Hometown: Plymouth, Minnesota
By: Chantae Benson
What was your motivation for auditioning for the show?
My friend came over before I had my first audition and just hearing her name (Missy Elliott) gave me motivation in itself.
What was your expectation of the show? Did the show meet your expectations or disappoint you in any way?
It definitely met my expectations and exceeded them. I was very pleased. It was a fun experience. It was very cool for me to do something like that.
Throughout the show we have seen your character evolve. How do you feel you have grown during this experience?
I would say it’s made me a much stronger person. You have to be strong and know who you are and be ready for whatever comes your way. I’ve just grown that confidence and ability to walk into a room and have confidence and have people believe in me, because first of all you have to believe in yourself.
You were practically booed off the stage during your performance at Missy Elliott’s high school. Most contestants would have left the stage. What kept you performing?
The fact that I don’t want to look like a coward and walk off the stage just because I got booed. I pretty much knew I was going to be in elimination.That was the respect I felt I had to earn from Missy, that I had to stay on the stage even with the booing.
You seemed very doubtful of your abilities during the show but as the show progressed you began to gain more confidence. What was your turning point?
I think it was at the high school. After the high school that was a huge turning point for me because I had stood out there as I was booed. I had to think to myself that’s not my talent, I have an unbelievable talent and I need to express that. The fact that I almost got thrown off but got back on that bus was kind of when things started to change for me.
In retrospect, would you have done anything differently during the show?
I wouldn’t have been so nervous, but it’s hard for me to take anything back because I was at such a different level and I was growing. I wish I wasn’t open to people seeing how emotional I am. I was so innocent it seemed like and I would have liked to be seen as a little tougher.
How was it being on tour with Missy Elliott and what do you think you learned from her while on tour?
I felt completely like she wanted to help me grow. She taught me that you can be talented but that’s not all, you have to have all the other aspects at the table when you bring it. She kept giving me a chance to prove it.
Many of the contestants had prior experience performing. Do you think your age and lack of experience worked against you during the competition?
Honestly, I don’t think so. I don’t think it put me at a disadvantage. I think me being at a young age I have to go through something big at a young age and I can be a threat later on. I felt like I was learning more at a younger age then most people.
Do you think the type of challenges you faced while on tour prepared you to be a better performer?
All these challenges were definitely helping me in that direction. That’s what I like about the show, we’re not doing the same type of performance challenge and you’re not prepared for it. Most people had been through these experiences and for me it was a first time experience.
Is there anything that happened behind the scenes that you wish would have aired?
One thing in particular was I got to do a duet with Teena Marie. I wished so much that could have been aired. It was an incredible moment for me and I earned a lot of respect from those on the bus.
What advice would you give to the remaining contestants?
Just to give it your all because with every elimination there stands many talented people. With each competition it gets tougher and tougher and Missy expects more and more.
What are your future plans?
I’m working with my manager and producer and trying to make it happen for the summer time.
Thanks again for taking the time for this interview and good luck with your future endeavors.
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