I went into my interview with America's Next Top Model second runner-up Fatima Siad expecting to dislike her. A lot. Correct me if I'm wrong (and I know you will), but she came off beautiful on the outside, snotty as hell on the inside. It was as if she could only see her housemates at all if she was looking down on them. But lo and behold, when I spoke with her, she didn't seem nearly so obnoxious. Outspoken, yes, but I like that. She was waaaay more articulate than your average ANTM contestant, and what she had to say made a lot of sense. So, while she isn't necessarily ever going to be a candidate for Miss Congeniality, she also isn't quite the snob she seemed to be. Read on — you're in for a surprise. Maybe two or three of 'em.
TVGuide.com: Since Tyra and the judges bent over backwards to keep you even after you weren't able to participate in a photo shoot, were you surprised not to make it to the final two?
Fatima Siad: [Laughs] No, actually, I wasn't. I kind of knew I was going to go home. I was surprised that I even made it that far!
TVGuide.com: You have a mirror, right? You can't be that surprised!
Fatima: [Laughs] I am! I didn't know what the hell I was doing!
TVGuide.com: You sure seemed confident.
Fatima: That's just the front that I wanted to show them. That was my way of pushing through and kind of lying to myself and saying, "I can do this! It's fine!"
TVGuide.com: If you really thought you were such a bad model, and you were just faking it, you must have felt awful when Stacy-Ann got the boot and you stayed without taking a photo.
Fatima: Oh, definitely. That was the worst elimination because I felt so bad! She showed up for the photo shoot and did it, and I had a blank piece of paper [in Tyra's hands]! I really thought about stepping down for a second, but the show really went out of its way for me to be on it. I felt like if I quit, I would be betraying all the people who helped me, and if I stayed, I would be betraying Stacy-Ann.
TVGuide.com: Did you assume when the show started that you would have the papers in time to go abroad?
Fatima: I'd been working on it before I even got on the show, and basically it just didn't come. And then at the last minute, when we were getting ready to leave, I was like, "Wow, I still don't have my papers!" It was crunch time.
TVGuide.com: I think people watching the show got the impression that you came on the show without the papers and then one day realized, "Whoops! We're going abroad next week!"
Fatima: Yeah, you don't really get the full story. It's just pieces and parts. People were quick to judge, and I don't blame them, because you can only go by what you see.
TVGuide.com: I got the impression that the judges were sort of bending over backwards to find excuses to keep Whitney so they could finally give a plus-size girl the title. Did it seem that way at all to you?
Fatima: Um, yeah. I was very perceptive in terms of knowing who was going to go home every week. Every girl that I talked about and said, "They're going to go home," went home. So I kind of knew from the beginning that Whitney was going to win, but I was in denial at the same time. I think Tyra has been dying to get a plus-size model. So it's about damn time.
TVGuide.com: Do you think they picked the right one? I've heard from some of the other girls that Whitney's not necessarily as nice as she may seem.
Fatima: Oh God, no. No, no. She's not. And she admits it herself! She's not nice. She has an elitist problem. She has this "I am better and everybody else should bow down to me" attitude. Me and Whitney are from completely different worlds. I didn't get her at all. But honestly, as I got to know her, she's very smart, and she knows how to present herself and sell herself. She can fake her way through everything. I just got tired of it and couldn't fake it.
TVGuide.com: I think it's interesting that you call Whitney elitist, because I suspect I'm not the only viewer who came away from the show feeling that you had a similar attitude.
Fatima: [Laughs] Really? That's so funny, because I don't read what people say about me, so every time someone says something like that, I'm so surprised.
TVGuide.com: Yeah. It started when you called some of your fellow contestants "ghetto" and just sort of stuck after that.
Fatima: I took this African-American studies and religion class, and we studied a lot about how African-Americans are portrayed in the media. So when [Shaya] was shaking her booty, I just went off. Sometimes I'm not very tactful. I mean, yeah, I could have pulled her aside and said, "As an African-American woman, you shouldn't be shaking your butt on national television like that." I could have been way more tactful than I was. But everybody was yelling, and it was just kind of one of those moments. But honestly, it was me trying to help.
TVGuide.com: Given your background and the stories that you shared on the show, not to mention the fact that education is important to you, modeling seems an odd career choice for you. Why not go into politics or medicine...something where you can make a difference?
Fatima: I'm actually a political science major. But the thing is, I basically never thought about modeling. I was so sick of people telling me "You look like Iman! You should model!" So one day, I was just like, "God, OK, I'll give it a chance." And I'm one of those people who, once I commit to something, I give it 100 percent. And you know what? I actually love it! I don't feel there are any limits in life. I can be in school and I can be in politics and I can model. I can put school on hold to model. School will always be there. I'm always on the verge of trying to figure out different things. I like to live in the fast lane a little bit, too. I actually do like modeling. I didn't before, because I didn't give it a chance. But now that I actually know a little something about it, I want to give it a chance.
TVGuide.com: School, modeling, politics…that's a lot to conquer
Fatima: [Laughs] Well, I'm not going to do it all at once! I'm going to take time off from school now that the show is over, and move to New York and see if I can get signed by an agency.
TVGuide.com: Now is the time to do it! They're not signing a lot of 40-year-old models.
Fatima: Exactly! It's now or never!
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