Wetpaint: You were one of the girls who had modeled before you got to ANTM. What kind of experience did you have in the industry?
Dalya: I started modeling at 16. I stopped doing it a little bit to play basketball in high school. And then as soon as I graduated from high school I went for it like crazy. I tried to get with any agency I could get with here in L.A. I signed with my first agency two years ago. It was a small boutique agency and that's when I got my first taste of the real world of modeling. From going to casting and being denied, all of it. Before I signed with that agency I did all those crazy hair shows down in Pasadena. My first runway show was a hair show and that's when I fell in love with runway.
Why did you decide to go on the show?
It was random. Number 1, because of the prizes, I mean, IMG? Italian Vogue? Those are crazy just thinking about being able to be with a top agency like that. I knew I had to somehow get to New York and I thought maybe I could audition for the show and see how far I can get and maybe someone can see my talent. I feel like I have the talent to be out there so I went there specifically for IMG and Italian Vogue because since Tyra took it to a whole other level, I was like, "Oh, I need to get on that!"
Do you think having experience going into the competition hurts or helps your chances of winning Top Model?
I don't think it hurts. It might help a little, but I don't think it really hurts if you have a little experience. I'm not saying I had the most experience in the world, but I don't think I was above anyone going into it. Going into the competition I wasn't expecting to win. I was going into ANTM trying to make connections with people and trying to show off my talent so that someone later on down the road could see it and say, "maybe she could work in this industry." I wasn't expecting to win going into the competition.
Myself. When you have people coming at you all the time in a negative way, you can't let that get to you. I let that get to my head and you should never let that control your actions or how you're going to do in your photo shoot.
Aww, baby jaguar. It was so cute. I was excited to work with him! Towards the end of the day he just got cranky and I tried my best to work around that but it just didn't work. My hands were awkward and it was tough, but you know, I wouldn't mind working with a jaguar again.
Did they say he might bite anyone?
No, he didn't bite anyone. There was one girl [Kasia] who was allergic to cats and the fur bothered her, but he didn't claw at anybody. We had to hold him in a specific way so he wouldn't jump out of our arms or claw. He wasn't ferocious or anything. He was just a baby.
There are a lot of challenges on ANTM that stress being well-rounded as a model. Do you think that the girls really need to have it all to win?
I've been watching Top Model since it aired the very first time and it seemed to me that they were trying to develop young ladies who want to be models and turn them into models. Do you have to have it all? Maybe. I'm not sure.
You didn't do so well in the acting portion of the CoverGirl challenge. Do you think it was one of your teammates' faults for not writing a specific script?
I don't think it is anyone's fault by my own. You shouldn't blame others for your shortcomings or any problems you had that day. It was a group thing. We all went down for our performance.
It seems like there are a lot of blonde girls left in the competition. Do you think the show does a good job selecting a diverse cast each cycle?
Actually, yeah! It was pretty diverse at the beginning. You had Ondrei, Dominique, you had me, of course, Angelia. It was diverse. I don't even look at hair color or skin color or anything like that. If that's the competition, that's who it was supposed to be.
Can you tell us if Alexandria is really how she seems on TV?
I was defending the girl at the beginning. I knew her outside of Top Model and we modeled together in the agency before we were on the show, and I knew she was overbearing. She's a strong individual, but she rubs people the wrong way. She knows that about herself and that's how she was on the show. She rubbed people REALLY wrong. Hopefully, as this season goes on, she learns from that.
You knew Alexandria before the show, but did you know she'd be with you this cycle?
We saw each other at casting and I thought it was pretty awesome seeing her but I wasn't like, "Let's room together!" because I really didn't buddy up with anyone. I was an individual in the competition; I wasn't trying to be in a clique. I was going to defend her but then I was attacked over chicken and I kind of changed my mind over that. That was uncalled for.
Do you think she'll freak out when she finds out that you guys read her diary?
She probably did freak out, knowing her. I think she'll get over it. I personally was not involved in that diary reading. I was not going to be involved. You all are on your own with that one. I think that's invading privacy and I'm sure the other girls would have been ticked off if Alexandria went through their stuff. It wasn't the whole group. Some girls actually left the room.
I cannot stop modeling. This is the passion of my life. I love runway. Show me a runway and I will work it. I'm definitely not going to stop. This is more than a dream just to be on Top Model and get to meet all the photographers that you never thought you could work with. This is just the beginning for all of us girls who made it onto the show.