actually happens that your look is going to change, some have a full-blown meltdown. Kari did not have a full meltdown, but it really threw her off her game and it ultimately got her eliminated from the competition. "It was shocking to me as well that I acted like that over a makeover because that's not me," explain Kari.  "I know who I am and I have confidence in who I can become. I never thought that something like hair could affect me.  When I responded the way I did, I was kind of shocked at myself too.  I had to deal with a whole other element internally as to what happened.  Inside I was thinking, 'I thought I was stronger than this. Why am I letting this affect me.'  It was like I couldn't gain my confidence back and I didn't know how."

To most young models Tyra Banks is an expert at knowing what look is best for a model.  Tyra wants to ensure that when models leave the competition, they are marketable and will be able to successfully get modeling assignments. She really thought that Kari would be able to get a lot of work by being bleached out totally from hair to eyebrows.  Kari never got used to her new look and immediately after the show was over she bought a box of hair dye and went back to her natural brown hair color.  "First thing I did was dye my eyebrows back to brown," reveals Kari.  Then I went straight to the store and brought hair dye." Oh my goodness! What would Tyra say?  We both laughed and Kari replied,  "We are all entitled to our own opinions."  Kari didn't even try to go to any go sees with her new look to prove if Tyra's decision was right or not a good idea. "On television it looked fine," says Kari.  "However, if you were standing right next to me, I looked completely busted.  It wasn't something that I considered manageable and okay to be seen in public."

If you are a fan of ANTM, you will know some of the challenges can be a little ridiculous. This season was no exception. Kari and the other contestants had to sit on a block of ice and pretend to be... I don't know..... frozen?!?  I mean in this day and age do you really need 'real ice'?  There isn't something that looks like real ice or couldn't be Photoshopped in the editing room?  The contestants were freezing to the point of hypothermia.  Tyra said herself that they can only stay on the ice for a minimum of 20 minutes before the body gets in a danger zone. Really?!?  At this point the challenge for the contestants was to basically see who can keep their body warm enough to stop shaking from the chilling affects of the ice.  "Well for me I felt enormous pressure because my of my look", says Kari.  "I was considered the ice princess. So, I automatically thought that everyone turned to me to knock it out the park. I remember thinking that I was feeling more pressure on this shoot while laying on a block of ice. It was something I never thought I would do in life.  However, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Yes, it was cold.  Yes, it sucked, but everyone else had to do it too.   Then you always had others screaming at you from the side, but I didn't feel it was too out of the ordinary."

Kari keeps in touch with Keith, her love interest on the show and all of the other contestants. "We talk every day in a group chat together.  Keith and I also stay in touch. He lives in Atlanta and I'm here in LA," reveals Kari.

Her advice to those pursuing a modeling career is to really, really, really hone in on who you are as a person.  "Don't let anyone compromise who you are," says Kari.  There are going to be a lot of things that will come your way that will try to compromise what you want to do in life.   You have to stay centered and remember that you are doing what you love and nothing else matters.

Even though America's Next Top Model cycle 21 airs each week, the show has been taped and a winner has been chosen. For all we know Kari could be the winner, but we will not know until the end of this cycle. I still had to ask her what she would do with her life after ANTM was over. Kari had already graduated from college and moved to LA. She is working as a model and waiting for her big break.  She also mentioned that she is working on her boutique.  When she mentioned a boutique, I had to ask her to please tell me more.  As it turns out, she has a website called that has a collection of fabulous clothes.   When you look through the site, you will notice some familiar faces. Some of the models are from past ANTM cycles. You can also keep up with Kari on her Twitter On the boutiques site you will also get a chance to meet Kari's fashion partner Jamiah who is also on Twitter Send them some social media love, check out their site and let me know what you think.

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