'America's Next Top Model' Sophie Sumner Q&A: 'It's not sunk in yet'
Published Jun 1 2012, 12:08 BST | By Catriona Wightman
She might be a Brit, but she's also America's Next Top Model
! Yes, Sophie Sumner triumphed in the show this week
to take the ANTM
crown, beating USA model Laura LaFrate in the process.Digital Spy
recently spoke with Sophie to discuss her winning moment, getting her pink hair back, and whether she'll ever pose on the top of a skyscraper again:Congratulations Sophie! Can you talk about how you felt in that winning moment?
"Thank you! Oh my gosh, it's pretty crazy. I remember just thinking I was convinced Laura was going to do it, so when my picture came up I was just like, 'What? Are you kidding, guys? Is it a joke? Are you sure?' And then I just went and stood at the front and all four judges were saying really nice things and I was like, 'This is just too much, I don't know what to do!' I think I just kind of collapsed a little bit. But it was just incredible. I've been in that place before in Britain so it was just crazy to be there and be on the winning side."Yeah - you mentioned a couple of times in the finale that you didn't want to be a runner up again. Was it really important for you to win?
"Yeah, definitely. I think all of us Brits had been through this before and I think everyone kind of wanted to do better than they did in Britain's Next Top Model
, almost. So I was very driven to win - I really wanted to win."You mentioned that you thought Laura would win, and throughout the finale you spoke about how you thought she had a stronger book. Did you ever expect you could win? Were you just preparing yourself for disappointment? What was going through your mind?
"I think it was a bit of both. It is America's Next Top Model
and I remember right at the beginning one of the English girls being like, 'You know what girls, we know it's America's Next Top Model
, a Brit's not going to get this'. And I was like, 'Yeah, you know, I'll give it a fair fight and I'll give it a shot'. Especially with Laura's book - she takes such a great photo and I was like, 'Oh, she's got this one in the bag'. I think almost when I was standing there waiting for the verdict I was like, 'Yeah, Laura, Laura', so I was so shocked. Like, unbelievably shocked! I was like, 'Oh my gosh, it's crazy!'"So you did think that being a Brit could count against you in terms of the win?
"Yeah, when I was in the house I did. Well I kind of knew it was going to be fair, but it is America's Next Top Model
, and I was just thinking, 'Oh my gosh, I wonder what the people watching are going to be thinking about it - like, if they really want an American to win because it is America's Next Top Model
.' But the feedback so far has been really good and it sounds like everyone quite likes the British accent - I think it gets away with quite a lot!"> America's Next Top Model Laura LaFrate Q&A: 'It wasn't my time'The fans do seem happy about your win. What kind of reception did you get?
"Oh my gosh! None of my friends knew - no-one knew - so I put it on Facebook for my family and friends and all these people from school and stuff, it was so nice, they were all just like, 'Congratulations, well done'. Then Twitter just went mad! It was just bizarre, so crazy. I don't read the forums, I won't check the forums, so I only kind of read what I get sent on Twitter. But it was really great - it made me all warm and fuzzy! I was like, 'Ahh!'"One thing I thought was really nice was how happy Laura looked for you when you won. Was it hard being friends and competing, or did it make it easier?
"You know what? I love that girl to pieces. And we said in the final, we both knew that we both wanted it so, so much, but I said to her and she said to me, 'I'll be really happy for you'. She was like, 'Of course I want it, but I will be really happy for you'. It's almost like being in a competition with your best mate or something at the end. It's nice because sometimes you can watch them and they can be kind of bitchy in past ones, but it was just pure friendly competition."Obviously you got on well with her but there was a lot of drama surrounding Laura. How did you cope with living with the other models and deal with the drama?
"Um, to be honest I just went into America's Next Top Model
and I was like, 'This is one of the most amazing opportunities anyone can be given, really'. And I just really wanted to have fun. I really wanted to have fun, enjoy myself, get on with the photoshoots, enjoy them, and that was the main thing I said before I went into the house to my parents, to my boyfriend. I was like, 'I just want to enjoy this so I come out and I have no regrets'. And I think I did. So I did try to stay clear of whatever drama was going on. But I think in defence of the girls, it's difficult when you're put in a situation like that and I think some girls, you lose a little bit of yourself almost, and you lose the fun and the competition takes over."You said on the show before you won that you were a little sad you might never see your Vogue Italia shots. Have you seen them yet?
"No! I'm reshooting them! We get to reshoot Vogue Italia
- how cool is that? I think it's scheduled maybe next week or something. I get to go and do it and I think it's not in the UK either. So I'm so excited! I don't think I'll ever get to see those [original] shots and nor will Laura, which is kind of strange. They're going to be reshooting, so that's going to be really fun. The prizes were just amazing - it's kind of unfathomable! It hasn't quite sunk in what's been won. And they keep on coming - Vogue
and the agencies and then the record and being a guest correspondent. It's like, 'Oh my gosh, it's like Christmas!'"> America's Next Top Model season finale recap: Who will win?We heard a little bit of your single on the show! Are you hoping to pursue a music career?
