“I had to overcome adversity. I wasn’t even cute in high school,” says Pickel during our interview with him. And there’s so much more where that came from. After the jump, Pickel talks about his fear of Mary Alice, his infatuation with Aussie Rachael and his supposed mancrush on Brett.
[Before I could ask the first question, Pickel had one for me. I love a man who comes prepared:]
Do you do all these interviews? What the f***’s with Daniel? Daniel’s panties are in a bunch it looked like.
Yes, I did interview Daniel.
Someone messaged me and was like, “Why are you so mean to Daniel?” I’m like, What? Daniel is one of our friends. Daniel just came to the viewing party we had like two weeks ago. Brett and I are Hollywood? Brett and I are the most genuine guys out there. It’s like, I didn’t say it in a mean way Daniel was going in a downward spiral. It was sad to watch. I just feel bad because it ended a little weird and maybe it did come off like we were against him somehow but it’s like…you know?
He seems to carry a lot of resentment stemming from his time on the show.
You know what it is? They really spun him gay. People always ask me, “Dude, is he gay?” I’m like “I don’t know!” He wanted to hook up with Rachael, so dude you answer yourself, I don’t know. He didn’t try to hook up with me.
Actually it’s funny that you mention being “spun gay,” because I think that happened the most with you and Brett.
I know, dude. I’m like, ugh. Brett and I live together now in an apartment. But it’s two-bedroom, by the way, people! It’s like that connection you make with someone that you meet who’s a stranger that you feel like you’ve known for years, like a brotherly love. We became best friends and brothers. It was like a fun little experience for us, you know? Obvious we weren’t sexually into each other. It was only a platonic best friend.
It’s often that way when guys get so close, though. Eyebrows raise…
Homophobes freak out…right.
So, were you surprised by the way your friendship was portrayed, or had people in the house voiced suspicion while you were there?
Jesse likes to talk his s*** because that’s just his nature, god bless Jesse again. But speaking of Jesse, they spun that one episode where I said I feel bad for Jesse. The judges kept picking on him and you know he’s got the three quote, unquote stereotypical insecurities. It’s not that because you’re gay you’re automatically insecure. I never said that I said, “He’s black, he’s gay and he’s overweight,” it’s really unfair that they keep picking on him because you know he’s probably insecure about one of those things. I saw him walking down the runway, he had tears in his eyes after he almost got eliminated, I knew that Jesse that we knew, that hard-shelled Jesse who’s arrogant and cocky and funny…that shell is just a façade. He has a lot of internal pain. I didn’t mean literally to say he’s insecure because he’s gay, black and, you know, fat. I have so many black friends, so many. And obviously I’m a model do you know how many gay people I know? Come on, bro. You think I’m scared of gay people? Everyone I know is gay in the industry. It’s not a gay, a black, a fat thing, you know what I mean? I don’t ever prejudice someone based on anything other than their attitude. I don’t give a s*** about color, size, whatever. I don’t care. The show pinned me like that and I was so upset, ’cause I’m so against that s***. The only thing I regret the entire show is making a comment that could get skewed the wrong way. I became a victim of that and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t comment on abortion or the government or s*** like that. And what did I do? I made a black comment or a gay comment and they edited it to make me look like I was an assh***.
Your elimination came as a shock.
I appreciate that, because I wanted to know like if in TV land it looked a little odd that I went when I went. I didn’t say I was the best, I didn’t say I deserved to win based on all my performances, but I feel like I was above par and I was not ready based on performance only to go home yet. That’s it. I’m not mad at Mary Alice or at Ben or at the producers, so be it. It is what it is.
So, no hard feelings for Mary Alice?
If I were to have one word to describe Mary Alice it would be intimidation. She is so tall. She is so beautiful. She is so poised, she reminds me of like a CEO of a company, and I’m like the mail guy trying to get promoted. I was literally scared of Mary Alice. She knows a lot, and I valued her opinion. I never once thought they were singling me out. I have no resentment for Ben, either. I mean Ben is the funniest guy ever and he’s brilliant beyond belief. I was edited fine other than that little racist thing. Everything else for me was a positive experience. I met Brett I met Rachael. Andre and I became friends. Who would’ve thought that? I thought it was a great experience. I have nothing to look back on negatively. Not even in the slightest.
Speaking of Andre, did you align with him because of strategy, or because you really liked him?
