BNTM: We Talk To Alisha, Joy & Tiffany

“No matter what happens to Charlotte, I think she’s going to be big. She’s got the personality to do whatever she wants to do.â€? These are not words you expect to hear from the mouth of 18-year-old Britain’s Next Top Model finalist Alisha, given all her apparent issues with her former rival. But when I join her, along with Joy and Tiffany ahead of Monday’s live public vote, Alisha insists that there really wasn’t as much tension between the pair as everyone made out.

“To be honest, it was just that one occasion. Everyone thinks I hate her, or that I’m jealous of her. I’m actually not. There’s nothing about her that I want and there’s nothing I’ve got that she wants. I talk to her now and we’re fine; we’re civil to each other. The viewers saw this huge argument, but when it actually happened, we were sitting around and literally just talking like we’re talking right now.â€?

We’re used to reality TV stars alleging that they’ve been portrayed in the wrong way and that clever editing has made them look mean/two-faced/spotty, but in this case, Alisha’s claims are backed up by the other two girls. As Alisha talks (and boy, does she talk) about that argument with Charlotte, the girls quietly nod and then launch into their own attack on the way in which the show was edited.

“Each episode takes four days to film, from the crack of dawn ‘til one in the morning, so you can imagine how much viewers are missing out on if it’s only a one-hour episode,â€? points out Joy. So perhaps some incidents were exaggerated by the show’s editors, but are the girls really still that chummy with each other? “I’m also in a lot of contact with Charlotte,â€? says Tiffany in her strangely unsettling lilt. “She’s been helping me find a place in London.â€? But then, as she admits, she never had any clashes in the house anyway. Surely Alisha – who was always more of a fiery and divisive character on the show – hasn’t kept in contact with everyone?

“We all speak now and again. Well, I haven’t heard off Amba, Delita and what’s her name?â€? The other girls giggle and both try to help her remember who she means. “I know who I’m talking about, but I can’t remember her name…Oh, Kirsty! We were never friends in the house anyway.â€?

“The only one I don’t speak to is Harleen,â€? chimes in Joy, “and with good reason! I’ve kept in touch with Tiffany the most. Even when we’re staying in hotels, we end up spending the whole time in each other’s rooms, sleeping in the same bed because we just got so used to it.â€?

Well, isn’t this a cosy little love-in? Even when I ask the girls to pick another model out of the three to win, they answer immediately and without a fuss, pointing to one another to indicate who their chosen winner would be. Tiffany and Alisha both say Joy and she picks Tiffany. “Ah, bless youâ€?, she says and they all smile. So, do these girls really have a refreshingly sisterly attitude towards each other, or is it all a concerted effort to stave off the “bitchy models” label?

The thing is, it doesn’t really seem put-on; the three girls genuinely seem to like each other and even Alisha isn’t nearly as contentious as some would have us believe. You sort of start to feel some sympathy for the BNTM producers, who had to try and make a gripping show with such nice girls as the subjecst.

However, if the girls weren’t as nasty as they might have hoped, some of the judges definitely took on the Simon Cowell role to help up the programme’s ruthless factor. Julien Macdonald is clearly the girls’ least favourite judge. Alisha seemed to take his biting comments personally: “I think he literally was trying to break me. One week, I thought, ‘if he says anything to me this week, I might lose the plot’. I thought he was actually trying to damage me. Then I realised that was just him. He was just trying to be the funny guy.â€?

“My problem with Julian wasn’t that he was mean,â€? adds Joy, “because we were all expecting that, but that he never actually gave you any constructive criticism and a way to improve and move forward. He just insulted you and expected us to get better, but that obviously lowers your confidence.â€?

All three girls agree that Julien’s notorious “fatâ€? comments about Charlotte were “disgustingâ€?, but Tiffany notes that, “Julian just made a really good show. When you’re watching him, he’s really funny. In doing the competition, you do have to be aware that these things are going to happen.â€?

“I think that’s fine,â€? says Alisha, “but sometimes he does have to consider people’s feelings. After the catwalk challenge, he called me a Curly Wurly and he called Joy…â€? Joy interrupts: “He called me a monkey! He said I looked like I was from a council estate. I am from a council estate!â€? Alisha then misses the point of Joy’s anecdote slightly, adding, “he said I look like I’m walking down Brixton Road. I don’t live in Brixton!â€?

But on the whole, the girls are positive about their experience so far, revelling in their new-found status as role models. “I’ve had girls asking me certain things and I’m more than happy to tell them. I find it really sweet,â€? says Tiffany, and Alisha agrees: “The day you decide to give up, you’re letting down so many people behind you; so many girls who look up to you and want to be like you.â€?

So are they getting recognised in the street? Well, sort of. “Someone shouted ‘Britain’s got talent!’ at me the other day,â€? laughs Joy. “Yeah, people always do that!â€? says Alisha, looking a bit perturbed. So, it looks like the girls still have a few things to keep their feet on the ground as they prepare for next week’s live final.