Renee says being with Marvin on ‘ANTM’ was the happiest time of her life
Renee Bhagwandeen says being on “America’s Next Top Model” was one of the best times in her life but it wasn’t just the modeling that made the experience so memorable.
Her budding romance with fellow contestant Marvin Cortes, who will compete in next week’s finale alongside Jourdan Miller and Cory Hindorff, also had plenty do with it.
“That was something that was so out of left field for me, you have no idea. I’m very private when it comes to me and my relationships. I don’t want too many people to have input, especially not the whole world,” she says with a laugh.
“Watching it now, I felt like my whole attitude changed when me and Marvin kind of started talking a little bit more. I enjoyed the show, being there, so much more and being there with him and getting to share all that with him was the happiest time of my life. I don't think I've ever been that happy.”
The 24-year-old model from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was eliminated on the most recent episode of “ANTM” after host Tyra Banks felt her upside down photo with bats looked like an amateur shot.
“I definitely agree with her . . . in this competition, this is just the point where I needed to probably just do a little bit better to compete with the other people who were still left on the show because they’re really, really good and I guess one bad picture can send you home.”
Since leaving the show, Renee says she and Marvin have continued to stay in touch.
“We talk pretty much every day. He’s one of my closest friends. He currently lives in L.A. right now . . . I haven’t seen him in a while but I’m pretty sure we’re going to see each other soon. His birthday is coming up,” says Renee.
So does that mean the two are dating?
“I think we’re doing the long distance thing right now. On the phone, I guess, but we haven’t really got to spend time with each other off the show, in person. When that happens we’ll know for sure.”
Renee says she’s been overwhelmed with the fan response she’s received to her and Marvin’s time together on the show.
“I’ve never really had people support me like this before. My family’s never really been on board with the whole modeling thing and all that and they’re very overprotective so I could never tell them about a guy really. This is one of the first guys they could actually see. Marvin’s talked to my mom on Skype and stuff before so it’s super strange.”
But she admits that having her family see some of the more private moments between her on Marvin on TV has been awkward.
“I watched pretty much every episode with my family and right now I’m in New York, this is the first episode I hadn’t seen with them, so my mom calls me and says, ‘Are you fornicating on TV?’ And I was like, ‘No!!’
“I’m celibate and my mom knows that, too, and she’s just like, ‘Oh my God people are going to think you’re having sex on TV’ and I was like, ‘No we were probably just playing tag or something. We weren’t doing anything.’”
As well as spending time with Marvin, Renee says being on “ANTM” taught her many valuable things about the modeling world.
“I learned so much on the show about people and about what the industry wants and what they don’t want and the advice Tyra has given me. I think it’s really helped me progress in this industry so I’m so happy I was able to get this experience.”
She is currently pursuing opportunities in New York, but is saving up to move to L.A., which just happens to be where Marvin lives.
“I’m not moving for him,” she says with a laugh, “But it’s a good bonus.”
Who will be crowned the next “America’s Next Top Model?” Don’t miss the finale exclusively online at CTV.ca.