Toccara Jones With Judges Kelly Augustine and EJ King
PS: Is there any advice you would give to your younger self, if you had the opportunity?
TJ: Kids are our future, and they tell you that the truth comes out of the mouth of babies. Toccara in 2021 looks back at Toccara in 2005 and she gets inspiration from her. Because, did you see her?! Toccara back then came busting on the scene. I watch her and get excited. No wonder they liked you, I like you too! She is just so authentic and so real. She came in and was like, "I'm here! I'm big, black, beautiful, and loving it! I'm kicking 200 and above. I want America to know that! You can be beautiful!" Toccara [back then] was giving me life, honey. I love watching her; there's nothing I can tell her. She had it together. Listen to her, she knew! That's my friend. When I feel some kind of way, I just go back and listen to that Toccara.
PS: Many think ANTM didn't age well, especially some of the harsh commentary from the judges. Did that make you want to do things differently on Thick House?
TJ: I have been hearing that too. One of the contestants that we eliminated DMed me, and I don't remember saying what she said I said, but if I did, don't listen to me, be all you can be! You should never let anybody tell you what you can't be. I don't care if it's me, your mom, or anybody else; you discard that. Don't listen to that bullsh*t. With Tyra [Banks] and America's Next Top Model, and even with our show, we have to say good things and we have to say bad things, and that's life. We're making TV. You can do magic with editing. In my personal experience in the modeling industry, going to the agencies is just as rough. They are going to tell you you're fat. They are going to tell you to lose weight. They're going to tell you to cut your hair. They're going to give you constructive criticism, and it may be mean, but that's just the industry. Top Model was a reflection of that. There are real Janice Dickinsons out here. You gotta have thick skin in this industry. Today, with social media, the way people get at you behind this little screen, you don't even have a face to it! That's life.
PS: As a judge on Thick House, were you thinking of judging the competition like the modeling industry judges you in general?
TJ: We have to give our honest opinion. I wasn't trying to be fake or phony or make it more or less than what it was. We were all authentic and we were all invested in the models. Because I didn't win America's Next Top Model but still went on to be a successful model in this industry, I want each girl to go on and be great, whether they win or whether they're the first to go home. We are invested and want them to do well regardless. Sometimes you have to give tough love. You gotta get your experience somewhere. You gon' learn today, baby!
PS: What's next for you? Do you hope to do more on-screen work?
TJ: Actually, when I get off this call I have an audition for a movie, so let's keep our fingers crossed. I am out here in Hollywood doing what all actresses do. You gotta come out here and beat the pavement. People think that things happen overnight, or that people give it to you. I just tell people you got to stay here. It's that staying power. It's what you do in the meantime, the in-between time, because your time is going to come. Trust and believe that. So when it comes, you've gotta be ready for it. Are you prepared for it? I'm eating the right foods, keeping my body in shape, keeping my mind together, keeping my spirit together, keeping my heart together, keeping myself together, so when I go out on these auditions, they don't get me down and I don't get discouraged.
Thick House premieres on Facebook Watch tonight.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.