Boy, oh boy. What can you say about America's Next Top Model contestant Jade Cole that hasn't already been said? If it's nasty, her rivals have probably expressed it. And if it's nice, she most certainly declared it herself. (One thing about Jade is certainly beyond debate: The self-proclaimed "undiscovered supermodel" boasts enough confidence for six.) But who is the real Jade? Is she, at 26, an egomaniac desperately insecure because she's getting too long in the tooth to be a CoverGirl? Or is she, in fact, all that and a bag of chips, Maya Angelou in a body made for Maxim? Read on and decide for yourself.
TVGuide.com: I'll try to make this quick and painless.
Jade Cole: Oh, sure. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: You laugh like you've had some fun interviews today.
Jade: I've had a great experience! It's just funny because when people talk to me, I guess they have that perception, but, you know, I'm not even like that. I'm just thankful and very happy to be talkin' to you and tellin' my words!
TVGuide.com: Great. So I gotta tell you, I watched the show with a friend, and we thought Miss Tyra finally had to eliminate you because she was afraid you'd outshine her in the industry.
Jade: She was scared of the competition between me and her? Well, I'm flattered, but I don't think that was the case at all. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: When push came to shove, should you have lasted longer than Joanie?
Jade: Well, of course no one wants to get eliminated. I definitely feel disappointed, but I also feel blessed that I got to come that far in the competition. What can I say? I mean, I am aware but definitely honored that they made it "The Jade Show," so what can I say?
TVGuide.com: The judges seemed to think that you mistook arrogance for confidence. What do you see as the difference?
Jade: First of all, I don't think that I was arrogant. I came into this competition with confidence. Arrogance is when you think you're better than everyone else, when you basically think that your [poop] doesn't stink. [Laughs] Confidence just means that you are confident but aware that you're not arrogant in a sense that, you know, you're not better than anyone else but you do have confidence.
TVGuide.com: [Dizzy] Um, so you don't think you're better than the other girls?
Jade: No, I don't. I just think that I had something different. I feel like I have a strong character and presence, you know? But if people just want to say that I'm arrogant, what can I say? "That's fine"?
TVGuide.com: Let's give you a chance to set the record straight. Ready? Let's start with the fact that the judges seemed to label you a know-it-all. Tell me something that you learned from them.
Jade: I took all their critiques to heart, but life is a learning experience and I used this advice to further enhance my skills. I'm still incorporating the life lessons I learned from this experience while watching the show at home. So I'd say I've learned a lot about myself.
TVGuide.com: Like what?
Jade: When I look at myself on TV, I can kind of understand what the judges were saying, you know? As far as their constructive criticism, I have to say the judges were all harsh to me, but in a "tough love" kind of way. I tried not to take their constructive criticism too personally, whereas some of the girls did. In the end, I feel that I listened and learned from all their critiques.
TVGuide.com: What's something they could have learned from you if they hadn't been so busy judging you?
Jade: The judges are experts in the field of modeling, so I can't really answer that. They know all they need to know. Did I answer that correctly?
TVGuide.com: I'm sure they'd say so. Why do you think the other girls disliked you so much?
Jade: I was a model before the show, and I think that created a little bit of intimidation. Also, it's sometimes hard to take my look, because it is so strong and different and unique. I feel like some of the girls didn't know how to handle it.
TVGuide.com: Did you like that the others were intimidated?
Jade: Not really. I really did love all the girls, but it was a competition and I had my game face on, and the strongest do survive in the end. That's how I felt.
TVGuide.com: Wait. So you actually liked Gina?
Jade: Oh, yeah! You know what's interesting? After the press conference [challenge], we got back to the house and hugged and shook hands and talked. Watching it on TV, the whole thing between us was so blown out of proportion. Pure drama. And they kept showing the same clips over and over. It wasn't planned, nor did I go out of my way to intimidate her. I'm proud of who I am I'm biracial and multinational so it just pains me to see someone like Gina, no matter the race, creed or color, not be comfortable with who they are. In this business, if you don't have a sense of self, you'll be ripped to shreds.
TVGuide.com: So it was a case of tough love?
TVGuide.com: Because baiting her with that giant cockroach when she was terrified of it didn't seem especially loving.
Jade: [Laughs] That's what I mean! I was a joker! I was really funning with the girls. A lot of them didn't take it seriously, but Gina, I felt like she blamed me all the time for her lack of confidence and security. It wasn't even like that.
TVGuide.com: Frankly, I found Gina annoying as hell, but there might have been more embracing ways to support her.
Jade: That's the thing! When we were at the press junket, I was just telling her that you have to be strong to survive, especially in the modeling world! But she took the advice in a different way, which was not my intention at all.
TVGuide.com: When I talked to her a few weeks ago, she still didn't seem to have forgiven or forgotten.
Jade: You know, I can't believe it, because I'm actually going to New York tomorrow, and some of the girls from the show are going to be there. Nnenna told me that she was going to be in New York, so I was like, "Let's all get together! My friend wants to throw us a dinner. Invite Gina! I'd love to see everybody!" I don't hold grudges, and it's so ridiculous that Gina would hold a grudge.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of Nnenna, was your relationship "advice" designed to throw your competition off?
Jade: That wasn't the case at all! It was just, once again, TV editing. Also, I have to say that Nnenna and I would always talk about how she and I would be in the final two at the end, and no matter who won, we'd be happy for one another. I have so much love for that girl, I would never [play] her like that.
TVGuide.com: How did they edit it so that you said, "Yes, I'm doing this so that she'll be off her game. It's a brilliant strategy"?
Jade: No, no, no. I didn't say it like that at all. That, I think, was during my CoverGirl commercial, we did an ad lib and they had me saying, "Nnenna is having trouble with her boyfriend, but she's not distracted."
TVGuide.com: Funny. I don't remember it that way at all.
Jade: That's what it was. And she totally was not [distracted]! And one thing about [Nnenna's clingy beau] John is he's a really great guy, so it's sad how reality TV made him out to be. I think he was just kind of feeling a little bit lonely and he missed her.
TVGuide.com: Like you said, this season totally became "The Jade Show" and you're going to be remembered as the big diva. But in watching Top Model and then talking to Furonda, I thought she was a much bigger diva!
Jade: OK! That's what I'm saying! It's fair to say that somebody else could have easily been cast in that role. But I feel like my exuberance and my personality, along with the whole Gina thing, became more of a focal point.
TVGuide.com: You're more fun, where Furonda seems a little more angry.
Jade: Yeah, well... Furonda's real. She's very real.
TVGuide.com: That's for sure. When I talked to her I was real scared.
Jade: [Laughs] Well, damn!
TVGuide.com: Where were you when I needed you? And hey, where's the Jade who talks about herself in the third person?
Jade: You know, I really did that for TV. It's another habit of mine, to think with my creative side.
TVGuide.com: In a way, I think you were conscious of the cameras and began building a character. Is that fair to say?
Jade: Yes, it is. That's pretty cool! I like you! I like what you're thinking! That's beautiful! Definitely. Every great novel has an antagonist that's what makes the story exciting and I was blessed to have UPN cast me in that role, because I did get a lot of airtime and people will remember me. I'm glad I could help UPN with their ratings!
TVGuide.com: So what's your plan? New York?
Jade: Of course, love. I mean, there are so many big things happening!
TVGuide.com: Name three.
Jade: I can't tell you. You know why? Because I'm not at liberty to talk about it. You've seen what I can do as far as modeling goes, and I'm a poet and a writer, so there are a lot of big things happening. You will see me. Trust me!