America’s Next Top Model is heating up now that Cycle 20 is down to seven contestants. But to get to that stage of the competition, Don Benjamin (who was totally rocking that blond hair) had to be cut — making him the first person to be sent home from Bali.

Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with Don after his elimination and spoke with him about his rough week on the show, show feuds, his trip to Bali (the show’s exotic destination this season), his very striking look — and how Chris Brown affects his hair color choice.

Check out the interview below, and hit the comments to share your thoughts on Don’s elimination.

Wetpaint Entertainment: How did it feel to make it to the Top 16 of Cycle 20?

Don Benjamin: Oh man, right away it was so surreal. I just walked into the casting and had heard about it the day before, so to be called and be one of the contestants was like a dream come true.

You had been pretty steady for the majority of the competition, but this week was rough for you. What went wrong?

It’s crazy because [the underwater runway challenge] wasn’t so much being underwater, it was that helmet — I’m very claustrophobic and I have PTSD from a previous attack that happened to me, whenever I feel like I’m out of control, my mind thinks the worst automatically. So as soon as I got down there and the helmet started bumping up against my face and I felt the water coming in, I felt like it was all about to end. And I was like, “I need to get up, I can’t do this. I could care less about walking this damn runway.”

The models got to work with endangered animals this week. How was that?

I would have rather shot with the leopard, but I like snakes. I’m not afraid of snakes, but I thought it would have been fun to shoot with a leopard. The snake was fun! It was very heavy and it was very difficult to shoot with because it didn’t pay much attention — and I know the leopard was pretty much the same thing.

What was it like spending time in Bali?

Oh my goodness, being in Bali was amazing. Just the different culture, the different ways of life out there, it was insane. And to be able to shoot with the animals in Bali was just a whole other experience. Minus the heat, it was very humid out there. You had to stay hydrated or otherwise you would pass out — I think a few people passed out.

I’m sure you guys were busy, but did you get to experience the local culture?

Yeah we got to do a little touring and experiencing what the locals eat. They eat off the ground and they roll up the meat on the ground and it’s very weird. All my phobias started kicking in.

You were in the bottom with Marvin this week, barely making Chris H. safe. You seemed to be angry that Chris stayed over you, right?

Honestly, Chris had some strong pictures overall, but I definitely felt like that last picture, when I went out, I felt like it was stronger than his. I took my challenge score into a little bit of consideration, but I still feel like I could have gotten higher scores on my picture.

But Chris actually reached out to me and told me he agreed that my picture was better than his, so that was cool. It made me feel a little better.

So are you and Chris friends now?

I’m not that close to Chris, I talk to him from time to time, but we’re definitely not feuding like him and some other people. I don’t have an issue with the models. He was always on my good side. We never stepped on each others’ toes.

Really? Who’s Chris feuding with from the show?

Well I know him and Marvin had a little Twitter beef going on, but it was during that one episode. They were going at it.

You and Marvin were really tight on the show. Do you think he has a chance to win?

Yeah. Marvin definitely is trying to put on for his family and I know he really wants this. He really wants to be a model. He definitely has a good shot. Marvin’s look is very unique to me — he has a very good look.

If Marvin makes it to the Final 2, who should be standing with him?

I’d say either Chris or Renee, honestly.

How intense was it in the house this season with the Boys vs. Girls twist?

It was more laid-back than what I thought it was going to be. Instead of it turning into a competition, it became more like a family and we were looking out for each other. We looked at it as “the best person will win, but let’s get along while we’re living together.”

Will you be keeping the blond look that they gave you during makeovers?

I’m actually back to black at the current moment, but I was blond a couple weeks ago and I do plan on going back every once in a while — it’s just so hard to keep up. I’ll probably go back depending on if people want me to be blond for shoots, but as for my day-to-day life, I’m probably going to keep it black. I was getting tired of people calling me Chris Brown.

I was in Vegas a couple weeks ago with the blond hair and everybody thought I was Chris Brown. I was like, “Oh man, I’m going back to black.”

Were you surprised that Don got eliminated? Hit the comments and let us know what you think!

Carson Blackwelder is an Associate Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow him on Twitter and Google+!