The season finale of “The Face” aired last Wednesday, with model Tiana Zarlin being named the new face of Frederic Fekkai. I had a chance to speak with finalist Ray Clanton prior to the finale on what it was like working with Naomi Campbell, Anne V, Lydia and Frederic Fekkai, how the recent challenge prepared her for the finale and much more. PS For more from Anne V, Lydia Hearst, Tiana and Afiya, please be sure to check out my interviews with the stars of “The Face“!
Candace Rose: Can you tell us about last week’s challenge?
Ray Clanton: “Last weeks challenge gives me a head ache just thinking about it. We had to write and memorize a speech, prepare our selves for a Q&A with the press and also PEREZ HILTON, and then we also had to write and memorize a 30 second commercial which the did not show on TV but you can find them on oxygen.com. Thats a lot of pressure for anyone, especially having 20 cameras pointed at you so America can also watch.”
Candace Rose: Naomi Campbell, Anne V and Lydia watched you at one point from a hidden camera. How did that make you feel? Did you learn anything from the incident and do you feel it helped you in any way prepare for the challenge?
Ray Clanton: “I had no idea we were being watched! I just thought we were waiting on production, the reason we were being so lazy was because our call time 5am and we hadn’t eaten much yet. Plus everyone was ignoring us and we had no idea why. Some of us no pointing out anyone in particular (Felisa) were grumpy and screamed things that I’ve never heard before. Like the phrase “F*ckTards”. Then seeing our coaches come out with faces that resembled the shade of a tomato was frightening. I felt like a kid that was caught by her mom eating the gum under the table. It definitely taught me to hold your posture and be respectful at all times on set, whether you’re on or off camera. Because you seriously never know who’s watching!”
Candace Rose: How did you prepare for the challenge of going not only before Frederik Fekkai, but his senior executives and esteemed journalists?
Ray Clanton: I breathed, because when I get nervous I tend to forget that. I basically told myself whatever happens is going to happen for a reason, and I know I perform better when I’m calm. Not saying I wasn’t nervous at all because when we approached the podium to say our speeches my legs felt like a new born baby calf. But when I started my speech I was trying to remember everything I had written, I even stumbled one time because I was putting to much pressure on remembering. So then I said forget it and winged it. I had the brand knowledge and I was relatable and they even said I was funny! I love making people laugh, so I was very proud of myself.”
Candace Rose: Ray, What was going through your head in the elimination room? Were you surprised when Felisa decided to eliminate herself?
Ray Clanton: “Right before we walking into the elimination room I hugged Felisa because we had become friends through out this competition and I knew one of us would be leaving but I didn’t want that to affect our friendship. She looked at me and said “No worries girl, you have nothing to worry about”. I thought she was being nice not literal. My jaw literally dropped down to my feet when Felisa basically asked to leave this competition. I was disappointed because she has so much to offer and some girls would kill to have her spot. I was happy to be in the finale but not that way, not handed over to me. I was ready to fight for it and prove myself.”
Candace Rose: How did last week’s challenge prepare you for the finale?
Ray Clanton: “It made me more confident in myself and speaking in front of people while showing my personality. It takes a lot of courage to do what we all did in the last challenge. I was very impressed with not only me but all of us! It takes a strong girl to handle all of the pressure and still perform, especially when you’re 18 and fresh out of high school (a.k.a me). My biggest challenge through out this competition was finding my confidence, and with Lydia’s help and these crazy challenges I finally found it.”
Candace Rose: What are the most important things you’ve learned or will carry away from this challenge win or lose?
Ray Clanton: “The biggest thing I learned was to NEVER give up. Even just auditioning for the show I never thought I would have made it. Then after I made it I was put in the elimination room several times and not one time did I give up on myself. It worked, because I made it all the way to finale. SO despite what people think of you or tell you, follow you’re dreams. Its the people that never give up that succeed no matter how many times they fail.”
Candace Rose: What will it take to win the competition and become the face of Frederik Fekkai?
Ray Clanton: “It’s going to take a confident girl with poise and class. A girl that carries herself well but not to over confident and someone who is relatable, friendly and can open up. Plus Frederik Fekki has to like your hair, I think thats a big factor. Biggest thing I’ve come to understand is he’s looking for someone who is “real” and “confident”. So it comes down to who he thinks fits the part the best!”