Model Leila Goldkuhl 'overwhelmed' by the fan support even after her elimination from 'America's Next Top Model'
Even though Leila Goldkuhl, the gap-toothed model from the University of Rhode Island, has proven herself to be a social media favourite, it wasn’t enough to keep her in the competition past Episode 5.
“I think I competed the best I could and gave it my all and I’m really proud of what I did accomplish,” she told CTV.ca in a recent interview. Despite being disappointed at leaving competition so early, she still revels in what she did achieve during her time on the show.
“The biggest highlight was getting in the house because only 13 of us made it in,” she reflects. “And also, the first week after I got best photo. They were two things I’d been wanting for so long and that they happened so close to each other (made) for a really high point.”
But things changed pretty quickly after that highpoint as the tension began to rise between Leila and other models in the house, especially Laura and Kristin.
“I trusted Laura automatically and I thought we were good friends, but I guess I didn’t see the difference between being someone’s friend and being a competitor,” Leila says.
“Being friends in a competition is hard – you’re living with these girls and you’re competing with them and they’re all you have, so naturally you want to make friendships with them. I thought I was friends with some of the girls, but . . . that was not the case. I had no idea what was going on and it caught me off guard. I really thought (Laura and I) were friends.”
Laura and Kristin began talking about Leila in The Tyra Suite and Leila retaliated by telling Laura she was obsessed with herself in front of the rest of the models.
“The only thing I would do differently for my own well-being is keep my guard up a little more and not trust my competitors as much,” she says about the incident.
But despite the fall out in the house, and the lack of judges’ support (most notably Kelly Cutrone, who gave Leila’s last photo a 4/10), Leila has proven to be incredible popular online. As this is the first cycle of “ANTM” where the public gets a say in who makes it to the finale, this might not be the last time we see Leila on the catwalk.
“I’m so completely overwhelmed seeing the support since my photos went online. Even though I was eliminated, it’s not like people have forgotten me. People are voicing their opinions even more and still supporting me big time.
“It’s something I really never expected to happen and I’m so thankful for all of it.”
In Leila’s last episode, the models both met singer Alicia Keys, walked in a fashion show for her charity, Keep the Child Alive, (“She’s so sweet and cute,” according to Leila), and also posed mid-air as cheerleaders.
“That was really difficult. I’ve never been a cheerleader before, or been thrown up in the air like that. It looks easy enough, but after my first try, I was like, ‘This is going to be a lot harder than I thought!’
“I did have some tries where my face and body didn’t line up and that’s what brought me down,” she says, referencing the judges’ critique of her having “duck lips” in her final photo. “But I figure, when am I going to ever have to do that again?
“I’m definitely not a cheerleader, I’m a model,” she insists.
When she’s not on the catwalk, Leila studies fashion merchandising, textiles and design, having transferred from marine biology a year ago, and she believes her new major will help her modeling, and her modeling will in turn help her business career.
“I definitely want to keep modeling and work with big designers and be with a big agency,” she says. “I want to do it every day . . . even when it’s hard. I know I’ll enjoy it.”
"America’s Next Top Model: College Edition" will be available online every Saturday at 12 a.m. ET. It also airs Sunday nights at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CTV Two.
About Lindsay Zier-Vogel
Lindsay Zier-Vogel has been working for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to interviewing the famed American choreographer Bill T. Jones and Canadian prima ballerina Karen Kain, Lindsay’s highlights include criss-crossing Canada on four SYTYCDC audition tours and covering the Juno Awards. Follow her on Twitter!