She wants to be on top! Kiara Belen placed runner-up on Cycle 19 of “America’s Next Top Model,” the college edition. The gorgeous, statuesque former UC Irvine basketball player lost to cornsilk-blonde Laura James, the daughter of “Dynasty” actor John James, in an extremely close final panel. But as pained as I felt watching Kiara take second place, I was also pretty sure this young woman would be OK. From the very first episode, Kiara’s determination to get past her crappy upbringing and her confidence in herself were truly inspiring.
Kiara is busy getting her modeling career off the ground (she’s already worked with Janice Dickinson — not too shabby!), but she was kind enough to answer some of our questions over email about the luscious Rob Evans, kooky competitor Victoria, and Tyra’s best modeling advice.
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We were totally shocked when we saw former “America’s Next Top Model” contest Jael Strauss — who’d appeared on Cycle 8 of the series — would be appearing on a “Dr. Phil” episode devoted to her drug abuse. Since appearing on the series six years ago, Jael’s life has taken a severely downward slide. She’s been addicted to meth, and her family begs her to get help during a harrowing Dr. Phil intervention. Jael hardly looks like the beautiful girl she was just six short years ago — with pockmarked skin and bleached blond locks, she appears much older and worn out than most other 28-year-olds.
We wish her the best and hope that Thursday’s episode of “Dr. Phil” gets her the help she needs. Jael is hardly the only reality TV star to slide into addiction — let’s review…
Whoopee, tonight is the premiere of “America’s Next Top Model” Cycle 19! The college edition, or something. I really hope Tyra has some new stuff in store. I mean, after 18 seasons, things get stale. Although I have no commentary to offer as of yet, I honor the return of “ANTM” with this genius morphing of Tyra Banks and a nipple. Never would have thought of combining these two, but I’m jealous of the person who thought of it first. This gave me lots of new morphing ideas. Going to MorphThing.com, the site that makes it all possible, to screw around. [Mean Plastic]
There’s been a lot of shake ups in Tyra Banks’ “Top Model” world of late. As she struggles to make “ANTM” relevant and engaging in its zillionth “cycle,” Ty-Ty decided to mix up the judging panel by getting rid of judging mainstay (“Noted Fashion Photographer”) Nigel Barker and model coach/shoot producer Jay Manuel (that’s Mr. Jay, if you’re confused). Tyra has kept Kelly Cutrone (who started last season) and recently plucked up model Rob Evans. And her latest hire? Blogger and fashion week regular Bryanboy.
After the jump, five things you should know about the new face on “ANTM”‘s judging panel.
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I guess Tyra Banks is aware that she’s grasping at straws on this season of “America’s Next Top Model.” You know when you do a segment called “Tooch Teach” that it’s time to change stuff up. After 19 Cycles of almost exactly the same thing, Tyra has decided to clean house for the next season of the show. Yesterday, J. Alexander, Jay Manuel and Nigel Barker were dismissed from the “Top Model” family to make way for “major changes planned for [the next season].” PR mogul Kelly Cutrone was the only judge to survive the blood bath. But that could be because Tyra’s scared of her. I know I am. Keep reading »
For the next season of “America’s Next Top Model,” host Tyra Banks is hoping to incite an age-old rivalry between the Brits and Americans. She’s bringing some of her past British “Top Model” contestants over to go up against a crop of seven new model babies in “ANTM: British Invasion.” One’s already doing the “booty tooch.” The gimmicks never stop with this one. [The CW]
Most of the ex-contestants of “America’s Next Top Model” go on to, well … fade into obscurity. But not Cycle 10 contestant Fatima Siad. Siad has walked in Dries Van Noten and Hermes shows, and this week, a new Herve Leger ad featuring the gorgeous Somali model was released. Take a long look. [CocoPerez]
In 2008, Whitney Thompson made waves when she became the first-ever plus-size winner of “America’s Next Top Model.” These days, she’s parlayed her win into a successful modeling career — and a turn as an entrepreneur. This past month, Thompson launched TheBoldandTheBeautiful.com, a dating site geared specifically toward plus-size women and the men who love them. Keep reading »
Who can understand the whims and desires of International Top Supermodel and Media Mogul Tyra Banks? For the past several cycles she’s had the inimitable Vogue Contributing Editor Andre Leon Talley as a panel judge for the show, but now rumor has it that he’ll be replaced by PR guru/life coach/”The City” HBIC Kelly Cutrone. Perhaps Talley was over the dreckitude–or perhaps there was a more sinister situation happening between himself and Banks. We can only imagine that two people which such big, uh, personalities may have run into conflict from time to time. In any case, we’ll miss his oversized muumuus and would clamor to sit in his “sa-lon” anytime.
But on with Cutrone, whose sharp tongue and chipper new age-y self help advice will no doubt put a different spin on “ANTM”‘s model panel. (Hell, she’s even wore a muumuu or two of her own during the debut season of “Kell On Earth.”) And now we’ve got a new Cutrone-related drinking game to employ: A swig for every time she’s able to work the title of her 2009 memoir If You Have to Cry, Go Outside, into upbraiding some poor wannabe. [Fashionista]
We’re mega excited for the season premiere of “America’s Next Top Model: All Stars,” set to go live next week. And we’re especially stoked to see how one of our favorite past contestants, transgender model Isis King, is going to fair. Especially because, after her first appearance on the show, Tyra Banks generously paid for Isis to have gender reassignment surgery. In 2009, she appeared on Tyra’s show to talk about the surgery — and received a marriage proposal. “It’s almost like I was supposed to have it,” said Isis. “Although it was swelling and bruising and everything, automatically I felt more comfortable. I was ready to walk around the house in my little shorts. I just felt more confident.” Her boyfriend of three years, Desmond, also proposed on the show, noting that, “When we were just friends, I had a dream I was getting married. As the bride came down the aisle, it was Isis … She’s strong, she’s beautiful, she’s my soul mate.” Keep reading »