This season, America’s Next Top Model broke its one-out-lesbian-per-cycle rule when both Megan Morris and Michelle Babin came out on the air. Though Megan was eliminated early on this season, 19-year-old Michelle made it into the final five, along with Melrose, CariDee, Eugena, and her twin sister, Amanda. After a disastrous panel session in which Michelle told the judges she had the least potential in modeling, the tall, gangly tomboy was sent home to Anaheim. She is currently finishing out the year at Cypress College, where she plays small forward or guard on their women’s basketball team. “It’s nothing big, but it’s fun,” she says. “We’re doing pretty good.”
We talked with Michelle shortly after her elimination, and she told us that she hadn’t actually come out on camera by the time Megan left, even though Megan revealed that Michelle was gay when she talked with us at the end of September — several episodes before Michelle came out on the air. But Michelle’s not concerned about letting everyone know about her sexual orientation. “I knew it was going to come out eventually anyway,” she says. “It didn’t really matter to me when.”
AfterEllen.com: Just before you were eliminated, Tyra suggested that you might be sacrificing yourself by saying you have the least potential to become the next top model, because you knew that your twin sister wanted it more. Do you think Tyra got it right?
Michelle Babin: I think maybe partially. I definitely didn’t go in there thinking I was going to sacrifice myself — like [I didn’t] go into panel thinking “Oh, I’m gonna take a dive for my sister today” — but maybe subconsciously I did a little bit, because of the fact that I knew she didn’t have a very good photo shoot, and I knew she was concerned about going. … So I might have subconsciously done it, but … it was never my intention like that. They asked me a question, and I answered it honestly.
AE: You did seem to give one of the more honest answers in that panel.
MB: Yeah, panel always got me. Those panel challenges — I never did good in [them].
AE: Did you have one that you felt you did well in at all? In any of the panel challenges?
MB: Um … no.
AE: Which one did you hate the most?
MB: I didn’t like swimming frightfully.
AE: That was an interesting one, yes.
MB: That was kind of weird. I didn’t know what to do with that. I kind of wanted some water to swim in.
AE: Well, you and Amanda are obviously very close. Did both of you want to audition for Top Model, or was it more one person’s idea?
MB: Originally she tried out for Cycle 6 by herself because I wasn’t really interested, and I was really focused on basketball. But for Cycle 7, she got a callback … and I had become interested in it and asked her if I could tag along, and they said “yes, of course.” So she wanted it a little more, but I was very interested in it [also].