Maryam Massoumi may not have won Canada’s Next Top Model, but she left the show with a new understanding of what it means to be Canadian.
“When I entered this country, I was always fascinated by all the people from different countries. I’ve never had that,” said Massoumi, 18, from North Vancouver, B.C. “It was such a great experience to know ‘Canadian’ doesn’t mean you have to be blond and everything.”
Massoumi immigrated to Canada from Iran two years ago and, while on the show, she admits the language barrier separated her from connecting with her competition, but said she was never isolated from them. “It was great to communicate with all the girls because I’m part of them and I’m becoming Canadian.”
The remaining four women faced off in a runway challenge on last night’s episode, after priming with runway coach and America’s Next Top Model judge, Miss. J. Alexander. The hopefuls had to march delicate museum-piece dresses made by Canadian designers down the runway, being careful not to tear them.
Despite warnings about the garments’ fragility, Massoumi accidentally tore a section on Linsay Willier of Edmonton’s dress while trying to help the seamstresses fitting her. The tiny tear became a large rip when Willier tripped while climbing stairs to the runway, calling into question both Massoumi and Willier’s attention to direction.
However, both women redeemed themselves during the week’s photo challenge with judge Mike Ruiz. The contenders were charged with producing a softer photograph for CoverGirl; the winner’s to be used in an actual national campaign.
While the judges reviewed all of the images with general favour, Willier’s was chosen as the best and Massoumi’s involvement in the dress-ripping incident ultimately sent her packing, leaving just three women to compete for the Top Model title.
“I wasn’t sad that I got kicked off before the top three because I was in the top four and really proud of myself,” said Massoumi.
But reaching that position didn’t come without its trials. Twice during the competition, Massoumi couldn’t participate in the same challenges as the other women because they were held outside Canada and she didn’t hold a Canadian passport.
While some of her competitors expressed it wasn’t fair for Massoumi to remain in the competition because of the restriction, she maintains her photographs are what kept her there.
“I think it was totally fair because I took great pictures and that’s all the competition is about.”