25 Secrets From Cycle 20 Of "America’s Next Top Model"

The guys bare all. Don Benjamin, Chris Schellenger, Mike Scocozza, and Marvin Cortes visited BuzzFeed to give us the behind-the-scenes dirt on filming this season. posted on

1. Shoot days were long. Like, REALLY long.

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The photo shoots breeze by when you’re watching Top Model on TV, but for the models involved, they took even longer than you might think. “Oh my God, we were there for like 13 hours at least every day,” Don said. “We’d get up at five in the morning, get home at midnight.” Mike added, “They make it seem like it was so quick, but really it was just all of us hanging around all day.”

2. Don’s most painful challenge was walking the runway down a building, and not just because he’s afraid of heights.

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“The harness they had us wear was tearing my balls up, straight up,” he admitted. “Like when I got done, I could barely walk.”

3. Marvin hated the paint shoot, because he was fighting with just about everyone at that point.

Udo/Pottle Productions Inc

We saw some of that drama play out on the show, but it got pretty bad in the house. “At that time, I think I was only talking to Don,” Marvin revealed. “I wasn’t really clicking with anybody, because everybody had ganged up on me. Which I didn’t care about. But at that point, the tension was pretty intense. I know for Chris [H.], he felt it more.”

4. Chris S. getting kicked off might have something to do with the fact that he was paired with the two tallest guys for his final shoot.

Douglas Friedman/Pottle Productions Inc

“In most photo shoots, you have an apple box or they cheat it in some way, but in the photo I got eliminated with, I had Mike and Jeremy, who are both like, 6’6, 6’7 dudes,” Chris said. “I look five feet tall. It’s kind of hard to bring your energy that big.”

5. But in the real world, there are advantages to being a more petite male model.

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“When you walk into the room and everyone’s Mike-sized,” Chris continued, “those are the auditions I end up booking. It’s really strange. For a petite male model, you can fit into higher fashion clothing. You can do more editorial. Obviously, you’re not gonna do a lot of runway.”

6. As far as fun shoots, Don loved the nails — even though they were tough to maintain.

Franco Lacosta/Pottle Productions Inc

“They weren’t too heavy, but they broke easy,” he recalled. “I think they broke like three times. I had to get them put back together.” Don also believes he got some of the least feminine nails. That bit is up for debate.

7. Mike’s favorite shoot might surprise you, because it’s the one he got kicked off for.

The Cobra Snake/Pottle Productions Inc

“The trailer park, even though I got sent home that day, was actually a lot of fun,” he said. “We were all kind of — that was a long day, but we were all just kind of kicking it. Everyone was in a good mood.” See, it’s not just about the competition. Well, for some models.

8. Panel was also an all-day event, and it was stressful on everyone.

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“We’re up there all day,” Don revealed. “It’s freezing in there. Your legs are shaking, because you’re like, Did I do good? Panel is very stressful.” Don suffered from anxiety before being cast on America’s Next Top Model, but he credits panel with at least a couple panic attacks.

9. Marvin isn’t always this emotional. Really!

He hasn’t even cried since the show’s been wrapped. You might assume it was the high stress that made Marvin one of the most tearful models, but his explanation is actually a lot sweeter than that. “That was the first time I was in a safe environment where it was OK to show emotion,” he explained. “You throw me in a house where it’s like, OK, you can express yourself. I had all these emotions that I’m not used to having, and I think it just came out. … It was like therapy almost.”

10. Having a girlfriend at home helped Don stay focused and avoid the drama, for the most part.

Angelo Sgambati/The CW

Even with his anxiety issues, Don comes across as one of the chillest models in the house. That may be because we haven’t seen him throw himself at any of his female competitors. “You know, I had a girlfriend while I was on the show, so I wasn’t messing with any of the girls,” Don said. But he did throw some shade at another model: “Phil, him and Jiana were crazy the whole show. He had no remorse for his girlfriend.”

11. As for Marvin, he really is as flirty as he comes across. And it actually could have been worse.

“Yeah, I’m flirty,” he admitted. “I showed myself how I am. I think they did a good job of editing. I mean, it could have been a lot worse. I know there were a lot of moments they didn’t show that I am so grateful for. The editing team, thank you so much.” When I asked him to divulge those moments, he naturally declined. Boo.

12. That intimate cuddling moment with Renee? They didn’t know anyone would see that footage.

“There was just the cameras from the ceiling, which we didn’t know if it was going to be used,” Marvin said. “We had no idea that those cameras are night vision, which we should of course know. But it was just so awkward to watch it back.”

13. The slobbery commercial kiss was awkward, too — so much so that Marvin actually apologized to Renee’s mom.

“We practiced kissing and I told her I wasn’t going to do anything weird, and she was like, ‘Marvin, please don’t do anything weird,’” he recalled. “I just wanted to do something fun. Just licked her face all over.” That’s the part we saw. What we didn’t see was what happened after the episode aired. “It was embarrassing for her,” Marvin continued. “I talked to her mom about it. I was like, ‘I’m so sorry, Ms. Bhagwandeen. I apologize for that.’”

