America's Next Top Model/Characters/Cycle Nine

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Saleisha Stowers

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Saleisha Stowers was a contestant and winner of Cycle 9 of ANTM.

In her Seventeen Magazine interview, Saleisha stated she had a rough life growing up. She lived with her grandmother in Madera, California. When she was 14, she attended Camp T-Zone, Tyra Banks’ self-esteem camp just for girls. Saleisha also worked as a receptionist in Los Angeles. Before appearing on Cycle 9, Saleisha was signed with Photogenics Model Management and had also appeared in a commercial for fast-food restaurant Wendy’s, with actor Tom Lenk. She had modeled for DOMIJ clothing., and d.e.m.o. She was also an extra in an episode of the TV series Ugly Betty and on two episodes of the Tyra Banks Show, modeling for Rami, Project Runway season four contestant. Saleisha appeared in the “Welcome Back” music video, and had an ad for 24 Hour Fitness. She also modeled for Especially Yours wigs, and was featured in a fashion spread for In Touch Weekly. She was recruited for America’s Next Top Model, which she subsequently won.

Saleisha entered the competition with a lot of confidence and high self-esteem. Her bubbly, positive personality, and her strong walk won the judges over. But the judges in the beginning felt she relied too much on her commercial look, so they gave her a Louise Brooks-inspired black hair weave to edge her out. She struggled during the third week, and consequently landed in bottom two with contestant Victoria Marshman. But she was spared, and she started improving, producing better photos. She received two first call-outs and two bottom-two appearances. In one of the challenges, she won an ad for Old Navy. In the final deliberation, the judges were impressed with Saleisha’s command on the runway and for her fluidity. She won against contestant Chantal Jones.

As part of her prize, Stowers won a contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics which features her campaigning for WetSlicks Fruit Spritzers, and appeared on the cover of the February 2008 issue of Seventeen magazine. She has also won a contract for representation with Elite Model Management. Like previous winners of ANTM, Stowers appeared in weekly segments of My Life as a CoverGirl during the running of America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 10.

There has been controversy regarding Stowers’s eligibility to appear on the show. The show’s rules state that a contestant must not have appeared as a model in a national advertising campaign during the five years prior to production. Stowers appeared in a 2006 commercial for Wendy’s, an ad that was part of a national-level campaign. The CW issued a statement that Stowers did disclose her participation in the Wendy’s spot, and “after reviewing the commercial, it was determined that her appearance did not amount to “modeling” experience, and therefore did not exclude her from participating in the show.”

Several blogs and news outlets have speculated that her past relationship with Banks (her participation in Banks’ T-Zone camp and her past appearances on Tyra’s television shows and her appearance as a model on The Tyra Banks Show and Cycle 6 of America’s Next Top Model), may have influenced the selection of the winner. Saleisha had also been a national spokesmodel for Especially Yours wigs for more than a year before the show ran, as well as appearing in an episode of the hit U.S. sitcom Ugly Betty.


Chantal Jones

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Chantal Jones was a contestant and the runner-up to Cycle 9 of ANTM.

Originally from Austin, Texas, Chantal was a big fan of America’s Next Top Model even before she was on the reality model search. In fact, she began watching in during its first two seasons, but was too busy to catch up with the succeeding cycles. However, she tried out for the first time for Cycle 9, and was lucky enough to be called back. Chantal recalled that it was one of her friends who convinced her to be on the show, thus she drove to Dallas, Texas, to attend an open casting call and eventually landed a spot in the final thirteen.

Entering the reality series when she was nineteen years old, Chantal made it a point to do her best once she was named as one of the final thirteen to compete in America’s Next Top Model Cycle 9. In fact, in the first challenge in the episode entitled “The Girls Go Green,” Chantal was able to produce great photos. However, in the episode entitled “The Girl Who Goes Bald,” Chantal experienced some difficulty with her photos. She was then criticized for her inability to apply what the photographer and art director told her. Despite this, she luckily did not end up in the bottom two. She did, however, land in the bottom two in the episode entitled “The Girls Who Crawl,” after she was chastised for not improving much over the few days. In the episode entitled “The Girls Go To Shanghai,” Heather won the challenge and asked Chantal to accompany her in her shopping spree reward. Chantal proved her worth in the episode entitled “The Girls Go To The Great Wall,” where she was commended on having the ability to stand out in a group photo. In the final episode, Chantal was commended for exuding a high-fashion appeal, but was not named America’s Next Top Model, as she only came in as a runner-up to Saleisha Stowers.


