Marvita Washington, <EM>America's Next Top Model</EM> Marvita Washington, America's Next Top Model

You just have to love the judges on America's Next Top Model(Wednesdays at 8 pm/ET, CW). And by "love," I mean "despise." They told Marvita Washington to give them a greater variety of expression. When she did exactly that, pulling off a portrait of vulnerability and sadness that was especially impressive given her tough exterior, they dissed and dismissed her. At least, given her background (Little Orphan Annie had it easier than the 23-year-old Californian), we can be sure that Tyra Banks' rejection isn't going to break her. In fact, when TVGuide.com caught up with her last week, she sounded more determined to go the distance than she did even in her final panel. Read on and see for yourself.

TVGuide.com: I’m sorry to be talking to you so soon. I was rooting for you!
Marvita Washington: Oh, thank you so much!

TVGuide.com: I couldn't believe that not one judge defended your photo. There were girls with blank stares on their faces.
Washington: Me doing something different was the whole point. Tyra told me at the previous elimination, “You need to be happy in photos. You need to be sad in photos.” And I did on that shoot — I tried to channel that emotion, the sadness.

TVGuide.com: Mr. Jay was very critical. Were you able to express to him afterward what you were trying to bring to the shoot?
Washington: I did. I told him that Tyra asked me to give them something different instead of what I normally do, but that didn’t work for him. He was angry with me.

TVGuide.com: The judges seemed to think that you had given up, but I don’t get that at all.
Washington: Yeah, I don’t give up easily. I’m not going to give up modeling; I’m going to try to find an agent and land as many jobs as I can.

TVGuide.com: What drew you to modeling?
Washington:
I always wanted to do it. I have two aunts who were models, and my mom did some modeling.

TVGuide.com: You seem to kind of have a wall up. Do you think that contributed to the misperception that you weren't into the competition?
Washington: At first, I did have a wall up. I really didn’t know what they wanted from me. When I got back [after not making the finals the previous cycle], I was really confused. I thought, "They didn’t pick me last time, but I’m going to go to try to do my best." So this time, I tried to do something different, and I tried not to let what the judges said get to me. Every week they’re ripping you apart!

TVGuide.com: OK, dish: Who did you not get along with?
Washington
: Fatima. Oh my god, I just wanted to suffocate her! It was crazy. I’m like, “There is no winning with you.” She’s just cold.

TVGuide.com: She called you “ghetto.”
Washington: There’s a lot wrong with her. It’s like she’s not human! It’s like she has no emotion. Nobody believes me because they don’t live with her, but she is evil. No matter how much you try to be her friend — you try to be cool with her, you try to talk to her — she always stabs you in the back or does something vindictive. She’s really sneaky.

TVGuide.com: There’s bitchy and then there’s Fatima!
Washington: I understand that we’ve both gone through crazy stuff. The thing is, she’s still angry, and I can say I’m not angry anymore because I’m learning how to get over it. The show has actually helped build my self-esteem and self-confidence.

TVGuide.com: The judges seem to think that you had a hard time being soft because of your background. But I saw glimpses of you that were really joyful.
Washington: [Laughs] Yeah, I’m fun to hang out with. I wish I went to a party last night! I love fun!

TVGuide.com: So what are you like in real life?
Washington: The same way I am when you saw me being funny and having fun, that’s how I am in real life. Even people at my job will tell you “That is Washington. She’s crazy!” Funny crazy.

TVGuide.com: What is your job, by the way?
Washington: I’m a cashier at a hardware store.

TVGuide.com: Do people freak out when they see you?
Washington: No, because it’s mostly guys, and they don’t even know. They just come in and buy their wood. If their wives come in, they’re like, “Oh my god, you’re on Top Model!” But otherwise, the guys are just like, “Hey, Washington. Can you ring up this wood for me?”

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