As the human clothes hangers of America's Next Top Model sashay toward another elimination tonight (8 pm/ET on UPN), you've gotta feel for them. Last week, Miss Tyra got her Victoria's Secret knickers in such a knot that she showed the door to not one, but two perfectly passable posers, overeager Rebecca Epley and defeatist Tiffany Richardson, both 22. The latter hopeful — a single mom from Miami — got the worst of it. Besides her catwalking papers, La Banks angrily served her enough food for thought to give her indigestion. Was she scarred for life by being on the receiving end of the fierce diva's verbal throttling? You know TVGuide.com just had to call Tiff to find out!
TVGuide.com: Are your ears still ringing from Miss Tyra yelling at you like that?
Tiffany Richardson: [Laughs] Yeah, especially after seeing it, like, all today [on television]. It's getting ready to come on again. I thought the beer fight [I had during last season's preliminary round] was something, but ohhh!
Tiffany: Fed up. That's exactly what the word is. I was fed up — and not with modeling, but with reality TV. The photo shoots I loved, but all the bickering and fussing that you guys don't see... it built up inside of me, and I guess I really let it show in my work during the last episode. TVG: Are you telling me they don't show us every little fight you gals have?
Tiffany: You don't even see half! TVG: Whoa. Scary. So why was it such a big deal whenever you'd run across a foreign word or gourmet dish that you weren't familiar with? I kept wanting to say, "Tiffany, come on — don't be intimidated, be educated!" By last week, it just didn't seem like you were having any fun.
Tiffany: I don't see how anyone can say that when I would make jokes about the food and everything. It's not like I ever said, "I can't eat that" — most of the time, I ate Lunchables! The girls will tell you I had a refrigerator full of Lunchables, and that's all I ate. I was blessed to be in that environment! And the big words... Who cares? If you can't pronounce it, then fake it till you make it! TVG: Amen.
Tiffany: Wow, I'm looking at Tyra now yelling at me again [on TV]! TVG: In retrospect, do you see how she might have been insulted by you trying to laugh off your elimination?
Tiffany: At the time, I didn't see what brought on the argument between us. But looking at it yesterday and all today, I can see how it would make her feel if I was in her shoes, looking at this girl that I have so much faith in. It looked to her as if I gave up — and to half of America, too! But like I told her, nobody knew what I was going through on the inside, you know? I wasn't losing confidence, I was fed up with people throwing at me, "Oh, you're ghetto" or trying to change me into somebody that I'm not. I was brought on this show to be Tiffany, and after the first couple weeks of me trying to be somebody else, I was like, "Either love Tiffany or leave 'er alone!" TVG: But people did love you! And you had to go in knowing that modeling is a lot like acting. One week, you'll be Tiffany as an extraterrestrial, the next Tiffany as a sexy mechanic in a hurricane.
Tiffany: That was OK to me. I don't know... I'm confused about the whole situation. I felt like I gave it my best. TVG: Were you and Tyra able to kiss and make up after the show?
Tiffany: Yeah, we had a talk afterward. [She] and her mom came to me. She walked in the room, and I was joking, saying, "I'm mad at you!" She smiled and I smiled, we hugged each other, and then her mom hugged me. TVG: Sounds very therapeutic.
Tiffany: They let me know that they were behind me 100 percent. Tyra and me never were able to have a one-on-one talk before, heart to heart. So after she talked to me, she understood a lot more about me. And since I've been home, she has been so supportive of me that it's not even funny. She went beyond America's Next Top Model and has been pushing me. TVG: You're still in touch?
Tiffany: Yeah, she's my mentor. She calls me maybe once, twice a week to check up on me and see how I'm doing. She and her mom are my mentors. TVG: You can't do much better than that!
Tiffany: Nope, you can't! TVG: Do you think Tyra regrets cutting you?
Tiffany: I don't know. I didn't ask her that. I don't think she's sorry that she did it, but I think that she's sorry that she felt like I quit and she couldn't do more at the time to help keep me there longer. TVG: I know your grandmother let her power be turned off so she could afford to buy you swimsuits to go on the show. How did she react to your elimination? Was she supportive, or did she want to spank you for seeming to give up?
Tiffany: It's funny, because me, my mom, my grandma and my auntie... we're the only people in, I think, the world who see the show as being not really my fault or Tyra's fault. We see it as me and Tyra got into a little altercation and we made up. Women go through things! Everybody else is like, "You disappointed her and gave up!" Nobody was there. The world wasn't there. But Grandma was fine with it, and I'm fine with it.