America’s Next Top Model Contestant Mike Tells All — From Getting Discovered to Dating Bianca
Credit: Angelo Sambatini/Pottle Productions Inc ©2013 Pottle Productions Inc. All Rights Reserved    

America's Next Top Model

America’s Next Top Model Contestant Mike Tells All — From Getting Discovered to Dating Bianca

This season of America’s Next Top Model is taking it to the next level, having both men and women smizing it out to see who’s gonna be on top. Unfortunately, each week someone has to go home, and the third week saw the exit of Tyra's ice cream truck find, Mike, who headed home after just three weeks of competition.

Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with Mike after her elimination and spoke with him about his relationship with Bianca, his less-than-stellar runway walk, and what’s next for his career.

Check out the interview and hit the comments to share your thoughts on Mike’s elimination.

Wetpaint Entertainment: Let’s go back to the first week when they were naming the Top 16. How did you feel when your name was called?

Mike: Yeah, I mean until she called my name, it was kind of like a, “Oh crap, this is really happening now.” And even the moment she called it, I kind of just stood there for a moment. The whole process, you never know what’s going to happen, so when she said that, I was just like, “Wow, this is it.”

America’s Next Top Model Contestant Mike Tells All — From Getting Discovered to Dating Bianca
Credit: The Cobra Snake/Pottle Productions Inc ©2013 Pottle Productions Inc.    

Did you think that the fact that Tyra discovered you gave you an advantage over the other contestants?

You know, I didn’t think about it at the time. When you’re in the competition, you’re just in it. I kind of just felt that I had a leg up because I’m the oldest one there and I’ve done a lot more things throughout my life than most of the people up there have. So I was kind of ready for a new challenge and to kind of kick things off.

I can’t say being discovered by Tyra Banks and put on a reality show is something that I had done yet, so that was a new one.

You were known as the worst walker on the show. After walking down a building and now the rotating runway, how did you deal with all these tough challenges?

It was tough. Walking down the building was actually awesome. I loved that, just propelling down a building. I live in Los Angeles, I live in downtown, and being able to just overlook all of L.A. was a cool thing.

It wasn’t until I saw the show — because we don’t see it until it airs — I saw how awful my walk actually was. There’s no hiding that, that’s for sure.

When it came to the spinning runway, not only have I hardly done any runway at this point, but now you’re going to make it spin on me? Let’s just kind of jump in and see what happens.

What did you think of your makeover your previous week?

The makeover was cool. I’ve kind of dyed my hair a lot of different colors and I’ve had a lot of different lengths, but I’ve never had like an amber. I like doing new things. To me it was kind of fun to mix it up and do something different, so I was down with it.

Walk me through the story of how Tyra found you in the ice cream truck.

I work on a gourmet ice cream truck. So it’s customized ice cream sandwiches, called Cool House. And I was just at a regular truck shift and out on the street — a place we actually go to a lot, so I had been there a number of times. And it was kind of toward the end of the shift. These 2 girls, they come up to the truck and they start talking to me. And I’m doing my normal ice cream routine with them and not thinking much of it. We were talking for about 5 minutes or so and it was odd because it just happened that there was no one else around at that time.

Toward the end of the conversation, the one girl says to me, “Have you ever done any modeling.” And I said, “No.” She said, “Have you ever thought about doing it?” And I said, “Not a whole lot.” She said, “I’m casting for America’s Next Top Model, we’re doing guys and girls this cycle, I think you’d be really good for the show. Can I get your info?” And it wasn’t until she said that that I realized it was Tyra! And I was like, “Oh, sh-t.” So now I’m a little nervous because I wasn’t expecting that. She said, “Yeah, can I get your info? I’m not hitting on you. I just want to give it to my people.”

I ended up writing down my name and my number on an order ticket and gave it to her. And 2 weeks later casting called me, and the rest is history.

On the show, you got kind of close to Bianca the first week. I’ve talked to her since and she told me that you guys dated for a few months. Tell me more about that.

It was great. I didn’t go into it expecting to meet somebody, you know? And when we were there, we weren’t in the house together for a whole lot of time, but it was obvious that there was some chemistry between us. So after I got out, we started just hanging out more and loved being around each other. And we had a good time together. Yeah, we ended up dating for a few months following the show. It was only recently that we split up. It was one of those things where we were at different places both kind of career and life. She’s incredibly gorgeous and talented and she’s got many big things ahead for her, so we have nothing but love for each other.

What was it like on the set for the trailer park photo shoot this week?

It was so wacky. I live in L.A., so I was kind of familiar with where we were going all the time, for the most part. So when I notice we’re driving for a while, I’m like, “Where the hell are we going?” And we end up at this trailer park way off the freeway. We pull up and everyone is just confused and they tell us we’re doing some trailer park chic shoot. It was a blast. Everyone was joking around for the most part. The clothes were just ridiculous. It was a fun shoot, I just wish it had went a little better for me.

Do you think you have a shot to come back later this season with the fan vote?

I certainly hope so. I was kind of sent home by the fans on the last episode, so I’m a little nervous, but you just gotta keep doing what you do. If they like it they like it, if they don’t they don’t. They just want to see good modeling. They just want to see that you’re improving.

In your opinion, did you come in with a disadvantage since you had never had any modeling experience before and everyone else had?

Yeah, it’s definitely a disadvantage. The first photo shoot, I’m literally like, “What do you want me to do. I’ve never done this.” So it’s a little terrifying. But at the same time, I think I went into it very open and honest about everything and took in everything that they were telling me and absorbed everything. It might not show on the show, but I personally got a lot out of it and learned a lot being there, so that’s important to me.

What are you taking away from the experience?

It sounds really cheesy to say, but being on there and going through the experience and the way it happened, it taught me how to live in the moment more and just give it your all. Just go for it, be open and be honest.

What was it like having Tyra as a mentor on the show?

Tyra is a sweetheart. Every time she was around, she was really helpful. You could always ask her a question and she was very hands-on with us. She obviously impacted my life tremendously.

What’s next for you down the line?

You know, it’s been a crazy year so far and I think it’s only going to continue to grow and build. I feel like this is the beginning for me in terms of putting myself out there. Modeling is something I definitely want to continue doing. I found a joy from being in front of the camera and talking to the camera, so I see myself eventually getting into some more TV stuff. The future is very open and it is very bright right now.

Carson Blackwelder is an Associate Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow him on Twitter and Google+!

08.30.2013 / 12:00 AM EDT by Carson Blackwelder
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