Credit: The CW

In the first truly shocking elimination of America's Next Top Model Cycle 19, the very modelesque Leila Goldkuhl was eliminated after a poor performance in the cheerleading photoshoot on Cycle 19, Episode 5: “The Girl Who Sings for Alicia Keys”.

In an exclusive interview with Wetpaint Entertainment, Leila told us why she didn’t deserve to go home, what’s wrong with the new grade system, and what Kristin Kagay is like behind closed doors.

Wetpaint Entertainment: Most people were pretty shocked by your elimination. What was your immediate reaction?
Leila Goldkuhl: Yeah, I’ve noticed a lot of people were very shocked, just as shocked as I was. Leading up to the elimination I was scared but I was confident in myself, because I was doing well, and I know I could continue to do well, I just needed to get past this week. It was a weird week for me. So when I saw that I was eliminated, it really hit me that I was out of the competition and probably wasn’t going to come back, so it was really scary.

Not coming back? Is it still possible that you’ll make it to the Finals?
Well, I guess “probably” wasn’t a good word, “possibly” would probably be a better word, because there is a chance I could come back but it’s not definite. And that’s what scares me. Yeah, it’s awesome that I got a second chance, but my goal was to make it all the way to the end. So I guess I have to be happy with what I’m given, and the opportunity that I’m given. So it was a shocker for me, big time.

What did you think of the social media judge on the show?
The social media aspect was very different, very interesting. It’s cool because it’s something I always wished I had the opportunity to do, but at the same time, people are judging based on what they think is pretty most of the time, so they pick the prettiest one. I was lucky, I did have high social media during the time I was in the competition, but it can be hard because some of the comments can be brutal. And I don’t always agree with what social media picks as their favorite. So it’s difficult. It’s just another judge that you have to deal with.

Who was getting the worst of it?
Kiara [Belen] was getting pretty bad social media, especially from the beginning, they definitely weren’t understanding her, and some of the comments were really brutal which was hard to watch.

Credit: The CW

What are your thoughts on Kristin? 
It was pretty difficult living with Kristin most of the time. Sometimes things were fine, and sometimes they weren’t. I think what was the worst for me was, she wanted to make me feel uncomfortable and like I wasn’t wanted, and that was pretty hard. I just feel like she doesn’t think before she speaks sometimes, and she doesn’t consider other people’s feelings, and she’s a little misguided, so it was difficult to live with her, let alone compete with her.

What did she do in particular that upset you? 
She would just, we would be around the house and she’d be talking about me like I wasn’t there.  And it was unnecessary. I didn’t let it get to me for the longest time, and the second I did, I definitely shouldn’t have.

What are your thoughts on Victoria Henley?
Especially at first, it was hard for me to understand Victoria, just because it seemed like everything she said was so rehearsed, and I didn’t understand what kind of person she was. But then that’s just who she is. She speaks very eloquently, she always has an answer for everything. Sometimes it can be a little much, she’s a little strange, but she doesn’t do any harm to anyone really. I would feel bad whenever the other girls would really pick on her. Especially when I started to understand her more.

Did you deserve to go home?
I don’t think I deserved to go home so soon, and the new number grading this cycle was really the issue, because it doesn’t take into account past weeks and it doesn’t take into account your total potential and what you’re gonna give in the future. It takes it week by week, and there’s no give or take there. It’s just this week, you did this well, so you’re either in or out, which stinks because in the past, it was, “Well this person is doing well here, yes they had one bad week, they had one bad picture, but I know they’ll do better.” And there have been girls in the past who have done poorly one week and then gone on to the next week and have gone on to win. So it was really upsetting for me that the rest of my performance wasn’t taken into account.

The number system isn’t my favorite part. I do like the social media, so it’s difficult to say whether or not the numbers should change. It’s just weird that it doesn’t take into account what you’re doing as a whole.

Who do you think will be in the final three? 
I would love to see Nastasia [Scott] in the top three, because I just think she has such a new look and she can go far with that, because it’s something that you don’t see that often. I can’t think of another model that she looks like. And Brittany [Brown], she also has a very distinct look, she looks like a model to me, and she does well in her photoshoots, and she has a good walk and even without the show I think she’ll go far in this industry. As far as who’s doing well, I mean Laura’s [James] doing really well. As much as I don’t want to see her in the Finals, I know that she has a chance to make it to the finals.

Why don’t you want to see her in the Finals?
Because it’s just hard to want to cheer somebody on when you see a different side of them that you didn’t expect, and I think America’s Next Top Model should be represented by someone who is genuine. And I think that Brittany and Nastasia are genuine. I was surprised to see the conversations between [Laura] and the other girls because it’s not what I thought was going on at all, so it just hurt to see that.

Catch the next episode of America's Next Top Model Cycle 19: College Edition on Friday, September 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. 

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