Famed for her "Hootie-hoo!" whoop, the beloved Top Chef contender from Washington, DC, shares 10 of her obsessions and explains why she likes to lose a Top Chef challenge every once in a while.

1. Who Would Play Her in a Movie

"Tracee Ellis Ross, daughter of Diana Ross. People stop me and ask if I'm her. I've heard she watches Top Chef."

2. Purses

"I have all of my grandmother's purses. One is made from iguana. It's not PC, so I don't take that one outside. I have my grandfather's medicine bag, too—he was a doctor."

Carla Hall's favorite book

Courtesy of Plume Books

3. Spiritual Books

"I love A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. I've read it three times. It teaches me to be present."

4. Soup with Savory Cookies

"I'm starting a sweet-and-savory-cookie business. I adore savory cheese cookies with creamy asparagus soup. Both are dead simple to make." alchemybycarlahall.com.

5. Paris

"I modeled when I was really young; I got to travel to Paris, and that's where I fell in love with food. But I didn't have much money, so I would spend a lot of time at a café drinking one amazing cup of hot chocolate and eating one baguette. That's how little money I had."

6. Hair Care

"Pantene, Pantene, Pantene—their whole moisturizing line. And then I have to use a really good vent brush to comb my hair."

Carla Hall's favorite detective

Courtesy of The Sherlock Holmes Museum

7. Top Sleuth

"I love figuring things out: I'm not someone who reads manuals. I love super detective work, and Sherlock Holmes is the ultimate super detective."

8. The Upside of Losing

"When I lost a Top Chef All-Stars challenge, [judge] Susur Lee said I was cooking with my eyes, not my heart. I wouldn't have given up my last place finish for anything. I was so glad to get that critique."

9. Transportation

"I love the DC Metro. I'm two blocks from the Red Line. When I Tweet that I'm on the Metro, everyone says, 'Wow, that's so cool that you're on the Metro.' And I say, 'Why wouldn't I be?'"

Carla Hall's glasses

© Noego

10. Eyeglasses

"French designer Noego makes lightweight metal frames that are so vibrantly colored. I wore them on All-Stars." noego.fr.