We're bummed Kasia Pilewicz is out of the competition, but we were very excited to chat with the fiercely real (and fiercely sweet!) former America's Next Top Model contestant. Read on to find out what really went down at the camel photo shoot, why she got tired of all the complaining, and who she thinks is going to win this cycle. (Her answer will surprise you!)
Wetpaint: Did you feel at all set up during the challenge when the designer didn't have many options for you to wear?
Kasia Pilewicz: I felt that came across pretty clearly. I mean, they've had it at every other shoot. They know my measurements, head to toe. It was very strange for me getting there and having people be rude to me and mad that nothing fit me. It was very weird. I had some interesting things going through my head at that point. I'll just say that.
What was the biggest struggle for you during the camel photo shoot? Was it the camel? The direction you were getting? What happened at the challenge earlier?
I guess there were some feelings left over from the [first] challenge. I tried to get over it. I went into the shoot really positive earlier that day. When we first found out about the camels, I was really excited. I went in really looking forward to it. The first half of my shoot was just me and the photographer, and I thought it went really great. I was shocked when he said those comments about me and how the shoot went, because it seemed to me like we had a really good vibe going. Add another element and things change. Certain people make certain comments. Some people just by what they say don't like plus-sized models, I guess?
Unfortunately, what was shown as my "posing" was kind of awkward, in-between moments. I wasn't really happy with the way that looked, because they didn't show me actually posing. There were some where I was laying across the camel, long, on my stomach. I know how to pose. I got off and all the people — the makeup artist and the dressers — were all like, 'Oh my God, you looked amazing!' It was strange.
You were known as the "fiercely real" model on Cycle 16, but what really distinguished you was your level of professionalism. For example, you were the only one who knew to bring heels to the last go-see. Do you feel like your prior experience wasn't taken into account enough in the final decision?
Yeah. I think that's part of the reason I was so shocked at the decision. It was just so sudden. It was the first time I was in the bottom two. We all know Alexandria has had chance after chance after chance. I thought Tyra would keep her word — she had said before, "The next time it happens that you [try to] direct a shoot, you're going home." And she didn't keep that, unfortunately for me.
[Tyra] kind of told me, "It's time you step it up and show us that you are better than everyone else. You have the skills." And I was ready to go for the next shoot. I was already planning my comeback. I didn't get the chance to do that, unfortunately, whereas a few of the other girls have had second, third, fourth chances. It sucks, but it is what it is. There's a whole modeling world waiting for me.
You seemed to have very little use for all of the complaining coming from Molly and Alexandria throughout the cycle. Was it frustrating for you to hear the whining when you guys were given such a big opportunity like this?
Yeah, completely. I just thought it was really unnecessary. I think it shows immaturity and inexperience. I hope that they can change and learn from this and grow. They've been watching themselves on TV. It will be like, 'Oh yeah, that was really bad. I shouldn't behave like that.' I think it was kind of inexcusable to treat people on photo shoots like that. All of those people are working so hard for us, and we are so lucky to be in the position we're in. How can you even complain about anything? I felt bad about getting upset about what happened to me when I couldn't fit into the dress when that was completely out of my control. I felt bad to be upset, and I think that shows a level of maturity and professionalism. Later in my interview I got a little choked up. I don't think it was a meltdown like they described it.
We don't think [ANTM judge] Andre Leon Talley or the designer picked up on it at all. You really pulled it together.
Yeah, Andre was great. I was like, I'm not messing up an opportunity to walk for Andre Leon Talley. How often do we get to do that? We see him at panel, but the first week in Morocco, we really got to know him a little better, we got to walk for him. He brought us to our house. That's an honor! Andre's amazing. He always gives great advice, and I know he knows what he's talking about. He's been one of the top top people working in the industry. If he says something, I take his advice. No matter how badly I was treated in that showroom, I was like, "I'm gonna pull it together and have a good walk." I had my heels, I was ready.
From your own personal experience, do you feel like the industry is becoming more accepting of plus-sized models? Is there still a long road ahead?
I think it's definitely changing. I think a lot more people are aware of it, that there even is a plus-size industry. And it's growing. There are so many more jobs, there are so many more models, which I think is great. You know, it's still not where it should be. It just doesn't make sense to me why there wouldn't be a range of sizes.
I like that I'm just real and that I can just be the size I am naturally. I'm healthy, I work out, I watch what I eat, and it's just a normal, healthy size for me. I was really taken aback by Brittani's comment. I actually did not expect that from her. I didn't know that she said, "I know Kasia thinks she wants to change the industry," or whatever. It seemed to me the way she said it was like, it's not gonna happen. I was shocked at that, because I thought she was more open to this.
Do you regret leaving your last agency to do ANTM?
No. I'm very happy with the decision. It was kind of the next step for me to get more exposure in my career. I think it's only going to get me further, and if anything, I'm in a better place now, so why would I regret it? I don't at all.
What are your plans for the future? Do you want to continue modeling?
Yeah, as soon as I can, I'm going to figure out which agency to go with and start working as soon as possible. I have a good feeling it's going to be very soon. I've been testing. I've been shooting stuff since I got back. I went straight back to my acting class. So I'm doing a lot of things in that arena, too.
One last question: Who do you think will win Cycle 16?
I think it's gonna be Miss J.
Isn't it about time he won?
I know! You know, everybody has agreed with me. It's his time. He's so amazing. If I lose to Miss J, no hard feelings.