Shannon says she would've been eliminated from 'ANTM' even if she had posed in underwear
It may have got her eliminated from “America’s Next Top Model” but Shannon Stewart stands by her decision to not pose in underwear.
The 27-year-old, who hails from Franklin, Ohio, refused to take part in a “salad bowl” photo shoot in Greece because of the lingerie set she would’ve had to wear.
“I did it on Season 1 and ever since then I have not posed in underwear again. It’s like black and white, I do not pose in underwear. No ifs, ands or buts on what it looks like, it’s just I don’t do it. I’m very happy with my decision,” Shannon tells CTV.ca over the phone.
But the judges weren’t so happy about her decision. They thought the underwear looked a lot like a swimsuit and found her stance confusing. Nigel Barker said he thought it was more of a “naming” issue than a moral issue.
Shannon, who has said she will only wear underwear for her husband and no one else, doesn’t agree.
“That’s like saying just because it doesn’t look like it doesn’t mean that it is… to me that’s being a hypocrite. If I say I’m not going to do it, I’m not going to do it.”
Shannon, who adds she’s also selective in the types of bathing suits she’ll pose in, says if she would’ve done the shoot, she likely would’ve been eliminated anyway.
“They would have (shown a clip) from the first episode of me saying, ‘I don’t pose in underwear’ then they’d show me in the Greek salad bowl posing in it and then they would say, ‘Well, you went against your brand… so therefore we’re going to eliminate you.’ It was like a two-edged sword.”
Shannon has stuck to her guns on the issue ever since she first appeared on Cycle 1 of “ANTM.”
Even though she did pose in underwear during the taping of that show, she refused to take part in a nude photo shoot for one of the challenges. Only 18 at the time, Shannon says it was a lot harder to say no then but is glad she did what she felt was right.
“They aired me crying but I was crying because I was watching (fellow contestant) Adrian. I just felt bad, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, she doesn’t have to do this.’”
Being a model who doesn’t pose in underwear -- or revealing swimsuits -- has proved to be challenging in her career at times but Shannon says it has been worth it.
“If I’m going to make it I’m going to make it with hopefully clean hands and a pure conscience but it makes the reward so much more satisfying when I do make it and when I do get jobs because I did it remaining true to who I am,” she says.
Shannon, who says she was signed with IMG Models after Cycle 1, adds she still has been able to book a lot of jobs.
“There are so many other girls who will do the jobs that I won’t and that’s fine, they can have them. I’ll do the ones where I can smile or laugh. You can still be sexy being dressed, you don’t have to take it all off.”
She says her family and husband have been very supportive over the years and were extremely proud of her when she refused to pose in the Greek salad bowl on “ANTM.”
“They knew my standards, they see me every day. The judges are saying they’re confused but they don’t know me… I really left with my head held high. I was very proud that I did not do that shoot. I really wanted to win but the costs were too high.”
Shannon, who was the only contestant to return from Cycle 1, says she had no idea what she was getting into at the time.
“I thought that it was basically going to make me a supermodel. That’s truly what I thought. I was so excited, I couldn’t believe it. That’s not what happened. You do the show, they don’t really call you, they don’t push you for any jobs, it’s basically up to you, what you want to do with it and I didn’t know that.
“They want ratings, that’s all they want. These young girls are dying to go on there but it’s not really what they think, it’s not real modeling.”
Even so, Shannon, who has also done motivational speaking to share her story, wanted to return to the show to do “All-Stars” because of her fans.
“I got letters through MySpace and Facebook (from people who said), ‘We’re so encouraged by your story, you stood up for what you believe in.’”
About Sheri Block
Sheri Block has been covering entertainment for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to covering Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding in London, Sheri’s highlights have included going on tour with “Canadian Idol,” being a stand-in on “Canada’s Next Top Model” and meeting Colin Farrell at the Toronto International Film Festival.Follow her on Twitter!