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Renee Bhagwandeen was tricked into auditioning for the 20th cycle of America's Next Top Model. But the trick paid off, and the South Florida model got a coveted spot on the cast. Bhagwandeen is no newcomer to the world of modeling. She has graced the covers of numerous magazines and competed twice in the Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe pageant.

One of Bhagwandeen's most distinctive features are her long, 3B curls - curls she is often asked to straighten for modeling jobs. NaturallyCurly spoke with the 24-year-old model about the show, her curls and industry attitudes about texture.

NC: Were you a big fan of America's Next Top Model?

Renee: I watched every episode 100 times. I was a big fan of the show, Tyra and the judges. I actually didn’t audition because I didn’t think I would ever get on. A friend who is an agent submitted my application. He tricked me into going to the audition, and told me on the way to there. It was actually the first time Tyra was ever at a casting! I found out I'd made it to the second round of castings around Christmas, and found out I had made it on the cast shortly after that. Taping began in February.

NC: What was the biggest surprise about the show?

Renee: I didn't know there would be guys on this show. It's the first season they've ever had guys. I’m used to being around a lot of women. I’m a girl’s girl. I didn’t think it would be fun to be around boys at all. But it was actually pretty cool. I felt like it was a family.

NC: Were there any romances between the models?

Renee: I can’t say yet, but you never know. Maybe.

NC: How do stylists react to your hair when you show up on set?

Renee: From my experience before as a model, I was used to them straightening my hair for jobs. Usually 99 percent of stylists had no idea how to do my hair. They pretend they do and then they damage it even more. I was lucky because there was a guy on ANTM who specialized in working with curly hair.

NC: What did they do to you during the Makeover show?

Renee: I actually have never chemically relaxed my hair before. But I got tricked into doing it for the makeover. My hair straightens easily, but they didn't expect it because it's so long and curly. They said they were doing a sugar cane deep conditioner but it ended up being a smoothing treatment. It kind of ruined my curls. I was definitely upset about that. Now I’m going through the process of getting rid of the heat damage and getting rid of the treatment. If I would have known, I wouldn’t have done that.

NC: So it sounds like you've felt pressure to straighten your curls to get modeling jobs.

Renee: When I first started modeling, my agent said I would be more marketable with straight hair. I started modeling in Miami for a lot of commercial jobs and they liked my curly hair. In fashion, they preferred it straight. Now, I have no idea what they’re going to do with my hair now. Definitely more people prefer muy hair straight. Some just don’t understand the curly girl. It sucks!

NC: You’re from Trinidad-Tobago. Are attitudes about natural hair different than they are in the United States?

Renee: In Trinidad, known for having a diverse mix of people, you see curls everywhere. I have one grandfather who had blonde hair and blue eyes and one who was African-Asian. Caribbeans are very multicultural.

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