As the underdog who shined in phenomenal pictures, Brooklyn native Lauren was a surprise treat for the Top Model judges. But on Wednesday, all those photographs couldn’t stand up against an awkward Italian-language commercial and what Tyra Banks interpreted as a lack of effort, which ultimately had Lauren packing her bags back to N.Y.C. In a chat with PEOPLE, Lauren lashed out at some of the other contestants and tells us what really made the commercial shoot so painful. –Archana Ram
Were you truly that nervous for the commercial?It wasn’t nerves so much. It was pain. They made me remove the bandage from my thumb and I didn’t have painkillers after slicing it while cooking. So the lipstick thing, it hit my stitches. I mean, my finger was severed! On the show, they don’t let us have medication that we didn’t have previously, but I needed medication. I probably should’ve had surgery! But they did a suture through the thumbnail itself to hold it together and then six other stitches to hold the wound shut. It was still tender on the inside.
Did you agree with the judges’ comments?Both mine and Whitney’s commercials sucked. Mine sucked because it was painful. Whitney’s sucked because it was all different levels of fakery. It was awful. When you come down to it, I thought being a Cover Girl is about being real, but apparently it turns out that Cover Girl is about being fake and who gets the most dollar bills.
Who did you get along most with in the house? I liked Marvita. She was hilarious. I liked Amis because she was crazy. I liked the fact that she wouldn’t conform to anyone. I also like Kat, but they don’t show much of her. She’s a sweetheart. Anya, precious little Anya. She lives in Candyland and I appreciate that. I remember Anya was confused when Fatima didn’t have her visa because she thought she lost her credit card! And I think it’s pretty obvious who I didn’t get along with. I didn’t like Dominique, Whitney and Fatima.
Speaking of not getting along with roommates, what was your take on the coffee-gate incident? You saw in past episodes, Fatima goes from girl to girl to push their buttons. It’s just her way of initiating to see who she can take advantage of. She likes to see where ‘s boiling points are. I don’t think she was expecting me to jump on her like that after she accused the girls of stealing her coffee and that’s part of the reason why I did that. At panel, you see the meek little Lauren … because I’m trying to take what they have to say to heart because they know what they’re talking about and I don’t. But in the house, I’m a totally different person and I don’t take ‘s crap. I’ve been homeless, I’ve train-hopped, I’ve squatted. I come from a crazy background and I guess it’s my survival instincts.
How did you hear about the show and what motivated you to enter? I’ve watched the show and my boyfriend’s a huge fan. My friend heard on the radio that they were looking for contestants for cycle 9. I tried out, but I forgot about it and then they called me in for cycle 10. I was like, “You know what? What the hell?”
How did your friends and family react when you told them you made it?My family and boyfriend were proud. But a lot of my friends are gutter punks and very against the show. They’re like, “You’re selling out!” But you can’t really do much staying in the gutter your whole life.
What are you up to now? I’m back in Brooklyn and continuing to do my art. I do pen and ink punk-rock flyers, and I’ve been doing more fine arts stuff lately. I’ve done comic books and album covers too. I hope I can do some modeling because you don’t get paid a lot to do art!
Who do you think will win?I wanted to win because I thought I was the most real. But out of everyone, maybe Kat and Anya should win because they’re the most real and kind-hearted. I don’t know if that means anything in the competition though. I would not want to see any of the other girls win. Like Whitney, for example, she talks so much crap about everyone, including the judges, so I wouldn’t want to see someone with such a horrible personality win. Such scum! I don’t want to see them win. I don’t want little girls looking up to them because what’s on TV is a mask and who they really are is completely disgusting. CW