Slow-Talker Nicole Is America’s Next Top Shorty

And there she is, folks. The winner of “America’s Next Top Model” cycle 13, aka, the shorty season. In last night’s episode, red-headed space case Nicole—who, uh, loves motorcycles and thrill-seeking?—beat out sweet-as-humble-pie Laura, the bull-castrater from Kentucky. Far too many times in this season, Tyra declared that something was happening, “for the first time in ‘Top Model’ history,” as if that were eons and eons. The twist for the finale—instead of three girls doing the Cover Girl photo shoot and commercial, only two made it through to the last episode. I would have questioned this decision since it doesn’t lend itself to maximum drama, except that these were actually my two favorite girls from the season—Nicole, amusing since she perpetually seemed like she had taken too much ritalin, and Laura, adorable showing up to judging in clothes sewed by her grandma. Over the course of the season, Nicole was consistently the stand-out in photo shoots, so going into the finale it seemed like a sure thing that she would win. But once the episode began, it didn’t seem nearly as clear. Both girls pretty much bombed the commercial. In their defense, the concept was insane—two friends hiking Hawaii while talking about how great their mascara is. On camera, Nicole was so stiff and drowsy that it was painful to watch. And since Laura is uber-dyslexic (she said in one episode that when she looks at the page of a book, it looks like it’s moving) she had a lot of trouble memorizing the script. That said, her Southern accent and charming delivery (as you can see in the interview below) worked out in her favor.

The photo shoot with Nigel, however? While Nicole rocked it, Laura didn’t do so hot. Perhaps because the thought inspiring her “smeyes” was about milkshakes?

After a whirlwind scene of the gals shooting their Seventeen covers in vomtastic ensembles, it was time for the runway show. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN “TOP MODEL” HISTORY, Tyra invited back several defeated contestants from the season—Erin, Jennifer, Brittany, and Sundai—to walk in the show. Shocker: they were all rooting for Laura. And on the runway, Laura was clearly the better walker, though Nicole’s awkwardness was pretty interesting to watch.

In the end, I wasn’t sure who would win, or for that matter who I wanted to get the prize. But when it was announced that the judges had picked Nicole, I felt pretty good about that—she’s interesting, distinctive, gorgeous, and could actually make it in the dog-eat-dog modeling world. Plus, I kind of like how after years of having an awkward girl who turns into a beautiful swan, that said girl finally won. Also, if memory serves me correctly, Nicole is the first red-headed winner of the show? So that’s something.

Do you think she should have won?