Even though Cycle 20 of America’s Next Top Model was billed as a battle of the sexes, Friday night’s grand finale proved to the world that the girls still have what it takes to smize their way to the top. Jourdan Miller, a total America’s sweetheart-type, faced Bronx boy Marvin Cortez in the Final 2 and emerged victorious.
Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with Jourdan on the heels of her big win and chatted with her about what being a household name means for her career, her on-screen friendship with Jeremy, and about her evolution throughout this season.
Check out the full interview below and then hit the comments and let us know if you’re glad Jourdan won or if you think Marvin should have taken home the title.
Wetpaint Entertainment: How hard is it to keep winning a secret for a long time?
Jourdan Miller: It was all just a mindgame, really. People would try to read the emotions on my face. I would just tell them to tune in, that it’s the first season with guys so they could guess what’s going to happen. I seemed not excited about the show when I talked about it, because I knew that if I was excited talking about the show people would think that I won. I would just be really chill and relaxed about it.
How do you think you progressed throughout the season? Is the girl that emerged victorious different than the girl that walked in?
Oh my gosh, yeah! I’ve changed so much. I came into the competition a scared little girl with her tail between her legs and now I’m a new woman. I’m confident, I’m sure of myself, and I know that if I apply myself to whatever it is that I want to do, that I can do it. That was the biggest lesson learned while I was there.
In the first part of the finale, how difficult was it to stand around watching former contestants not choose to be on your Catwalk Crew?
I’d have to say that was the toughest moment for me when it came to the competition. That really did not feel good, to keep seeing people come out in blue and pink.
But when Chris [Hernandez] chose my team, I was a little annoyed, I have to say, honestly, because I didn’t like him at all during the competition. He really got on my nerves. But after a second to myself to think about the situation I was in, I realized Chris believed in me and he chose my team because he believed in my modeling. He didn’t just choose it because he wanted to come annoy me even more; he honestly did it out of the faith he had in me and he gained so much more respect from me because of that. We do keep in contact nowadays. I’m constantly on Twitter talking to him about what’s next for him. I’m grateful that he decided to, instead of doing what everyone else was doing, he thought, “No, I think Jourdan’s going to win. And whether I’m the only one standing there in orange, I’m going to choose her team.”
It was a humbling moment for me. I realized I was being a brat. I shouldn’t be ungrateful that someone has decided to come over on my team and support and cheer for me. I think Chris knows that I’m extremely grateful for his support — as well to Mike. I’m sure Mike is very, very happy that he switched and I’m very happy for him for choosing my team and him getting that $1,000 to pay off his bills.
Before the final runway when they announced that they were cutting one last person, what was your thought process then?
It was hectic, it was hot, it was humid. We were all wondering when we were going on and then, all of a sudden, the fabulous Miss Tyra comes in and says we’re doing panel right now. I was like, oh my gosh, my life is over now. Then, when she called my name, I knew I had a chance and that’s when I really kicked it into gear because I wasn’t competing against Cory anymore, I was competing against Marvin, and I really had to hit it out of the park.
When it was between you and Marvin there at the end, did you think he had it in the bag?
I had no idea what to expect, but I did have a very strong feeling it was going to be Marvin, just based on the fact that he was a guy and he was still in the competition. I thought they were going to hand it over to him. The fact that I won against Marvin, and it was based solely on modeling, and the fact that I had gotten Best Photo five times in a row, it felt so good and shocking at the same time. I couldn’t even come to reality when I saw my face on that screen. I felt like I was going to melt or something, it was so amazing. I’m shocked, still to this day. It’s a surprise that they didn’t take the easy way out and choose Marvin for ratings — they chose the best winner.
You and Jeremy had a great relationship at the beginning of the show, but it went downhill pretty quickly. How do you feel about the way that was portrayed on TV?
The honest truth about Jeremy is that we were just really good friends and everyone else wanted to push it into something it wasn’t. Jeremy was a very nice and respectful guy that listened to me when I was talking, and that’s why I became friends with him. When it came down to other people seeing us talk, because I did have one-on-one talks with him about life, I think they were all trying to push something that they wanted and it wasn’t fair to me because I had a relationship back home. It was tough having to always have the whole Jeremy thing over my head when he was honestly just a friend. To this day, I don’t keep in contact with Jeremy. Jeremy is a sweetheart, and I think people took advantage of our friendship — especially the other contestants.
Your backstory this season was your previous — and abusive — marriage. Does winning the competition close the door on that chapter of your life?
I think that no matter what, that’s going to be a part of me. That relationship is always going to have some weight in my heart, just from the experience. But I do feel now that I have overcome it. I’ve overcome the process of healing and moving on. It took this competition to allow me to grow as a woman, have a backbone, and not let myself get pushed around.
What’s next for you down the line both personally and professionally?
The next big thing would be to move to either Los Angeles or New York. I’m not sure which one yet because I haven’t spoken to the agency yet about what they want from me or where they want to place me. But I’m kind of leaning toward New York because I spent a lot of time in my teen years there, and it’s calling my name.
Did the judges choose the right winner? Hit the comments and let us know if you were Team Marvin or Team Jourdan!