14. For Don, the hardest part of life in the house was being totally cut off from the world.

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“We had maybe five minute phone call time a week, so it was really hard to not be able to talk to nobody, to know what was going on in the regular world,” he explained. “There was no news.” No TV. No internet. No iPhones. Just the pleasure of each other’s company. No wonder these models fight so much. Even so, Don said, “We all kept each other pretty entertained.”

15. Can you guess the hardest part of co-ed living for Marvin? Yep, being so close to all the girls.

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“They’re walking around in booty shorts and tank tops!” he said. “They don’t show the girls flirting back, but they did! There were definitely moments where they flirted back.”

16. Confessionals were mandatory, which means there’s a lot of footage we haven’t seen.

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“I think we did 20 or 30 minutes a night, everybody,” Don revealed. So how much was left on the cutting room floor? Quite a bit, according to Mike. “They hardly used any of that footage,” he added. “I’m sure there’s some really good stuff on there.”

17. So yes, Mike may have done a confessional drunk, but relax, he doesn’t have a drinking problem.

“It was funny watching it, because I literally would get texts from friends of them taking pictures of the TV, or just like, ‘This is classic Mike,’” he said. “I get drunk and fall asleep. That’s what happens.”

18. The models had to cook for themselves, with varying degrees of success. The worst cook: Kanani.

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“She put frickin’ weird sauces on everything,” Don said. “She put salt and sugar on everything.” But Marvin pointed a finger at Renee. “Renee tried to cook lasagna and it looked undercooked,” he recalled. “I was gonna be nice and eat it, but I was like, nah. I didn’t want to eat it.”

19. Some models needed extra help: Chris S. had to make a grocery list for Jeremy.

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It’s kind of precious, but yes, mama’s boy Jeremy did not know how to make a grocery list. Chris retold the story: “Jeremy was like, ‘Hey man, would you help me make a grocery list? Because I’ve never brought groceries before.’ ‘Yep, I will, dude, I totally got your back.’” Adorable.

20. The house was mostly clean, but the girls were dirtier — especially Alex.

Patrick Wymore/The CW

At least, that’s the way Marvin tells it. “I know the girls were so dirty,” he said. “Alex, that’s the one reason I never flirted with her. I never talked to her that much. Because she was just so — I don’t want to say she didn’t practice good hygiene, but she would leave her hair extensions all over the place. Her smoothie, she would drink it and leave it on the floor, and it would attract rodents and stuff. I just couldn’t deal with it.” Ouch.

21. While the girls had some privacy in their bathrooms, the guys didn’t get any.

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Well, except for when they decided to bathe together. But seriously, the guys had it much worse. “No doors on the bathroom, so pretty much there was a curtain that went over the toilet area,” Don explained. “There was a shower and a toilet, so you’ll be going to the bathroom and somebody will just hop in the shower like it’s nothing. You’re taking a dump and somebody’s showering. There’s no door so people will be outside just having conversations while you’re going to the bathroom.” Ah, the glamorous life of a model.

22. Looking back, Chris S. is OK with being eliminated, because it actually allowed him to take a cool opportunity.

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“I am thankful,” he said. “I filmed a movie right after I got off America’s Next Top Model, and I was able to finish that feature while other people weren’t allowed to work. So it worked out well for me. I’m happy about it.” Because Chris and Bianca were the first eliminated, they did not participate in the season’s photo shoots like the contestants eliminated after them.

23. Mike has experienced a different life after filming. One thing he’s learning now is that people on the internet hate him.

“I’ve read some of the blogs and stuff like that, and they take the show very seriously,” he said. “So they hate me. Tyra found me. I kind of just was thrown into this thing, and to me, it was just a very unique experience. It was something I just kind of felt like I had to do. And they kind of looked at me like, who’s this old dude that came in off the street and doesn’t know what he’s doing?”

24. Nevertheless, Mike is fine with the way he comes across on camera and still thinks the show was a great experience.

Sarah Silver/Pottle Productions Inc

“Everything I did when I was there was what I would normally do,” he continued. “You could tell some people were being ‘extra,’ as we called it, for the camera. I kind of looked at it as, why not just go in it and just be yourself and have fun with it? It’s a cool experience.”

25. As for Marvin, he has the perfect excuse if anyone questions his onscreen behavior: It’s just for TV.

Matthew Jordan Smith/Pottle Productions Inc

“That’s my Get Out of Jail Free card: It’s just for TV,” he confided. “I tell a lot of people, ‘Oh, it’s TV, it’s TV.’ They don’t know, OK, that’s really him.” Well, now they might.

America’s Next Top Model airs Friday at 9 p.m. on The CW.

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