Interview with “Top Model”‘s Michelle Babin

AE: I talked with Megan Morris earlier this fall after she was eliminated, and she told me that you came out on camera before she was eliminated, which was really surprising because obviously nothing had been shown at that time. [Megan said, “Michelle also said that she was gay on the show.”] But the show did not explore that until several episodes later. Can you tell me what happened?
MB:
I didn’t come out on camera. I had talked to [Megan] about it off-camera, actually, and I told her there was a possibility that I was kind of debating whether I was bi or not. Like one time we were in casting weekend, and a lot of the girls were talking about the subject, and they were like, “Oh, what do you think of me? What do you think of me?”

And then [Megan] went down the list and was like, “You could be bi, you could be bi.” And then when she got to me she was like, “Oh, I get the gay vibe from you.” Like she just straight-out said she thought I was gay. So then later on, I was like, “Yeah, I might be bi, but I’m not quite sure.” But that didn’t happen on-camera actually, but we had talked about it.

AE: Did you feel OK about her basically stating that before you came out on the show?
MB:
I wasn’t expecting it, but … I didn’t really care. It wasn’t a bad thing, because I knew it was going to come out eventually anyway. It didn’t really matter to me when.

AE: How did it feel to deal with that stuff with cameras everywhere?
MB:
It was kind of awkward, but by that time I had kind of gotten a little bit used to the cameras. I didn’t mind the world knowing. I mean, they asked me the question in an interview with the directors, and I just answered it honestly. … I was OK with it.

AE: You said the directors asked you in an interview. Was this before you were on the show?
MB:
No, no, no — while I was on [the show]. Every week we did interviews with the directors, just to get footage and stuff. So they were talking about Megan, and then the question of my sexuality came up, and they asked me, “Oh, well, so what are you?” And I was like “Um, I don’t know.” And that’s how it [happened]. They edited it so that it seemed like I told Jaeda, but that’s not exactly how it happened.

AE: So how did it happen?
MB:
I was walking out of the interview and going upstairs, and my sister was like, “So what did you talk about?” And I was like, “Oh, basically I just announced I was gay on TV.” And she was like, “What?” And so … then I just ended up telling everybody else, ’cause it was the gossip of the house, I guess.

AE: Did you suspect … before Top Model that you might not be straight?
MB:
Yeah, I had actually been contemplating it for awhile. I just didn’t know how to tell people ’cause everybody just presumed I was straight, and then all of the sudden I’m like, “Oh well, I’m kinda — I don’t know.” So, yeah, I had definitely been pondering it for awhile, and somebody just asked me, and I answered honestly.

AE: Obviously, it’s kind of a confusing time to go through. How do you identify right now?
MB:
Either as not straight or bi, because I do think I find women attractive. … I’m just really shy when it comes to relationships, so I kind of get scared and nervous, so I don’t really get a good chance to explore it.

AE: Your sister seemed to have a bit of difficulty dealing with your coming-out at first, but she seemed to adjust fairly quickly, and your mom seemed very supportive on the phone.
MB:
Yeah, my mom was really supportive. I knew she would be OK with it, so that was cool.

AE: How is everything going with you and your family now?
MB:
Everything’s fine. It’s not even a big deal at all. It’s just another thing. And the reason why my sister was so upset about it at first was ’cause she thought that I had gotten tricked into saying it on TV. Like she thought one of the directors had tricked me into saying it. But that wasn’t the case. … There really was no trickery involved at all, I just answered [the question]. And actually, I didn’t even have to say it. They were like, “You don’t have to answer,” and I was like, “No, I have no problem.”

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