America's Next Top Model
America’s Next Top Model is a reality television show which pits contestants against each other in a variety of competitions to determine who will win a modeling contract with makeup manufacturer Covergirl. Supermodel Tyra Banks hosts and produces the show.
The debut season of the show premiered on the UPN network in 2003. On it, 10 female contestants were placed in a New York City apartment. Spanning a wide variety of women of various races, heights and body sizes, they had been whittled down from a pool of thousands to compete against one another in various contests designed to simulate the extreme demands placed on professional models. Each week one contestant was eliminated by a panel of judges: Banks herself, clothing designer Kimora Lee Simmons, Beau Quillian, and Janice Dickinson, who bills herself as the world's first supermodel. By the next season, only Tyra and Janice remained judges, but the others have included ex-model/fashion photographer Nigel Barker and fashion editor/stylist Nolé Marin. After season four, Janice, amid rumors of personality conflicts with some other judges, and Marin were replaced by Twiggy and "Miss" Jay Alexander (Alexander had been involved with the runway and various photo shoots since the first season).
The first season of America's Next Top Model features a dynamic reality show format - in that the viewers not only witness an intense competition to find a top model but also the impact of the competition on and day-to-day lives of a diverse group of contestants. This first group of contestants included Adrianne Curry, an Illinois native who saw this competition as a chance to overcome a rough financial situation, Ebony Haith, an African American lesbian model, Elyse Sewell, a recent college graduate who aspired to attend medical school, Giselle Samson, an 18-year-old dancer with Latina roots, Shannon Niquette Stewart, a devoutly Christian, All-American beauty, Robin Manning, another devout Christian and the only plus-sized model of this cycle, and Kesse Wallace, who was participating in the competition though her parents disapproved of her pursuit of modeling. In the end, Adrianne Curry would beat out her competition to become the first winner of America's Next Top Model.
In the first episode, the eight girls selected at semifinals were transported to New York City and escorted to a large loft apartment that they would be sharing for the first half of the competition. A subsquent two contestants were added to the group after being scouted at a separate audition. After bikini waxes had been administered to the contestants and initial weights had been recorded, the girls headed to their first photo shoot - a bikini shoot for J. Lo swimwear set atop a Manhattan skyscraper in chilly weather. At the first judging session, the panel of judges - led by Tyra Banks and featuring Janice Dickinson, a supermodel of the 70s, Beau Quillian, a renowned fashion editor, and Kimora Lee Simmons, owner of Baby Phat fashions - evaluated each contestant's best photograph from their shoot. The judges felt that Elyse was too thin - having weighed in at 114 pounds despite being 5"10 - and that Tessa Carlson had learned how to pose incorrectly. Finally, nine contestants were called forward as safe and handed their photograph, and the judges decided to eliminate Tessa. In the second episode, tension erupted in the loft between the devout Christians - Robin and Shannon - and several other contestants, especially due to Elyse's atheism and Ebony's homosexuality. The second photo shoot was another bikini shot for Stuff (magazine). Katie Cleary was eliminated at panel as the judges felt that she was overly sexual in her photos, which limited her appeal as a model. The third episode began with makeovers of all eight remaining contestants, in which some girls were more enthusiastic about their new looks than others. Later it was announced that each contestant would be posing with a guest model in that week's shoot - a snake. While this terrified many contestants, the group managed to take strong photos as a whole, and it was Nicole Panattoni who was ousted this week. Though she had taken a very good photograph, she was deemed not committed enough to the competition.
Next, the seven remaining contestants were challenged to polish their acting skills and collaborated to shoot a television commerical for contact lenses. The main source of drama in this episode revolved around contestant Ebony, whose partner came to visit her during the episode, much to the consternation of the Christians in the house. At judging, Giselle and Ebony were singled for their poor performance in the challenge, and Ebony became the fourth person eliminated from the competition. In the fifth episode, the contestants were challenged to impress an interviewer, and Elyse's candid and outspoken remarks won her and Adrianne the opportunity to invite Elyse's boyfriend Marty and Adrianne's mother to the loft for a brief visit. In that week's photo shoot, each model was pictured with NFL Rookie of the Year Clinton Portis, and Giselle Samson was sent home at panel because she could not overcome her low self-confidence despite her modeling talent.
