My Interview with America’s Next Top Model Winner

Dani-TyraLate 2012, I pitched an idea to to get more male read­ers to the site. In ask­ing men what they want­ed to read about, I was get­ting a lot of men say­ing they would be inter­est­ed in read­ing a wom­an’s view on dif­fer­ent aspects of a rela­tion­ship. What I was envi­sion­ing was some­thing sim­i­lar to Jet’s Beau­ty of the Week sans the swim­suit, where the sub­ject answers 3 or 4 ques­tions that would vary. For exam­ple: What is your biggest turn off when it comes to dating?

I envi­sioned classy women, noth­ing that screams King Mag­a­zine. A week­ly, or month­ly col­umn fea­tur­ing a bomb­shell beau­ty and her thoughts on love, dat­ing, and advice for men, writ­ten by yours tru­ly as an “As told to” piece.  I want­ed C list mod­els and actress­es that are beau­ti­ful enough to pay atten­tion to but not so “Hol­ly­wood” that the reg­u­lar Joe can’t relate to what she is saying.

The edi­tor liked the idea so I played with it. Remem­ber Danielle “Dani” Evans? She was Tyra’s win­ner on America’s Next Top Mod­el Cycle 6. Since her win, she has signed with Click Mod­el Man­age­ment and has appeared in run­way shows and edi­to­r­i­al work for Cov­er Girl, Pas­try footwear, and Aka­demics. I did a can­did and FUN inter­view with her for this piece which ulti­mate­ly nev­er ran. (sad face) But I loved her take on things. At the time, she was only 27, but wise indeed. I decid­ed to final­ly get the inter­view in its entire­ty, out of my recorder and post it here…

danielle-evans1Can you tell us what you’ve been doing since we’ve seen you on America’s Next Top Model?

Dani:  I’m still mod­el­ing. I’m in New York City and it’s pret­ty much my every day life. Work­ing out, cast­ing, work. I’m still mod­el­ing full time but I also have projects that I’m work­ing on out­side of mod­el­ing. I deal with a non prof­it. I go to Haiti a lot and I’m work­ing with a close friend of mine who is also a mod­el. What we do is we take art, paint­ing and draw­ing, as a means of expres­sion for kids in pover­ty and use art as a way for these kids to escape and get away from the every­day life that they are used to. So we nor­mal­ly go out there for five days, 4 or 5 times a year.  So I’m real­ly involved over there in Haiti.

Are you single?

Im in a relationship.

What were you look­ing for in a man?

You know what, I hon­est­ly didn’t know what I want­ed but I knew what I didn’t want. Just from tri­al and error and being in a rela­tion­ship that didn’t work and dat­ing men that I real­ized were not real­ly on the same page as me. For me, one of the biggest things is a man respect­ing a woman…her men­tal, her body, all of that is key. So with me I didn’t know for a fact what I want­ed but I knew what I didn’t want and that elim­i­nat­ed a lot of men.

How did you know that this rela­tion­ship was some­thing you want­ed to be com­mit­ted to? danielle haiti

The guy I’m dat­ing now, we’ve been in a rela­tion­ship for three years and we have the same spir­i­tu­al beliefs, we have a lot of the same goals and  I think that’s impor­tant when you seek a rela­tion­ship, find­ing some­one who has the same dri­ve as you. It’s real­ly important.

Is there a dif­fer­ence between love and being in love?

It’s so fun­ny you ask that. Love is love. A lot of peo­ple in our soci­ety today want to dif­fer­en­ti­ate but I always say love is love no mat­ter what. Who you decide to be with is dif­fer­ent. I can love some­one and not choose to be with them. You get what I’m say­ing? For some­one to say ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’ I don’t know what that means. I used to say it because every­one else said it but I had to come to the point where I under­stood it’s not that I’m not in love with you any­more, it’s just that I choose not to be with you any­more. In love, you choose who you want to be with.

What is the most roman­tic thing a man has ever done for you?

