A.J. Stewart, <EM>America's Next Top Model</EM> A.J. Stewart, America's Next Top Model

From the minute she started rolling her eyes at the judges' pronouncements of what does and doesn't make a pretty girl a likely candidate to become America's Next Top Model (Wednesdays at 8 pm/ET, on CW), you just knew that A.J. Stewart wasn't long for the show. Sure, the 20-year-old took one slammin' picture after another — and, contrary to the panel's take, nailed her last shoot, in which she was asked to channel not only J.Lo but Marc Anthony, as well — but if a would-be poser doesn't tow the line Tyra and Co. draw for her, it doesn't matter that she naturally walks straight or looks smokin' as a sideshow cannibal, 'cause she's outta there. Is it fair? Is it right? Talk amongst yourselves. In the meantime, TVGuide.com is gonna talk to A.J. herself.

TVGuide.com: What happened to you during the interview challenge? Was it just the horror of standing face to face-lift with Janice Dickinson?
A.J. Stewart:
It wasn't Janice Dickinson, I can tell you that. I actually thought she was quite entertaining. She didn't strike fear into my heart or anything. I think it was just the whole experience of being on the red carpet and having someone talking in my ear. It was totally disorienting, and I kept thinking to myself, "How is this modeling?" It wasn't a good fit for me, obviously.

TVGuide.com: You weren't scared of Janice at all? Wow. I would've wet myself when she started picking on your hat.
A.J.: I actually thought she was funny. I did not take offense to her hat comment, because I could care less what she thinks about my hat. I love my hat!

TVGuide.com: In fact, you were wearing it when you left the show, weren't you?
A.J.: Yeah! Whatever! It's my hat!

TVGuide.com: Do you think that independent streak of yours is what made the judges dislike you so much in the end?
A.J.:
I'm sure that's one of the reasons they let me go. I understand they want to make girls' dreams come true, but I think that [my not wanting it enough] was a big part of it. I think I'm versatile [as a model], but there's a difference between what [real models] do and dressing up to become a character, or trying to mold your personality. They're different things.

TVGuide.com: Yeah, in most situations you're being hired to be A.J., not Marc Anthony.
A.J.:
Yeah. Let's just say that I wouldn't take a job that wanted me to be Marc Anthony.

TVGuide.com: What do you think it was about you that they read as a lack of desire? Clearly, you wouldn't have put yourself through this if you didn't want it!
A.J.:
Actually, to tell you the truth, I did this show on a whim. I wasn't looking to become America's Next Top Model. If I did, it'd be cool, but I also knew in my heart of hearts that there was no freakin' way. I mean, look at me! There's no way I'm going to [win]! So I was basically just along for the ride. They contacted me [through my MySpace.com site] and asked me to try out, having no previous modeling experience and never even having watched the show before, and I decided to do it. I can understand why they'd want to give the prize to a girl who has watched every season and has wanted to be a model ever since she could wear high heels.

TVGuide.com: You mean someone like Jaeda, who they keep week after week even though she's never taken a better photo than you.
A.J.:
Uh-huh! But I think you have to be real and [recognize] it's not necessarily about who's the best model. Let's get serious here. This is political. It's a TV show.

TVGuide.com: But if it was all about drama, Monique would still be there.
A.J.:
She held on longer than she should have.

TVGuide.com: Who was harder to live with, her or Melrose?
A.J.:
Melrose. I didn't really care about Monique that much. When there's someone who is passive-aggressive [like Melrose], that's more annoying to me than someone who is actually physically aggressive. I don't play mind games, and I don't like people who do. I try to stay away from them, and that's all I'm gonna say. I try to keep it real, and people who don't do that are not on my list of friends.

TVGuide.com: 'Nuff said. How did it feel to be eliminated the same night it was announced that viewers had voted you CoverGirl of the Week?
A.J.:
I loved it! I thought it was ironic as hell — and I knew it was going to happen, too.

TVGuide.com: How did you know?
A.J.:
I could feel the irony mounting. I knew there was going to be a huge backlash. People told me all the time that I was their favorite. I was surprised by that fact, so I thought, "If I go, that's going to be funny." And from what I hear, there's some outrage going on right now, which is funny and flattering. I like that.

TVGuide.com: Don't you think the sole fact that you can form a sentence like "I could feel the irony mounting" makes you an unlikely Top Model contestant? I mean, you guys get told where to stand and what to feel and what to think....
A.J.:
They don't tell you what to feel and what to say. They can't get inside your head. They can tell you what they want you to look like, and if you have that ability to do so, then you do it. But you don't have to let them get into your head.

TVGuide.com: What's next for you?
A.J.:
I'm not sure. I'm going to see if maybe I can begin a modeling career, see if there are any options for me, and if there are, I'm going to take it up. I think it'll be fun.

Hey, reality-TV fans! The Oct. 30 TV Guide answers your burning questions about Survivor: Cook Islands and shares some Dancing with the Stars scoop.

Send your comments on this Q&A to online_insider@tvguide.com.