Are They on Top? Checking In With the Winners of America's Next Top Model Now

They learned how to smize and tooch their booty. But did Tyra Banks' hand-picked beauties truly land on top of the fashion heap after winning America's Next Top Model?

By Sarah Grossbart Dec 04, 2021 11:00 AMTags
Watch: Tyra Banks Talks Return To "America's Next Top Model"

Wanna be on top? 

For 24 straight seasons (sorry, cycles) hundreds of thousands of runway rookies very much did. Leggy natives of Joliet, Illinois and Grand Forks, North Dakota turned up to the America's Next Top Model set to the learn the art of the smize and the booty touch and, most importantly, how to build a career in fashion á la host Tyra Banks, who very much dominated the field from 1996 (the year she first appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue) onward. 

Yes, as longtime creative director Jay Manuel has recently highlighted, some of the critiques and challenges certainly feel off-putting now—and were every bit as questionable in the early 2000s. (Blackface in any iteration is simply not okay, a sentiment Banks no doubt agrees with, having tweeted, "Looking back, those were some really off choices.") 

But when the reality series premiered more than 17 years ago, first on the now-defunct UPN, then The CW and, most recently, VH1, it dominated, at one point netting upwards of 6 million viewers eager to watch wannabe cover girls sob through their pixie cut "Ty-over" and attempt to nail the perfect commercial for LashBlast Mascara.

America's Next Top Model: OMG Moments!

Arguably, the show's harshest critique is that the winning models never truly went on to supermodel status. While Banks continues to dominate in the industry, most recently lending her talents to Dancing With the Stars, few of her charges have reached household name status. (And, most recently, Banks and the show came under fire for allegedly paying contestants $40 a day.)

Though, a six-figure CoverGirl contract and featured placement in a women's monthly was nothing to sneeze at. And, for the most part, each winner did go on to have a relatively fruitful career, whether that meant posing for brands such as Burberry and Guess, walking Off-White runways or finding their way in front of other TV cameras. 

Let's take a look into where the victors landed after they claimed their spot on top. 

Adrianne Curry Rhode, Cycle 1

Though she would go on to pose for Ed Hardy and Von Dutch, the series' inaugural winner is, perhaps, most famous for the waaaaay she became a Brady wife. Marrying Christopher Knight after they met on VH1's Surreal Life, she and the Brady Bunch alum would go on to star on the network's spinoff My Fair Brady before ending their five-year union in 2011. Now remarried to voiceover actor Matthew Rhode, she defected from L.A. to Montana were she runs her blog and sells Avon products. 

Yoanna House Lineberry, Cycle 2

Having gleaned a thing or two about hustling from Banks, the trained vocalist from Florida is juggling modeling (she walked in New York Fashion Week in 2015) an HSN gig and hosting work. But her "proudest achievement", as she put it on Instagram, is parenting son Alastair with attorney husband Gregory Lineberry, the man she's called her "best friend."

Eva Marcille, Cycle 3

Then known as Eva Pigford, the 5-foot-6 L.A. native confidently claimed her throne atop the ANTM empire, then assuredly pivoted from modeling (having landed numerous shoots and runway shows) into acting with a 2007 arc on House of Payne. A two-year stint on The Young and the Restless and parts in films such as Sistercode and Busted followed. And, up until announcing her departure this June, the Rickey Smiley Morning Show host and mother of three (married to attorney Michael Sterling) was Gone With the Wind fabulous on Bravo's Real Housewives of Atlanta

Naima Mora, Cycle 4

Since her 2005 win, the student has become the teacher. In between modeling gigs (the former Detroit resident is represented by EMG and MMG), she's offered advice on the 'gram, in her 2012 book Model Behavior and on her Model Tips Live podcast. A recent guest: fellow cycle 4 alum, Keenyah Hill

Nicole Linkleter Nathanson, Cycle 5

The 20-year-old student from Grand Forks, North Dakota (a hometown she affectionally refers to as "the tundra") walked away from the fifth round with a cool prize: a $100,000 CoverGirl contract and a career that saw her posing for the likes of Burberry and Bebe. Now living in L.A. with husband Adam Nathanson, she's signed with HRI Talent, but also works as a court appointed special advocate and on her blog, No Way Mama, named for her son Theo's first words. She welcomed her second child, daughter Olive, in November 2019. 

