It was a week of makeovers, bitching and… Louis Smith. But it was 20-year-old criminology student Danielle Sandhu who was the next contestant to be eliminated by Elle, Tyson and Dannii after failing to produce the goods on her photoshoot. She spoke to RadioTimes.com all about her time in the house, the nerves that got the better of her and why she believes Abi and Saffron should have got the boot instead.
So, how did you find your time in the house, Danielle?
It was one of the best experiences of my life. People ask me a lot what it was like and it’s just so hard to describe because there were so many ups and downs and you never know what you’re going to be doing day-to-day and who you’re going to be meeting. You get to do incredible stuff.
It must have been pretty difficult adjusting to life back home afterwards?
That was the hardest part – getting eliminated and coming out. You’re in a bubble with these girls and then you’re back to reality in the real world. It took me a week or so to grasp that and go back to uni and work. You don’t have connections with anyone or anything so you’re literally in this bubble. There were ten of us in one of the bedrooms and it was like a really big sleepover. When it went from that to being in bed on my own it was quite lonely and strange.
So you all got on like a house on fire? Surely not…
Well, I clicked straight away with Saffron and Holly at boot camp but then they turned a bit bitchy and I found myself in positions where they were just bitching about girls for no reason. I wasn’t sure what they were going to be saying behind my back and the group dynamics kept changing. Then I clicked with Naomi and Sophie and we became quite close. It was really nice to have them – when I was down some of the other girls might rub in that they’d done really well and if you feel like you haven’t it’s really hard because you beat yourself up even more and it makes you feel quite down. But they were never like that – even if they did well they wouldn’t come out and rub it in my face. You forget sometimes that you’re all there for the same thing and there’s only one winner. You’re spending so much time with girls that all want the same thing – it’s quite catty and bitchy at times.
Have you enjoyed watching yourself back on TV? Or have you been cringing?
You don’t know what’s going to be shown and what’s going to be edited so I was really nervous. I couldn’t relax the whole way through. People who know me thought I seemed really quiet and I tried to explain that it’s hard when there are fourteen girls and they’re all fighting for attention. I didn’t want to be shouting my way through and trying to be something I’m not just to be seen so I found myself fading into the background a bit. I did cringe at myself sometimes – it’s weird seeing yourself back on TV. And I never normally leave the house without my make-up on so that broke to the world what I actually look like!
What was your favourite part of the competition?
Meeting Dannii Minogue and Tyson and Elle was amazing. You don’t get to meet these people every day and to have them mentoring you and talking to you and helping you – it’s just really weird. It’s strange to think that when they’re looking at pictures of you they’re actually looking at you and talking about you and it’s so nice to hear people as successful as they are saying great things about you. It’s hard when everybody else is doing well and you don’t want them to think you’re weak, but then the next day you’re on a shoot and doing the Harlem Shake with Dannii Minogue and you forget all about it.
Did the judges give you any advice?
On the shoot with Dannii she kept saying that I looked nervous and tried to help me relax by giving a few pointers. I think Dannii also told me not to wear padded bras but I wasn’t wearing one so I wasn’t really sure what to say. I was like, “I’ve just got big boobs”.
Do you think it was your nerves that led to your elimination?
I think also lack of experience. I was the least experienced one in there – a lot of the girls had done modelling and once you’ve done it a few times you know how to control the nerves and what angles look best. I wasn’t sure what my best angle was and I felt thrown into the deep end. I told the judges I might still come across as nervous but from the first day at boot camp until the last day I was stood in front of them, I noticed in myself a change and I did feel more confident.
Were you annoyed when Saffron and Abi went through to the next round despite both refusing their makeovers?
Yes, that was a bit annoying. When it happened I thought in my head I’d be safe that week because I hadn’t refused what the judges said and I think that’s a lot worse than coming out with a bad picture. Everyone felt the same – we all thought that Abi would definitely be going and if not Saffron so it was a bit frustrating.