Ordinarily, I don't dare disagree with people who throw around the word "fierce" with as much impunity as Tyra Banks does. However, last week, when she and her fellow America's Next Top Model judges gave the heave-ho to good-time girl Lisa D'Amato, I hit the roof. What the...?! Sure, the 24-year-old is a self-proclaimed wino and by consensus a brat, but that didn't stop her from taking a, ahem, fierce photo every single week. (Plus, what producer wants to lose a character whose hobbies include streaking?) Well, before another (yeah, I'll say it, more deserving) contestant is issued her cat-walking papers in tonight's episode (8 pm/ET on UPN), I rang up the so-called loser to make sure she knew she'd at least won over TVGuide.com.
Lisa D'Amato: How are you?
Lisa: Cranky? Why?
TVGuide.com: You got kicked off! It just wasn't right!
Lisa: Yeah, well, that's OK. Don't worry about it. You're going to see me shine anyway!
TVGuide.com: I'd better! When you were in the bottom two, you appeared pretty confident that you were sticking around. Were you?
Lisa: I definitely felt safe because of something that occurred during that photo shoot that let me know I wasn't going anywhere.
TVGuide.com: Because the photographer even liked you in other girls' pictures?
Lisa: No. In that photo shoot, I was the last girl to go — they showed it differently on television, but I was last. And then Jay Manuel lined us all up and said, "Let me just tell you, Lisa really gave it to me. She gave me this, she gave me that..." and then proceeded to do my poses and show what I was giving for facial expressions. Then he said, "I'm giving each of you 10 more shots. Really give it to me the way Lisa did."
TVGuide.com: And some of them still couldn't pull it off! Jayla's picture was a mess!
Lisa: Yeah, so why would I go home?
TVGuide.com: Exactly! You even toned down your personality to suit them!
Lisa: I think they just needed to get rid of me because.... [Pauses]
TVGuide.com: Because it wasn't a fair fight if you were in it?
Lisa: [Laughs] Maybe. I'm just curious as to what they're going to put on TV now! I know that I can be a little crazy, but I also know that I'm as normal as they come — except for the fact that if you are judging personality and you're comparing mine to those of the other girls, I'm going to look even more outrageous.
TVGuide.com: Oh my god, they're so stuffy!
Lisa: I think they get really intimidated and lose themselves in trying to conform to whatever [the judges] want them to be. I tried to tell them, "They're going to be telling you to be this today and then tell you to be that tomorrow, so stay who you are, because you can't please everyone anyway." The anxiety of trying to be what the judges wanted them to be took them over and they were forgetting to breathe. I seriously had talks with every girl and said, "You don't want to look back two years later and remember yourself being in this amazing situation and not taking full advantage of it all! Let go! Have fun!" They didn't come around, which, of course, makes me look like the a--hole because I'm being myself.
TVGuide.com: You were pretty free with the modeling advice.
Lisa: I could understand if they didn't want to take the advice because I'm wrong and I take bad pictures, but obviously I know what I'm doing. I've been modeling since I was 14. I've traveled the world and done it all. I was only able to do the show because I haven't had a major ad campaign in two years. If people want to be defensive about what I say and then call me a know-it-all, that's fine. Being in a competition with a bunch of girls who are all competing against each other — and mind you, this is a real catty season — I should have known not to say anything, because it was just going to make me look bad despite the fact that it was coming from a good place.
TVGuide.com: After spending so much time being everyone's target, how relieved were you when Kim was put in the hot seat for gossiping?
Lisa: There was a little side of me that swayed like that, but honestly, I still don't understand why everyone was against me. I made breakfast for the girls in the morning! They were borrowing my clothes! Someone would be wearing my shirt in an interview and talking crap about me! I'm like, "OK, there's a character flaw for you!" At least I'm not two-faced.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of two-faced, were you surprised to find out just how bitchy Jayla really is?
Lisa: I knew she had that in her. The first person I really got into a fight with was during the semifinals, and it was Jayla, because she made a remark about how fat people shouldn't go outside because nobody wants to look at them, and if they do go outside, they should wear makeup so that at least they wouldn't look as ugly as they are. That really offended me, because my sister is overweight and I love her to death — she's the most beautiful person in the whole entire world. Jayla said, "I'll claw my way to the top." If that's what's going to make you happy, knowing you got there clawing your way to the top, how can you enjoy it? How can you have peace with yourself?
TVGuide.com: Nobody wants a model with bad nails anyway. Has Veronica Mars called to say they made a mistake and they want you to be on after all?
Lisa: No, but that's OK. I'd much rather be on Family Guy — that would be way funnier! I'm not really interested in Veronica Mars, actually. I mean, when is she going to do something crazy, like get really drunk and do lots of lines of coke on her dad's desk or something? Mind you, I don't watch the show.
TVGuide.com: You should! It's awesome! Anyway, I assure you she hasn't had a Kate Moss moment at her dad's office yet.
Lisa: But wouldn't that be interesting and fun to watch?
TVGuide.com: Um... OK. So what's next for you?
Lisa: The next job that's coming is probably an alcohol campaign!
TVGuide.com: I can see it now — Amaretto di Lisa!
Lisa: Hell yeah, I'm ready!