Danielle Evans and boyfriend, celebrity stylist Shaundel Hall
Danielle Evans and boyfriend, celebri­ty styl­ist Shaun­del Hall

I [had been] away for work. I was going back to the city. My flight was delayed. It was storm­ing and I end­ed up get­ting home way lat­er than when I was sup­posed to.  [I knew] the next day I had work for anoth­er client. I was extreme­ly stressed out. I was flown into Newark instead of LaGuardia or JFK and so I had to truck to get back into the city and I real­ly want­ed to see my boyfriend. I hadn’t seen him in a long time since he works in the indus­try as well. He’s a fash­ion styl­ist so some­times our sched­ules are so busy that we don’t get to see each oth­er as often as we like. So I was in a cab, it was night­time. I was upset, jet­lagged. So he’s tex­ting me say­ing he’s sor­ry this has hap­pened and we would see each oth­er the next day. So I get home ‚and inside my apart­ment  there are can­dles lit every­where. He was hid­ing in my bed­room. So he came out and he had cooked for me. That was pret­ty major for me.

That sounds amaz­ing. Remind me where you are from?

I’m from Lit­tle Rock, Arkansas.

OK. When you moved to New York, did you see a dif­fer­ence in the kind of men that you were meeting?

Oh my good­ness. Night and day. Yeah. It’s so fun­ny because me and my girl­friends still talk about that. Grow­ing up down south, your typ­i­cal guy is a south­ern gen­tle­men. He opens doors. He has man­ners. Some peo­ple might con­sid­er them pushovers. They’re def­i­nite­ly not pushovers, but they’re respect­ful. Not to say all men down south have it all togeth­er because they don’t but  they’re just a dif­fer­ent breed of men cut from a dif­fer­ent cloth. When I came to the city, I noticed that the east coast guys are a lit­tle rougher around the edge. They don’t real­ly cater to a woman. They don’t real­ly try to pur­sue a woman like the men down south. They’re a lot more aggres­sive which can be a turnoff when a woman is not used to that aggression.

That was actu­al­ly going to be my next ques­tion. Is there any­thing you can pin­point as an imme­di­ate turnoff? You don’t like the aggression?

I don’t mind aggres­sion but it needs to be a sub­tle aggres­sion. You don’t need to be all up in my face. You don’t need to danielle evans 3man han­dle me. There’s a time and place for every­thing.  I had a guy one time who always ref­er­enced me as a bitch when he was talk­ing to me. For him, grow­ing up [in New York] he thought that was ok. But no, that’s not ok.

Sex on a first date. Yes or no?

Absolute­ly not.

Ok. [I laugh] Do you want to qual­i­fy that?

If you are look­ing to get mar­ried, why are you giv­ing every­thing away on a first date? Sex clouds a lot of things. With sex, you tend to get emo­tion­al­ly attached and you don’t get to know the true per­son because its cloud­ed by lust and the feel of it and the excite­ment of it. I always say if you can be celi­bate and be in a rela­tion­ship than that’s a win win. If you can get into an argu­ment and then fig­ure it out with­out hav­ing make up sex, you’re on the right road.  Sex doesn’t always fix every­thing. For me, I found that sex often com­pli­cates things.

Any oth­er advice you want to give to men look­ing to set­tle down with a spe­cial some­one, any­thing that he should be doing dif­fer­ent­ly to find her?

I would say that if you’re doing the same things repeat­ed­ly and you’re look­ing for some­thing dif­fer­ent, then that could be a major prob­lem. You have to do some­thing dif­fer­ent in order to get a dif­fer­ent result. I think that men need to go back to pur­su­ing a woman and respect­ing every­thing about her. It shouldn’t be about sex. Have lengthy con­ver­sa­tions. Get to know her before you com­mit or even before you run. It’s impor­tant to get back to days of hav­ing long con­ver­sa­tions and real­ly get­ting to know her before you throw the baby out with the wash because she did some­thing that was a red flag for you. Pur­sue her a lit­tle while longer. Get to know her inter­ests and what makes her tick or what ticks her off. Lis­ten to her. Be spon­ta­neous and do the things that she’s not used to… in a good way.