Bravo’s modeling competition show Make Me a Supermodel came to a close last night with a surprise twist: lone female finalist Holly Kiser took home the $100,000 prize and a contract with New York Model Management, beating out top boys and crowd favorites Ben, Ronnie and Perry. OK! talked to Holly hours after her win to find out what it was like to win it all.
Were you surprised you won?
Of course I was surprised! I think that the boys didn’t have a personality as much. People can relate to me because I am a genuine southern girl. But I really wasn’t sure. I mean, they were three nice-looking guys.
What’s your next step?
Hopefully I’ll be on the covers of all the magazines. For me winning was about just knowing that I’ll be able to work after.
Are you going to try and finish your education?
I was in school just to waste time. Modeling wasn’t happening for me. I had to wait a year because my face was burned. I went to the dermatologist and I had a treatment for acne and it burnt my face. I had third degree burns on my face. And that’s why it’s crazy that I’m able to be here.
Are you planning on moving to New York?
I’m going to move to New York next week. But I also want to travel, and not just be in New York.
How did your family react to you winning?
My family is so proud of me. Finally I had done it. I had been told "no" my whole life. “No you’re not right for us.” I feel that everything happens for a reason. All the stuff I’ve been through was for a reason. Every "no" I heard.
I’ve been modeling since I was 12 or 13. I would do bridal shows or bridal catalogues. I actually had an agency but was dropped last year. I was told by them that I was a pretty girl but I couldn’t take a good picture.
It was a complete shock for my family. I’m from such a small town from Virginia. I never let that stop me.
How does it feel to have the support of the voters behind you?
It’s crazy. I can’t believe that America thinks I have what it takes over the boys. The guys have really great personalities. I just can’t believe they saw something in me.
Do you think you’ll stay in touch with show hosts Niki Taylor and Tyson Beckford?
Oh yeah. They really care about us. I am definitely calling Niki. And Tyson really helped us.
Do you think that Tyson played favorites with Perry?
Tyson loves Perry but it’s because he reminds him of himself. I guess the other judges had favorites too. I had no problem with it.
What was the hardest challenge for you?
I think the hardest challenge was the snake shoot in the tank. It was 17 degrees and I had bronchitis!
What do you think of Ben and Ronnie and their Bromance?
I’m over the bromance. Ben and Ronnie were really good friends. It was a good example of people that could stay friends and be competitive.
Who do you think was your biggest competition in the final four?
I thought my biggest competition model-wise was Perry. He did really well. He knows how to act, he knows how to make people laugh.
A lot of people thought Perry had it in the bag — thoughts on that?
I think competitively at the end is when everyone’s true colors came out. They just started to show what they were really like. I don’t know.
Do you think you’ll keep up with the other contestants?
I loved Stephanie, and I can’t wait to keep up with everyone.
How did you feel when the casting agent said you needed vocal coaching?
I think I agree. It’s something that will take a lot of time to change. It’s where I grew up — I can’t help it. I’m gonna have to get rid of it.
What was it like to see your fiancé after so long? Did you get a sense of what was going on with Ben and his wife, or Perry and his girlfriend?
I was kinda more focused on my own situation. We hadn’t seen [our significant others] in so long. I was fortunate enough to stay in Europe for five months, and I knew what it was like to be away from my fiance. But Ben and Perry hadn’t been through that so it was hard for them.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do with the $100,000 cash prize?
Really, I just want to pay back my parents. My parents have really supported me throughout and they really have paid for everything whether it be an outfit for a casting or my rent. I really want to pay off their credit card bills.
What advice do you have for other aspiring models?
I think that you should follow your dreams. Don’t let the opportunities that you think you might not have limit you. I never took "no" for an answer. I kept hearing "no" a lot but I kept going.