America's Next Top Model Contestants Who Can't Stand Tyra Banks

"America's Next Top Model" was once the hottest show on television, with 24 successful cycles and thousands of hopefuls lining up year after year for their chance at fame. Supermodel Tyra Banks spearheaded the show — serving as a guide, mentor, and mother figure that transformed regular girls into models one smize at a time. The last cycle aired in 2018, but "ANTM" still lives on as a cultural phenomenon through memes, GIFs, and outrageous photoshoots.

However, it seems the glitz and glam weren't all they were cracked up to be: over the years, countless former contestants have spoken up about their horrific experiences on the show and their disdain for Ms. Banks. The internet has also begun to pick up on some questionable incidents now that "ANTM" is available on streaming.

So what really went down on the "America's Next Top Model" set? From lawsuits to slut shaming to exploitation, here's what some of the girls had to say about Tyra Banks.

Lisa D'Amato says her trauma was exploited

In early 2021, Cycle 5 alum and winner of "ANTM: All Stars" Lisa D'Amato took to Instagram to speak directly to Tyra Banks. D'Amato appeared on the show for the first time when she was just 24 years old, full of charisma and a thirst for modeling. Since her final appearance on the "All Stars" cycle, D'Amato has been very vocal about the mental and psychological abuse she experienced at the hands of Tyra Banks. 

In her Instagram statement, D'Amato reveals that producers forced her to divulge the mental, physical, and sexual abuse she experienced as a child. She then claims Banks took advantage of her transparency, using her trauma against her for profit. "I don't know how you sleep at night," she tearily stated, speaking directly to Banks.

"You knew very well the horrible trauma that my mom inflicted on me, and you also talk so much about how you wouldn't be where you are without your mother and how powerful she is," D'Amato continued. "So knowing that, you still did that to me and continued to do it to other girls, even after I spoke publicly about it." D'Amato felt it was her duty to speak up and warn other hopefuls that "ANTM" was a sham. Despite the backlash from fans, she continues to stand up for herself — hoping to be heard.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Jeana Turner left ANTM feeling shamed for her Playboy past

Jeana Turner is the runner up of "ANTM" Cycle 24. Turner, who suffers from alopecia, is remembered for her emotional makeover where she shaved her head to accept her natural beauty. When her cycle aired, Turner was "shocked" beyond belief that she was given the classic "Villain Edit" — meaning producers edited her negatively for the sake of drama. The manipulation was so bad that even Turner's own family didn't want to hear her version of events.

The mistreatment didn't stop there. According to Turner, when girls were at risk for elimination, food wasn't brought to them as quickly, they were neglected at photoshoots, and they were villainized until they were kicked out. "We were all mentally, emotionally, and psychologically abused," Turner said in an interview with Oliver TwiXt. Even under regular circumstances, the girls weren't allowed to eat or leave their rooms without permission from security staff. Contestants reportedly didn't even know what they were competing for while filming. The girls were allegedly pretty much left in the dark every step of the way.

It only gets worse: throughout her cycle, Turner was heavily criticized by Tyra Banks for modeling for Playboy. Banks allegedly rolled her eyes and said, "You sound like a f***ing prostitute," when Turner defended her choices. Though Turner has mostly healed from her experience, she says she left "ANTM" feeling shamed, traumatized, and discarded by her former idol.

Adrianne Curry heard 'crickets' from Tyra after winning Cycle 1

Adrianne Curry was the first ever "Top Model," crowned for her smize in 2003. In the years since her big win, we've scarcely heard from Curry unless it was to open up about her "sh** show" of an experience on "Top Model."

In a since-deleted blog post, Curry slammed Tyra Banks and "ANTM" for ghosting her after her win. Curry was promised a contract with Revlon and representation by Wilhelmina Models, but unfortunately, neither of those promises panned out. Curry explained: "We were led to believe the winner would be instantly rich and a huge Revlon cover girl. This was a lie." She continued: "After the show, Revlon informed me it didn't matter who won, they were never going to have us as a model. I cried & they felt bad. They had me sit in a makeup chair while 6 people watched a makeup artist put makeup on me for [money]." However, Curry says she never saw the $15k she was owed. "I never got the money. To this day, I have not been paid."

To make matters worse, Curry claims that Wilhelmina Models didn't want her, leaving Curry out of substantial work for years. When the model reached out to Banks, desperate for help, she was met with "CRICKETS" — she said Banks never got back to her. Instead, the show reportedly did everything in its power to paint her as an ungrateful "diva." "Nothing had hurt as bad as this did," Curry wrote.

Angelea Preston says ANTM was like 'prison'

Angelea Preston came in 3rd in Cycle 14 and was the unaired winner of "ANTM: All Stars." Preston was stripped of her winner title when Tyra Banks discovered her past as an escort. Having only escorted for three weeks, Preston felt she was being unfairly "punished" and "shamed" by her mentor.

Throughout Cycle 14, Preston was portrayed as "ghetto" and "impossible to work with," making it hard for her to find work when the show wrapped. In an interview with Daily Mail, Preston explains what she refers to as "'Top Model' prison:" "There are times when we didn't get fed. We had to film straight through, 15, 18 hours without eating" (via Insider). The crew reportedly even went so far as to withhold medical treatment when Preston suffered from a stress-induced anxiety attack.

As for Banks, Preston left "ANTM" harboring sour feelings toward the model. "When the cameras stopped rolling, it was like [Banks] was a stranger. I used to admire her so much. I wanted to be like her. When I met her, I was very disappointed." Preston claims Banks' depiction as a "caring, involved mentor" was nothing but a sham for views and that she was never seen outside of the panel. Preston is now suing Banks and the show runners for $3 million, which was her estimated loss of earnings after being disqualified from "All Stars."