Danielle Evans, Cycle 6

So determined to leave her hometown of Little Rock in the rearview, ("I wasn't even hungry, I was starved to get out,") the 5-foot-11 beauty acquiesced slightly when informed host Tyra Banks wanted her to eliminate the space between her front teeth, agreeing to close the gap every so slightly. "I was not going to allow something that is physical on my face to stop me from getting out to make a better life for myself," she recently explained, responding to the resurfaced video. Still, she stressed to her "young queens" she fully believes that beauty is on the inside—and her grace has propelled her to endless bookings and a second job as founder and designer of hat line, Monrowe

CariDee English, Cycle 7

Post-win, the Fargo native turned her biggest liability—a bold personality that had her teasing judge Nigel Barker about the "stick up his ass"—into her greatest asset. Along with ad campaigns (she became the face of Ray Ban in 2013) and runways, she scored work as a host (MTV's Scarred, Oxygen's Pretty Wicked) an advocate (with the National Psoriasis Foundation) and as a singer and drummer. She also returned to her photography roots, sharing her work on Instagram @iseethisandthat.

Jaslene Gonzalez, Cycle 8

The physical embodiment of not giving up on your dreams, she became the eighth winner after getting passed over for cycle 7. No doubt that perseverance is a message the L.A. resident espouses in workshops through her company On Set With Jaslene. Well, that and mastering six signature poses that make you stand out. 

Sal Stowers, Cycle 9

Making the transition to acting after a handful of fashion weeks, the California native (who'd modeled previously on The Tyra Banks Show) stuck to what she knew, scoring a guest role on The Exes in 2012 as a supermodel. Parts on New Girl and All My Children followed, eventually leading the World Vision ambassador to her regular gig as Lani on Days of Our Lives

Whitney Thompson Forrester, Cycle 10

A 10-season drought was broken when the Floridian was named the first full-figured victor thanks to her size six(!) garb. She now shares the experiences she gained traveling the world for various jobs on her Whitney's Wanders blog and her love of vegan eats at Copper Vault, the Springfield, Tenn. multi-concept restaurant she owns with husband Ian Forrester. Their other joint project: son Winston, born in 2019. 

McKey Sullivan, Cycle 11

Nearly 12 years after she came out on top, the 6-foot Renaissance faire enthusiast is still fighting. Wed to professional MMA fighter Sam Alvey since 2013, she is also a mixed martial arts enthusiast, Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner and, as her Instagram bio raves, "Mom to 5 awesome kiddos." 

Teyona Anderson, Cycle 12

After collecting her prize in the Brazilian finale, the New Jersey native (now working professionally as Teyona Asia Anderson) headed further south, walking some 30 shows in Cape Town's fashion week. But in her personal life, she's more likely to be found behind the camera, capturing photos of 3-year-old son Anderson Nash. "Sometimes I just sit and stare at you in amazement and wonder, 'How'd I get so lucky,'" she gushed in one post.

Nicole Fox, Cycle 13

Proving good things come in slightly smaller packages, the winner of the petite season (at 5-foot-7, she's actually an inch taller than Marcille) went on to book major ad campaigns for Forever 21 and Steve Madden along with parts on The Bold and the Beautiful and in 2016 films Hero of the Underworld and Paradise Club

Krista White, Cycle 14

The twelfth(!) time auditioning was the charm for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff beauty, who nabbed the crown in 2010. Though she's since worked runways in NYC, Los Angeles and Milan, according to her website, she's now focused on TV hosting gigs to follow up her two-season stint as a judge and student mentor on TLC's Global Beauty Masters, while also serving as fashion director for DLXVRSN Magazine. 

Ann Ward, Cycle 15

Though the lanky 6-foot-2 Texan (runway specialist J. Alexander infamously wrapped his hands around her tiny waist) is still working as a model, gracing covers of both Velvet Magazine and ENE Magazineher Instagram feed is dedicated to her other passion: illustrations from her work as a concept artist, character designer and animator.

