On Oct. 27, you'd think College of Charleston alumni Chandler Maness would have breathed a sigh of relief.
Over the course of a season starring in the Oxygen Network's Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, he managed to piss off everyone from plus-size models to most of the men in the house. In an online video clip, housemates discussed why he was the most disliked model in the house.
But really — in Janice Dickinson's house, is that an insult or a compliment?
Either way, Maness considers the experience a positive one.
After graduating with a theater degree last December, Maness moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. Rather than start off pounding the pavement for auditions, he decided to capitalize on his hard body and boyish good looks by modeling, something he occasionally did in Charleston.
"As soon as I got out here, I actually got a modeling agent before I got an acting agent," Maness says by telephone in LA. "It's just a good way for me to make money without having to bartend."
In Charleston, you may have seen Maness slinging drinks at Tonik, Mad River, and the Plex. Doing so helped him pay his way through college. But the 23-year-old D.C. native is ready to leave that profession behind.
This past summer he was called to audition for a show called Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, which he'd never seen. At the audition, he immediately clicked with the casting director, who was also a CofC theater department alum. Whether that was a factor in scoring the job is unknown; what's important is Maness landed a gig on a TV show on a cable network.
"I'd never watched it," Maness says. "For me, the show was a great chance to get some exposure."
What he didn't realize is that Janice Dickinson, the self-described "world's first supermodel," has the kind of personality that prompts most intelligent people to immediately switch the channel in exasperation.
"I'd heard [about her reputation]," Maness says. "But I didn't know the extent. I didn't really know what the story was."
So when he moved into the Hollywood house with a posse of new models, and learned he'd be living with the shrill, melted-face model herself, he took it in stride. After being exposed over and over to her volatile personality, he quickly learned how to stay in her good graces.
"Janice can be very tough on people," he says. "Fortunately, she was always pretty nice to me. She was never abrasive or demeaning in any way. Some of the models that stayed in the house had their share of her wrath. Pretty much I did what I was supposed to do, so I didn't really force her hand."
His obedience paid off. Maness was the first new model chosen for a swimsuit ad campaign, and his success continued throughout the season. Surprisingly, Dickinson didn't even turn on him, though she knew (like another model who didn't fare as well), that Maness' true passion was not modeling (what would Tyra say?).
"I don't really like modeling," he says. "It's not really a cerebral challenge for me. I feel kinda like a douche bag when I'm doing it.
"I know how Janice feels about that, so I didn't wave it in front of her face. I mean, she knows that if I don't make it an issue she won't either."
Maness kept a high profile on the show with occasional flirtations and more common tiffs with other models. But, he says, he avoided the sort of drama that might brand an aspiring actor the wrong way.
"I knew there were cameras around, so I wasn't going to drink and get wasted," Maness says. "There was nothing I regretted so much. Everything was pretty much thought out. I was certainly reactionary to certain people. I know it's smarter to not react, but that's just my personality."
Maness got his share of partying at CofC, which he refers to as a big party school. Living in a mansion full of young models and unlimited booze presented its share of temptations. But Maness tried to keep his eyes on the prize. At 23, he was one of the oldest, and most mature, models in the house.
"I partied [in college], but junior year I started getting my act together and realizing that I need to save up money to move to Los Angeles," he says. "I realized I had a tough road ahead and I needed to stop partying so much.
"I tried to get to sleep early if we had casting calls the next day or photo shoots or whatever, but almost every night everyone was partying and getting drunk. It was annoying, because you're forced to do it."
Maness managed to keep it together for the most part during the three weeks of filming, and his hard work paid off: The day after the show premiered, he received messages from three different theatrical agencies.
"Until you're a valuable commodity they don't really care about you," he says. "It was nice to have the casting agents want me to get in there."
Despite the unconventional and potentially embarrassing way he managed to get his name out there, Maness is happy with the show's outcome.
"I was actually successful in that I just didn't make myself look like a jackass and not get anything from it. That was kinda rewarding. So even if I look like a retard, I still have an agent now."
Maness has been keeping busy taking advantage of his newfound fame. He's auditioned for roles on various commercials like Axe Body Spray and TV shows like 90210. Hopefully, whatever his next step turns out to be will present more of a cerebral challenge for the young star.