Meaghan Waller wins Canada’s Next Top Model

Photography by Gabor Jurina
Photography by Gabor Jurina

After starting Canada’s Next Top Model as the not-Heather blonde with braces, Winnipeg’s Meaghan Waller came into her own during a round of New York go-sees and made it quickly to the top. The very top. We chat with the Cycle 3 winner about her favourite moments and future plans.

What have you been up to since filming ended?
“I’ve actually gone back to my life, gone back to my friends, gone back to work. I’m trying to play it low key because going out is pretty hard.”

You must get recognized a lot. What’s the reaction been?
“Almost all of it has been very, very positive. Everyone in Winnipeg has been so supportive.”

Have you been able to tell anyone yet?
“Nope. My parents are having a big party tonight at their house.”

Have you been watching the show?
“I think it’s really awkward to see myself on TV. I don’t watch it unless my parents force me to come over. They always have my friends over every Tuesday. I’d go over and give them some behind the scenes.”
Was there as much drama as there seemed to be?
“We sat there for the whole month and half thinking, “I don’t know what they’re going to put on TV? It’s going to be such boring cycle–we all get along really well.” When you put 11 girls into a house obviously there’s going to be some drama, but there wasn’t as much as we thought.”

What inspired you to audition?
“I was picked up by a local agency while working in my retail job and they sent my pictures into the show and I got a call and went down to Toronto to audition.”

Did you have a favourite challenge?
“I loved the Bahamas shoot–the castaway bride–as well as the avant-garde beauty shoot. I just thought the whole creative for it was absolutely amazing.”

How long did you have to sit in makeup for that one?
“Too long. Hair alone took two hours maybe, putting the whole snow shoe metal coat hanger thing in my hair.”

Were there big surprises for you on the show?
“Every day was a surprise. We started off trying to guess what each day had in store for us, but we were always so off the charts, we decided, this is an experience, everything’s going be new and exciting, just take it as it comes.”

Did you ever get used to standing there in front of Jeanne Beker and the rest of the judges?
“I went in there shaking like a leaf and I came out of there shaking like a leaf every single judging day.”

Was it like a slumber party getting ready, or were there a lot nerves?
“It was usually like a slumber party–we’d share clothes, swap accessories, do each other’s hair and makeup.”

When you started on the show, did you think you could win it?
“I never got too far ahead of myself. I had to tell myself, this is an amazing experience, take it as it comes, day by day, because when you expect something that’s when it doesn’t happen. When you just try your hardest, that’s when good things come to you.”

Was there a moment, though, that was a turning point? Where you thought you could win it?
“I think the LG shoot was a huge boost in confidence. I was always a step behind Heather and when I finally was recognized for being Meaghan and not the other blonde, it was a huge turning point. But never once did I say to myself, okay you’ve got this in the bag, because that’s just not how I was raised.”

I want to talk about New York–you went down there, turned it on and came into your own. How did you do that?
“I was so nervous for that. It was a big scare for me but I knew that I couldn’t let my nerves get the best of me and to do what I had to do and give it my best. I’m glad it worked out in the end. I think some of the other girls let their nerves get the best of them. When you do that, everything’s a downwards spiral.”

Do you have any idea where you want to take your career?
“I’d love to go overseas and work on runways in Paris and Milan, as well as work with designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Hermès, shoot with people like Steven Meisel. Take it as it comes, take every opportunity that is thrown my way.”

What do you think the reaction’s going to be in Winnipeg tonight?
“I wish I could be there to see it. I think my mom will probably cry. My dad and me are really similar. He’s the one who would tell me, don’t get too far ahead of yourself, so he’s not expecting anything. I think when everything does happen, he’ll be very excited.”

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