Fakest Moments On America's Next Top Model Revealed

The following article includes brief references to child abuse and mental health issues.

The reality competition "America's Next Top Model" aimed to show the difficult challenges of training as a high fashion model, promising contestants newfound supermodel status along with glamorous beauty contracts, iconic magazine covers, cash prizes, and more should they manage to nab the show's coveted title. The brainchild of Tyra Banks, the popular series first kicked off in 2003 — well before the social media boom — and taught us all about the power of smizing. But 24 seasons, a slew of controversy, and even a brief cancellation later, it ended in 2018 without much of its original acclaim. 

While it remains to be seen whether "ANTM" will ever return for Cycle 25, as of this writing, the show has managed to spawn quite a few disgruntled contestants, many of whom have since shed light on the seemingly darker truths of the series on social media and YouTube. Indeed, it appears as though the competition's fun and glitzy exterior was ravaged by scandal on the inside — or, at least, was not all it seemed to be. While appearing on CNN's "Dinner with the Kings" in 2011, Banks herself even admitted of her "ANTM" persona, "When I'm sitting there and I have all this make-up on, and I'm like, 'Your picture's not fierce,' talking all that and reprimanding the girls, that is a character."

Did the "ANTM" production team orchestrate some of the series' more infamous incidents? With past contestants breaking down the facts as unseen on television, these are the fakest moments on "America's Next Top Model."

Cycle 1 winner Adrianne Curry allegedly 'never' got paid

As the very first winner of "America's Next Top Model," Adrianne Curry was also the first to bear the brunt of the competition's allegedly false promises. In a since-deleted Instagram post shared in 2020, the Cycle 1 victor claimed that her Revlon contract — one of the series' prizes — was never fulfilled. 

"We were led to believe the winner would be instantly rich and a huge Revlon cover girl. This was a lie," Curry wrote in part (via ET Canada). "After the show, Revlon informed me it didn't matter who won, they were never going to have us as a model." Despite the apparent deception, she was under the assumption that she would still get paid — "ANTM" had already added her recordings about winning said contract to the final episode, where she talked about how she would help her family out financially. Unfortunately, that was reportedly not the case: "I never got the money. To this day, I have not been paid."

The retired model, who prefers to live life out of the spotlight in Montana with her husband, later explained in another post that she wasn't expecting the deleted claims to generate headlines. That said, Curry previously called Banks out, per Life & Style, for allegedly failing to provide guidance and support when her won deal with Wilhelmina Models also went south. Ultimately, Curry deemed it unfair that "ANTM" portrayed her as a "diva" who wasn't grateful, adding in her deleted Instagram post, "Nothing had hurt as bad as this did."

Did typecasting contestants lead to fake storylines?

While competition shows are known to teeter the line between reality and fiction, many "America's Next Top Model" alumni have alleged that the showrunners relied on typecasting to make for more compelling television. In a 2022 interview with YouTuber Oliver Twixt, Julie Titus of Cycle 3 claimed that she found a sheet of paper listing each contestant's name alongside a typecasting phrase in a CBS conference room during the early days of production. While she was apparently named "the ethnic girl," fellow contestant Tocarra Jones was allegedly dubbed "the big Black girl," Yaya DaCosta was called "the proud African," and so on.

One of the most infamous contestants, Cycle 4's Tiffany Richardson, also claimed to be a victim of rags-to-riches typecasting. In a 2017 interview with BuzzFeed, Richardson walked through the process of feeling slowly chipped away throughout her time on "ANTM" when she tried to become who she felt the judges wanted her to be. "It looked good for TV ... fake-a** Cinderella story," she said, adding, "[I was] playing the f**king role. ... I fed into the crap they was telling me and I ran with it." 

The pressure of enduring the intense competition eventually became too much, and when Richardson gave up Tyra Banks' alleged game, it resulted in perhaps the most memeable reality TV showdown ever (you know, the supermodel's "I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you! How dare you!" moment). "It was so over-the-top for no reason," Richardson claimed, adding, "[She] needed them ratings to go up or something."

Eugena Washington claimed ANTM's production staged situations

In her 2020 interview with YouTuber Oliver Twixt, Eugena Washington of Cycle 7 claimed that "America's Next Top Model" producers acted as conductors by creating situations in which they presumably hoped to set off the contestants' more dramatic behavior. For example, while 13 contestants moved into the same house together, it only featured 12 beds, and tensions were already high as they faced elimination. Washington said, "After the first episode, I was like, 'Oh, we're on one of these shows where everything is staged.'"