Jenah Doucette

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Jenah Doucette was a contestant during Cycle 9 of ANTM.

This 18-year -old student from Farmington, Connecticut who came in third place during the Cycle 9 of America’s Next Top Model. Jenah was arguably the strongest model of the season, consistently pulling off beautiful and high fashion shots week after week.

However, the judges felt that her bad attitude would not get her far in the modeling world. Jenah stuck up for herself, saying that she doesn’t have to be bubbly to be a Top Model or a role model to young girls. She landed in the bottom two three times in a row at the end of the season and the finale ended up being her undoing. She just missed being part of the final runway show.


Bianca Golden

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Bianca Golden was a contestant during Cycle 9 of ANTM.

A college student in New York City at the time, Bianca appeared in the competition when she was eighteen years old. After trying her luck in numerous casting calls for models since she was just aged twelve, she finally entered ANTM, being on of the show’s thirteen participants.

Bianca immediately established a reputation for being very outspoken. She treated her fellow contestants poorly—she got into feuds with Lisa, believing that an exotic dancer like her doesn’t deserve a slot on ANTM; with Heather, who she teased despite discovering that she is afflicted with Asperger’s syndrome; and with eventual winner Saleisha, when she called her a “borderline plus-size.” She also got into some trouble with the shoots, notably refusing to participate in a photo shoot in Shanghai, China because it entailed her posing in the air, on high wires.

Nevertheless, Bianca was one of the more enduring participants in the program. The model, whom is also known for being shaved bald after her supposed makeover went wrong, lasted until the episode before the finale. She was eliminated in the twelfth episode, when she barely made the final three; Tyra Banks cited that she did not possess the same innate modeling talent the other remaining models had. Nevertheless, she continued pursing a modeling career, having appeared in several runway shows and fashion spreads, and also appeared on screen, notably the direct-to-DVD film ‘Hole in Two’. Her controversial nature still persists, however, notably when she got involved in an airport brawl with Hairspray actress Nikki Blonsky.


Heather Kuzmich

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Heather Kuzmich was a contestant during Cycle 9 of ANTM.

Heather Kuzmich is an art student and American fashion model from Valparaiso, Indiana. She is best known for being a contestant of America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 9, where she was the fourth runner-up of the show. During the show, it was revealed that Kuzmich has Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD.

Kuzmich was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome when she was fifteen years old (mistakenly reported as thirteen by Tyra on ANTM), around the time her father died. She has stated in interviews that it wasn’t the easiest time in her life as living with Asperger’s syndrome, the most difficult things for Kuzmich are approaching people and her communication skills.

Kuzmich was one of the final five contestants on America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 9. At the beginning of the competition, some of the other contestants bullied Heather, making fun of her “awkward” behavior and talking about her behind her back. However, she later reported that “they didn’t make fun of me that much” and that the show’s producers chose not to broadcast more “civilized” exchanges.

Heather always wanted to model. Initially, she was hesitant about trying out for the show, but finally she agreed to do it after a friend convinced her to watch Cycle 7.

Heather’s journey began when she was the 12th girl called to participate in the final 13. Early on, she was deemed to be the underdog of the competition, but this changed when she excelled in the photo shoots. At week five, in which they had to pose as fashion gargoyles, Kuzmich was called late because the judges critiqued that she only took “profile” shots. With that critique the next week, while the girls had to portray recyclable material (Heather wore aluminum cans), she gave all her shots face forward, causing the panel to be blown away by her stunning features. The next week, while filming a music video for Enrique Iglesias, the artist was so taken by Heather’s haunting looks that he picked her and fellow contestant Lisa Jackson for featured roles, where both models were praised and were the first two called at elimination.