The five remaining contestants - Kesse, Robin, Elyse, Shannon, and Adrianne - were then told that they would be flying to fashion capital Paris for the remainder of the competition. Here, they had their first lingerie shoot with a male model, and each girl was given the opportunity to go on several go-sees to impress Parisian designers. Kesse Wallace was cut at evaluation for not demonstrating enough desire to continue in the competition. In the following episode, the final four modeled in couture outfits and were asked to pose naked in their photo shoot for diamond jewelry, and Robin Manning and Shannon Stewart refused due to their personal sense of morality. Subsequently, these two contestants were called forward as the bottom two, and Robin was ousted.
In the first half of Cycle 1's finale, the three finalists were evaluated by Kimora Lee Simmons and again by the judging panel. In a surprising elimination, Elyse Sewell and Adrianne Curry - a pair that had become close friends through the competition - were placed in the bottom two, and Elyse was ousted because the judges felt her intelligence sometimes came across as superciliousness and that she had not taken to heart the judges' credence in modeling being a profession that required brains and beauty. Soon after this, Adrianne and Shannon faced off on the runway modeling Baby Phat fashions, and finally both girls faced the panel one last time. Upon evaluating both their final performances and overall aptitude and progress througout the process, the judges selected Adrianne Curry as the winner, privy to such prizes as a modeling contract with Revlon, a spread in Marie Claire magazine, and a contract with presitigious agency Wilhelmina Models.
Since the show aired in 2003, Adrianne Curry has been better known as a cast member of VH1's The Surreal Life and love interest of former Brady Bunch star Chris Knight on another reality series, My Fair Brady. It was recently announced that her wedding to Knight would be publicly televised. Without much dispute, it has been Elyse Sewell who has enjoyed the most successful modeling career of the ten contestants of Cycle 1 and arguably the most modeling success of any Top Model alumna.
Cycle 1 Contestants (in order of elimination)
- Tessa Carlson
- Katie Cleary
- Nicole Panattoni
- Ebony Haith
- Giselle Samson
- Kesse Wallace
- Robin Manning
- Elyse Sewell
- Shannon Niquette Stewart (runner-up)
- Adrianne Curry (winner)
The second season of America's Next Top Model, aired in 2004, featured twelve contestants instead of ten. Though the format was the same as Cycle 1, there were notable variations on how the show was presented. For example, the panel of judges was often much harsher in their evaluation and criticism of the contestants. In particular, one contestant, 18-year-old Catie Anderson, was repeatedly told that she looked or dressed like a prostitute. The photo shoots in this season tended to be more sexual; the first photo shoot required contestants to pose nude in body paint, an assignment that plus-sized contestant Anna Bradfield refused. Subsquently, she was the first contestant to be eliminated. Additionally, the final four contestants - Shandi Sullivan, Yoanna House, Mercedes Yvette, and April Wilkner, participated in an erotic photo shoot in Italy in which each pair of contestants posed nude together for a perfume advertisement. However, while the official site of this program normally displays the portfolio pictures of each contestant each week, the body paint photo shoot was placed in the site gallery in an edited form and the perfume advertisement photographs were completely omitted from each contestant's portfolio.
The second season also spawned a villian-like character in the form of Camille McDonald. She earned a spot into the final five contestants, but irked fellow contestants, judges, and others on the show by her often cold, detached attitude and pride in her "signature walk." Another memorable character was Mercedes Yvette Scelba-Shorte, a young woman whose struggle with lupus was revealed and detailed on the show. Mercedes competed in the final runway challenge against Yoanna House, though the latter contestant was chosen as the winner.
