One-on-One with the Latest Star Finalist to Go Home

by in Interviews, June 22, 2014

One-on-One with the Latest Star Finalist to Go HomeFirst the finalists are asked to "create a social media presence" in the Mentor Challenge by Bobby, then they are met with the toughest challenge of the competition yet. The contestants arrive at YouTube Space LA this week, where they'll have to create a buzz-worthy online marketing video for popular candy. Emma, coming off a win in the Mentor Challenge, gets to pick the three teams: Team PayDay (Aryen, Christopher and Lenny), Team Reese's (Emma, Nicole and Reuben), and Team Mounds and Almond Joy (Sarah, Loreal and Chris).

If you haven't yet watched the episode, don't read any further. Star Talk is about to break down the ins and outs of the episode — and reveal who was sent home.

Aryen Moore-AlstonFrom the very start, Aryen Moore-Alston had a very interesting story to tell, but she struggled to present the judges with impressive plates. She seemed to get by week after week, but after a failed delivery of a product tagline in Episode 4, the judges sent her home.

Read Aryen's exclusive interview below to hear more from her. Learn how she felt about her elimination, and hear her true feelings about her fellow finalists.

Coming out of this challenge, after all of the mentors' remarks, did you feel comfortable in this challenge yourself?
Aryen Moore-Alston: I did. I had a great time. I got to act and that's something I love to do, so it was about releasing stress. This competition can be very stressful — it can be sleepless nights mounted on with pressure, so it was good to let it all out and I had fun doing it. I think Bobby had the ultimate say-so in my elimination because he was the only judge overseeing the Mentor Challenge, and I believe he has a camaraderie with Christopher. I believe that he respects him, he likes him — he's a chef-chef. We had a very strong team; I think either way, whoever went home, it was going to be surprising because I don't think that anybody would have seen any of it coming.

What was it like being at YouTube Space LA?
AMA: It was great. Being at YouTube Space LA was like, "Wow, this is where I follow all these people." You know, my video, the reason why I got cast was because I submitted a video via YouTube. It's amazing people are making a living doing this. YouTube is a mighty company, and it was amazing being there. And working with Shay? He knew exactly what he was doing. You could tell he does this for a living, so he brought his creativity and he brought his directing abilities into play — he made us better.

Aryen Moore-AlstonHow did you feel about Emma's decision-making process of forming the teams?
AMA: I thought she made a great decision for me, I thought she set us up for success. I didn't know it was going to be to my detriment, but I thought we were set up for success. Lenny and I are hams, and that's just what I thought. I didn't know if Christopher was going to be able to bring it, but he did, so I can't complain.

Out of the episodes you've competed in, what has been your favorite and least favorite challenge?
AMA: I would probably say the last challenge, the one I'm going out on. That was my favorite challenge. My least favorite was Cutthroat Kitchen — I don't like sabotage. I want everyone to do their best all the time, and when there are opportunities where people are forced to do something that would make them not perform at their greatest, that is devastating because we all came out here to do our best. So that would have to be my least favorite.

Is there something that you'll take away that a mentor has said to you that has really stuck with you?
AMA: Not so much the mentors to be honest, but more from my competitors. They have all taught me something. Emma has taught me to be more zen — to center myself. Sarah has taught me to fully rely on God. Lenny has taught me how to own yourself. You know, he's a cowboy. So he's owning that. Christopher has taught me confidence on a different level. Chris has taught me how to just bring the energy all the time and laugh — to be OK and laugh at yourself. Loreal has taught me how to release the inner quirkiness. Nicole has taught me how to find yourself and be OK with it.

Did you find the mentors intimidating?
AMA: None of them intimidated me. I mean, this is what they do. This is show business; this is their job. They came here to do a job — to create and help the network choose who they want on their network. So, no, they didn't intimidate me. It's like going into your first job and you meet your boss. Your boss could be intimidating if you let them, but once they set the rules and say, "Hey, this is what we do," then it's not intimidating. Alton stood out to me as being amazingly intelligent. I love that about him. It's like it exudes from him. He's an intellect and he's scholarly, and I love that he's charismatic. Out of all of them, he had the most charisma and the most-genuine smile.

How would you explain what this competition is really like? What would you tell viewers?
AMA: This competition is not for the faint or the weak. It's real. Get up and go. And put your face on, no matter how tired you are, no matter how much you miss home, and I do think you can't let people see you sweat. You can't have a bad day. When we had to do the Mentor Challenge in Episode 4, I was really having a bad day. I had beat myself up and then we had to turn around and do this camera challenge, and it wasn't confidence that I was lacking. I just was tired; I felt beat up and I didn't want to do it.

