Unless you’ve been living on Mars, you definitely know Laura James won America’s Next Top Model – Cycle 19 College Edition.
And even though we were sad to see Leila and Kiara eliminated, we definitely think the newly blond model from Paul Smith’s college in New York was a solid decision.
Check out our exclusive interview with Laura below, and look out for Laura’s photo shoot in our upcoming issue!
Congratulations! How does it feel to be the winner of Cycle 19?
Its very exciting. Its such a nice feeling! I’ve literally told nobody, so I can’t wait for it to be out in the open and not a secret. The only people that know are my mom and dad.
Was there a moment towards the end of the competition when you realized you had it in the bag?
Not really. I definitely made sure that I never just coasted. Each week, I was doing the best that I could. The competition is so intense, so I never wanted to be relaxed about it or get too confident.
What was being on a reality show like?
It’s definitely not what I expected at all. Especially seeing myself with blonde hair–that was a huge change for me. And going through all those different emotions… I really didn’t expect that. I used to be obsessed with show and would be like, ‘Oh, I could totally do that!’ But being there is pretty crazy, especially dealing with all the other girls. It’s all totally real.
Do you feel like the show accurately represented who you are as a person?
I think a lot of people saw me as a mean person at some points. I knew I could’ve handled certain things differently, but I don’t think I’m a mean person at all.
Which of the judges did you learn the most from?
I definitely feel like Tyra and Kelly taught me the most. Kelly is such a huge PR maven, and knows so, so much. But Tyra has been my role model forever.
Are you going to keep your hair blonde?
I am going to keep the blond for a while. I like the blond for now.
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
I hope to be living in New York City for sure, and be successful in the modeling industry as well. I always wanted to be a Guess Girl. Or doing something in Australia would be amazing, since I’m an Australian citizen. Plus, Australia really likes my look, you know, super tall and blond. I need help with my runway walk, but I would love to walk in NY fashion week at some point.
– ALI HOFFMAN