Around this time, Tyra Banks faced social media backlash over Cycle 6's Danielle Evans being pressured to go to the extreme measure of closing the gap in her front teeth. In an Instagram video, Evans herself detailed how producers had created a day for the contestants to go to the dentist, where she was allegedly repeatedly asked about closing her gap. She initially declined, but then Banks got upset during panel. "She's like, 'I told you to get your gap closed.' I'm like, 'No, you didn't.' She looks off camera to production," Evans said. "... In that moment, I knew what was happening. I knew that I was basically set up and not being told that Tyra wants me to get my gap closed, so that it's good for TV."

Regarding a drama-filled situation with lesser stakes but long shrouded in mystery, Cycle 5's Jayla Rubinelli revealed to Oliver Twixt that Nicole Linkletter and Lisa D'Amato weren't in fact the ones who stole Bre Scullark's granola bars, but rather a production assistant. Case closed!

Several contestants staged their own scenarios

Of course, not every dramatic situation can allegedly be engineered by reality TV showrunners, and some "America's Next Top Model" contestants have admittedly conducted their own memorable scenarios. Monique Calhoun from Cycle 7, for example, claimed Eugena Washington's bed by fake urinating (i.e. pouring water) onto it, which Washington revealed in her Oliver Twixt interview.

Calhoun's alleged goal was to cause conflict for more camera time, but Washington believed she played the reality TV game wrong, especially when claiming to be sick during a photoshoot and subsequently being eliminated in the third round. "I get it, you're trying to create a moment, but you also have to play along, and if you don't have a picture, how are they going to judge you?" Washington said. "... If you wanted to make it a thing, make it to where you were deathly sick ... but you showed up to the photoshoot and you turn the s**t out, you took the best picture — that would have worked for you, you would have been a hero."

Similarly, in an act of protest against executive producer Ken Mok, Cycle 5's Lisa D'Amato infamously used a diaper on the set of a photoshoot with "Jackass" stars. Claiming in a 2020 Instagram post that she was triggered by production bringing up her past trauma and feeding her negative sentiments from other contestants, D'Amato wrote, "I knew I'd get eliminated but I also knew the contract was s**t and my attorney directed me to NOT win but be MEMORABLE." Mission accomplished.

Was Tyra Banks or Janice Dickinson the contestants' mentor?

Tyra Banks' bold yet nurturing teaching style seemed to deeply contrast with no-nonsense judge Janice Dickinson early on, but according to Cycle 2's Shandi Sullivan, it was apparently very much the opposite case behind the scenes of "America's Next Top Model." While speaking with Oliver Twixt in 2020, Sullivan claimed that contestants only saw Banks when the cameras were rolling, whereas Dickinson was helpful while they weren't filming, despite how production made her look on TV. "She was always encouraging," Sullivan said. "... So anytime everybody's like, 'Oh, Janice is such a b***h,' I'm like, 'No, she's not.'"

Even in later seasons, after Dickinson had left, it seems Banks still remained largely unseen by contestants. Angelea Preston of Cycles 12 and 17 shared a similar sentiment, alleging to the Daily Mail in 2015, "Tyra was non-existent. The only time we saw Tyra was at panel. Tyra never came in to talk to us personally." She added, "When the cameras stopped rolling it's like she's a stranger."

On a 2021 episode of the "Behind the Velvet Rope with David Yontef" podcast, Dickinson disclosed her personal feelings toward Banks and shed some light on her short-lived stint as a judge. Revealing how she didn't necessarily take Banks seriously as a producer, Dickinson noted that they came from different modeling generations and statuses. "We didn't really get along," she admitted. "... I did Vogue. She did Elle, and I used to constantly remind her of that."

Poor working conditions allegedly led to the drama

Surely all the drama between clashing on-screen personalities and alleged behind-the-scenes production tactics was worth the "America's Next Top Model" life of glamorous photoshoots and trips to fashion capitals, right? Not quite. In fact, Lauren Utter of Cycle 10 alleged to the Los Angeles Times in 2008 that the models were deprived of basic necessities and enjoyment on set. "When we're in the house, we are subject to insanity: We're not allowed to watch TV, read books, listen to music, and that's an outlet normal people have to escape," Utter claimed. "We were put in these awkward situations to make the drama happen."

