Alisha White, runner-up of Living TV’s Britain’s Next Top Model, spoke to Ruth Dickinson about her faith and modelling career...
It’s been a week since the live final of Britain’s Next Top Model. How did you feel when they announced you hadn’t won?
When they announced Tiffany [Pisani] had won, at the time I was like, ‘Oh no.’ At the same time I was so happy for her, because as two people that share the same dream, you’re so passionate about it. You don’t really mind who it goes to, you just feel happy for that person.
God has another plan for me; I’m ready to take whatever plan he’s going to throw at me. Not winning has given me opportunity to do all the things I wanted to do, like being here [to talk about my faith]. I just thought, ‘This is a happy moment. This is not the time to be sad, be ignorant, or to say anything bad. It’s a time to embrace what you’ve learned and how far you’ve come in life.’
Tell me about your faith.
I was brought up as a Christian. I went to Sunday School. I’m a Roman Catholic. There were times in my life – around early teenager stage – when I kind of fell out with faith, but as I got older I started to understand it a little bit more. I’ve fallen in love with God. I thank him for everything he’s done for me and my family.
Did you find your faith was helpful while you were doing the show?
I believe the Lord helped me throughout all the stages in the competition. If I hadn’t engaged in prayer and read my Bible, maybe I wouldn’t have got as far as I did.
It’s not every day I woke up [on the show] and thought: ‘I’m great. I’m going to do a good job today.’ Sometimes I woke up and thought: ‘I’m going to give up now. I want to go home, I want to see my family.’ But he walked with me everywhere.
How did people react to you having a faith?
A lot of [younger viewers] on the live Facebook chats and the BNTM groups have been like ‘Oh, Alisha’s a Christian, it’s made me come out as a Christian too.’ It shouldn’t be something that you hide. I find it a bit upsetting that young people want to hide their faith. It should be something that you’re proud of and embrace. God is nothing to be ashamed of. I think people look at me and think ‘She’s a model, she’s a rebel.’ Automatically when people think of models, they think of bad things.
There are a lot of bad things that go with modelling, but you have to be able to [work] around them. Being a Christian is not about being perfect, it’s about learning from your mistakes, improving for the next time, and teaching others, and being yourself.
What was the most difficult thing about doing the show?
The anticipation of what they were going to make you do next. The majority of the competition we were naked. I saw my body so much that I thought ‘Is this what I want to do, is this right?’ But [when I asked] the Lord to help me do it gracefully, for it to be portrayed in the best way possible, not too x-rated or explicit, he did help me with that.
How would you defend modelling to people who would say it’s superficial, or you shouldn’t be doing it?
I’m not going to say that modelling is bad, it’s explicit, it’s showing off your body. God gave you the body, it’s down to you to portray it in a positive way. It does frighten me, as a Christian, you don’t want to be seen as a sleaze. But it’s the way you do things. I believe that God wouldn’t have put me that far in the competition if he didn’t think it was the way for me.
I promised God before I went on to stage [in the final], whether I win or not, I’m going to do it in his light to prove to him that I’m doing it for him. People don’t really understand. They think, she’s a model [it’s all about] glitz and glamour, dresses, hair make up…It’s so much to deal with, being a model and trying to have a faith at the same time. It’s so hard, people beat you down for that, but I think it’s right and I’m looking forward to seeing where God takes me next.