'Top Model' 's First to Go: 'I Was Shocked'

Photo: The CW/Jim DeYonker /Landov

Top Model has hit the ground running, and with its first photo shoot came its first elimination. Kim may have chosen to leave voluntarily, but Atalya got the first official goodbye for a “forgettable” photo shoot and all-around presence. And even though she thinks a commercial girl like herself could’ve been given more of a chance, Atalya’s committed to proving the judges wrong by making modeling her “number one” priority and looking for success in fashion, commercials or acting. But first, she talked to PEOPLE about not being “just a pretty face” and which girl she thinks has what it takes to make it to the top. –Archana Ram

How would you rate your performance at the photo shoot?I could’ve taken a little more risk. As compared to some of the other girls, they actually had experience being homeless before, and I was fortunate enough to have never experienced that before, so they said I needed to connect more with the emotion. I could’ve, but I also don’t think I had the weakest picture there. Other girls’ critiques were bad, like Allison’s critique was really bad. I don’t think I should’ve been sent home first.

Did you disagree with any of the judges’ comments about your photo?The judges didn’t get a chance to know me or see what I can do. They just judged off that one homeless photo and I disagree with that. I think I’m way more than a pretty face. They could’ve gotten me to the makeovers to see if they could work with me and maybe then I could prove them wrong, but that’s what I’m working on now — showing that I can be versatile. But I appreciate their opinions. I’m not mad at anything they said.

What were you thinking when you were in the bottom two with Amis?I didn’t think I was going home. The competition was about learning and growing, and in previous cycles, they’ve pushed commercial girls forward. I thought they were going to give me a chance. And especially with Kimberly quitting, it wasn’t even in my mind that I was going home. I knew the show had to go on, but in previous cycles, they didn’t eliminate the girl when another contestant chose to leave, so I was shocked.

Were you surprised by Kim’s decision to leave?I didn’t see it coming. It was kind of random. She said, “Yeah, I don’t want to be here,” but I didn’t think she was actually going to quit, so it was a shock to everyone.

So, who do you think will go all the way?I’ll be rooting for Aimee because she was really sweet. I think she’ll be really good. I hope she goes far.

Tell us: Do you think Atalya or Amis should have been the first to go?The CW/Jim DeYonker /Landov

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