Eventually, Heather’s strong portfolio could not compensate for her Asperger’s Syndrome that began to affect her when having to communicate with others. During week nine, a runway challenge requiring her to speak caused her to freeze up in front of the audience and negatively affect her shoot with a burning car in the desert. Tyra Banks noted that while it was a good shot, it was her weakest.

The following week in China, Kuzmich had problems delivering her lines for the CoverGirl Queen Collection commercial. Mr. Jay noted that while she looked gorgeous, Kuzmich could not say her lines well – even when he fed them line by line. Despite taking a great CoverGirl shot, she found herself in the bottom two because of her inability to deliver, even while being given help from Mr. Jay.

She was spared for another week, but the following week saw her yet again landing in the bottom two. That week, the girls went on go-sees in Shanghai, and while the other four girls made it to at least three or four designers, Heather got lost and ended up only making it to one. The designer praised her look and strong photographs, but criticized her runway walk as well as her lack of eye contact. She was also disqualified because of her late return. Fans were angry when fellow competitor Jenah Doucette did not offer Heather a ride back because she had lost her taxi, but she explained that it was against the rules. That week, the two models that Banks deemed to take the strongest photos of the remaining girls – Heather and Jenah – were placed in the bottom two, both for their lack of good communication. Heather was eliminated and became the ninth girl eliminated.

Heather won nine CoverGirl of the Week awards (including one after she got eliminated), equaling the record with Cycle 4‘s Naima Mora who also won nine throughout the entire competition (once every week). Heather also set Top Model history by winning the award the week after she was eliminated. She also appeared on ‘Top Models in Action’ of ANTM, Cycle 12. The short clip featured her photo shoots including the cover of Spectrum magazine.

A challenge win during Top Model allowed Heather to participate in a special photo shoot art-directed by Mary J. Blige for Carol’s Daughter.

Heather received great press attention due to her Asperger’s Syndrome condition, including talk show appearances (such as being interviewed on Good Morning America and an article in The New York Times). She plans to continue modeling, while continuing her education at the Illinois Institute of Art located in Chicago. In a recent interview at a viewing party, Paulina Porizkova stated that her favorite model was Heather. Kuzmich has appeared in People magazine twice, once in October 2007 and the second time in December 2007 and she was recently one of the nine girls featured in America’s Next Top Model: Exposed on the CW. During the filming of that feature, she became close friends with Jael Strauss from Cycle 8. Heather has also appeared twice on The Tyra Banks Show, once in a “Where are they now?” episode and for the Fiercee awards.


Lisa Jackson

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Lisa Jackson was a contestant during Cycle 9 of ANTM.

Lisa Jackson is a 20-year-old dancer from Jersey City, NJ. She was the 8th model eliminated in Cycle 9 of America’s Next Top Model. Early in the competition, Lisa took a lot of heat for being an exotic dancer but she was determined to prove that she could be a high fashion model. She was Cover Girl of the Week in episode two and won two reward challenges. She was eliminated in Shanghai after performing poorly in the Cover Girl commercial shoot. Tyra also questioned Lisa’s ability to handle criticism.

Lisa has also been featured twice in Top Models In Action, the first time in Cycle 11, and the second in Cycle 13.

Lisa Jackson is currently signed with Major Model Management in New York and Studio Model Management in Paris.


Ambreal Williams

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Ambreal Williams was a contestant during Cycle 9 of ANTM.

Ambreal is a nursing student from Dallas, Texas, and has been an aspiring model since she was a young girl. She admits that music and performance has always been a big part of her life, and that she dedicates her efforts in becoming a top model. She also admitted that she tried out for the CW’s America’s Next Top Model thrice, and had gotten in only in the third time. Ambreal was rejected the first time because she was too young, and in the second time, she did not even receive a callback. She finally landed a spot in the final 13 during her third try.

While on America’s Next Top Model Cycle 9, the then 19-year-old Ambreal was named as one of the bottom two in the episode entitled “The Girl Who Is Afraid Of Heights,” where the contenders were asked to pose on the roof of a high-rise building. Afraid of heights, Ambreal fought hard to maintain her composure, but eventually landed a spot in the bottom two along with Janet Mills. Fortunately, it was Janet who went home and not Ambreal. Ambreal again landed in the bottom two in the next episode entitled “The Girl Who Gets A Mango,” in which she was not able to exude confidence in their public service announcement and in their photo shoots. Ambreal and Ebony Morgan found themselves in the bottom two, but as soon as Ebony realized how homesick she was, she decided to quit the competition and go home, thus leaving Ambreal with another chance to prove herself. Finally, in the episode entitled “The Girl Who Starts to Lose Her Cool,” Ambreal and Lisa Jackson landed in the bottom two, and Ambreal was sent home, as the judges saw more potential in Lisa.


