Cynical as I am about America's Next Top Model, I have to admit that after speaking with this cycle's runner-up, Anya Kop, I think the show deserves props for casting her as the sweetheart. As far as I can tell, she's the real deal. She may be well-coached on what to say and what not to, but underneath her practiced replies, there seems to be a nice girl — dizzy, endearing and oddly huggable. But as always, you don't have to take my word for it. Below, you can judge for yourself as TVGuide.com grills her on everything from getting naked for "noted fashion photographer" Nigel Barker to losing the title to her bosom buddy.
TVGuide.com: I know you and Whitney were very close, but do you really think she deserved to win over you?
Anya Kop: Definitely. I think she's an amazing person, and if I was going to see someone other than myself win, it would be Whitney. She's a beautiful model, and she's going to go far in her career. I'm just so grateful to have made it to the top two. I think it would have been amazing if I had won, but she's a beautiful person, and I think she deserved to win America's Next Top Model. I have nothing but love for her.
TVGuide.com: Would you have won if it hadn't been for that damn silver, impossible-to-walk-in dress you had to model at the Versace show?
Anya: [Laughs] As a model, you're going to have things like that to walk in. You just have to work it on the spot and be trained to do that. It was definitely a learning experience. If I didn't make the mistake [then], I would have to learn it eventually down the line. I don't think it was the dress as much as it was my inexperience in modeling and not having exposed myself to that kind of fashion show.
TVGuide.com: I don't know if you've heard, but your bedroom shoot with Nigel got the Parents Television Council all hot and bothered?
Anya: Yes, I was topless, but it was such a classic, beautiful picture. All the pictures came out beautiful. And Nigel is a famous, wonderful photographer. It was a privilege to be working with him! That's their opinion, but it was a wonderful experience.
TVGuide.com: It's not like you're going to get the chances to take topless shots when you're 60!
Anya: Exactly! If you have the opportunity to do something like that, of course you should think about it. I'm not going to say, "Take my top off and shoot me" to just random people.
TVGuide.com: Nigel's kind of cute. Was there any chemistry there?
Anya: It was very professional. He made me feel very comfortable as a model. I was able to really focus and get great shots. The pictures came out beautiful and will be great for my portfolio.
TVGuide.com: Which was more intimidating — being shot by Nigel or picking up a camera to take pictures of Paulina Porizkova?
Anya: I think I was more nervous with Nigel's shoot. Paulina was incredibly fun to shoot. She's so beautiful, so if she looks bad in a picture, it is because you are a bad photographer. There's so much pressure on you. But we got to see what the photographer's life is like. It helped because you know how to pose for the photographer after seeing what it is like from his side. Paulina is such a great person…
TVGuide.com: I'm almost surprised to hear you say that after she said you looked stupid in your CoverGirl beauty shot.
Anya: I know! I wanted to cry, but I understood where she was coming from. And I know that in life, you're going to get critiqued, and it's going to hurt. But you have to know what opinion is valid. She's a famous, famous supermodel, so for her to critique me and say, "No, Anya, you're looking up into the clouds," just taught me that I have to know my angles and be aware of them. Hearing that critique from a supermodel is helpful. You can't be shutting everyone out if you want to grow as a model.
TVGuide.com: It seemed like even though they made fun of it, the judges sorta liked your accent. Do you think it's something you're going to be able to keep, or will you have to lose it if you want to do commercials?
Anya: Enunciating is definitely something that I need to work on. I have to learn to do that so that it comes off better, but my personality and my drive will get me far, because I have such a passion for it. I have things I have to work on, and being on the show has only shown me that. It showed me the good parts and the bad parts, and I have to learn from both to be a better model! And I will!
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