Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model exit interview – Abi Johns

"It was a lot of negative feedback from Tyson. He made me quite upset on a few occasions but that's the nature of the industry, I suppose"

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Abi Johns’ Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model experience was far from smooth. First was the makeover she refused to have, then came the steady stream of criticism from one Tyson Beckford who was determined to prove to his fellow judges that she wasn’t model material. In the end he got his way as Abi became the fourth contestant to be eliminated from this year’s competition. RadioTimes.com caught up with her to hear exactly why she’s no longer interested in a career in modelling and what she really thinks of Tyson Beckford…

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So, Abi – you’ve decided against a career in modelling. At what point in the competition did you come to that conclusion?

I kind of always knew that I didn’t want to model. I auditioned primarily because people always told me I could, so I wanted to see from a professional point of view whether I had the potential or not. I got really far in the program, unwillingly almost. I had an amazing experience but it did confirm that it’s not for me, especially the negative feedback I received from the judges. 

Especially from Tyson – he certainly didn’t hold back with his comments, did he?

It was a lot of negative feedback from Tyson. He made me quite upset on a few occasions but that’s the nature of the industry, I suppose. 

Did you kiss and make up at the end?

No, there was no backstage make up. I just don’t think Tyson liked me very much.

Did you have a better relationship with the other judges?

I like Elle, she was really kind. We had a few talks about stuff and she tried to help me out as much as possible on the show. I really liked Dannii but it’s a difficult situation because in life I want to make friends with people, but when they’re like teachers or judges you can’t have that kind of rapport with someone. I couldn’t have the chats I usually would have with people in real life. 

You talked a lot on the show about your frustration with the negative feedback from the panel even though you were trying to incorporate their criticism…

They told me how to put on my makeup, they told me how to look, they told me how to look at the camera and I took every word and tried so hard to please them but it just didn’t. 

It especially seemed that way on this week’s underwater shoot with Tyson – how did you find that experience?

Horrible. I was wearing this massively heavy dress and I was underwater for the first time in this scary, really deep tank, holding my breath to look pretty underwater for a camera I couldn’t even see and each time I surfaced from this scary experience underwater I had Tyson Beckford abusing me for my lack of effort. It was a really horrible experience – almost a nightmare. 

But it did look like you bonded with the girls on the show?

I made a few really good friends. We’re all going to meet up in Dublin at the end of the month – me, Sophie, Saffron and Holly. And all the girls met up for a promo shoot a few weeks ago and had a really nice day in London.

There’s been a lot of bitching about Angel amongst certain members of the house during the last few episodes – were you involved in that?

I wasn’t in the house at the time she had that argument. I didn’t know what was going on and I think Angel is a really sweet girl and I tried my best to be nice to her. She’ll go really far in life because she’s got such a crazy personality and sometimes she didn’t get on with people in the house but that’s a sacrifice you’ve got to make when you’ve got a big personality. 

Did you find the house to be bitchy?

When people talk about other people it’s hard not to get involved because it’s constant in the house. There are no phones or internet, there’s nothing you can do other than talk about other people and about our experiences that day. It’s very draining but that’s just the nature of what the house is like. It can be quite difficult at times. 

Have you enjoyed watching the show back?

I’m living in Spain at the moment so I have no idea what’s going on. I have a few screenshots of myself that I’ve got from the show but I haven’t read any tweets or looked at it online. A few of my friends have mentioned it but they know I’m not really watching it. It’s recorded on Sky so I might watch a few when I come back but I don’t know – can you die from cringing?

Did you have a feeling it was going to be you heading home this week?

I thought I was going to go every week, honestly. It felt like it was my week to go home every week. 

Who would you have eliminated in your place?

Laura. I might have done badly but I think it’s because Tyson doesn’t really like me anyway so that doesn’t work in my favour. Laura found it difficult to keep her eyes open underwater but she did get a good shot in the end. 

In hindsight, are you glad you didn’t go through with the makeover?

Yes.

Is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have tried not to please as many people. I just don’t think it’s for me, really. I didn’t want it enough and they didn’t want me enough. 


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Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model continues on Thursdays at 9:00pm on Sky Living