Sarah Hartshorne

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Sarah Hartshorne was a contestant during Cycle 9 of ANTM.

Sarah is a college student from Heath, Massachusetts, who at the time of the show, was twenty years old. Sarah was eliminated in Episode 8, “The Girls Who Crawl.” This that episode, Tyra taught the ladies how to model in front of a moving camera. Later, the contestants shot a music video with Enrique Iglesias.

At panel, Lisa, Heather and Saleisha‘s clips received praise, while Sarah was criticized for feeling embarrassed about her own body. In the end, she landed in the bottom two together with Chantal. Sarah was eliminated. She was also criticized throughout the cycle for losing weight, when she was presenting as a plus-sized model.


Ebony Morgan

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Ebony Morgan was a contestant during Cycle 9 of ANTM.

From Chicago, Illinois comes nursing student Ebony Morgan, who initially entered Cycle 9 of America’s Next Top Model as someone who wanted to create a lot of drama in the house. However, upon realizing that it wouldn’t work, she decided to enter the competition as herself, in time to land a spot in the final 13 contenders.

As soon as Ebony encountered her first challenge with the girls, she immediately underwent some hardships, as she struggled to fit her character. The then 20-year-old aspiring model had difficulty translating her beauty into film, and thus earned a spot in the bottom two. Fortunately, Ebony was spared for another chance. It took a couple of more episodes for Ebony to regain her composure and finally show some improvements to the judges. She even impressed Mr. Jay with her improvements in the episode entitled “The Girl Who Is Afraid Of Heights,” but was also cautioned about her uptight in-person appearance. In the episode “The Girl Who Gets A Mango,” Ebony landed in the bottom two with Ambreal Williams. However, just before Tyra called Ebony for her last photo, Ebony declared that she decided to quit the competition and go home because she realized that she misses her family, and that modeling was not her calling. This then gave Ambreal a second chance at the competition. Ebony is the second contestant to quit America’s Next Top Model, with the first being Cassandra Whitehead from Cycle 5.


Janet Mills

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Janet Mills was a contestant during Cycle 9 of ANTM.

Janet Mills is a 22-year-old aesthetician from Bainbridge, GA. Janet became the fourth model eliminated in Cycle 9 of America’s Next Top Model. In episode 4, she participated in a photo shoot for Seventeen Magazine as part of a prize won by fellow contestant, Lisa Jackson. After the gargoyle photo shoot in that episode, Tyra felt that Janet’s striking looks did not transfer into a photograph. She landed in the bottom two with Ambreal Williams, but it was Janet that Tyra sent home.


Victoria Marshman

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Victoria Marshman was a contestant during Cycle 9 of ANTM.

Victoria was a 20-year-old college student from New Haven, CT during her stint on the show. She was the third model eliminated in Cycle 9 of America’s Next Top Model.


Kimberly Leemans

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Kimberly Leemans was a contestant during Cycle 9 of ANTM.

Kimberly Leemans is a 20-year-old college student from Ocala, FL. She was the second model eliminated on Cycle 9 of America’s Next Top Model. She landed in the bottom two after a rock climbing photoshoot along with Bianca Golden. Tyra felt that Kimberly could not pull off a high-fashion look and eliminated her.


Mila Bouzinova

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Mila Bouzinova was a contestant during Cycle 9 of ANTM.

Mila recently graduated from college and hails from Boston, MA. The 20-year-old model became the first to be eliminated in Cycle 9 of America’s Next Top Model. At her first photo shoot, Mila had to portray a cancer patient going through chemotherapy treatment. She could not stop laughing, which made a bad impression on Jay Manuel. At judging, Tyra felt that she wasn’t absorbing any of her critiques and sent her home.