It’s always sad to see another contestant to leave Australia’s Next Top Model, but there was something especially hard about seeing Lauren Ericson walk down those stairs and back to real life on last night’s episode. We caught up with the beauty to talk all about her experience, and what she’s been up to since the show.
theFashionSpot: We were very sad to see you leave the show! What have you been up to since then?
Lauren Ericson: I pretty much just went straight back to school, back to my normal life before I left. I’m doing Year 12 so I’ve gone back to study.
tFS: How did you juggle school commitments while you were on the show?
LE: When I was on the show I sort of thought that school was a nice way to sort of feel like I was back at home. I was studying the work that I had been learning when I was with all of my friends just before I left, and it was sort of a nice way to get away from all the drama that was happening at the time, in the show
I was able to get into my own little world and do my best to stay focused and keep up to date with what was happening back at school.
tFS: Was everyone at school supportive of you on the show?
LE: Everyone’s been very, very supportive. I was sort of surprised. For the first episode I had a big party at my house and all my friends came over, and every week they’re always asking me and messaging me about each episode. I’m pretty lucky. I haven’t had any negative feedback that I’ve known about, so it’s been a very good experience for me.
tFS: Montana Cox inspired you to audition. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
LE: She used to go to my school. I think when I was in year 8 she was in year 12 and had just gone on the show, so obviously at that age I was like ‘oh my god, there’s a famous person at my school’.
Seeing her be really normal at school, and at my school in particular, to go on and win Australia’s Next Top Model, obviously that gave me some encouragement to believe in myself.
tFS: Do you know Montana personally?
LE: I wouldn’t say personally. I think I spoke to her before I auditioned, just asked her a few questions about it and if she had any tips, and she said, ‘oh, you’ll be fine’. If I saw her I’d say hello but I wouldn’t say she’s my best friend or anything like that!
tFS: Have you always wanted to go on Australia’s Next Top Model?
LE: Since I was very young I’ve always wanted to go on Australia’s Next Top Model. I was a bit scared when I was a bit younger whether I would actually end up doing it. This year I was just like, ‘you know what, why not?’
tFS: What was your highlight of the entire Australia’s Next Top Model experience?
LE: My highlight for me personally would be meeting all the girls, as well as getting the experience that I did while I was there.
tFS: You did really well on the show, and even won the Mazda challenge and $5000! Have you thought about how you’re going to use the money?
LE: The money’s gone straight into my savings account. I think I will either use it on my first car, which makes sense because I won it promoting a car, or maybe I’ll go travelling next year to use it for flights overseas and hopefully do some modelling over there.
tFS: What was the lowlight of the entire Australia’s Next Top Model experience?
LE: People don’t realise how hard it really is when you’ve got very limited contact with them [friends and family] and you’re thrown into a house with complete strangers. You feel very lonely at times and I think that was the hardest part for me.
tFS: How hard was it to keep the show a secret from your friends?
LE: It was pretty hard. I don’t think my friends realised how confidential it really is. You think, ‘If I trust them with other stuff I can trust them with the show’, but that’s very different. It was pretty hard to keep my mouth shut. It was a fun game.
tFS: There were a few situations where you had to model alongside male models, even though you had a boyfriend. Now that he’s seen the show, was he OK with everything you did?
LE: He’s been very supportive and he’s fine with that. If anything he’d probably be a little bit happy that I didn’t just dive into that shoot, all confident with another guy. So he’ll feel a bit relieved watching that rather than me getting in there and having the time of my life.
tFS: You were surrounded by beautiful people on the show, including fellow contestants and guest judges. Did you ever feel insecure at all?
LE: I definitely did feel insecure and had a lot of pressure. When you’re living with your competition, it’s quite hard to stay really confident. Being confronted by international supermodels, you sort of think, ‘oh god I don’t think I could ever look like that or be anything like that’, so it’s quite hard to remain positive.
But I guess as time went on you just gain more confidence each week when you get a better photo or a better score and you get good feedback, it gives you that extra bit of confidence and I think, at this age, for me anyway, it was really important to try and stay as confident as I could no matter who I was surrounded by.
tFS: You had an amazing host of celebrity guest judges. What was the biggest fan girl moment for you?
LE: I was most stunned by Linda [Evangelista]. Back then, when she was in her prime, it was so limited to supermodels. Whereas now there are supermodels all over the world, but there was only five or six then and she was one of them. To be in the same room as her and to have the most experience I think I was most stunned by that.
tFS: You and Brittany were very close on the show. Do you two still keep in touch?
LE: We keep in touch. We live pretty close to each other as well which is convenient. I wish she’d get her licence so she’d come and drive and see me but I’m not that far off mine.
tFS: Are you still hoping to pursue modelling?
LE: I want to get into modelling as soon as I can now and try and do both school and modelling just to get a head-start. But then obviously when I finish school I can jump straight into it and travel a little bit, and maybe move up to Sydney and work there. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do. Maybe I’ll take a gap year and just really get into modelling.