Another contestant of note was Shandi Sullivan, a lithe blonde cashier from Kansas City, Missouri. Shandi began the show as a very mousy and poorly dressed girl in glasses with no modeling experience, but by the time she was eliminated after making the final three, she had transformed into a skilled model with a stunning portfolio of photographs. However, Shandi was involved in an infamous reality television moment when, while the remaining models were in Italy, she became inebriated and cheated on her boyfriend, Eric. Subsequently, she called him while being filmed by the production crew to confess her infidelity.
The winner of the cycle was Yoanna House, a fashionista who had lost 40 pounds (18 kg) in order to realize her dreams of being a model. The judges admired Yoanna's avid enthusiasm for the fashion industry, her impressive portfolio, and her particularly strong facial features that stood out in her photographs.
Cycle 2 contestants (in order of elimination)
- Anna Bradfield
- Bethany Harrison
- Heather Blumberg
- Jenascia Chakos
- Xiomara Frans
- Catie Anderson
- Sara Racey-Tabrizi
- Camille McDonald
- April Wilkner
- Shandi Sullivan
- Mercedes Yvette (runner-up)
- Yoanna House (winner)
The third season of the show debuted in fall 2004. It featured fourteen young women aspiring to be this season's America's Next Top Model, though in the end, Eva Pigford would be this cycle's winner. Notably, she is the first African-American winner of the show as well as the youngest winner at eighteen years of age during the show's production
The season began with the fourteen models being jetted to Jamaica for a swimsuit shoot. Magdalena Rivas was eliminated in Jamaica the day after the shoot, and in the same episode. Leah Darrow was cut during the first session of judging. The second episode of the season was the infamous makeover show, in which each model was given a new look. Some makeovers were drastic - 22-year-old Jennipher Frost was told that her waist-length hair would be cut and donated to Locks of Love, and 25-year-old Amanda Swafford was transformed from a brunette to an ice blonde. For that week's shoot, each contestant was challenged to take a beauty shot without any make-up. That week, Julie Titus, a young woman of Indian descent was eliminated both for a weak photo and because during judging she had revealed that her motive for being on the show was not modeling but rather wanting to gain an edge in the fashion manufacturing career in which she was pursuing.
In the next episode, the remaining contestants were fitted with hair extensions and shot an advertisement for Lee (Jeans) wearing nothing but the product. Kristi Gromment was cut due to her lack of confidence. For the next shoot, each contestant posed on roller skates to advertise Dooney and Bourke accessories. Jennipher Frost was eliminated as the judges felt she was not delivering strong enough photographs. Kelle Jacob was the next contestant to be ousted after a high-energy shoot jumping on a trampoline next to a fighter plane for an energy drink.
The seventh episode of the season was Cassie Grisham's final appearance. Earlier in the show, she had revealed to Amanda that she suffered from bulimia, and her secret had subsequently spread to all of the contestants as well as to Tyra Banks. Tyra offered counseling to Cassie, but this 19-year-old student from Oklahoma refused help and chose to continue living with bullimia. Cassie was cut after her lackluster performance in a photo shoot for Ford Mustang automobiles, in which each model posed twice to represent dual identities in their respective characters. In the next shoot, the models learned that they would be posing for beauty shots advertising diamonds, but, much to the horror of many contestants, notably Eva Pigford, they would be posing with a tarantula. In the end, it was plus-sized model Toccara Jones who was ousted in this episode. Though she had entered the competition with a good deal of enthusiasm and confidence in her body, the judges felt that she no longer had the "plus-sized personality" to break barriers on the show.
The final six contestants - Yaya, Nicole, Norelle, Ann, Eva, and Amanda - were then told that they would be traveling to fashion hotspot Tokyo for the remainder of the competition. For their first challenge, they were assigned to shoot a commercial for Campbell's Soup - in Japanese. Though each contestant struggled with this challenge, redhead Nicole Borud was this episode's eliminee for not being sufficiently noticeable. The next contestant to be sent home was Norelle Van Herk, a 19-year-old sales associate from California who had compiled an impressive portfolio. However, she had struggled in Japan and was eliminated after a photo shoot for T-Mobile, in which each contestant posed in a traditional kimono with a cellular phone. The eleventh episode of the season featured an anime-themed shoot to reflect a part of Japan's modern culture. Ann Markley was cut at panel because, though the judges felt she was a natural beauty, they noted that she had often struggled to translate her looks into a strong photograph.
