Victoria, <EM>America's Next Top Model</EM> Victoria, America's Next Top Model

Can't say I was stunned that America's Next Top Model (Wednesdays, 8 pm/ET, CW) didn't keep 20-year-old Yale scholar Victoria Marshman to the end. As bright as she is, and as appealingly vulnerable as she was in photos, she freely admitted that only recently had it occurred to her to make a career of sitting around and looking pretty — which, in Tyra Banks' estimation, puts her on par with, say, Satan. She also did the unthinkable and snapped at dear, sweet Twiggy — repeatedly. What was up with that? To find out, gave her a call and dove in… cautiously. How scared should I be to be interviewing you?
Victoria Marshman:
Why would you feel scared? I'm, like, the least intimidating person ever! Come on, if you'd go after Twiggy, you'd go after anyone!
[Laughs] No, no, no. See, nobody's editing this interview, so it won't appear that I'm attacking you. Unless you do attack me, which could be fun, too. So wait, are you telling me that it was just editing that made it look as if you and Twiggy were the Krystle and Alexis of Top Model?
Victoria: Oh yeah, it was crazy. Jenah called me after the show and said, "That didn't really happen! They just made up an argument by splicing together different segments!" But it's a TV show, and they can edit it however they want to. I didn't get into any catfights, so they had to make me look bad somehow. Do you think being better educated than a lot of the girls helped keep you out of trouble in the house?
Victoria: Not really. I think it has to do with how you're raised and [having] confidence in yourself. That being said, the show really counted my education against me. I never went around the house saying, "I'm from Yale. I'm so smart!" But they edited it to make it look that way. If I really did that, wouldn't the other girls have called me out on it? But it wasn't an issue. I didn't even tell them that I went to Yale until the producers gave it away to create drama. But the drama never really happened, so they were foiled in that way. Didn't you know you were supposed to be playing The Snobby Schoolgirl the same way Bianca was playing The Megabitch?
Victoria: We all had characters. During the makeover, when we were at the hair salon, there was a packet floating around that I wasn't supposed to see. But it had all of our profiles in it. It was so apparent how scripted the show was. But you're a character when you go on a reality TV show, and I accept that. It's fine. At least I didn't get kicked off for being mean or insecure. Or even for taking bad pictures! Your photos were great.
Thanks! I got kicked off for being a cactus. I can live with that. I don't know how big a market there is for that in the mainstream modeling market anyway. In any case, no matter how they edited you, you did come off as very mature, and some of the other girls were… um, not so much so. Were there times when you just wanted to tell them, "For the love of god, grow up!"?
Victoria: The fact is that everybody is a lot less crazy than they appear to be on TV. That's just a fact of entertainment. We're all from different places, and I'm not really one to tell people what to do or how to act unless they were being mean to Heather or something like that. I defended her a lot, but they didn't really show it. People live their life the way they want to. I've been very independent my entire life, and I guess that came through on the show. When you admitted that you'd decided to try modeling just a few weeks before the casting, could you tell that the Chantals of the house — the girls who apparently wanted to model in utero — hated your guts?
Victoria: Why would you want to be a walking coat hanger for the rest of your life? There are more interesting things to do! People say that I shot myself in the foot for saying that, but I was very up-front from the very beginning [by saying] that I did not take reality TV very seriously, or the way that they were portraying the fashion industry. I mean, I have all due respect for people who are actually legitimate models and designers and who have a passion for the industry, but I'm not going to burst into tears and say I've wanted this my whole life when clearly I didn't. What have you wanted your whole life?
Oh, well, at the age of 2 I wanted to be an astronaut, and at the age of 4 I wanted to be a cook… 7 was an explorer. Right now, I'm hoping that I manage not to starve after college and somehow pay my bills. I'm still in school right now. What's your major?
History. So you're going to be a history teacher. I mean, not too many other options for a history major, right?
Victoria: [Laughs] I know! I'm like, "What am I doing with my life?" But there are worse things to be! I can see where modeling might be pretty appealing once you realize that you can only do history with your degree. There are worse things to fall back on.
Victoria: Or you could do both, which would be a lot of fun! You said in your closing comments that you used to think that modeling was nothing more than sitting and looking pretty. What have you discovered that it is besides that?
Victoria: Well, it still is sitting still and looking pretty, despite how they're going to try to sell you a different image on the show. If you're a successful model with a specific look and a specific walk and you take good pictures, despite how people try to portray Top Model as being more than that, it really isn't! Gemma Ward and Lily Cole have a specific look. They're not divas! They don't go around saying that they're very secure or insecure, that they've wanted this their whole life. Now that you're blonde, do you have a new perspective on whether or not blondes have more fun?
Victoria: Actually, after the show I went through a red-haired phase, and now I'm sort of back to being more blonde but with a little red. I don't know — hair is hair. It changes. I liked my makeover, though. Are you going to continue pursuing modeling?
I'd like to keep my options open. I do have to pay for school, so it's definitely under consideration. But it's not the be all and end all, or why I get up in the morning. I'll say that. Do you get much ribbing from the other students at school?
The extent of my celebrity is that someone took a picture of me with their camera phone at Walgreens. Other than that, I don't think people really care.

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