Sarah Hartshorne received a tiny stipend while Tyra Banks made millions

Writer, comedian, and content creator Sarah Hartshorne has been very vocal about her "ANTM" experience with her online audience. Hartshorne was dubbed "plus-size" in Cycle 9 and was slyly body shamed in an attempt to shake her confidence. The effort continued when she was given a drastic pixie cut for her makeover, but Hartshorne says she actually loved her haircut. What she didn't like, however, was the way her fellow contestants were treated by Tyra Banks and the "ANTM" crew.

While Banks made millions every cycle, the girls were given a measly stipend that was only enough for food. "We were not paid at all for being on the show," Hartshorne claimed to New York Post. "We were given a $38 daily cash stipend that we had to use to pay for our own food. And they didn't even give us a microwave to heat the food up."

Hartshorne also confirmed claims made by other "ANTM" alums, like the allegations that contestants were kept hungry and tired for the sake of drama. "Production kept us in the dark about almost everything because they wanted to keep us on edge. Us being confused, tired, stressed, sleep-deprived, and hungry just made for better TV," she continued. "We never knew where we were going at any given time. They would transport us from place to place in a windowless van, and we'd have to face every situation totally clueless."

Tiffany Richardson doesn't think Tyra Banks cared about any of them

Despite not winning Cycle 4, Tiffany Richardson is arguably the most memorable "ANTM" contestant of all time. After a shocking double elimination, viewers were left speechless at the sight of Tyra Banks totally losing her cool and exploding on 21-year-old Richardson. Nearly two decades later, this moment is still referenced to and GIF'd almost daily. Leading up to the loud dressing-down, Richardson tried to stay positive and lighten the mood while fellow eliminated contestant Rebecca Epley tearfully said her goodbyes. Banks, visibly irritated by Richardson's lack of emotion, called the girls back over to rip Richardson to shreds in front of everyone.

"I was rooting for you, we were all rooting for you! How dare you!" Banks screamed, immortalizing the moment as an iconic meme. The women argued back and forth until Banks fully cracked, sending a silencing shock wave through the panel. According to Richardson, the unedited fight was "1,000 times worse," with Banks telling Richardson to "go sleep on [her] mattress on the floor with [her] baby."

In 2016, Richardson opened up more: "I went into it thinking [Banks] was f***ng God ... To actually see her and the vibe is completely different. It was just weird." She continued: "I felt like we were just there to be humiliated."

Yaya DaCosta was called 'condescending'

Yaya DaCosta is an actor and the runner up of "ANTM" Cycle 3. Beloved by fans, she's remembered for her Afrocentric aesthetic and stunning photos. DaCosta is arguably one of the most successful "ANTM" alums, having built a career that is authentic to her identity. However, her authenticity hasn't always been appreciated. During her time on "Top Model," DaCosta was criticized for being "condescending" and "arrogant." Most notably, DaCosta shakily had to defend herself after choosing a cowboy hat instead of a kufi cap for a panel challenge.

"It looks like you're about to ride a giraffe," judge Nolé Martin commented. The judges, including Tyra Banks, all mocked DaCosta for trying "too hard to prove [her] blackness."

In a 2016 interview defending artist Amara La Negra of "Love and Hip Hop," DaCosta spoke about the anti-blackness she experienced: "Unfortunately, 14 years later, nothing has changed. Same ignorance, new show ... It took a lot of work to heal from [my 'Top Model'] experience and looking back, I feel so much for that eager, vulnerable young version of myself. There are so many things I would whisper in her ear ..." Banks has never publicly apologized for her insensitive comments, but DaCosta seems to have moved on to bigger and better things.

Hannah Kat Jones felt tricked by Tyra Banks and ANTM

Casting week proved to be an emotional rollercoaster — with model turned actor Hannah Kat Jones learning firsthand what it was really like to be on "ANTM." 

"We were treated kind of like extras," Jones noted in a 2020 video. "Not like paid actors. We were treated like, 'You're given an opportunity and you're gonna act like you appreciate it or else we'll get rid of you.'" When it came time to cast who would make it into the house, the hopefuls were given a series of envelopes: if their picture was inside, they made it to the next round. If not, they hit the road. Unfortunately, Jones received a blank envelope.

"How does it feel to be ... rejected by Tyra?" Jones recalls the producers asking, seemingly pushing her to get upset and almost rubbing in her face that she didn't make it. Jones made a teary statement before she and the other castaways were whisked away for a sendoff from Banks, who — in Jones' words — felt "really bad" they didn't make it. Turns out, this was all a trick: they did actually make it into the house and the real "finalists" were getting the boot. Jones says that this "trick" left her feeling stressed for the rest of the cycle, worried that at any moment, she could be tricked again.

Natalie Pack thinks ANTM is 'shady'

Nineteen year old Natalie Pack left "America's Next Top Model" Cycle 12 under arguably "shady" circumstances. After performing well and getting great feedback from creative director Jay Manuel, Pack was promptly sent home without explanation. Her elimination came as a shock to everyone, but especially Pack given how well she had done at the shoot and how confident she was in her feedback.

"It was a little strange to me because when I got to panel the judges didn't like my picture and I was just like 'Well, are you even communicating with Jay [Manuel]?'" Pack commented shortly after her elimination. "How can I get such good feedback from him and then have Tyra and the other judges hate my picture. It's just a little weird to me." Pack suspects that Banks might've intentionally chosen a bad photo to bring to judging.

The former "ANTM" contestant also accused Banks of playing favorites. In addition to this, Pack wasn't happy with the edit she was given on the show. Like other contestants before, her footage was manipulated to paint her as "rich" and "arrogant."