In the finale of Cycle 3, Amanda Swafford, who was legally blind, Yaya Da Costa Johnson, who had graduated from an Ivy League university and had enjoyed many consecutive challenge wins, and Eva Pigford, who had a strong portolio and whose plucky personality had earned her the nickname of "Eva the Diva," went head-on in the Covergirl photo shoot. Amanda was eliminated first, though all three contestants had performed very well in the shoot. This set into motion the first time in Top Model in which two African-American females were the remaining two contestants. Though Yaya's final runway performance and consistently strong portfolio impressed the judges, her less-than-humble attitude on several occasions did not. Instead, Eva Pigford, who had entered the competition with the handicap of being the shortest contestant and who had overcome her lack of height, had a stunning portfolio, and stood out with her personality, was declared the third winner of America's Next Top Model.
Cycle 3 contestants (in order of elimination)
- Magdalena Rivas
- Leah Darrow
- Julie Titus
- Kristi Gromment
- Jennipher Frost
- Kelle Jacob
- Cassie Grisham
- Toccara Jones
- Nicole Borud
- Norelle Van Herk
- Ann Markley
- Amanda Swafford
- Camara Da Costa Johnson (runner-up)
- Eva Pigford (winner)
One of the most memorable contestants in season four was Tiffany Richardson, who had initially been a semifinalist in cycle three but had failed to make the final round, stemming from a fight she had been involved in with a woman who poured beer on her weave in a bar. She was accepted as a finalist for cycle four as she displayed a calmer and more mature attitude, though her pessimistic outlook soon caused her to be ousted. In what was generally considered a lackluster season, one of the most talked-about moments occurred after the first-ever double elimination ceremony in Top Model history which took Tiffany and another contestant, Rebecca Epley, out of contention. Tiffany laughed and joked on her way out, prompting Tyra to have a televised meltdown over Tiffany's self-defeatist attitude that prevented her from taking advantage of the opportunities she had been given in the competition. Tyra subsequently explained on her talk show The Tyra Banks Show that the reason why she had been so angry with Tiffany was that she knew the severe personal obstacles that Tiffany had had to overcome just to get on the show in the first place, and subsequently she felt that Tiffany should have given the competition her all.
Rebecca too gave the judges a scare early in the season. During evaluation, she collapsed while being evaluated by the judges at panel. However, though she was hospitalized, Rebecca's incident was brought on not by illness but by a relapse of a condition involving a periodic malfunctioning of her vagus nerve. The judges admired her courage to come back for evaluation after her discharge from the hospital, and she made it to the next round.
The fourth cycle's contestants also included Michelle Deighton, a bisexual wrestler who was considered by some to be awkward and masculine in person, but who nevertheless turned out to be one of the most versatile and photogenic contestants. During the show she contracted impetigo, which at one point was mistaken to be a flesh-eating virus by several of the other girls (partly upon "confirmation" from fellow contestant Noelle's mom that it would cause certain death). She managed to make it to South Africa as one of the final six contestants before being eliminated.
Another memorable character was janitor-turned-model Lluvy. In the fourth episode, in which the twelve remaining contestants competed in a Zodiac-inspired photo shoot, Lluvy's Pisces shot was denounced by Tyra as "the worst photo in the history of America's Next Top Model". Lluvy was shaken by this incident, but she was not eliminated that week. Lluvy made three appearances in the bottom two contestants at elimination. She avoided being ousted the first two times, but she was cut during the third judging session in which her week's performance was deemed among the two worst.
Christina Murphy, a Florida native who placed fifth in this cycle, took consistently strong photographs, which swayed the judging panel in her favor for the first half of the competition. However, the judges felt that Christina could not overcome her "cold" persona and was the second contestant eliminated in South Africa.
