Annaliese Dayes was one of the most likeable modelstants in recent America's Next Top Model memory, so her elimination on this week’s ANTM Cycle 18, Episode 11: “Jez Smith” was bittersweet. In an exclusive interview with Wetpaint Entertainment, Annaliese told us why it meant so much to her to get judge Kelly Cutrone’s approval, who she’s rooting for, and what she really thought of all that “presenter” criticism.

Wetpaint Entertainment: What was your initial reaction to getting eliminated?
Annaliese Dayes: Relief, joy, excitement. I was actually very proud to be honest. I knew what I wanted: I wanted to come farther than I did on Britain’s Next Top Model, where I got sixth. I was happy. Don’t get me wrong, I got a bit greedy. When I got sixth I wanted to get fifth, but to get in the Top 3, I got actually quite terrified. I think I did the best with what I could do.

Did you agree with the judges’ comments that you were too commercial?
Oh I totally agree! I’ve been modeling since I was 13, and by now I’ve worked out where I work and where I don’t work. I’m not a high fashion girl. Don’t get me wrong, I can put together a high fashion look if I have to, but up until now I’ve done sports stuff, beauty and lots of smiling stuff. I like smiling anyways.

Why did it mean so much to you to win Kelly over?
Because she is a tough critic and one thing you can definitely say about Kelly Cutrone is yeah, she may be tough, but she speaks her mind and it’s always the truth. From the beginning when I realized that she did not like me, and it’s not just like me, I felt like I just spent a lot of time trying to make her like me. And obviously being in the show, you’re in a bubble when your whole life is about America’s Next Top Model. So really, the judges, Kelly Cutrone and all the judges are gods when you’re in that show, so it meant so much to me.

Are you frustrated that you never won Best Photo?
I’m not still frustrated by it. It would have been nice to get first called out and see my picture on the screen or whatever. But I can’t complain. I had a good run and I’m actually quite proud of my portfolio. I think each shot shows something different about me, I mean not the first shot, the first shot I hated, that was hideous. But every shot I’ve got different faces.

How did you manage to stay out of all the drama in the house?
I think part of it is that I’m a little bit older than the other girls. I’m so over getting involved with drama, and in the house we’ve got no TV, no internet, no phone. I just used it as an opportunity to catch some entertainment! I just sat out and watched it unfold before my eyes.

Was there anyone in the house that you didn’t get along with?
No, truthfully, no, there was no one I can honestly say, “I really disliked you, they were horrible.” No one.

Who were you closest to in the house?
I’m a bit of a floater, I felt like people were starting to make groups, so I always made an effort to sort of float around but I never liked to be like, “Oh I like this group.” Initially I was obviously close to Ashley and Sophie because they were on my side from Britain’s Next Top Model and I see them between the shows, I’ve been up to Scotland to see Ashley and her kids, and I’ve seen Sophie and partied the night away in London and things like that so definitely those two.

Did you find the judging unfair at all?
I suppose it is unfair. But at the end of the day, it’s a reality TV show. We all knew what we were signing up for, especially the British girls, because we did this already. Yeah they’re always going to claim that its your best shot, and you’re never really going to know if it really is your best shot, but I don’t think it’s really worth spending too much energy on to be honest.

How was ANTM different from BNTM?
Oh it’s so much more glossy, like it’s just glossy on a much bigger scale. The challenges we were doing, the celebrities we were meeting were just insane. Don’t get me wrong, we have a splash of celebrity in Britain, but America is all about the flash and the high-profile celebrities and more drama and the challenges were more extreme and everything was just extreme.

Who do you think will win?
I am going to stay loyal to the British side. Sophie has to win ANTM. All of us British girls, not in a million years would we think a British girl is going to win, because it’s America’s Next Top Model, come on now. But you never know what could happen and I think she could do it.

What did you really think of all the critique from the judges calling you a presenter and not a model?
The problem is, it wasn’t so much the criticism. I got so many comments, people getting back to me saying they’re outraged that they’re calling me “just a presenter,” and I’m like, “Kelly Cutrone is a PR maven and she’s calling me a presenter! I think that’s amazing!” I don’t take it as a critique at all. At the end of the day, I think I’m a better presenter than I am a model.

Catch the next episode of ANTM Cycle 18 Wednesday, May 23 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

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

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