For many Princeton students, summer break is a great time to travel abroad, intern with a congressman, or work on particle accelerators in a lab. Jane Randall ’12, however, spent her summer quite differently: on reality TV. The lean 5-foot-9-inch history major and former varsity lacrosse player appears this month on Cycle 15 of America’s Next Top Model (ANTM), a reality show aimed at giving women a chance to start their career in the modeling industry. Randall, who plans to take a semester off to pursue modeling, spoke with The Weekly Blog’s Tara Thean ’13.
Why did you decide to audition for the show?
I was looking into modeling – I sent my picture to a couple of agencies. Then I was watching Gossip Girl and a little thing popped up about how to audition [for ANTM], so I sent in a picture I had taken in my dorm room.
Can you remember the moment when you got in?
I was really excited when I found out I got in, but it was during finals. Right after I made the show I had to go for a photo shoot in Los Angeles. [Deputy registrar] Robert Bromfield told me that the show’s auditions did not count as an excuse to miss finals, so I got really lucky that I finished all my papers. After the shoot, I went back to Princeton and took a history final at 9 a.m.
Was the show what you expected?
I can never look at reality TV the same way again. Just from knowing how the cameramen tell people to move around, how things can be edited to project any storyline … it’s definitely been frustrating, but it’s exciting to watch. Everything goes by very fast – it’s one of the most physically, immensely exhausting experiences ever. I took the rest of the summer off.
Have you had any surprises watching yourself on TV?
Kind of. Last week I got criticized for not being prepared in studying designers. They said I didn’t seem like a Princeton student. … I told [the judges] I had brought a 16-page study guide with me, but that was edited out! It’s been weird to watch the deliberations part, because I never saw that. You’re hearing what they thought about you behind your back.
What was one of your most memorable moments on the show?
Meeting Demi Lovato in the first photo shoot. I am a huge Disney fan – I’m not ashamed to admit it! I think I was one of the few girls who knew who she was.
Have you ever thought, “Wow, I’m on ANTM”?
I haven’t, actually. When I watch it I don’t really imagine anyone else beyond the people in the room viewing it. It’s weird when people text me or comment on stuff that’s happened on the show. It still really hasn’t hit me, and probably never will. I have received so many new Facebook friend requests – maybe 1,500 – especially from Asia … and a lot of invitations to go to Taiwan and the Philippines!
What is the hardest thing about being a model?
The worst part would absolutely be walking in heels. I never really wore heels before the show, so my feet came out a little worse for the wear. But I’ve been converted. Before people would comment that I’m already tall enough, but now I don’t really care. I was going to wear them on Princeton Halloween, as an angel.
Do people treat you differently in school now that you’ve been on TV?
No. If they talk about it, they don’t talk about it to me. I’ve had a couple of instances where people ask, “Are you the girl from the show?” … I [was] pointed at once by some middle school girls on a tour, but I don’t know if they were pointing at me or [history professor] Anthony Grafton.
My guess is that they were pointing at you. How have your friends and professors reacted?
They’ve all been really supportive. I don’t think any of my professors know, and I don’t think they’ll find out either. I’m assuming they’re not watching it.
One of the judges labeled you “privileged” for attending Princeton and owning horses. What do you think of that?
We had to fill out an application, and I mentioned in one line that I had horses in a barn. In the first audition they kept asking me about my horses. … It wasn’t a big part of my life at all, but I could kind of tell where they were going with the questions. I think I did a good job of giving them a hard time when they asked me about money. I don’t consider it relevant to the competition.
Did anyone else comment about the fact that you go to Princeton?
Everyone thought it was impressive that I went to Princeton. It really wasn’t a big deal, but [being a Princeton student was] something I think they were trying to label me as, so it got brought up more than it would’ve otherwise. They assumed I was really smart. Like in our first opportunities to use the phone, they assumed I would calculate [the allocation of the minutes]. They’d be like, “OK Jane, you do it!” Or the director would be talking about something complicated, and he’d be like, “Jane understands.”
How would you describe your “look”?
The hair and makeup people told me I should do “beauty” – makeup products, more or less. I got good feedback that I could do runway, but I think I’ll be pursuing more of the commercial market. Runway would be amazing if you didn’t have to wear the shoes. Heels are already hard enough, but half the time they don’t fit your feet!
Interview has been condensed.
America’s Next Top Model airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on The CW.