Wetpaint Entertainment spoke to Darian in an exclusive interview, and got the scoop on who she thinks should have gotten makeovers, what that early confrontation with Kiara was all about, and who her “hands-down” finalist picks are.
What was your initial reaction to being eliminated? Darian Ellis: I was completely devastated. During the photo shoot, being in the bottom two and hearing Tyra say, “I have two beautiful girls,” I was just devastated. I was like, I just can’t believe she’s saying this to me right now.
Do you think someone else should have gone home instead of you? I really wish that Maria wouldn’t have quit, and instead, went through the photo shoot, and then expressed to Tyra how much she wanted to walk. Then it would have been fair, because all the other girls wanted to be there, instead of you just deciding you want to go before the photo shoot… Maria, she was already kinda iffy about the whole thing. Did you know she didn’t want to be there early on? I wouldn’t have said that throughout the first meetings with her, but when we got to our makeovers at the salon and she said “No,” I was like, are you serious? I understand that the makeovers are sometimes pretty dramatic but they’re professionals. They’re not going to give you something that will make you look worse, [that’s not the] point of the makeover.
Why you were so happy to go through with the makeover? [Laughs]. Me personally, because my look was so… I loved my braids, it was a natural look for me. I came on this show and I made it that far, I knew that eventually I was going to have to get a makeover. Tyra’s a professional, she knows what’s best, she’s worked in this industry, and Kelly [Cutrone] and Johnny [Wujek], they know what they’re doing so I trusted them. They wanted to take my braids out and give me a more natural, versatile look, then I’ll go for it. There was no way I was going to say “No.”
Were there any girls who you thought definitely should have gone through with it? I wish Victoria would have went through with it, she was just kind of overthinking the whole situation. Her makeover wasn’t [going to be] that drastic, some red hair would have really brightened her up. It would have been nice.
What was your overall impression of Victoria Henley? She was really sensitive, and everybody’s different. You’re going to have outgoing girls, you’re going to have the sensitive girls, I was kind of expecting it. She’s been sheltered her whole life, she’s been home-schooled, she’s not really out in the open. At least seeing that, I understood why she was so connected to her mom. But she’s Victoria, once you get to know her you know that’s just how she is.
Did the online commenters hurt your feelings? People are going to have opinions and it’s all about how you internalize it. And all my comments were not bad, they’re just opinions. I’m glad that they incorporated that part of the show into it, but I think Tyra’s comments and the judges’ comments are what I’m paying attention to.
What did you learn from Tyra? Do you think you have a similar look? I learned that she is an amazing woman, oh my god. Every time I saw her I had to check myself. As far as the similarities, I was hearing that the whole time. You know, big old forehead, it was amazing, I loved it. One of the biggest things that she told me, she told me I might be too pushy, so I really was trying to tone it down and relax a little for the camera.
What was it like posing nude with Rob? When they first told us that we were going to be in a nude photo shoot, I was like fine, let’s go for it. I’m really comfortable with my body, I wasn’t worried about being too this or too that, and then they told us it was with Rob, and I was like, oh Jesus! Rob is Rob, he’s a really cool guy, it wouldn’t be awkward for me to model with him at all. He was a complete professional.
Why did you get into that first argument with Kiara Belen? Well she said that I was too noisy in the house, I mean I’m an outgoing person, so I knew going into the house there were going to be some conflicts with some girls, but I thought the whole thing should have been handled outside of the house. So my whole thing is, we’re going to have fun in the house, just to make it easier for everybody to get along, so I guess she thought me and the other girls were being too loud all night. So instead of just coming to me and asking, if she had just come to me and just asked, then I would have apologized immediately. It blew up out of proportion. I really regret that. I really wish she had just come to me and asked me that.
Who do you think will be in the finals? I would say Brittany [Brown] and Nastasia [Scott], definitely, hands-down. They both take great pictures and they’re great girls.
What would be your message to fans now? I would tell the fans that, even the bad comments, I want to see them, as long as they’re going to be helpful, not hurtful. I want people to understand that. I’m just a person, I’m just like you, I just happened to be on the show. And you don’t want a boring girl, you want a fun girl, someone you can laugh with, you know I’m a normal girl.
Catch the next episode ofAmerica's Next Top Model Cycle 19: College Edition on Friday, September 14 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
Molly Friedman is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter@MollyFriedman.