"Supermodel" Winner Branden: "It was so stressful, especially with the drama"
One of the reasons I wanted Branden to win by the end of last night’s “Make Me a Supermodel” finale was because I knew I was going to talk to the winner the next day. And I thought it seemed like Branden would be a lot of fun to talk to.
It was great to find out I was right, because not only was Branden a lot of fun, he was also pretty frank about the show, the girls and who was responsible for all of the drama in the house.
But the first thing I absolutely had to ask him was whether or not he got co-host Nicole Trunfio’s phone number. Nicole said after the final catwalk that she’d give Branden her number if he won. So did she? “Yes she did, but not right after the show. She kind of teased me for a little while.” Trunfio gave him her number at the “A-List Awards” in April, but if any of you are looking for some kind of romance, you’re going to be disappointed. “Nothing’s going to happen from it,” Branden told me. “She’s too old for me” (For the record, she’s 23, he’s 18.). Then, he laughed and told me, “I’ve moved on to better things.” Branden then admitted he has a girlfriend.
To be perfectly honest, I was fully prepared to speak to Jonathan today. And Branden admitted he was surprised by his win as well. “I was so surprised. I kind of underestimated myself. My body just sank, I felt like passing out.”
So what does he think put him over the top? “Probably the last week. I really just proved I have that quality. I have a quality to become a supermodel.” Branden said the judges didn’t really tell him why he was their choice, but he thinks he knows why. “I literally whooped a-- that last week.”
Branden said he hasn’t talked to Jonathan, but he did talk with Sandhurst. “Naturally, he’s a little bummed out. I feel for them. I’m so thankful they took it like men and they respected it. They’ll both have great careers.”
Maybe more importantly than the reaction of the judges or his fellow competitors was the reaction of his mother, who we got to meet in last night’s finale. “I can’t even explain how happy she was,” he told me. Branden said he took her outside her place of work and told her and then instructed her to not look happy when she went back in since she couldn’t tell anyone what had happened. “She had to lie to people. That’s not in her nature.” I asked Branden about the feeling he had seeing him and his mother having fun at the gallery on last night’s show. “We’re our worst critics. She said, ‘I don’t look good.’ She looked great.”
One of the things the judges kept saying to Branden last night was that he had really grown through the competition and I couldn’t agree more. I had completely forgotten that I didn’t like him in the beginning until I saw the flashbacks during the finale. Branden also has noticed that he’s a different guy. “I can even feel it. If you had talked to me a couple of months ago I would have been, ‘f this and f that.’ I’ve matured and I look forward to my career as a man.”
The most eye-opening part of our conversation, though, was when he told me about living in the house. “It was so stressful, especially with all the drama. I’ve never met girls like that before. Jordan is ridiculous when it comes to drama. She was so two-faced. When it came to the girls, Branden told me “Amanda was the only true one—and both Karens (Karen and Kerryn). And Laury was straight up. The rest of them were just fake, sorry.”
The guys, on the other hand, didn’t create that much drama. “We all got along.
I had some problems with people, like Gabe, and Colin and I had a couple of words, but that was it.” He joked, “They all know I can take them.”
Branden’s honesty continued when talking about the photo shoots. I asked him if there were times when he thought the photographer made the wrong choice, because I certainly thought there were. “Salome, I couldn’t even believe all the times she won.” He told me it got to the point where he was thinking, “We should not even do the photo shoot. Just give it to Salome. If there was a guy photographer, she’d win. She has a big butt, and he saw her naked.”
When I asked Branden his favorite and least favorite shoot, he actually gave me the same answer—the naked accessories shoot with Bill Diodato. “The picture was my favorite, the shoot itself was my least favorite.” During his shoot with Branden, Diodato at one point said if someone was paying money for this, there would have to be a re-shoot. Branden said he wasn’t going to go into details about his experience with Diodato, but he did tell me that he thought he got a great picture (and I completely agree).
Branden said he learned a lot from his experience on the show—drama and all. “I just basically learned to not underestimate myself. To give people chances. I made a whole bunch of friends. I’m open now to new relationships. I’m happy to have had the opportunity. I had a great time.” Branden said he is still in contact with Shawn and Sandhurst.
So what happens for him now? “Now I can shout at the top of the mountain. I’m probably going to LA some. As soon as I see the money, I get to go to New York.” I asked him when he’ll see the money, and he told me, “As soon as Maybelline gives it to me, I guess.”
You can see the finale again Saturday, June 6th at 9 a.m. on Bravo…
Photo Credits: Virginia Sherwood/Bravo, Timothy Greenfield Sanders, and Bill Diodato