Going forward in the competition, who are you rooting for?
AMA: It's anybody's game. I can't root for any one person. I don't have any favorites. I can say who I would want to tune in and watch, possibly. I could tune in to watch Loreal, Lenny and Chris. I could tune in to watch Reuben if he slowed down. I could tune in to watch Nicole or Emma, but they'd need more energy for me. And I don't know yet if I would tune in to watch Christopher. The excitement just isn't there. The passion for the food is there, but not the excitement, and I think you want to bring excitement when you're cooking. It needs to be fun — not technical, but fun.

Watch Aryen battle for a chance at redemption on Star Salvation. Click the play button on the video below to see the first part of Episode 1, then head over to Star headquarters to catch the second part.

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Comments (114)

  1. Stephanie says:

    I just watched this show and agree with many posters here. Food Network needs to get back to cooking shows. I don't necessarily want to watch a "character" all the time. I actually don't mind Christopher because I think, given the chance, he could teach something. These timed challenges, etc. don't give us a good idea of what these people can really cook. And I'm growing very tired of the judges' attitudes. In the past couple seasons they all seem extremely full of themselves. I saw a clip of from the next episode with Alton calling them the "triumvirate" the "truth"! Please, give us a break. Viewers are who made you famous, so check your behavior.

    • Bruce says:

      Exactly! I can't wait to see that part about the Triumvirate next week. Alton and/or the judges are "truth" ? The only truth about food or performance? Never wrong in their evaluations? The Lords Almighty making the infallible kitchen decrees? This clip sounded conceited and arrogant as H__l.

    • DDS says:

      Oh my gosh! I so agree with you and Bruce below. I can only hope that the FN powers that be look at comments to assess the feelings of the general public.

  2. Ava says:

    You do realize that you were wrong, right? I sort of hope that this was actually determined by some hidden agenda, because your decision making showed clear sign of incompetence otherwise. Do you even know what a viral video is? It shouldn't feel like a commercial, the point is it gets people's attentions a way regular commercials don't. It's very clear the 'losing' video was the best one. Even worse, you chose the girl who gave it her all in the video as opposed to the person you said might as well have not even been there.

    Also, if you wouldn't understand her, you need to check the speakers or acoustics in your viewing room; I understood her every single line of every single scene they showed on tv.

    You should be apologizing to her, as this was a series of outrageous decisions.

  3. Monte says:

    Here's a few things I don't think Food Network gets:

    One can't learn to cook good food...

    1. watching Guy Fieri shove food in his pie hole.
    2. watching the "History of the Tootsie Roll" (or whatever).
    3. watching a show like "Mystery Diners" or "Restaurant Stakeout".
    4. etc.

    One CAN learn to cook good food...

    1. by watching a quality cook instruct viewers on how to do so.

    Also, FN is forgetting that people don't have to tell personal stories to be engaging or informative. As Alton Brown titled one of his books, "I'm just here for the food" (or something like that). I don't necessarily need to feel "connected" to someone, or feel like I "know" them on FN to be a loyal watcher of their program. I don't know much about Alton Brown, but I catch the "Good Eats" repeats whenever I can.

    • Gina says:

      Very convincing! I hope Bob T. and Susie F. read this.

    • Louise says:

      Try reading, FROM SCRATCH, which is about the early days of Food Network mostly and how it has evolved into what it is today. Get at the library though since it's not worth spending money on. I suspect the author is a shill for the network.

  4. Randy says:

    Horrible Episode - Embarrassing to watch - CringeWorthy - I used to enjoy this show - WTF - A Candy Commercial - The YouTube People, whoever that Shay guy is, and whole premise was completely Lame - I guess the Hosts did their best to Act their way through it and try to make serious sounding comments but surely they knew it was a complete waste - viral video BS - Sorry Bobby, Alton, Giada ( Who i Love! ) and producers, it's like you cut a big loud fart in front of the whole classroom on this one

  5. Kathy says:

    I am watching this episode with the camera selfie and the youtube challenge and I am thinking, WHEN DO THEY COOK? I want to see ACTUAL COOKING not dumb gameshow challenges and videos.
    WORST SEASON EVER AND I AM DONE WITH FOOD NETWORK. You guys have no clue what viewers want to watch.

  6. steph bailey says:

    Barbie doll Sara is arrogant, stuck-up and condescending to the other contestants! She NEVER should have been allowed to return! Once a loser, ALWAYS A LOSER! There are too many talented, humble cooks out there who deserve a chance!!