We all knew that UPN’s America’s Next Top Model was one of the gayest shows on TV, but this season upped the queer ante even more when 22-year-old out lesbian Kim Stolz sauntered into Tyra Banks’s catfighting, back-stabbing and totally addictive reality series. Over the course of ten episodes, Stolz braved a series of photo shoots that tested her abilities to femme it up, gave the straight girls a taste of dyke drama, and landed a cameo spot on the UPN drama Veronica Mars. But after failing to win the judges over with her impression of a modern-day Venus, Stolz was sent back to her native New York, coming in fourth place in the competition.
We caught up with her during her post-show media blitz, when she gave us the dish on what really happened in that limo, who she liked and who she didn’t, and why everyone seemed to be sleeping in adjoining beds.
AfterEllen: Let’s go back a bit. So you went to college at Wesleyan, you majored in international relations, is that right?
Kim Stolz: Yeah, government and international politics.
AE: So those aren’t exactly experiences we would normally associate with the desire to be a model. What initially drew you to modeling?
KS: Well, my mom [Carol Brandt] was a model, a very successful model, in the 1960s and 70s. And I think I had watched videos of her when I was younger, on a runway, and I was always sort of drawn to it, but it seemed that everything in my life had prepared me for an academic realm, so I was planning on going toward that. But I was finishing up my senior year, and my friends and I were talking about what we were going to do, and I thought that it would be a really exciting risk to take. It was something that I had thought about, but not something that my interest was really strong in yet. But it turned out on the show that my interest became much stronger than I ever expected it to, and now it is something I want to pursue.
AE: It seems like everyone who auditioned for the show really, really wanted to be a model. How did you convince them to cast you when you didn’t have such a strong interest?
KS: I think that it’s not necessarily the person who most wants to be a model who is the person who should. I think sometimes people want things so badly that they sort of jinx themselves, psych themselves out. I think that I wanted to be cast not because of desire, but because of my potential as a model, and I think that’s exactly why I was cast.
AE: So it seems like when you auditioned you also came out right away. Is that true?
KS: I came out in terms of sexuality?
KS: Yeah. They ask you at auditions about your life, and I am not someone who, when asked about my life, is going to hide a huge part of it. So of course I came out—I think in my first audition.
AE: So for you, there just wasn’t really any choice to make?
KS: I think they maybe asked me about a girlfriend or a boyfriend, and that kind of sparked it right there.
AE: Yeah, I’ve seen that in their audition application.
KS: Right. Before I even got to the audition when I filled out the application, the answer was already there right in front of them.
AE: Were you out to your family before you auditioned?
KS: Yes, I came out to my family—or my immediate family, my parents, when I was 16.
AE: That’s young.
KS: Well, it wasn’t really accepted right away, but now about eight years later, it’s going much—or what is it, six? No, how many years is it? Oh, it’s six years later, and it’s going much better.
AE: [Laughs.] So you’re 22 now?
KS: I’m 22. It seems like it’s been eight years, believe me.
AE: Has your extended family seen the show? They all know?
KS: Everybody knows.
AE: How has that been?
KS: It’s been good for the most part. I think there was a bit of surprise on certain people’s ends, but everyone is very supportive of me, and it’s my belief that if you come out to someone and you’re proud of it and you’re excited about it, they really have no choice but to be accepting. There’s obviously the exception, but this is my belief and my experience. Whereas if you come out and you’re very afraid and hesitant and insecure about it, people are much more likely to be critical. So me being so proud of it, I think, helped their acceptance of it.
AE: All right, so let’s just talk a little bit about Sarah.
KS: Oh God. Obviously. [Laughs.]