America's Choice

Karen explains what it was like winning the online vote.

My very first experience of Make Me a Supermodel Season 2 began at the casting special. I didn't know what to expect, and unsure if America wanted to make me a part of the show. When Cory advised the America's Vote people to step forward, my heart started beating out of my chest. I had all these feelings bottled into one — excitement, anxious, nervous, and overjoyed. Tyson called my name and my eyes popped out of my head, then he paused and said, "Karen, America has voted you in the house." I felt relieved and privileged that I was going to be a part of this journey.

Our very first photo shoot was inside a transparent box hung high in the air. We were paired with another model and I chose Shaun. I thought Shawn had an exotic look, and a photo with us both would be a nice look. I had never done a photo shoot with anyone before, so I was ready for the new experience. Working with Shawn was pleasant, because he seemed as driven as I was to be the best in the competition. Tyson also gave me a comment at the photo shoot that I always look mean. And I am not trying to look mean. I am always trying to think of what my next move will be so I took a mental note of that.

My competition (other models) look pretty decent. There is a great mixture of diverse looks. No one stands out to me, as far as looking like they will thrive in the competition or completely fail. I will soon see.

After the photo shoot we are excited to learn that our next stop will be at our loft in Brooklyn. I am hoping for a hot tub and some red wine. I am not sure who I want to room with quite yet because everyone seems nice.So we finally make it to the loft, and the place is so nice. The decoration on the walls and the carpet coloring is so welcoming. There was no hot tub, but I will make it work. Laury asked me to room with her, and it ends up being Colin, Chris, Laury, and I in a room. We have our own bathroom and are stoked.

The next day we have our runway show and I am a little nervous because I don't have much runway experience. We do a practice round with Tyson and Nicole and I completely freeze up. The weakest walkers were me, CJ, and Kerryn. Colin was weak on the boys' side. After the practice I was ready to impress the judges. I knew I had to do better come showtime.

Getting ready for the first catwalk was so exciting. I love getting my hair and make up done. I love the preparation and practice for the show.

The first show was very fascinating. I performed well. I loved my look and my final walk for the judges. Ken ended up getting booted off, and I actually think he wanted to leave.

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I AM a Supermodel

Branden talks about his win, what he'll do with the money, and if he plans on asking Nicole out. At the beginning of the season, did you think you would win? Or who did you think would after seeing the other models?
Well, I’ve got to admit, at the beginning of the season, I was very intimidated by all the models, definitely I thought I wasn’t going to be underestimating myself. And really who I thought was going to win was either Sandhurst or Jonathan. That’s who I thought was going to win. So when I got down to them at the end, when I was with them, I was just amazed by myself. I thought “Holy crap! I really made it this far.” I had a one in three chance to win so why not just go for it? Especially in the last episode they [Jonathan & Sanhurst] almost kind of played father figures during the show for you. What was that relationship like with the other guys?
The relationship with the other guys was very good. I love those two. Jonathan, he’s more of the father figure type of guy and Sanhurst is more of just like your best friend. I really was privileged to actually share a home with them for two months and have fun with them. I had fun no matter what we were doing. In the last episode, you get to shoot with this amazing photographer in the first part and do the whole Polaroid challenge with that camera. What was that like?
That was my favorite photo shoot out of all of them. It wasn’t like "Do this pose." It wasn’t very "posey." It was more showing yourself. There was one of them that was pretty posy because it was a high fashion one, but then there was your portrait, and then there was there’s the group shot. And I felt like in the group shot, I did the best. And then you had the Cosmo shoot. Did that just feel really natural to you?
Well that was probably one of my favorite photo shoots. It was very natural. And they just told me to act like that guy that girls want to be with and the guy that guys want to be friends with. And I was good in that and they said "You really are a Cosmo guy." And I felt very confident about that. In your final catwalk, you had the more playful one, and then you had the Ben Sherman one, what did you want to accomplish with those catwalks?
Really on those catwalks, I just wanted to show them that I’ve matured since the beginning of the competition and that I know what I’m doing and I’m ready to be a supermodel. That’s really what I was just trying to show them. And I felt a little awkward and funny in the whole suit I had on with all the bows. It was kind of weird. But, it was fun. They kept saying you went from a boy to a man. Like the first episode you were struggling with maybe [the fact that] you were working with a gay model and you kind of made a big deal about it in the first episode. Do you think that your mind has totally just opened?
First of all, at the beginning of the competition, I was not homophobic. I have tons of gay friends. I just felt uncomfortable for my first shot because me and my mom and everybody were talking about it and stuff and I just don’t want to be portrayed that way even though I love gay people. They’re some of the funniest people in the world. But I just felt a little awkward to do anything like I wasn’t going to go past the point of kissing him. I would not have kissed him. [He] was like "Why don’t you guys kiss" and I was like, "Hell no, dude!” What was your favorite challenge?
My favorite challenge was probably, I would have to say, the Timothy Greenfield one, with the portraits. That was just awesome. It was so much fun. One of the judges asked you an interesting question: You are so close to your mother. Once your modeling career really starts, you’re going to be traveling all over. You’re going to be separated from her. Have you thought about that and how you’re going to handle that?
Me and my mom talked about it a lot and I’m ready to get out there. I’m ready to leave home. I’m 19 years old now. I’m just ready to get out there and find out what this world’s got to give me. What are you going to do with the money?
With the money, I’m getting my mom a nice car, and then I’m going to move to New York. And I have a couple bills. Well you won, so are you going to take Nicole out?
I wish! Do you have any final thoughts about this season that you want to share with your fans or want to say anything to them?
I just want to say to all my fans, thank you for believing in me and helping me along the way. It was a great season. It was a great accomplishment and it was just a great privilege to have and I’m very privileged to have fans like everybody that I’m around. So, thanks to everyone.


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