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Canada's Next Top Model hopefuls weigh in before Tuesday's finale

For hopeful young models who make the cut as a contestant on Canada's Next Top Model, spending hours in front of mirrors agonizing over their looks is nothing new.

TORONTO - For hopeful young models who make the cut as a contestant on "Canada's Next Top Model," spending hours in front of mirrors agonizing over their looks is nothing new.

But the three finalists on the Gemini Award-winning show - which wraps up on Tuesday - say staring at themselves on television is a totally different, bizarre experience.

"Watching ourselves on TV is so strange," said Calgary's Nikita Kiceluk in an interview. "It's so embarrassing. "

"I talk like a trucker - how is that not embarrassing?"

Of course, Kiceluk, Meaghan Waller of Winnipeg and Edmonton's Linsay Willier must have done something right - they're the three models left standing from the initial pool of 11 contestants.

The show wrapped taping around the beginning of April and the women already know who won the competition but they're sworn to secrecy.

All three have since moved home, and they haven't been allowed to model. Still, their lives have already started changing as a result of the exposure.

"I get hate mail," Kiceluk said. "I get lots of it. I actually just got one a minute ago. "

"I just have a really bold personality, I'm really sarcastic. Lots of people don't understand it so much."

Jay Manuel, the show's host and executive producer, said before this third season started that he had had enough of the "catwalk catfight" cliches plaguing the show. He wanted to focus on the competition and not on the miniature dramas arising at the models' shared house.

To that end, the show's finalists said they were pleased with the way they were depicted.

"I had a couple personal phone calls I was afraid might be portrayed on the show, (but) they never showed anything like that," Kiceluk said.

"We got along fairly well, and there wasn't really a lot of drama. I was actually concerned what they were going to use."

"They did manage to find some stuff, of course - sneaky little guys."

Kiceluk might have been referring to the in-house tension between the models and fellow contestant Maryam Massoumi, who was booted in the episode that aired July 7.

Massoumi, who grew up in Iran before moving to Vancouver, forgot to get her passport renewed prior to the start of the show and was thus unable to join in on international trips.

Yet she outlasted some of the women who did bring their passports and make the trips, which irked some of the other models.

More recently, the models were outfitted in delicate couture dresses made with bathroom tissue, and Massoumi accidentally ripped Willier's dress as she tried to help her get it on.

When Massoumi later tried to downplay her accident in front of the judges, the other models got frustrated.

"We wouldn't have gotten so heated if Maryam didn't lie about the situation," Willier said.

"If she just would have ripped it, then it would've been done with. It would have been like: 'OK, you're the one that looks dumb for not listening and for ripping it.' "

"But then she went and lied and said that she only did this, and tried blaming it on me, so that made me angry."

A significant chunk of the penultimate episode was, however, spent with the other contestants mocking Massoumi behind her back - and in one awkward incident, unknowingly to her face.

But the finalists said Massoumi wasn't excluded from the group "to the extent it was shown."

"It was totally not anything that we meant to say in a hurtful way at all, and she knows that, she knows we were kidding," Kiceluk said. "It's not like we're an alliance."

"It's not like we hate Maryam," echoed Willier.

Added Waller: "We're not on 'Survivor."'

Meanwhile, the women will soon get to find out just how much currency their appearance on the show will have in the modelling world.

For now, all three finalists say they plan on pursuing modelling as a full-time career.

"Until something breaks you down, you may as well pursue it," said Waller.

Kiceluk agreed, saying: "I'll get a real professional job when I'm old and wrinkly and ugly."

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