Digital Spy spoke with Eboni about being eliminated, the 30-Never tag and what she really thought about Laura:
How did you feel after you were eliminated?
"After I got eliminated, I mean, of course I was disappointed that I didn't win, but it was kind of a relief. You know, being in the house there's a lot of pressure and just a lot of emotions that go on and coming out of that, I got to kind of take a step back and look at how far I've really come, and just see how great the opportunity was to be there. So after, I felt pretty good about myself."
Throughout the episode it felt like you thought you had a lot to prove - did you expect to be going home this week?
"Yeah - that week I didn't really expect to go home. I thought I did pretty good at my photoshoot; a lot of the girls were really scared to go out onto the top of the Macau Tower and do the shoot, and I got out there and did the shoot as if it were any other shoot. Even if you watch the episode, you see me getting down and really getting into it, and so after that I felt like, 'Wow, I think I did really well, I think I gave Nigel a great performance, I don't think I'll be coming home this week'. So it kind of came as a shock when I was at panel, and I saw the photo that they picked for my best photo that week, because I thought I gave a wide range."
When Alisha said she was going to quit, did you think in that moment you might be safe?
"Well, I mean, I didn't necessarily want to stay another week based on the fact that Alisha had quit. I want to be in the competition based on the performance, based on the judges' feedback from my photos every week and seeing that I'm a strong competitor. Being in the competition by default I don't think would have made me feel any better than being eliminated that week."
The judges said you were eliminated because of your facial expressions and angles - do you agree with their comments, or do you think you maybe had better photos they didn't see?
"I think maybe I had better photos. I don't know, some of the photos that they picked week to week I don't feel like were the best photos that I necessarily had. So yeah, I mean, I do agree in using that particular photo as an example, that that photo could be better and I could change my facial expression and change my angles and make a better photo. But I don't know in the context of all my photos if that's true of all of them."
And when you were eliminated, you said you thought the judges didn't get to see the person inside of you. Can you explain what you meant by that?
"I mean, we were all branded, we were all kind of put into a certain brand, which kind of puts us into a box and limits us. I understand it's important to be what your strengths are, I recognise that, but it's also important to be able to be different, to have variety, to appeal to different people. And I think there's a point in the show even when Tyra says, 'Eboni, you have to wear your pigtails so you can appeal to teenage girls' or something like that. But as a model it's my job to appeal to everybody. If I'm in a big campaign, probably the target audience is probably not going to be teenage girls, it's probably going to be older women or older people or something. So I don't know - it was kind of difficult. I think when I was on shoots I would overthink my brand and kind of incorporate it into my shoot that I would lose a lot of my face. And you could see that thought that's going on - 'Am I 30-Never? Am I being 30-Never?' And that kind of complicates things."
You did really seem to resist the 30-Never thing - was it because you wanted to be more versatile? Was it being seen as young?
"I don't mind being seen as young. I think that's actually an amazing thing, especially in the industry where youth is so precious and it's really something that the industry takes into consideration. So I didn't mind looking young, it was just the feedback. Like when I watched the runway castings and I didn't tie my hair in ponytails, it was like, 'Oh, Eboni's disrespecting the judges'. And that wasn't really how I was feeling - it was like, 'Oh, I go to castings, I get booked for jobs, I've done runway castings before - if I showed up to any castings with pigtails in my hair they'd laugh at me and turn me away, they wouldn't book me for that job'. So it was kind of an inner conflict between what I had already learned from being in the modelling industry and the branding that was going on in the show."
Looking back, are you glad that you resisted it a little or do you wish you'd just gone with it?
"I don't think I really resisted it, honestly. I mean, I had my confessionals and I would say, 'Oh, this is really hard for me, it's really frustrating'... But I think when it was time to be in front of the judges, doing the photoshoots, doing the challenges, I think I was pretty there with the 30-Never brand."
Let me ask you about Laura - you obviously didn't get along. Why do you think that was?
"I'm not sure. I think the show represented our relationship pretty accurately. There was a point when Laura's teddy bear, the ear of her teddy bear got ripped off and you see me and Alisha sitting on the couch comforting her and I was there literally for hours rubbing her hands, rubbing her hair, saying, 'Laura, are you okay, is there anything you need, can I bring you anything?' And I don't know, somehow she got this thing in her head that I'm vain and I'm a bitch and all of this other thing, and it's like, 'If I was a vain bitch I wouldn't have sat with you, tried to comfort you, take care of you in your time of need'. You see during the episode this week and the episode before, you see Laura constantly attacking me and I'm not saying anything back, I'm just like, 'Okay, I'm not retaliating against her'. It's not like the hate is mutual - it's Laura towards Eboni, it's not Eboni towards Laura."
Yeah, it was a bit out of nowhere.
"Yeah. There was a point when we sat down in the bathroom and I asked, 'Why don't you like me?' and it was like, 'Oh, you're vain'. Well, this is a modelling competition - a lot of it is based on how you look. I don't understand how that translates into me being vain. I was talking about, 'Oh, I feel like I could do better in this picture if I just smized or something' and then go look in the mirror and practise - I don't understand how that translates as vain. Even if I was vain, I don't see how that affects her."
Going back to your photoshoot this week, you said you weren't as scared as the other models. Did you manage to enjoy it, or was it a bit weird?
"I thought it was a bit extreme! I mean, I don't see how a photoshoot on top of the Macau Tower would translate as anything that I would ever have to do in the modelling industry, but I did enjoy it. I thought it was fun. I like to do extreme things and rock climb and all the things like that. In panel, there was a bit where Nigel said, 'Eboni wasn't scared and she wasn't excited, she was just kind of eh'. It was like, 'No!' I thought I was being brave! I took it as a regular photoshoot and it ended up backfiring I guess, because I ended up getting criticised for it, but I thought it was fun."
Do you have a favourite moment from the competition?
"I think Toronto. Everything that happened in Toronto was amazing. Not just because I did really well that week - it was just the opportunity to talk to the models backstage. These are the models that work in New York and do New York Fashion Week and models that are with IMG and Women Model Management and all these amazing agencies, so getting the opportunity to get to know them and participate and work with them, it was just amazing. And the photshoot was great. I really enjoyed that week altogether."
There are only three models left now - is there anyone you want to win in particular? I'm guessing not Laura!
"Ha! I mean, I definitely do think Laura's a strong competitor and a great model, I just don't think her attitude will get her very far in the industry, especially in an industry where you have to make hay on your professionalism. There's no boundaries or limits with Laura and she has to remember, at the end of the day it is a business. And even if you are attracted to someone, you have to really put that first, you have to hold yourself to a higher standard as a model. So I wouldn't be opposed to her winning, I just think there are things she could work on. Annaliese, I feel like she's more of a presenter than a model and she can use this as a platform for her her presenting which is not necessarily a negative thing. I just feel like the other two girls would get more out of it because modelling is what they want to do."
When you left you said you would take on board Tyra's advice - what was the best piece of advice you got on the show?
"I don't know - I mean, it was a lot! It's like ten weeks of advice! It's a lot to think of."
What's next for you - more modelling?
"Yeah, definitely more modelling. I've been modelling here in Seattle while attending the University of Washington. And I'm going to South Africa for this summer for two months... [And in the future] going to New York and seeing what happens from there!"
America's Next Top Model airs Wednesdays on The CW.