Since its debut in 2003, America's Next Top Model has continued to draw both viewers and hopefuls--the Sept. 8 season premiere snagged 4 million viewers. And one of the young women who had 8 million eyes on her was Boise's own Chelsey Hersley. The bright, blonde, gap-toothed, freckle-faced 23-year-old made it through the cuts to live with 13 other thin, beautiful girls hoping to become "America's next top model."
When we spoke to Hersley, an ANTM cop--uh, representative--was on the line to make sure she didn't give away any of this season's secrets.
As we chat, I'm assuming there are certain things we can't talk about, correct?
When did you first decide you wanted to be a model?
I actually wanted to be a model since I was 3 years old. My sister and her friends would dress me all up and put lipstick on me and tell me to "strike a pose." I was just a natural at it.
When did you first think about trying out for ANTM?
As soon as I was old enough to try out, I was doing other things. I was living in New York modeling for an agency, and it just wasn't the right time. I don't know why I waited until this cycle to try out. It just kind of fell into place, it was the right time. I guess I never really thought I could be on the show.
What's the actual process for trying out?
Well, this cycle, I believe, was the first time that they didn't have an open call. So you kind of had to be asked to audition. I actually saw something on Facebook, so I e-mailed them and sent my picture and they called me back and said they wanted me to come to L.A.
So you were actually invited?
Yes. It was very exciting to be asked to audition.
When you got to L.A., how many young women were there?
There were a little less than 300 I think, which, I guess, is probably a pretty small amount.
As someone pursuing a career in a field where it's great to be bright and personable but it's really about what you look like, did you look around and think, "There's no way I can compete," or did you think, "Wow, I really have something different to offer?"
Because we were handpicked, everybody already had a good look and some sort of modeling potential. It did kind of up the stakes and made me a little nervous because there were a lot of people there with a lot of potential. But I feel like I have a unique look.
What is that look?
First off, I have freckles. I'm covered in freckles, and I'm not a redhead. I'm blonde, but I have dark eyes and dark eyebrows. I have a gap in my teeth, which some models have but not very many.
In those first hours in the house, did you think, "These are people I can hang out with," or did you think, "I have to take them all down?"
Cycle 15 is probably the most competitive, and everybody has a lot more potential than most cycles have had in the past. When we were all in the house, I was like, "This is my competition," but for the most part, they were all really, really nice.
How often did you actually get to see Tyra?
ANTM police: She can't talk about that, sorry.
That's fine. I thought I'd give it a shot.
When you are in the house, do you choose what you eat and drink or does someone choose that for you?
ANTM police: We can't talk about that. Sorry. I'm being the police.
Can you talk at all about anything that happened in the house?
ANTM police: We can't talk about anything that happens in the house. We can talk about the casting call and what drew her there and everything that happens before she goes in the house.
OK. Then how did you prepare to go to the casting call? Did you diet, exercise, study?
No, I felt pretty confident in my fashion knowledge. Some of the girls probably studied up, but it's my passion. I eat and breathe it, and I know everything there is to know about the fashion industry. I've been a crash dieter, and I've been all those things the modeling industry makes you feel like you have to do, and I'm at a point in my life where I'm happy with what I am and who I am and what size I am, so I figured I'd go to the casting and if they didn't like it, it wasn't meant to be.