"Oooh... you know what, it was really, really fun. Tom Polce came over to the UK and we wrote it together and it was an amazing process. Oh my gosh, I have the utmost respect for any musician, because it's really hard! We just spent the whole time going, 'What rhymes with smize or model?' and you realise that probably your vocabulary isn't that great! But I had so much fun doing it and if anybody out there wants a little bubbly blonde to sing then I'm more than happy to, but I'm not placing all my bets on having a Britney career!"Like you said, there were so many parts to your prize - the contracts, Covergirl, Vogue, being a correspondent and more! What are you most excited about? Can you pick one thing?
"No way! Are you kidding me? They're all amazing, they are all insane. Every time I think of one, another one comes along like, 'Oh, but that one's so good too!' I think the guest correspondent on Extra
will be really exciting, because I'd love to get into television, get into interviewing and presenting, so that kind of jumps out as something away from the modelling which would probably in real life be an interest of mine. But they're all just incredible."And going back to the finale, how mad was that runway? It was so hectic and crazy, and you were working with holograms... how did you find that?
"It was hilarious. We had a run through and all these people were shouting, 'Stay in your light, Sophie, stay in your light'. And I was like, 'I don't know where my light is! I can't find the light!' But you know what it reminded me of? I felt like Beyoncé when she did that video at the VMA Awards where everything was interactive. But it's probably one of the coolest things I've done. It was hard with the timing and stuff and I was really worried - I was like, 'Oh my gosh, am I going to be there to pick up my dandelion in time?' But what an amazing thing to say you've done - an interactive runway! It's pretty exciting."I wondered if you got a chance to enjoy it, or if you were just thinking so much about what you had to do.
"No, I really enjoyed it. And did you see the swordfighting with the ninjas as well? That was really cool. I think almost because it was so different I think there was a little bit less... Well, I don't know actually, less pressure? No, I think there was still a lot of pressure! There was still a lot of pressure on that final runway."Now an important question - how happy were you to get your pink hair back?
"Haha, I know! My hair continuity was very interesting in that show! I was so happy. I loved my pink hair, and people on Twitter were always like, 'Sophie, what's wrong with your pink hair?' It fades quite quickly and it was quite hard to upkeep and they had to find time to get me back in the salon, so when I had it in the finale I was like, 'The pob's back!' I call it my little pob - a pink bob. And I just thought it was great. What fun to have some pink hair!"In the show last night, you said you'd be open to moving to the States to model if you won. Are you still thinking about doing that?
"100%. I'm actually in France at the moment - I'm shooting in France, so I'm in the very sunny south of France which is nice. So I think it's all going to be quite crazy. But I'm definitely going to the States, 100%. I can't wait - I'm so excited. I went for a little holiday to LA and New York and I just fell in love with it, a couple of weeks back. So I can't wait - soon, very soon!"You're in France at the moment, shooting for Vogue next week - has this all sunk in yet?
"No! No. It definitely hasn't. One of the nicest things of the whole thing has just been the feedback from friends and family and people on Twitter. It was just so positive, it was so lovely. And I think because that was so great, I kind of can't really wrap my head round what's happening. I don't know, it's just really bizarre. I watched that show for so long. I don't know. It's weird, it's very strange. What a cool thing to tell the kids - 'Mommy was America's Next Top Model
!'"Have you been able to see the finale yet, since you're not in the US?
"I got sent a link and I watched it at 2 in the morning because I had to watch it! I really wanted to watch it. And then I got up for my flight to France at about half six, seven, and of course I was buzzing after it. I was like, 'Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I have to wake everyone up, yay!' So I'm running on pretty much no sleep, but it's good."Apart from winning, can you pick any highlights from your time on the competition?
"I just had so much fun and going into all the photoshoots and the people we got to meet and the kind of advice that you just can't buy. Kelly - all the judges. Kelly's just - as I said, I stay clear of forums, so I'm not sure how she's perceived. I'm sure some people will say she's quite hard or whatever, but she is an amazing, amazing person. She's been really great afterwards and she phoned me from LA and was like, 'You won!' Just all the advice we got - how lucky is that? I don't know any other girls that get to meet with all these people. It's amazing. And the Kardashians - that's pretty cool!"You spoke about the judges - what do you think the show will be like with Nigel, J and Jay out?
"I think it's really sad, isn't it? It's the end of an era. But at the same time, I'm sure they've got so much in the pipeline, and I'm 100% convinced they'll just go on to have even greater careers. But it's nice for Top Model
because it's had 18 cycles! The new concept I just heard about is amazing - what a great idea to go interactive and shake it up a bit. But of course I think they'll be sorely missed. I think a lot of the fans will miss them because they've seen them from the beginning."What are you most excited about in the next year or so?
"Oh my gosh, life in general I think! Going to the States... I really want to do as well as I can at being Top Model
. I want to get into television and I just really want to smash it. So I'm excited to work hard - work hard, play hard!"Finally... will you ever pose on the top of a skyscraper again?
"Oh God no - that was the most traumatic and awful experience of my life! There are no words to describe... The only way I could describe it to people is you never put yourself in a position where you know you'll be terrified or where there's pure fear so when you do get put in that position, oh my gosh, I've never felt like that before. It was awful, awful!"But it was worth it!
"Yeah, it was, it was. It was, definitely. I think one of the only reasons I got out there was because Nigel was the photographer and he's scared of heights, and he was like, 'Sophie, we'll do it together, blah blah blah'. But I mean, I was a wreck. Not fun. But the photo was alright - it could have been worse! It could have been me screaming and crying!"