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'AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL' Eva Pigford lives full-throttle life



Published: Thu, February 24, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The model/actress plans to make an appearance on 'Kevin Hill.'

BY DANIEL FIENBERG

ZAP2IT.COM

It's early January and Eva Pigford is running on fumes. She's rushing from photo shoot to promotional event, walking the runway and doing red carpet television coverage, trying to launch a modeling career but also jaunting off to Toronto to make a guest appearance on "Kevin Hill."

At one second, the third winner of "America's Next Top Model" can sound like she needs a week of sleep, but she also can't contain her enthusiasm about the way her life has changed in the past year.

"I'm high off life right now," she said as she laughed. "I'm just soaring and just so enthused to get up and go to work every day."

Pigford may be new to the acting business, but she's already cagey like a pro when discussing how her "Kevin Hill" character, a model, naturally, interacts with Taye Diggs' titular lead.

"I get to kiss him, and we're waking up in bed at the beginning of the show, and there's a fashion show," she hints. "That's all I'm gonna give away. You have to stay tuned for sweeps weeks."

"Occupational Hazard," Pigford's episode, aired Wednesday, and there's already been buzz that she did well enough to prompt discussion of future appearances. Certainly Pigford is thinking big, at least as far as her career is concerned.

"I want to do something contradictory to being beautiful and being a model," she said. "I want to do like Charlize Theron in 'Monster.' She's a gorgeous woman and you know her for being gorgeous, and then she went and did this role that was just completely off-whack and she was phenomenal."

Learning tact

Unscripted shows move from one cycle to the next with manic speed, and it was just six months ago that viewers first met Diva Eva, a brash and articulate young woman whose only fear was that she was too young to win the competition. Today, Pigford is a more polished product, shaped by Tyra Banks and her minions.

"When I started the show I was close-minded," said Pigford. "I knew I had potential, but I had a huge chip on my shoulder and I was like, 'Hey, I'm taking this, and I'm not gonna let you take it,' which I ended up doing, but there's a different way you can go about handling the situation and 'tact' is the key word. If I've learned anything, I've learned tact."

Pigford's newly discovered "tact" is evident when discussing Adrianne Curry, the first "ANTM" winner currently having to strip and beg for attention on VH1's "The Surreal Life."

"I wish her all the luck in the world on her career and hope she stays blessed," Pigford said quietly.

Asked about where she sees herself one year from now, though, she's a bit more frank.

"I won't be on 'Surreal Life' because I'll be working my a ..." -- she stops short and self-edits again -- "butt off."




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