The final four contestants of Cycle 4 were Brittany Brower, Keenyah Hill, Kahlen Rondot, and Naima Mora. Brittany, a rowdy, fun-loving model who was often seen enjoying various alcoholic bevereages, assembled an impressive portfolio of photographs. In the early stages of the show, she was often criticized for her overtly sexual appearance in her photographs, though she soon learned to tone down her sexuality and raise the quality of her shots. Though she was a strong contender for most of the season, she was the third contestant eliminated in South Africa as the judges felt that her dynamic personality was no longer present. Keenyah Hill also impressed the judging panel nearly every week with strong photographs and an appealing personality, though her weight gain during the competition and the over-confidence she developed over the last few weeks were the primary factors for her elimination.
In the season finale of Cycle 4, Kahlen and Naima ultimately competed to win the top spot. The final two contestants had to "walk on the water" during their last challenge, as the runway during the fashion show they participated in was partially underwater. During the final panel of the season, the judges deliberated for some time about which girl should be crowned the winner of Cycle Four. They felt that Kahlen's pictures had been consistently stronger than Naima's during the competition, but Naima had finished with more pizzazz, outshining Kahlen in South Africa and on the runway. Ultimatley, the judges chose Naima as America's Next Top Model.
Cycle 4 contestants (in order of elimination)
- Brita Petersons
- Sarah Dankleman
- Brandy Rusher
- Noelle Staggers
- Lluvy Gomez
- Tiffany Richardson/Rebecca Epley (double elimination)
- Tatiana Dante
- Michelle Deighton
- Christina Murphy
- Brittany Brower
- Keenyah Hill
- Kahlen Rondot (runner-up)
- Naima Mora (winner)
Acclaimed by Tyra Banks as the "bling" season in which the winner will undergo a Cinderella-like transformation, the fifth cycle of America's Next Top Model started in Los Angeles, the same location in which Cycle Four commenced. The judging panel ensemble was altered - Janice Dickinson was replaced by one of the most recognizable models of the 1960s, Twiggy.
In the first week, the thirteen finalists competed in a superhero-themed photoshoot in which each contestant was suspended in the air to take a 'fierce' photograph. Ashley Black was eliminated in this episode because, though her photograph was not among the weakest in the group, Tyra and the judging panel felt that she was not a model and was trying to get by as a pretty girl. The following episode was the infamous makeover show, in which Cassandra Whitehead, a beauty pageant competitor from Texas who was very attached to her long brown hair, was given the most dramatic makeover. Tyra had doubts about whether Cassandra was more dedicated to pageants or modeling, so she decided to test Cassandra's resolve by giving her a very short blond hairdo similar to the lead character in Rosemary's Baby. Despite much consternation, Cassandra went through with the makeover and shone in the next shoot, in which each contestant partnered with another contestant of her choice, and the two were photographed separately in the same couture-inspired outfit. This week, Ebony Taylor, the youngest contestant of the bunch, was eliminated because of her poor performance in the shoot. In the next episode, the girls posed as fashion victims being chased by the fashion police. During the shoot, when Cassandra was told that her hair would have to be cut shorter, she refused this assignment and left the show, being the first contestant to eliminate herself from America's Next Top Model. In panel, the judges placed Kim Stolz, this season's openly-gay contestant, and Sarah Rhoades, who had become close friends with Kim during the competition, in the bottom two. Sarah was eliminated due to a poor photo as well as lack of self-confidence. Janice Dickinson, a former panel judge, photographed the remaining contestants in the following plastic surgery-themed photo shoot. Each contestant was photographed as if they had undergone a surgical beauty enhancement procedure, such as a Botox injection, breast implants, or breast reduction. The plus-sized model, Diane Hernandez, was eliminated due to her lack of confidence and awareness in her body.