Brittani Kline, Cycle 16

Despite a portfolio filled with impressive titles (Vogue ItaliaVogue MexicoInterview!), the Lock Haven University grad's Insta profile describes herself as a former model and "current human raising a tiny human." Along with bringing up 3-year-old son Rowan with "supportive life partner" Erik Fetter, she recently started grad school at Penn State, she shared in a post, "and am excited to dive deeper into the world of strategic communications."

Lisa D'Amato, Cycle 17

Placing just sixth during cycle 5, she was nonetheless unforgettable for attention-grabbing antics that saw her using a diaper while on set and having lengthy chats with a pampas grass plant she named Cousin It. Nabbing the title in the all-star round, she translated that notoriety into further screen time on Celebrity RehabMarriage Boot Camp Reality Stars and Shark Tank. (Her pitch for Dare-U-Go!, part bib, part storage container earned her $350,000.) Wed to entrepreneur Adam Friedman, they welcomed their first son Daxel in September 2013 and second son Venice nearly three years later. Naturally, his arrival was streamed live on Facebook. 

Sophie Sumner, Cycle 18

The Oxford native came for Top Model honors in the series' British Invasion round. After edging out American runner-up Laura LaFrate, she released her single "Aiming For You" on iTunes, then served as host of a TRL-esque weekend countdown show on Music Choice. But now the New York City resident is pivoting into producing, currently working on a TV proposal, she shared in a January post. "A little know fun fact—I have been writing treatments since I was 14, both my parents work in television and it has always been a passion of mine to produce my own show," she wrote, adding, "This dream is getting closer to becoming true."

Laura James, Cycle 19
Having schooled the competition in the College Edition round, the New Yorker graduated to the big leagues. Not only did the daughter of Dynasty actor John James and Miss World contestant Denise Coward shoot campaigns for Guess, she built up the quite the acting resume thanks to guest spots on Grandfathered and The Young and the Restless and a recurring gig on S.W.A.T. Though, currently, she says she's busy bingeing "bad reality shows" and Amazon Prime crime drama Hunters with actor boyfriend and "beautiful soul" Jon-Michael Ecker.


Jourdan Miller, Cycle 20

In the first battle of the sexes, the 6-foot Oregon teen dominated, besting male finalists Marvin Cortes and Cory Hindorff. So no surprise she's been working steadily ever since. Among her recent jobs, shared with her 232,000 Instagram followers, the cover of Western-themed cover of Desnudo Magazine Italia.

Keith Carlos, Cycle 21

Once the former NFL wide receiver got in the game, he quickly proved to be a winner. The series' first male victor, he's posed for the likes of Macy's, Diesel, Guess and Nike. From there, the cofounder of multimedia company Dream Katchers Enterprise, "made a natural transition into acting," as his bio on the company website explains. Among the standout roles for the father of Keith Jr.Cardi B's "Be Careful" music video, the 2017 drama Chocolate City: Vegas and a recurring role on The Bold and the Beautiful

Nyle DiMarco, Cycle 22

A clear winner: After smizing his way to the top of the ANTM heap in 2015, the show's second male winner (and first deaf victor) shimmied to mirrorball gold on Dancing With the Stars the following year. Then he made his next move into producing and acting (credits include Difficult PeopleSwitched at Birth and Dan + Shay's "Tequila" music video) while continuing his work as an activist for the hearing impaired with his Nyle DiMarco Foundation.

India Gants, Cycle 23

With the constant comparisons to Gigi Hadid, plus the skills to avoid the dreaded bottom two, the Seattle native's 2017 victory wasn't all that shocking. Nor is the fact that she's been steadily working in the years since, a job for Las Vegas' Ambra Italian Kitchen + Bar earning her a massive billboard on the side of the MGM Grand. "I have been modeling for over 8 years and have done everything from magazines to look books to TV to web campaigns to commercials, and more," she shared in a November 2019 post. "But never have I EVER had a big campaign like this."

Kyla Coleman, Cycle 24

A quick scan through the twentysomething's Instagram feed proves she's made the most of her 2018 victory. In between posting for brands such as Calvin Klein, Wrangler and Alexander Wang, she's cementing her spot on the runway. Most recently that took her to the City of Light. "first szn in paris & i debuted with @off____white," she raved, "so mf major - i'm truly living a dream."

(Originally published May 20, 2020, at 8 a.m. PT)