AE: Did you have girlfriend while you were filming the show?
AL: No, I didn’t. And I don’t. That worked out for me.
AE: So how was walking into a house full of women, most of whom were straight?
AL: [Laughs] That was fun. It was fun, when we first – when we finally got a chance to talk. After all the – first we did the runway at Universal [Citywalk], and all 14 of us were around, and it was like mayhem, because it was so loud. And I was right in the middle and I swear, the girls were asking something, and Annaliese said, “Oh, have you told AzMarie how you feel?” and they were like “No,” and she said, “Well, you’re acting like she’s not sitting right there!” And then it was, “Oh, we love you, you’re so hot.” And I thought, “OK, this might be a problem.” But I kept saying, “No surprises.” Because I wanted to keep my personal life as private as possible, but still have fun. It went well.
AE: You are an amazingly good flirt.
AL: Thank you! [Laughs]
AE: What are your flirting tips for AfterEllen.com readers?
AL: Flirting tips? Oh, wow. I don’t know. I’m so — I think I’ve polished it over the years. I’ve learned to pay compliments where they seem flirtatious, but they really are a paying a genuine compliment. I believe a lot of people deserve to be spoken to in a certain way, whether it be a man or a woman. And I do my best to do that. I think it just makes me feel better as a person. So a lot of the time, what may come off as flirting is me just genuinely wanting to have a conversation. Because I know sometimes what it’s like to just want one.
AE: Did you have a favorite photo shoot on the show?
AL: I would say my favorite would be the one with Nigel and the low riders. Not only just him as a photographer and having the opportunity to work with him, but the cars were so sweet, these candy-colored cars. I had a chance to sit on a couple of them and, you know, when they’re bouncing up and down and you’re trying to catch a shot, it’s a challenge in itself. And that was something new for me as far as the setting. So I enjoyed that a lot.
AE: Did you have a favorite judge?
AL: I would say I enjoyed all of them for different reasons. For me, experiencing it and knowing what I had experienced, when it would come down to judging what a photo was, their compliments and their feedback were all different, but it was genuine. And I could feel that each and every one of them in some way wanted something out of me that they could see. Obviously, they want you to better yourself, and I was really glad to get a chance to do this. I would say I enjoyed everyone. There really was not any one favorite. The one that maybe touched me the most was Beverly Johnson. We got to see her — they didn’t show this, but she came in the house, and we got to meet her, and sit and ask her questions and talk to her. That was nice.
AE: She’s such an icon.
AL: Oh, yeah. Yeah, That was one of those where I was like, “Oh, my God!”
AE: You mentioned that all the judges wanted to see different things from you, and they all had different styles of communicating. Was it frustrating to deal with feedback from someone who just doesn’t see things the way you do?
AL: Yeah, but that’s life. I’ve learned that everybody’s entitled to their opinions. I just try to embrace it and take it in and open my mind up to somebody else who maybe has another view that I don’t see. And I’ve experienced that on the show, and I learned from it. And you’ll be able to see that further on. Yeah, you’re going to see that further on.
AE: We see little glimpses of you being silly, like when you danced up the judges in Hammer pants, but mostly you’re shown as very serious on the show. How do you feel about the edit you’re getting?
AL: I’m actually very content and happy with the edit that I’m getting. I feel like the show is meant to see me at work, and that’s what you get. You see me here and there, because, yes, when I’m at home, I’m silly and I’m goofy. Especially around people I’m comfortable with. I like to have fun, and in return, I like for them to have fun.
I’m sure a lot of girls in the house would say that that’s one thing I did bring when I could, if we weren’t too out of it, is having fun and conversation. So I love that.
AE: A lot of the Top Model story arc is about teaching, but you were already an experienced model when you went on. Did you learn anything from the show?
AZ: Yeah, I did. I learned from the show. I don’t really know how to word it. Mine was more for things that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to see. More interpersonal than it would be visual, for others to understand. I did learn from the show, personally.
AE: Have you already started getting more interest for work from the show?
AL: I have! I’ve been having things coming in. Things are postponed because — no, I can’t do too much right now. But I’ve gone on auditions for film and for TV. So, you know, things have come up from that. And I’m still into music. I’m meeting with a lot of different producers, trying to play some songs and writing, so, yeah, a lot of different thing moving forward.
The show has most certainly helped. It did exactly what I knew it would, and that’s why I made the decision to go on it.
AE: You talked on the show about coming out at 14. How did you know it was time?
AL: I was a freshman in high school, and I was attending an all-girls school at the time in Milwaukee. I always had an attraction to women. I think it was just one of those things where I was in denial a lot of the time, and I think at 14 I gained a different awareness about myself, and I was able to accept it, and I felt like I didn’t want to hide. It probably hurt more to hide it than to actually be truthful about it, because I’m good at receiving a lot of information, even if it’s negative.
And that’s when I told my dad. He had come out to me that he was gay when I was 7. And – my parents are divorced – I thought, “Well, OK, I’m comfortable, let me go to him first.” My parents are best friends, I believe he probably was on the phone with my mom saying “Oh, yeah, so our daughter…”
It kind of came out like that. I have an amazing relationship now with both my parents. Yes, as a kid and as a teenager, me and my mom kind of went head-to-head. As an adult now, she has embraced my sexuality and my personal life as well as my career. She’s excited for everything now.
AE: It seems like you haven’t worried much about how being out might affect your career.
AL: No, I wasn’t too concerned about it. There are individuals who are out, and some of them that cannot be out, unfortunately. I just chose “If I’m going to do this, I want to be comfortable. I don’t want to have any other issues.” It is what it is. I think it’s just better in my situation coming in that I can do that. I mean, excuse my French, but you get more s–t for not.
You know I am. I look like it. I know you ain’t going to say that, but it’s the truth. And I’m OK with that. I don’t throw it in anybody’s face. I’m not going to flaunt it. It just is what it is for my sanity it to be OK.
And so many people are accepting it. I’m online, looking at Twitter: Men, women, heterosexual, homosexual are all “Girl crush!” I’m like, whoa, guys, you don’t have to be any kind of way to support me, or have a crush, or whatever. It doesn’t mean you’re a lesbian if you like me. I don’t like to go out and say that or promote that in any way.
I’m out. It is what it is. My parents accept me, and that’s all that matters to me. Everybody else is irrelevant. They’re going to have their opinion regardless.
(Those that like me can follow me on Twitter. That’s @iamaziam.)
AE: I know you can’t give spoilers, but you mentioned that you have a few tense moments coming up on the show. Is there anything we should be watching out for?
AL: Everything. Just pay close attention to everything. Seriously. Everything.