T Lo Interviews MMAS Branden
Congratulations, Branden! You’re the winner, can you believe it?
Oh, no man, it’s insane. I still can’t believe it.
Was it tough to keep it a secret for so long?
Yeah, actually, it was kind of tough, but it comes down to the decision of “Would you rather tell someone or would you rather win?” That’s what I told my mom too because she’s the only one who knew about it.
How did it feel to be the youngest in the competition to win?
That’s was amazing because not only I won the competition, but I was the youngest. It’s like a little kid beating up an 18-year-old. It’s awesome because I took on all these grownups who were supposed to know what they were doing and they didn’t.
Especially competing against Sandhurst and Jonathan at the end.
Those two…I cannot believe that I beat them. They’re two of the coolest guys I’ve ever met in my life. They were definitely the strongest competition in the whole show and I can’t believe that I took it at the end.
It was nice to see how happy they were for you even though they didn’t win.
They’re really good sports and that’s what was so awesome about it. I was really touched when Jonathan made the “that kid did well” comment and he gave me a hug, that was awesome.
We saw potential in you ever since we saw that candy shot. The transformation was amazing. We know you had a lot of doubts, but was there any point in the competition where you said to yourself, “I can win this?”
You know, actually, at the beginning when I won immunity and when I won the photoshoot. I thought,” I got this, that’s a piece of cake.” I was so wrong because two weeks after that I was at the bottom one inch away from getting sent home. That changed things and in the last episode for some reason I thought I had a chance because I knew I did a great job with the Cosmopolitan shoot and the Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ shoot. That was a great shoot for me, I did an exceptional job on that.
How was the experience working with Timothy Greenfield-Sanders? He has photographed from world leaders to major cultural figures.
Oh, he is such a cool guy. He’s so smart and he knows fashion, he’s brilliant behind the camera. He knows how to get your inner beauty.
The judges felt that you had a lot of potential and some of the other models felt you didn’t perform well enough throughout the competition to win. What do you think made you win?
I think what made me win is that I went in this competition with no fears of doing anything. I did everything I was asked whether was getting naked or posing with a dude, whether I felt uncomfortable or not, I still did it without any questions. I put my all in everything. There was not one time where I didn’t try my hardest. I took direction every week, I listened. Before a photoshoot, I would sit there and think about what the judges said the week before. I really tried my hardest the whole time and I really thought I deserved it.
Your mother seemed so sweet and very supportive of you.
You know, my mom and I….we love each other so much. I’ll be always there for her. She raised me since I was a kid and now it’s my chance to help her. She’s getting older, she needs my help and support now. She doesn’t have a boyfriend or anything, she feels she doesn’t need one, she’s having fun with her life. She loves her job, which is kind of strange because she works at Albertson’s, but she’s happy there and she’s such a great woman. She made me have such respect for women. Our relationship is just amazing.
That must have been quite an experience for you both to see all your photos displayed at a gallery.
That was such a cool experience. That was such a surprise. I thought we were going to a museum or something but when I turned that corner and I saw all those huge pictures of all three of us, I ran in and I saw mine. They were huge. It was amazing to see all our best shots like that.
Your mother said that she sent a boy to the competition and she got a man in return. Do you feel that you grew throughout the competition?
I definitely did. I was in high school, being a dumb teenager; I was partying all the time, having fun and stuff. When I got back I was a lot more mature. I’m looking for my goals now, I’m thinking of my future now, making money and supporting myself.
What did you think of the judges in general?
I thought all the judges were really cool. They were all unique and different, even though Perou was a dick sometimes, made fun of me; you have to respect him because that’s how some people are in the industry. It’s a tough industry and you’re always going to be criticized no matter what.
Do you get in touch with the other models?
Not really, just Shawn and Sandhurst.
What was your favorite photoshoot?
I’d say the nude shoot. The photographer and I didn’t get along for some reason even though I was doing exactly what he was asking me to do, I didn’t like him at all, but I love the shot, it’s my favorite show of the whole season; that and the Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ one.
Well, good luck to you, Branden. We’ll look for you in the magazines and runway shows.
Thank you for your support.