Jesse may have lost the battle of the bulge on America’s Most Smartest Model, but he didn’t let that get him down. After the jump, Jesse dishes the dirt on Mary Alice’s criticism, plus-size male models, his sexuality and which two male cast members moved in together after the show wrapped. After the jump: how you doooooin‘?
In your exit interview, you said, “I love me a whole bunch.” The criticism you faced didn’t really get to you, right?
Exactly. Anytime you enter a competition, you know you’re going to be judged. I knew that was an issue, but I’m still a strong person. I got myself there by loving myself. We all have flaws and I can’t let one person’s idea of what’s wrong with me dictate how I feel about myself.
When you entered the competition, were you expecting to hear feedback regarding your body?
I knew that my body wasn’t in the best of shape. When I saw the other guys, I knew there was going to be an issue. But at the same time, a lot of the guys weren’t 6′ tall. A lot of the girls’ bodies were also unacceptable. I didn’t think my stomach would be different than anyone else’s flaws. I figured we’ve been judged accordingly, but we weren’t.
On your MySpace, there are shots of you modeling for American Apparel and in Vibe. Did you gain weight after or were you this size as a working model?
I went to college after all that and I guess I just kinda got relaxed. But I could do that because modeling wasn’t my bread and butter. People have different motivations. I never used modeling or entertaining as a means to survive. It wasn’t like I need to look great to eat. I did it more because I could and I was good at it. But now I have a personal trainer I’ve been working with for the last 12 weeks. I’ve lost 6 lbs. and three-and-a-half inches.
All of that said, do you feel like Mary Alice was too hard on you?
I feel like Mary Alice was doing her job. Whether I agree with how she did it or not, I don’t know.
In the interview that we ran, she said that she heard from producers that you weren’t following her advice.
Total untruth. If you look at the footage, you see me working out. I don’t know if she saw the dailies six months later, but obviously what she was told wasn’t true. Is it her job to look at the dailies and figure it out, or is it her job to trust the producers? That’s between her and the company. But anyway, a model does not just mean high-fashion, editorial. That to me is a little selfish and a little condescending. There are fitness models, there are catalog models, there are lifestyle models, there are industrial models. There’s so many different facets of modeling. There’s body-part modeling. I don’t have a six-pack but I have great legs. I could do part modeling. For anyone to say I’m not a model, I just have to say, check your sources.
Mary Alice said she thought you’d make a great actor. Do you have interest in acting?
Yeah. I just did my first movie. It’s with Carmen Electra and it’s the new Scary Movie. It comes out in 2008. I play Miss J. from America’s Next Top Model. I filmed that in August. I met people who’ve told me, “You’ll never act in your life.” But once again, I take all criticism the way I take all compliments: I eat the meat and I spit out the bones.
All I know about modeling comes from America’s Next Top Model, so forgive my ignorance: I can’t recall ever seeing any plus-size male models…
There is no plus-size male model! But maybe there should be. Maybe that’s something I need to shake up. Can a male model have over a size 32 waist? Hell yeah! I’m a 34 waist myself. To me, that ain’t even plus-size. Why isn’t there a plus-size male model? Don’t tell me that people don’t find plus-size people attractive. People love Chris Farley. Somebody would f*** him, may he rest in peace.
You didn’t really defend yourself when it came time to take a look at the picture V.J. took over and made himself the star of.
At that point, I didn’t feel like there was a need to argue. There were so many ways that you could have pulled that picture in to make it better, but everyone just focused on how V.J. stole the picture. So, if he stole the picture and you’re the judge, why am I gonna try to convince you? You said what you felt. There’s no point in having me try to convince you by telling you what V.J. said or did. He was successful for what he did.
Pickel said that you’re insecure because you’re “black, gay and overweight.”
I don’t know why being black or being gay has to do with being insecure. On top of being overweight. Look at Oprah. She’s black, unmarried and overweight. Is she insecure? Possibly, but it hasn’t gotten in her way. So, I don’t know if Pickel’s comments were worded wrong or what. To me, it seems kinda racist or sexist or…something. Anti-something. He didn’t say it to my face, either. He would never say that to my face. It’s funny, we never had a conversation in the house, but one time, and yet he developed this whole theory on why I’m socially inept. We talked for five minutes, motherf***er. Come on, seriously.
Out of everyone in the house, your sexuality was discussed the most.
It’s the character. When you’re big, black, loud and intelligent, they’re gonna find a way to break you down. There was stuff that was going on in the house that was suspect, but I didn’t f*** anybody in the house! I didn’t touch one of them. What is the f***in’ big deal? I tell people: people should not be defined by who they have sex with, they should not be defined by where they live, they should not be defined by how much money they make. Those are only small parts that make up the whole being of a person.
I’m a little confused about Pickel’s comment, though. I know in your bio on our site, you call yourself bisexual. So which is it: gay or bi?
Right now, I’m just exploring life. I’m enjoying myself. I just got my degree and moved to L.A. It’s a new town. I’m just gonna float for now. I’m open.
It always seems odd to me because I expect, like, every single male model to be gay. But then I watch reality TV and very few claim to be. Was there anyone in the house you found to be a little…questionable?
That I could not tell you. I do not know. But I can tell you that Bret and Pickel moved in together. After the show, they moved to L.A. That’s not gossip, either. Ask them when you talk to them. They’ll tell you.
If you had the chance to do it all again, would you?
If it was fair and if it was not skewed before I got there, yes. I enjoyed Mary Alice, I enjoyed the contestants, I enjoyed living in the house. I just wish it would have been more focused on modeling and smartness. There are things that they didn’t bring up, like the fact that I’m extremely intelligent and insightful. They couldn’t even get past the weight. The most important thing for me is personality. It’s a smile. I’m genuine. I’m a genuine person.
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