October 30, 2010 11:30 AM by Allyson Wells
The last two episodes of America’s Next Top Model found 18-year-old Esther Petrack in the bottom two.Â Tyra BanksÂ referred to Esther as her curvy sister, and gave Esther the unfortunate news that after a disastrous commercial photo shoot and lackluster runway show with Zac Posen, she was eliminated.Â Esther made quite an impression on her model competitors for being a Modern Orthodox Jewish model who practiced eating kosher.Â Esther recently spoke out on her experience with the show, Tyra Banks, and what it felt like to observe different religious practices while trying to be a model.
Question:Â Do you get a chance to watch the show?
Esther:Â I’ve been watching every episode. I haven’t actually be able to watch my elimination episode. I’ve watched the whole Zac Posen part, and I saw myself get kicked off. My friend sent me a message saying, “Oh, it was so great,” so I was like, “I should see this!”Â He was like, “You didn’t cry, you weren’t freaking out, you weren’t acting like a three-year-old,” so … yay!
Question:Â Was it kind of a shock to have to go back into the real world?
Esther:Â Yeah, very much so. I remember, like an hour or so after I was eliminated, I was taken to a local mall. And I didn’t even want to go shopping. I was like, “I just need to be around people. I just need to be around strangers who don’t know my name.”
Question:Â What was life like in the Top Model house? Which girls did you really connect with?
Esther:Â I really connected with the girls in my room, so I loved Jane, Ann. I liked Rhianna, I liked Lexie. I liked a lot of the girls. Almost all the girls. I think sometimes it’s hard because you’re with a bunch of people that you would not necessarily be with in real life. Like, I know some of the girls would never be with me in real life, and I would never be with them in real life. So it’s different.
Question:Â The scenes where they showed you in the house made it seem like keeping kosher isolated you from the rest of the girls in the house. How difficult was it?
Esther:Â Itâ€™s true that, for example, Chris and Liz would cook a meal for the other nine girls. I would be eating with them, but there were things that I just couldnâ€™t participate in. I would have to say, “That looks delicious, Chris. I just canâ€™t have it.” But in a sense, we all had our own food drawers. You keep it with whoever you buy your groceries with, so for example Sara and Chelsey shared, etc. It wasnâ€™t just everyone and then Esther.
Question:Â How did you react when you heard about the hubbub over your observance?
Esther:Â I’m not going to take it personally, but it was frustrating. It was particularly bad when people who I know commented on it, like when one of my teachers spoke about it to their students. I get that what I did isnâ€™t what everyone wants their daughter to do. I knew that going into it. But on the show I was a good person, and I don’t feel like I did anything bad.
Question:Â Which was your favorite photo shoot?
Esther:Â I loved the Matthew Rolston one. The whole planning … everything just came together so well, and the styling, and I really loved the story of the underwater sea goddesses. I thought it was a really great photo shoot. It was such a smooth day. I remember talking to Claudia, one of the people who works on the photo shoots, she organizes everything. And I was, “Claudia, everything is just happening so incredibly smoothly.” She was like, “Yeah, we’re working with Matthew Rolston, we’re not going to go ahead and screw that up.” And I loved the Patrick Demarchelier one, too.
Question:Â Maybe how much you loved the Matthew Rolston shoot was shining through?
Esther:Â Yeah, I also think that part of it was finally there was a week where I did well. That was the first week where I saw my picture and I was like, “Oh, maybe I’m competition too.” Before that, I know there were some girls who were like, “Oh, she’s still in the house. She may be pretty, but she’s not really good for this. Especially for this cycle.” I could tell there were some girls that were like, “Why is she here?” I think after that photo shoot, I was like, “This is why I’m here!”
Question:Â Were they saying those things to you, or is that just the feeling you got from them?
Esther:Â It may have been partially my insecurities, thinking, “How did I end up here? How did I end up among these girls who have been modeling for ten years and counting?” But part of it, you can just kind of tell, because you live with people. I had never been to a real, legit photo shoot before the Deborah Anderson one, which was the first one. So, for me, that was a huge deal. And Chelsey was like, “This isn’t usually how photo shoots are. There’s this, there’s that.” And I’m like, “OK, I’ll take your word for it. OK, sure. This is my first real photo shoot, so I’ll just play along with it!”
Question:Â The commercial shoot was really out of the ordinary, with the rollerskates, and selling that product. What was the hardest part about that shoot for you?
Esther:Â I think the hardest part for a lot of people was just pulling everything together. Like you said, there was just a lot going on. You had to roller skate. You had to look good doing it. You had to look interested in the guy also. You had to remember your lines. You had to look funny and engaging. And you had to sell the product but make sure you’re not shoving it down people’s throats. At the same, making sure all your angles are right for the camera, which is at your side. And all these things. So we all had to make a list in our heads, like “What’s most important for me?”
Question:Â How did you feel about your shoot afterward?
Esther:Â Afterward, I did not think I would go home. I knew I hadn’t done that well, but some girls had done much worse than I had. Some girls told me that they’d botched up their lines. I was like, “I would be nervous if I were in your shoes at panel.” Some girls were telling me that Nigel told them, “You were uncomfortable,” and that’s it. My feed back was … He told me every take I get is better. I did not think I would go home.
Question:Â Did you find Tyra’s criticism during panel helpful?
Esther:Â Yeah, I did. I’m one of the big fans of Tyra’s criticism. Everything that you’re told, it’s a direction that you could be better. Here’s how you will be better in the future. And so I’m a big fan of the judges’ criticism. If you can give me critique, the more the merrier. I need all the help I can get!
Question:Â In an interview with the Boston Herald, you mentioned that you lost a lot of weight during the show.
Esther:Â We were always running, we were always stressed out. You donâ€™t see really the schedule from watching the show. The photo shoot looks like itâ€™s 20 minutes, but can be up to 14 hours. We would get home at 2 a.m. and have to leave at 7 a.m. And walking the runway is just physically hard, running in 6-inch heels too big for you. Some people gain weight, some lose weight from stress. I know that after I was eliminated, that night I slept for 14 or 15 hours.
Question:Â Your makeover was less extreme than the other girls. Were you happy with it or did you want a more radical change?
Esther:Â I thought it looked great. I had no idea what they would do, but I didn’t expect it to look that good. When the girls in the house were talking they all thought I got out the best. And I think so too. Thank God, no weave, no crazy bleaching!
Question:Â Who are you rooting for?
Esther:Â I’m rooting for really any girl who really appreciates what she’s getting, because I think winning this cycle … like, may we all get to be on the pages of Italian Vogue someday, without Top Model. But I know that’s not going to happen, we’re not all going to get there. Only the winner is. I just want the girl who wins to appreciate what she’s getting, and appreciate how big of a deal it is.
Question:Â Are you going to continue modeling?
Esther:Â Yes, I definitely want to continue modeling. I want to see where this takes me, where it goes and what I can do.
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Photo credit: The CW
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