On America's Next Top Model Cycle 18, the top American girl was Laura Lafrate, who came in as runner-up to Brit Sophie Sumner. Tyra Banks branded her Zig Zag, for her wild “pirate” personality, and her platinum blonde makeover certainly caught the judges’ attention. Laura talked to Wetpaint Entertainment in an exclusive interview, where she addressed the criticism that she was “too sexual,” promises that she’s not a demon, and confesses her serious attraction to fellow modelstant AzMarie.

Wetpaint Entertainment: What was your immediate reaction to Sophie’s win?
Laura Lafrate: It was happiness. It really was. I think everybody can see it. It’s kind of like when your sister and you are playing a sport or something, and she beats you and you’re like, “Oh darn it but I’m happy for you, and I’m going to beat you next time, don’t worry.” It was kind of like that. It was a cute little rivalry that I loved. It didn’t really feel like I lost. It was strange.

Do you think your panic attack cost you the win?
You know what, I really believe that it would have been the same outcome. If it wasn’t a panic attack it would have been past stuff. I feel like Sophie is a very fresh face, she really is for the target demographic of this show, the younger viewers. I have a completely different style. I’m much more out there. And in all truth, sometimes I don’t feel like everybody knows how to take my personality or see past certain things to see how I am. But Sophie, she’s Illuminata, she’s got that sweet bubbly personality and I have a more rough-around-the-edges sort.

Were you happy with your punk rock, Zig Zag branding?
I was fine with the branding but I think personally as a model, that’s not truly the [entirety] of my brand. I am an adventurer don’t get me wrong, I love to go skydiving. I love to do rock climbing and bungee jumping and all that kind of stuff. They really missed the sense that I’m a really loyal friend. I’m a loving daughter and sister. They really just ignored a lot of the parts that make me a much more, I don’t know, if I’d say sweet person, I wouldn’t say like sickly sweet, but I’m not a demon by any means. I’m not constantly telling girls I don’t like them. That just happened on the show.

What did you think of the criticism that you were “too sexual”?
I think that’s completely ludicrous. Sex is a big thing in life, and [judge] Kelly Cutrone even has a bunch of different things on it. We focus way too much on telling a younger generation what not to do, and we’re constantly giving them boundaries and saying “No, no, no, stay away stay away stay away.” And for me, I was very open with my father. The fact is he was so willing to speak with me, let me know about what’s to come and how to prepare myself and how to make the right decisions. And it really made me a better person. I didn’t get into stupid things, I didn’t make stupid decision. I used to watch Talk Sex with Sue Johanson, love her. I want her to be my grandma. She really made me feel comfortable, I wasn’t shocked or weirded out.

The fact that Alisha did say that I was completely unprofessional on set, I was just like “Wow Alisha, way to turn on me.” I’m a very professional person. When I go into any other job, when I do things like that, I am on key. I have a great working relationship with everyone I work with. I keep things fun, I keep things professional. And then you know as the relationship goes down in the business sense, then we start making perverted jokes, then we start getting a little more crazy. But that’s with any good working relationship. You know what, this was television, you have to be 100% who you are and not feel like you need to be pulled back in any way. And I think that was Alisha’s downfall, the fact that she wasn’t willing to go the extra mile. And she was the one who got frazzled, she was the one who was crying on the set. And I think she’s a great girl but the fact that she did that to me, that was just wrong.

Were you surprised by anything you saw on the show, looking back?
I think the funniest thing was that the things that they said about me are things that so many people loved about me. I’m not going to care. I truly believe if I’m trying to be somebody else, then I’m wasting life. A lot of them were so hush hush and they would talk about each other all the time, all the other girls, they would talk about each other behind each other’s back, and I would just go up to the person and tell them. And I’m like wait, isn’t this what you wanted me to do in the first place? And they were still mad at me. It was funny. I tried my best to be as unbiased as possible but sometimes that comes out once in a while.

Have you been working on your runway walk?
Oh yeah, I’ve actually done several fashion shows since the show. I‘ve been crazy busy, I’ve been doing commercials, photo shoots, I’ve been doing runway. I’ve started my own underground rave line, it’s going to be coming out soon, it’s all for black light. And I’m moving down to the city in a month. New York City. And then I’m getting my skydiving license. It’s incredible, and I might be starring on another reality show about skydiving with skydivers at the ranch and different things. I would love to be part of that. I can’t stop.

Has your view of the modeling world changed at all?
No, definitely not. I did find out that there is a lot of stigma that gets tied to the show sometimes. The show is a very branding show. You have a persona now, you are put in a little box, but it’s your job to show people that you can be more than what they labeled you on the show. And that’s just been one obstacle.

Did you think it was unfair for you to be up against such an experienced model like Sophie?
For me, I was at first kind of upset about it but then I was just like, you know what? The fact that I beat out the rest of the British girls, and they’d already gone on the show, made me really realize that it didn’t matter at the end of the day. Their show is completely different from ours, and they were thrown on a different playing field too. It was better that way.

Were you sexually attracted to AzMarie?
Oh very, very much. She’s very sexy. She is, wow. She’s very sexy, she’s got a lot of swag, as Tyra would say. I think Tyra had a crush on her.

Are you in a relationship right now?
No, I actually broke up with my girlfriend before going on the show, and then that’s what kind of set me off, that I was free. I was like, “I’m free, let’s flirt!”

Molly Friedman is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @MollyFriedman.
 
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