Caridee English: “Top Model” Rejects Materialism
It’s been three years since Caridee English won America’s Next Top Model. The top model discusses her new show on Oxygen Pretty Wicked, rejecting materialism, and what’s in store for her future.
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Chris Yandek: It’s been three years since you were crowned a top model. Besides all the notoriety and all the professional projects, what has been the biggest change also in your life?
Caridee English: “I think just the biggest change is my career. Doing something that I love every day is amazing. The sense of accomplishment is really awesome.”
CY: Has there been a moment or experience that has stuck out since you’ve gained that notoriety?
CE: “There has been a bunch of things that always stick out. I think one time was pretty cool when I was in Argentina and someone recognized me. I was like, that’s pretty cool when you’re not even in the United States, and you travel and someone stops you on the street.
There was one time when I was doing this thing for MTV and I walked into a theater. They had a bunch of schools from all over from New York City come and the whole theater just started applauding when I walked in. That was a really cool feeling when I walked in. That’s a really good opera when you walk in and everyone stars applauding. I’m like, wow! I could use you guys every time I’m feeling down.”
CY: As you continue to grow as a top model and you continue to go through this industry, get new projects, work with new designers, what has been the most important piece of advice that Tyra Banks has given you as a mentor?
CE: “I think the best thing she said is to stay true to yourself. When you’re working, work. When you’re not working just try to be grounded and do things that remain to yourself.”
CY: You’re now hosting a show on Oxygen titled Pretty Wicked, where the contestant’s objective is to discover their inner beauty. Did you feel like this show was the perfect match for you with everything you’ve been through in your childhood?
CE: “I signed on to the project because I feel very passionate about somebody that doesn’t base their life on how they look. These girls very much were materialistic. They thought they could get things out of life based on their outward appearance alone. I try to explain to them that it’s very important to have a personality and be humble and make a good impression in the world. When I signed on I was very…very excited.”
CY: In some senses do we focus too much on the superficial today in society?
CE: “There’s a lot of image of what’s important and what’s not. There’s a lot of things . I am saying what’s important in life is how you look and what you have and materialistic things. There is a lot of emphasis on that and that’s not important. It’s warping these people’s minds thinking a great handbag is more important than having a good family. There is just so much emphasis on materialistic things. It’s a very good concept and it’s very good to sit and take back and realize what’s really important.”
CY: With everything you went through in your childhood battling psoriasis, being made fun of, being taunted, and now we look at a fellow reality TV competitor Susan Boyle who was also made fun of, do you feel you can relate any way to this singing sensation that has all this inner beauty, all this inner talent?
CE: “I just think anybody who is in this industry is still a human and we’re not all perfect. I still have psoriasis. I’ll have it for the rest of my life because there is no cure. I know that modeling and being in this industry is something I want to do and I’m not going to let that prohibit me from doing it. I think it’s important to have a sense of self of who you are and what you want to accomplish just because you have something, don’t let it stop you.”
CY: Is a story like Susan Boyle’s one of those inspirational stories that really is kind of the moral of the TV show you’re hosting?
CE: “Yeah. I think it’s definitely something that’s amazing when someone else goes for something they want, especially when they speak about it to other people because that causes hope and inspiration to other people. I think that’s amazing too.”
CY: What else do you want to accomplish in the future?
CE: “There’s a lot of things I want to accomplish. Still modeling. I’d love to work on more the producing side of the show. Skies the limit.”
CY: What did you think as somebody who became a top model, regarding the riots that happened in New York?
CE: “I think it was very intense. I think when we put a bunch of women into a group like that – I don’t really know what happened to the riot. I actually haven’t even seen it. I heard all about it. I guess when people really want something they’ll trample over other people to get it. Good show of how that stuff happens. It’s really intense, the whole audition process. Everyone is there for the same thing and there’s only a certain amount of people that can make it. Everyone is on edge.”