Antonella Barba says she doesn't believe that all publicity is good publicity.
"Yes, it's true that my name is more well-known because of it," the former "American Idol" semifinalist said Friday (March 9), referring to the storm of media attention surrounding racy photos that were taken of her. "But I'm not known for the things I want to be known for right now. I want to be known for singing, not in any other way."
The photographs of Barba, which allegedly included shots of her holding her bare breasts and holding a friend's bare breasts, surfaced on the Internet a few weeks ago (see "Sexy Pictures Won't Get Barba Booted From 'Idol' — But Wednesday Night's Song Could"). However, one of Barba's friends, Amanda Coluccio, subsequently claimed someone who isn't Barba was being depicted in some of the photos (see " 'Idol' Hopeful Antonella Barba's Pal Says X-Rated Pics Are Fake").
At the time the photo scandal was growing, Barba was not allowed to comment on them — "Idol" semifinalists are forbidden from doing interviews until they are eliminated, with the exception of at the final 12 party (see " 'Idol' Final 12 Celebrate With Simon; Antonella And Sundance Head Home"). In a conference call with reporters the afternoon following her elimination, Barba said the pictures were private and exploited against her consent.
"The pictures that have been released of me, that actually are me, were very personal and is not how I intended to portray myself, nor do I intend to portray myself in the future," Barba said. "That's not the way I want to promote myself. I'd rather promote myself in a classy way."
When pressed for details about which photos were of her, an "Idol" publicist interrupted and requested the interview move on.
Barba said the scandal made her experience difficult, but she "tried to block it out as much as possible and stay focused." "I'm here to sing, all that other stuff is completely irrelevant," she said.
She also acknowledged the support from the show's producers as well as her fellow contestants and said she had no regrets about doing "Idol."
"I've been in the public eye, all this embarrassment has come with it, but in retrospect, I still think it was worth it because I'd like to move forward in a career in music," she said. "Out of 103,000, I made the top 16 and I'm proud of it and happy I got that far.
"I hope I remained on the show this long because of my talent," she added. "I hope that the photos didn't affect where I got in the competition because they are irrelevant to my singing."
The 20-year-old from Point Pleasant, New Jersey, plans to stay in Los Angeles for a few weeks to field offers.
"I want to strike while the iron's hot," she said. "So I don't know [if I'm] going back to school yet."
Barba's interested in making a pop album with elements of R&B, blues and jazz, and would also consider acting or modeling. When asked if she would consider posing in Playboy, she immediately replied, "No," but then went back on the answer.
"Right now, I just want to look at all the offers I get and sort out what's best for me," she said.
And the lesson she learned from the experience: "Just be careful who you trust," she cautioned.