Every cycle of ANTM has a quirky, "high fashion" contestant and Cycle 16's was Sara Longoria. Sadly, Sara's time on ANTM was cut short by her lack of confidence in front of the cameras, but in real life, Sara is anything but shy. She's spoken out about her polyamorous relationship, her feminist ideals, and her less than glamorous upbringing, making her stand out from the blank-faced models in personality just as much as her rat tail made her stand out from the bleach blonde bunch in appearance. Check out what Sara had to say about her unconventional love life and how she rationalizes modeling as being a form of beauty and not necessarily just an industry that promotes eating disorders.
Wetpaint: Have you worked on your confidence since the show aired?
Sara Longoria: In real life and in modeling, I feel like I'm a very confident person. I'm a 6-foot tall white girl with a butch hair cut and where I live, you have to have high self-esteem because everyone is going to tell you that you're ugly and that you're weird and to stop modeling and you just can't let that happen. So I was actually really surprised when they told me I had a lack of confidence.
Were you truly upset by Tyra’s decision to cut your hair shorter?
I have had short, brown hair, and sometimes it's short, black hair and sometimes it's short, brownish red hair. I was just so tired of it. I just wanted something new. Really in ANTM, there's only been two, maybe three models who won with short hair. Eva, McKey... and those were all extremely beautiful women with a lot of talent who produced strong work pretty consistently and I was a newbie with no real experience and I wasn't really producing great work. I was like, “gimme some hair so I can grow and work with it!”
You spoke a lot about feminism on the show. How do you believe feminism and modeling can go hand in hand?
I talked about feminism, reproductive rights, sexual politics, and sexual responsibility like 98% of the time while I was on the show but they only showed it on the last episode I was in. I think of modeling as if that's what you want to do, then any person who's in total control of themselves can go and do whatever they want. Modeling is to create a beautiful image for a photographer, hair stylist, model, wardrobe director to get together and make a beautiful image to attract someone to buy a product or join the service or whatever. And I can get behind that. I can get behind the purity of beauty, if that makes any sense. I think of it like that; I don't think of it as women who are being told to vomit and objectify themselves and sexualize young girls and spend money so that they can be happy.
There were some things going on behind the scenes that also made me really uncomfortable. Once they started shoving pairs of socks down my bra, that's when things got kind of strange. I had a push-up bra on and they put another bra on top of that and in between the two bras they put two pairs of socks each in my cups. So I had two ridiculously hard breasts that were very painful and tight and they were like, “now be sexy!” I'm like, “my nipples are pinched between your woolen socks, no thank you.” I just felt like there were very mixed messages.
Did you disagree with the message that the photo shoot was trying to convey?
Back then what I was feeling was women are equal to men in that they can be sexy and strong and not have to use subtle tricks. To me, power and independence is sexy. Being blunt to the point is sexy. Shy, coquettish little girls aren't sexy to me, so I was like, this is very strange and I'm not understanding it. I kind of matured since the show and I realized that I'm in a point in my career where I can't pick and choose what fits my little set of beliefs.
What would you NOT do in a photo shoot?
Simulate rape? I don't know. I'll do nude, I'll do implied nudity. I'd do Playboy. I think it's an extremely auspicious, prestigious, amazing opportunity if someone asked me to pose in Playboy.
Back when I was on the show I was not in a polyamorous relationship. My boyfriend and I were discussing it, but I actually started dating my girlfriend in January.
How do the two go together: feminism and polyamorous relationships?
When people find out I just tell them that this is my boyfriend, Andy, and then this is my girlfriend, April. They're like, “I don't understand. What's going on?” Because the area I'm in is very conservative and religious. I just say as a couple we date April. My family's OK with it and my friends are OK with it. My employment is OK with it. That's really all that matters to me.
Have you gone back to school since the show ended?
I am in school and I'm working two jobs and I have plans to move to L.A. in June. Unless I get an offer from an agency to go overseas or to NYC specifically, I'll be moving to L.A. and trying to build up my portfolio and get some experience and save up. Once I feel I'm ready and I've got a couple more jobs under my belt, I'll move to NYC and try to make it [as a model].
You discussed your difficult upbringing on the show. Do you think that if you succeed in modeling you will be able to help your family?
My mother's a single mother and she's going back to school and things are tough in the valley. They're tough everywhere right now. What I'd really like to do is succeed at modeling because I love it. I love the business. But I’d like to also reach a level where I could provide for my family and take the load off of my mom's shoulders and help out with my siblings and everything. I'm one of seven.
Who do you think will win ANTM Cycle 16?
I really really really hope that Hannah or Brittani are top two. I hope Molly's in the top three but I really hope Brittani wins.
I really identify with Brittani. She's poor like me. She's a homegirl from the trailer park [who was] introduced to the world of modeling and [is now] trying to make her life different and change the cycle that her family has been kept in for a while. I totally can relate to that and I think it's amazing what she's been trying to do. All of the girls are awesome people but it would be a Cinderella story if Brittani won. She deserves it.