Tyra Banks is always telling the girls to smile with their eyes. But Teyona Anderson proved that smiling with your teeth can work, too.
The wide-grinning, Beverly Peele-resembling 20-year-old from New Jersey was named the winner of the 12th cycle of America's Next Top Model Wednesday after the judges deemed her the most promising member of the pack.
"I come from the little country streets of Woodstown, New Jersey, growing up in the cornfields, playing in the woods with boys, to being America's Next Top Model!" the gleeful winner exclaimed. "I've wanted to do this so long, I just wanted to model...That's what I want to do, it's my passion...To win, and my hard work actually paid off...It's amazing...
"I'm so proud of myself, it's ridiculous...like, is this for real?!"
For her efforts, Teyona has scored a six-page spread in Seventeen, for which she also posed for the cover; a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics; and representation from Elite Model Management.
Finishing a close second was the sweetly doll-faced Allison Harvard—who made up in uniqueness what she lacked in modeling technique.
And despite her at-times-annoying lack of confidence (you're there 'cause you're hot, girl!), Allison was definitely one of the less divisive members of the house this season, and also the least malicious-seeming.
So when Allison moved into the top two, the far brasher, albeit exquisite, Aminat Ayinde was swept aside.
Tyra had compared Aminat's body to Naomi Campbell's, and the judges were quite impressed with her requisite CoverGirl commercial.
Meanwhile, Teyona kept flubbing her lines and then started crying, so in the end it must have been the lack of pretty pictures in Aminat's portfolio that kept Tyra, Nigel Barker, the departing Paulina Porizkova and guest judge Amir Slama from keeping her in the game.
But the consistently pose-acious Teyona (best photo the last three weeks) had a stellar Outlast Lipstain photo shoot, so she was a shoo-in for round two. And though Allison barely moved her head during the commercial, she also took a great picture.
"She has all the potential, but she hasn't learned how to photograph her face properly yet," Paulina said of Aminat, who had to pack her things and get the heck outta Brazil before Allison and Teyona set off for their Seventeen cover shoot and strutted their stuff at a Rosa Chá fashion show.
Both ladies pulled off the all-swimsuit-and-feathered-wings look—and both managed the "Brazilian stomp," and they both looked pretty sexy writhing around in the mud for the show's finale. So it wasn't entirely obvious who would end up taking the title in the end (though the judges had really been tooting Teyona's horn in recent weeks).
And though her runway performance was weaker than the judges had expected, Teyona's overall body of work spoke up in her defense.
"I wanted it badly, but I just think it's huge that I made it this far," a still bright-eyed Allison said. "Super disappointed, but at the same time I got to do so much…I'm truly proud that I made it this far."