Ladies and gentlemen, presenting America’s Most Smartest Model:
After the jump, V.J. talks about his victory, his scheming and what he plans to do with the prize money.
Your scheming played a big role in your victory. Did you enter the house with such strategy in mind?
I didn’t have that in my mind. I didn’t say, “This is what I’m gonna do and this is how I’m gonna do it.” But what I always said is that I was the only person who had winning in his mind. I was the only person in there who believed I’m gonna go in there and I’m gonna win. And that’s the only thing I wanted to do. If someone wants to give me a b***j** while I’m at it, right on! But I never let that get away from me. It was an upper hand on everyone else in the house because they were busy being friends. It wasn’t a popularity contest. Not for me. I didn’t care about how they were gonna make me look. I knew that I wanted to go there, and I wanted to win $100,000 dollars. And I did it.
There were many times in which your behavior was considered cheating by your competitors, like when you were eavesdropping on Daniel and Rachael’s rehearsal of the soap commercial. Were you ever afraid that you’d get in trouble?
Not at all.
Mary Alice obviously supported you 100 percent.
Yeah. Matt who was a company manager or whatever of the product said something that was just so perfect: ultimately, the client just wants somebody who delivers the product well. And they don’t care how they did it, they just care that when they deliver, it’s believable. They don’t care how they obtain information, what’s going on behind scenes, but when you’re on camera selling the product, they want the person that is best.
All of this was at the risk of alienating everyone you were living with.
I wasn’t thinking I was going to walk out with too many friends, even though myself, Daniel, Jesse, Mandy Lynn, Erika, Rachael, and Rachel still talk. Lisa, as well. She’s been great her. The people that I don’t talk to would be Pickel, Bret, Andre and some of the earlier guys that we never really got a chance to know.
It seems like a particularly close knit group for a reality show.
Yeah, I think it was pretty neat. We all knew that we’d probably end up being friends. A lot of us are in the same area.
At the very end, Mary Alice you that when she looked at you, she saw now saw a model standing before her. Do you think the show helped you?
Oh yeah, absolutely. I just signed with an excellent, excellent agency, Ford models. We have been setting up shoots. They’ve been giving me great publicity for the show and I’m just really excited about it. I’m with Flutie Management and they’re going to control my brand managing. It’s only gonna be good things and I wish that on everybody. I hope for everyone to have something positive after the show and I think it has helped with some of the people, like Erika who hosts events. I look forward to all of this being over, though. Just so I can become Van Jameson the talented young man, not just “that young guy from the show.” Because I have many talents. I love music, I love acting. Now is my time to shine, now is my time to capitalize on all the opportunities that could come from this.
Ben made reference to the fact that you were at one point a butcher.
So was this something you sort of stumbled into?
Yeah. When I first moved out to Southern California in November of 2005, I was scouted through a scouting agency. They had a lot offers, and people said you need to move to Southern California in order to be represented. I had $11.56 in my bank account and a DUI. No license. I said f*** it, packed my Volkswagen ‘93 and bunked up in a room with a friend’s mother for two months. There was an Albertson’s just down the road. I had worked at a grocery store, I used to cook for them and assist at the butcher block. I just went down there and they hired me the day I went down. It paid me $12 an hour to be that guy.
By the time you got on the show, you’d only been modeling for six months.
Yeah. I’d just gotten into it. The funny thing was I got into it with this agency and it didn’t do much for me. I wasn’t real sure of how to do anything and I didn’t have a good agency or management. I didn’t know what my part in it was, which I learned quickly. I had to be far more involved in order for anything to happen, which is great I found that. Better things started happening. $500 dollar jobs here, $300 dollar hour job there, promotion work for $50 an hour. I saw a listing for an audition for VH1 for America’s Most Smartest Model. I read the premise and I didn’t want to do it. My girlfriend told me, “Get on the f***ing show. If you go to the audition you will get on the show, and if you get on the show you’re gonna win.” And she was right. She’s always right.
You had a girlfriend when you went in the house? What about the fling with Blonde Rachel?
We had separated right before the show, we were separated throughout the show and didn’t get back together till two months after the show.
Looking back on your thing with Blonde Rachel, what are your thoughts?
It was fun. I think there was so much sexual tension inside of her. You put enough good-looking men and women in the house, something was going to happen. I mean, we’re all young and horny so…It was fun and we both knew that we that we were both gonna have some fun while we were there. Why not? They didn’t advertise it too much, but Pickel and Aussie Rachael hooked up. But they were far more romantic, whereas Rachel and I are like, “I wanna have an orgasm. Let’s do it.” That’s what it was.
An alliance against you formed. Was that flattering?
Yeah. I think they had their heads so far up their own asses, and they forgot they were in a competition. My lady pointed this out to me: “Every episode I watch it’s, ‘Oh VJ this, VJ that.’” Not one episode do you hear me go, “Oh, he didn’t say this. He didn’t do that. If he wasn’t cheating…” You don’t see me bitching and crying.
During the last photo shoot, Andre accused you of copying off of him.
So you deny that? The side-by-side shots were pretty convincing.
How many ways can you possibly sit? How much stuff you could do with props that were given? As men, we don’t do the same body language as women do in a shoot. They have their ass and their arms and their long legs. They have a lot of more options to do. I’m put in a similar situation with this prop and these girls…what do you do, you know?
Still, you were a good sport about Andre. You said at the end that he was a worthy competitor. What do you think of him now?
There is no good victory without a great competition. I felt at least he and I actually respected each other in a the way that we could both say, “I don’t like you” to each other. We were upfront. There have been things that have happened post show where people made it a point not to invite me to certain events. But if they were asked the question if VJ was here they’d pretty much lie and say they were happy to see me. So I respect Andre for being an honest person and for being true to his opinions. But I think that he’s got to work on his social skills.
What are your plans for the money, do you have any, have you gotten paid yet from the prize?
Being that I’m in California, they can suck my balls with their taxes. Before taxes, I’m gonna set up CDs and quarterly payments so I can at least profit off of my taxes you know what I’m saying? I have a really good idea of what I have to do with taxes, and what I’m gonna do myself to build my credit back. I’m actually on my way up to LA as I speak. I’m moving, up into the Hollywood area and I’ll be looking for a new place up in the area. But the gift I’m giving myself is going to be a new car. I’m not gonna spend more than $20,000 on a car. I’m looking at anything from 2003 to 2005. There’s the Cadillac CTS that I’m just in love with. And I found some really good deals on ‘em. Auto Trader, baby.
Do you have any goals outside of the entertainment industry?
I want a college degree so bad. I always have. It’s just really difficult. When am I gonna get this opportunity again? I have an opportunity where I can maybe support myself a little bit and get people or produce myself a little bit. I want to show people I have talent in that area. I have so many things that I want to do on top of the schooling.
Do you have any idea what you’d study?
Sport science, fine arts and foreign language. I would absolutely love that. I think it’s gonna be a necessity in California that everyone is bilingual in Spanish. But that’s gonna be a four-year plan, so I have to be real settled, be real stationary all the time. And I’m not stationary at all right now. But modeling for now is great. I’m real excited about doing commercial work with Ford. My height it is what it is. I’m staying realistic about what I can and cannot do, but It’s just a blessing that Ford took me on and I get along with the guys there.
I didn’t realize that your height was an issue.
Yeah, I’m 5’10”, and a lot of these casting calls will not accept an audition if you are under 6’. But that’s something you have to persevere. You have to say, “OK, if I can’t do this, what can I do and how good can I do it?”