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October 24, 2006
Model behavior

AMERICA_NEXT_MODEL.jpg Calling on her cell phone from the Burbank airport, Sacramento's own A.J. Stewart sounded tired but game when it came time to chat about getting kicked off "America's Next Top Model."

Well, mostly game.

Actually, I have to applaud her honesty. When I asked the usual psychobabble question about "taking away anything good" from the reality show experience, the 21-year-old art school student was fairly candid.

"I'm sorry, but I'm really tired and I have to wait four hours for my plane," she says. "I don't know how to be positive right now."

But then, she sucked it up and said something about being grateful for the experience and the Earth continued to rotate on its axis and another PR crisis was averted.

And, good or bad, Stewart's discovering that her "Top Model" experience has brought her some fans. In fact, our converation was briefly interrupted after she was approached by some airport admirers.

"It happens quite a bit," she says, back on the phone after thanking her well-wishers. "I'll see (people) looking at me and then they look away."

Actually, she says, that part isn't new.

"I've always been awkward-looking," she says. "And people have always stared at me. I'm kind of used to people talking (behind my back) and saying that I look funny."

Yeah, but now, it comes with the chance for some real fame and/or fortune - now, there's an experience she should gratefully capitalize on.

For more, read my Q&A with Stewart in Wednesday's Scene section.

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