Brenda Arens – finalist on the 2010 season of the mega-popular TV show America’s Next Top Model – is speaking out about her experience as a teen mom. Since the age of 18, Brenda has been raising her now 6-year-old daughter Alaina as a single mom. As she puts it, “I was that baby having a baby.”
Now a successful model, Brenda opens up about to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her experience on ANTM, her beautiful daughter who is quite the “character” and how she hopes to be an “inspiration” for teen moms to follow their dreams.
CBS: Tell us about your experiences on America’s Next Top Model. What did you take away from all the drama? Was your overall experience positive?
BA: “Oh the Drama! Yes we had our share of it. Looking back all I can do is laugh because anytime you put a bunch of women in a house together for long periods of time you can almost bet there will be drama. My experience overall was a good one, I met lots of amazing people, and had once in a lifetime experiences along with some hard times, but I wouldn’t change anything about it.”
CBS: Tell us about the judges on the show. Do you feel their feedback helped you in your future endeavors?
BA: “It was so awesome to finally meet the judges I had been watching on TV for years. They all looked so doll-like and perfect in person. Tyra and Nigel were my favorite judges, they really gave me sound advice that wasn’t always so judgmental. Andre, I wasn’t personally keen on him, he was just always so negative and you learned to almost just expect the worst from him.”
CBS: What are your plans now? More modeling? Do you want to break into acting and/or other areas of showbiz as well?
BA: “Modeling has been my passion since I was 15 years old, it was before the show and it remains that way until I can’t model anymore. I’d love to get the opportunity to act in a movie or host a show like VH1, reality shows are what’s in currently and are oh so addicting.”
CBS: Who are your Hollywood role models and why?
BA: “Gisele Bündchen is my absolute idol! She’s at the top of her career in modeling, she is now a mother and I just love the confidence and beauty she’s portrays.”
CBS: We hear you’re a single mom to a daughter. Please tell us your daughter’s name and age. What is she into? What does she do to make you laugh?
BA: “Yes, I’ve been a single mom since I was 18 years old. I was that baby having a baby. It was a hard time in my life and it seems to get easier the older she gets, at least I hope.
My daughter’s name is Alaina Villanueva and she turns 6 years old October 6th. She is such a character, she is the opposite of me and just very tomboy like, athletic and into anything that doesn’t involve dresses or bows [laughs]. She makes me laugh everyday by the vocabulary she is learning, and the questions! The questions will crack anybody up!”
CBS: How do you manage being a single mom along with your career? Do you have a nanny?
BA: “Its extremely hard to balance a career and parenthood! It takes major sacrifice and careful planning. I live out of state from my family, so it makes it twice as hard on me as maybe a single mom who has family close by.
I travel a lot for shoots and shows, sometimes every weekend I’m gone. So during the week, I really try and spend as much time with her as I can. I do have a nanny that comes to stay in our home when I travel, she watches my daughter until my fiancé gets home at nights then he will stay with her all night and takes her to school for me the next morning. He’s so good to me and my daughter.”
CBS: Is her father still involved in her life? If so, do the two of you co-parent well together?
“[Laughs] no comment. In all fairness, I call him the ‘weekend’ dad. He will come to see her a few times a month. It makes it harder on me because I have to play both roles the father and the mother. I don’t get to just show up and be the fun parent like he is, I have to discipline and teach. So in her words I am not always as cool as daddy.”
CBS: Would you want your daughter to enter the world of modeling? Why or why not?
BA: “If Alaina wanted to go into modeling when she gets older, what could I say?! I’d totally support her. I think she is gorgeous and already has the height and long legs. I also know everything that happens behind the scenes in the fashion world so I’d be a bit protective.”
CBS: Tell us your experience of becoming a young mom. Did you plan to have a child young?
BA: “I was 18 when I got pregnant – it definitely was not planned! I never imagined in a million years I’d be a teen mom, I actually use to say what were those girls thinking?!
When I got pregnant I realized my life was going to change in a huge way, I totally had to grow up and put my baby before myself. I didn’t have much back then, I earned about just enough to support us in a 1 bedroom apartment and put food on the table. That was it, nothing extra to spend, a good friend of mine always use to say, with age comes money. In a way that was true.
I struggled for years until I met my fiancé about 4 years ago, when I turned 21. I finally got established as a top model at all my agencies and now I am booked solid for about 2 months in advance. I couldn’t feel more blessed to be where I am at.
I will never forget where I came from and my struggle to achieve my dream. I want to be an inspiration for all young mothers. If you want it bad enough and keep trying no matter what obstacles are in your way, you can reach your dreams!”
CBS: Will you encourage your daughter to also have children at a young age? Or will you advise her to wait until later years?
BA: “My daughter better not have a child until she’s 30! I pray she has seen my struggle raising her and realizes I want better for her. She will wait to have kids or I will have her neck!”View Slideshow »»