Local woman to compete on 'Top Model'
Northport, Ala., is not exactly the kind of place one expects to see men in Armani suits or women parading the sidewalks in Prada, but its high fashion status might be upped slightly this fall, and not because of houndstooth or gameday attire.
Kendal Brown, 23, attended Tuscaloosa County High School, loves spending time with her family and claims she was born to model. And if Tyra Banks has anything to say about it, she was right.
“God gave me this talent, and I want to use it to help my family,” Brown said.
The 5-foot-11 lover of Versace recently returned to the South after spending months on the set of the fifteenth cycle of the fashion-forward reality show “America’s Next Top Model.”
After submitting photos to an online contest on Tyra.com, Brown said she was ecstatic to find that she had been selected for a private audition to be on the show.
“It was kind of crazy to think, ‘I was in Northport, Alabama not long ago,’” Brown said. “‘In Alabama one minute and now I’m here.’”
The show’s new season premieres tonight at 7 p.m. on CW21 and features the top 14 contestants from these auditions. The prospective models compete in many challenges such as photo shoots, commercials and runway shows, all to be critiqued by the esteemed panel of judges, including modeling superstar and producer Tyra Banks.
“Tyra is so cool,” Brown said. “It was a good experience. It was pretty hard, kind of different for me, ‘cause I’m a family person. I’d never even been on a plane before.”
The show, like any reality TV series, also has its behind-the-scenes moments, where the contestants are shown in their ‘natural environment,’ a.k.a. the hotel rooms and social settings they encounter while not doing challenges or facing the judges. Brown said she hung back in those instances, while some of the girls are more up-front about things.
“The hardest thing was not talking to my family,” she said. “Talking to the other people there. I’m a more reserved type person. I’m going to just sit there and chill.”
Brown said some of her fellow contestants were nice, while with others it was obvious that they “didn’t give a damn” about where she came from or who she was.
But that kind of thing did not deter Brown from pursuing her aspirations to be on top, especially walking the runway as opposed to doing photo shoots or other gigs.
“Runway is my thing,” she said.
After the excitement of being on the show died down and it was time to return to Dixie, Brown said she had mixed feelings about being back.
“I was excited to come home, but I kind of miss some of the girls,” she said.
She is sure that she is not finished with her pursuit of a modeling career. Brown said she plans on traveling from her home in Alabama often, going back and forth to jobs and keeping up with her dreams.
“But you know,” Brown said, “I don’t want to move. I’m an Alabama girl.”