The next episode's challenge was three-fold: each contestant had to complete a commercial shoot, photo shoot, and press interview, all advertising Secret deodorant, in thirty minutes total. Unbeknownst to the contestants during the shoot, the judges revealed at panel that the girl with the strongest photograph in this round would have her picture run as an actual advertisement for Secret deodorant in print media. Nicole Linkletter's photo was selected by the panel for this honor. Coryn Woitel was eliminated at this judging session because, despite her strong photograph, she could not overcome her melancholy demeanor. In episode seven, the remaining contestants shot advertisements for Ford Fusion dressed as Vargas "pin-up" girls. Kyle Kavanagh was eliminated in this round as the judges felt that she failed to be expressive in her face and use the potential she had to stand out in photo shoots. For the following week's episode, the final six contestants shot with some special guests - MTV's Wild Boyz. Though Nicole and Jayla failed to impress the judges with their photographs and were called forward as the bottom two, Tyra shocked the contestants by announcing that both girls would have to pack their bags - because everyone would be going to London. This was the first episode in Top Model history in which no contestant was eliminated.
Soon after the final six arrived in London, they competed in a risque photo shoot in which all six girls at once posed in a London phonebooth wearing only galoshes and a newspaper, as if hiding from paparrazi. At judging, Lisa D'Amato, arguably the contestant with the most outrageous personality, was eliminated despite taking a strong photograph. In the following episode, the five remaining contestants posed as modern interpretations of classical art in an advertisement for Quench body lotion by Olay. Kim Stolz was subsquently eliminated due to a lack of consistency during the competition, though she displayed much progress in her modeling capabilities as the show progressed. In the next episode, the final four contestants - Jayla Rubinelli, Nicole Linkletter, Bre Scullark, and Nik Pace, were photographed in a Bollywood-inspired shoot, reflecting the Indian influence on British fashion in recent years. At panel, Jayla was eliminated because, though she had initally been among the strongest competitors, she had taken a series of mediocre photographs and had blended into the background of the last shoot.
In the season finale, Bre, Nik, and Nicole shot a Covergirl commercial and photoshoot. While Nik's strong performance was an improvement from her previous showing in the Secret shoot, both Bre and Nicole struggled. At elimination, Nik was chosen first to continue on in the final round, and then Nicole was chosen over Bre, making the latter girl the eleventh girl to get sent home. Nik and Nicole then shot a cover for Elle Girl magazine with Tyra Banks, under the stipulation that the winner's cover would be published in the February 2006 issue. They then competed in the final runway competition, walking in a show also starring previous Top Model winners Eva Pigford and Naima Mora. Also present in the show were a medley of other Top Model contestants, both from Cycle 5 and from previous cycles, including Diane Hernandez, Coryn Woitel, Lisa D'Amato, Bre Scullark, Lluvy Gomez, and Brittany Brower. At the final elimination panel, the judges favored Nicole's final performance over Nik's, both in the final runway challenge and throughout the competitions, and subsquently Nicole was selected to be the fifth winner of America's Next Top Model.
Cycle 5 contestants (in order of elimination)
- Ashley Black
- Ebony Taylor
- Cassandra Whitehead
- Sarah Rhoades
- Diane Hernandez
- Coryn Woitel
- Kyle Kavanaugh
- Lisa D'Amato
- Kim Stolz
- Jayla Rubinelli
- Brittany Scullark (Bre)
- Nik Pace (runner-up)
- Nicole Linkletter (winner)
Cycle six will air starting March 2006. The approximate date is March 1st, 2006.
Cycle seven will air Fall 2006. The approximate date is mid-September 2006.
Cycle eight will air starting Spring 2007. The approximate date is March 1st, 2007.
An Australian version of the show called Australia's Next Top Model was broadcast in January 2005. A second season will be aired early next year. Britain has aired its spin off entitled Britain's Next Top Model. Thailand also used this format in a show broadcast in mid-2005 There have been many spin-offs in many countries, mostly European. These countries include Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, Thailand, Israel, Australia, Germany, Britain, and more. Most recently, supermodel Heidi Klum is set to host Germany's Next Top Model. November 2005: Just announced by Citytv, Canada's Next Top Model is in development. It will be hosted by Supermodel/Actress Tricia Helfer. This is the latest of a string of spin-off ANTM shows.
- Official site
- America's Next Top Model at the Internet Movie Database
- America's Next Top Model at Reality TV World
- America's Next Top Model Forum at Model Portalda:Top Model