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Unpacking 'Below Deck' Chef Rachel's Incredible 30 Seconds On 'America's Next Top Model'

- Below Deck -
Unpacking 'Below Deck' Chef Rachel's Incredible 30 Seconds On 'America's Next Top Model'

Six episodes into the new season of Below Deck, it’s clear Chef Rachel was always meant to be a star. Her “R-rated” sense of humor combined with her culinary wizardry has made her the perfect addition to the Bravo show, but it turns out her premiere on Season 8 wasn’t her first reality TV appearance. If you stalk her Instagram, you’ll find out that she was also once a proud contestant on Season 4 of America’s Next Top Model. Once I saw that, I knew I had to find out more — so checked out competition series to see what we could learn about Captain Lee’s new favorite employee.

To be honest, though, there’s not a lot to it. While she made it to the final on-camera auditions, Rachel only got about 30 seconds of screen time before she was sent packing. But when I tell you that those 30 seconds of screen time are everything, I mean it. If you ask me (and apparently also Tyra Banks, Jay Manuel and J. Alexander), Rachel was never meant for a life in the modeling world, but she’s always been ready to risk it all on reality TV. Let’s get into it.

Her First Appearance

We get our first glimpse of Rachel when the final 35 girls hoping to make it onto the show are invited to call backs in glamorous Los Angeles, California. When Jay asked the girls what they think Tyra is looking for — and what they can bring to the table — Rachel hinted that she just might be the one. “[I think she’s looking for] somebody that can bring something new,” she said, while looking fierce and 2005 AF in a green and blue striped off-the-shoulder poncho and blonde highlights. Work it, girl!

A Passing Shot

As the girls settle in at the hotel, we get a few more looks at her as she splashes around in the pool, heads out to the clubs with the other over 21s, and laughs at the drama as two other contestants butt heads. Queen of the group shot!

An Incredible Introduction

When we formally meet the star, she’s only too happy to let us know right off the bat that she’s always been the same old Rachel we’ve come to know and love. When the mentors ask her what made her decide to compete, her best response seems to be that it seemed like a good time. “Why am I here?” she repeats. “Why not!”

She’s also “down with that” when it comes to representing a plus-size demo when the judges point out that she’s not exactly a size zero like some of the other girls she’s going up against. She’s not sweating any of the other contestants, frankly. “My competition is everybody,” she explained in a confessional. “Whether they’re skinny and tall or voluptuous and larger than me.”

She made it clear that she’s ready to face off with anyone and take on anything. Well, with one reservation. “Anything that I can do, I’ll do it, ‘cause as long as I ain’t showin’ nipple, I’m good to go,” she said, explaining in a way that only Rachel could as we watched her strut her stuff in her undies. “My grandparents are dead. I have no one to disgrace.”

Her Cat Walk

She put her money where her mouth is when she stepped out for the lingerie walk off with the other girls. In her group of five, she pouted, lifted her chin, swung her hips, and tucked her thumb into the waistband of her bottoms as she served total model face. When all the girls were crowded back together, she struck a sassy hand-on-hips pose in an effort to stand out from the rest of the pack. Goal accomplished, babe.

The Last Sighting

Unfortunately, once they cut the group from 35 girls down to 20, she didn’t make it to the next round — and we hardly even saw her again. After one shot showing her polite-but-lackluster reaction to getting cut (a complete 180 from her tendency to go full melt-down on Below Deck), Rachel disappeared from our screens forever … or so it seemed. In 2020, she made her grand return, and we can’t wait to keep watching.

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Images: UPN

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