It was more so because I liked him, it was really weird. I have a very, very confrontational personality. I don’t mind confrontation and fighting. Do I choose to do it? I’m a model now, I’d rather not bash in my face in the process, so I kinda choose wisely when I need to fight. Andre is such an abrasive personality that I felt like if he was disrespectful to me, we were gonna have a problem. Sp I called him out from the beginning: “You talk to me like you talk to those other people in the house I’m gonna knock you out. ” So if you want to keep this going we’re gonna have a problem. We almost fought again, fist fought, the producers jumped in pulled us apart. After, I was talking to him completely did a 180. He’s like, “Bro, I understand where you’re coming from. I’m sorry.” Right when he said sorry, I said that’s it, I have no resentment against you anymore. Let’s just move on from this you know. And that was it. I saw him change. I was the only person that saw Andre for what he was. He likes to f*** with people’s head because he knows he can emotionally, mentally break them down and get them out of the competition. He’s not an assh***, he’s not. He may claim to be an assh***, and maybe try to play a hard ass. I’m sure he could fight if he had to, but I’m just saying that’s really not how he is.
It’s good to assert dominance over aggressive types.
You have two alpha males in the house. Not good. It’s easier for us to be partners then enemies. Brett and I kind of made it a mission to help him and teach him that you don’t say everything you think. You can think someone’s a d***face, but you don’t have to tell them to their face.
In the online extras for this episode, there’s a clip of you and Aussie Rachael looking mighty cozy.
First off, I thought Rachel was really cool. I thought she was cute and I thought she was bubbly, and I liked the Australian accent. I felt that she was overly hard on herself and I saw a lot of potential in her. She beat herself up and I felt really bad and I kind of took her under my wing: “You’re an amazing person you’re doing great, people in America are gonna love you.” You want to leave this show, why? It started there, the shoulder to lean on. She had a boyfriend, I had a girlfriend. I was not trying to hook up, she was not trying to hook up, but we slowly had this connection that just built and built and built out of a friendship that started to almost cross that line. Both of us tried to pull back on it. It was like: Yo, we both have other people. This is not really the right thing to do. She and I weren’t looking to start dating or something like that, but we definitely were really passionate with each other and really just, we became really close.
And she said that she wants to keep up a relationship with you whether it’s platonic or romantic.
She lives in L.A. I’ve seen her on numerous occasions. She is currently dating someone right now, so we keep it platonic when we hang out. We are still really close and we share a lot of the secrets like, very close thoughts about what’s going on in our lives. We still have a really strong connection.
In our blog’s interview with Mary Alice this week, she says that she told you that you’d make a good actor. Are you interested in acting?
I tried to downplay it for the show, but yeah, I’ve been doing commercials for five and a half years. No full feature films or anything in a theatre. But yeah I’m definitely, actively pursuing acting. I’d like to star in my own show or host a show. I really enjoy being myself versus being a character, but should I land a character role in a feature film you know, I’m still striving for that. I mean, I don’t discriminate.
Did you see that New York Daily News story from a few months ago that said that you won the show?
How funny is that? I was at a red carpet event. My publicist introduced me and said, “Hey,this is Pickel from America’s Most Smartest Model.” The announcer got the impression like, hey, if this kid’s from the show that’s not even out yet, he must be the winner. That’s why he’s here. They announced me as the winner. I didn’t say I was the winner cause clearly that’s a lie, my publicist didn’t say that because again, clearly that’s a lie. So I don’t know how that happened but it was funny because we were just like, well it’s a lie. I didn’t say it, so what could I do? It was good publicity for me but it wasn’t on purpose!
Is there anything else you wanted to talk about?
Back to the whole Brett and I thing, it’s so funny that they really spun it like there’s a question mark over our head. Are Brett and Pickel a couple? This whole Tila Tequila thing is bringing more bisexuality out there. People in America used to see it like either you’re gay or you’re straight, so people are now starting to get accustomed to seeing that. But it’s important to understand that if it was two girls, it woulda been fine but the fact that two guys are becoming best friends and give each other hugs and a pat on the back, doesn’t mean we’re dating. It’s just so funny the stigma.
Well, it’s good that you’re comfortable enough to act however you want, regardless of the stigma.
I am half Italian. I’m affectionate. I’m touchy with everyone. I don’t stroke Brett’s head like I’m petting him.
Maybe if you did, VH1 would give you your own show.
I know for all the gay fans, it’s a little fantasy of yours and I appreciate that, but it’s not reality, unfortunately. But you guys can have your fantasies about what Brett and I do or not.
It’s nice that you can laugh at it. A lot of guys would take some kind of pseudo-macho offense.
I’m a really easy going guy, I’ve had to go through everything you could think of. I know people look at good looking people and go, oh they have it so easy they get whatever they want. Bulls***! I was in a in a coma for two weeks after a motorcycle wreck in ’99. I was on my death bed. I had to overcome adversity. I wasn’t even cute in high school. S*** hasn’t been easy for me. I’m very humble because of that. Brett is, too.
Keep up with Pickel via his MySpace.