Angelea Preston similarly alleged to the Daily Mail that "ANTM" producers wouldn't allow contestants to eat or drink for up to 17 hours of filming. Meanwhile, other activities supposedly couldn't be done until contestants were filming, so the cameras didn't miss anything TV-worthy. "We had to be put on a thing called 'ice' [for hours]. ... Not eating, not drinking, not talking," she claimed. "You're guarded [by members of the crew]. It's like top model prison."

As if the allegedly poor conditions weren't enough to endure, Cycle 9's Sarah Hartshorne took to Twitter in 2021 to claim that contestants were only paid $40 a day. She felt their labor was exploited, but due to being young and bound by a contract, it was easier to see in hindsight. "There were handlers and security and lawyers who threatened us with million dollar lawsuits if we didn't abide by the contract," Hartshorne alleged in another tweet.

Lisa D'Amato claimed her past was used against her

In addition to allegations of exploitation via deprivation of basic needs or cheap tricks to enhance the drama on camera, one of the most outspoken "America's Next Top Model" contestants, Lisa D'Amato of Cycles 5 and 17, accused the reality show of exploiting her past experience with child abuse.

In 2021, she claimed in an Instagram video directed toward Tyra Banks that the show's production team would constantly bring up her abusive mother. "The way that you guys would poke me and use my childhood trauma against me day in and day out — it was just so f***ed up and it broke my heart," D'Amato tearfully said. She'd previously claimed in another post that showrunners used her PTSD to get her to react in a negative way on screen, thus painting her as the season's villain. "For example: 'Lisa, today wasn't your best day, is it because your mom is in your head?'" she wrote in part. "S**t like that is what I was dealing with the entire time during filming."

Fellow Cycle 5 model Jayla Rubinelli seemingly corroborated D'Amato's claims in her interview with Oliver Twixt, in which she explained that the production's screening application asked about the models' relationships with their parents, which was then allegedly used against D'Amato. For her part, Rubinelli claimed she went through a similar situation with producers asking about her own mom and dad: "They were trying to get tears out of me, and I think Lisa and I were both very nonchalant, just like, 'Yeah, it sucks.'"

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 someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Was Eva Marcille pinned as a pre-planned ANTM winner?

It might be difficult to believe that a winner could be chosen before the real competition even starts, but in a March 2022 interview with Oliver Twixt, Julie Titus of Cycle 3 claimed that "America's Next Top Model" producers had asked her specific questions about how she perceived future winner Eva Marcille during the preliminaries process — leaving Titus to ask the producer, "Is Eva gonna win this?" 

While said producer denied this, Titus went on to allege that she'd called it early on: "I wasn't surprised that Eva won our season, because I already knew based on what they were already setting up. ... Not to be like, 'Oh, she's my competition,' but it was like, 'This is ... their story, this is what they're going with.'" For her part, Tiffany Richardson — who had gone through the early production process of Cycle 3 before ultimately getting chosen for Cycle 4 — also alleged to Oliver Twixt that she'd felt alerted to the producers' apparent favoritism of Marcille.

Janice Dickinson's appearance on the "Behind the Velvet Rope with David Yontef" podcast seemingly added credence to what Titus and Richardson recollected. Using CoverGirl — coincidentally, the show's main beauty sponsor starting in Cycle 3 — as an example, the former judge disclosed how there were apparently even greater forces at play via sponsors. "The chance to have a CoverGirl contract campaign for a year was chosen by CoverGirl and not the model, not the judges," Dickinson claimed.

Natalie Pack and Tyra Banks' unaired 'screaming fight'

In the wake of the abovementioned claims regarding how "America's Next Top Model" producers supposedly captured every millisecond of drama on camera, it might seem baffling to hear about a juicy segment that reportedly got the cut. Serving as the polar opposite of Tyra Banks' highly viewed showdown with Tiffany Richardson, it looks like the supermodel's alleged match with Cycle 12's Natalie Pack was removed from her elimination episode.

"I feel like it was cut and pasted almost together to make me seem snobby and they were almost desperate to get this image of me," Pack told Reality TV World in 2009 of her out-of-touch princess edit. Explaining that she was shocked during elimination after her positive feedback from the photoshoot didn't translate at judgment, she added, "To be so confident to say, 'Oh I'm not going home, I have no fear of going home,' and then I ended up going home. I was kind of like, 'What?'"

Fellow Cycle 12 contestant Celia Ammerman bore witness to the allegedly "crazy" elimination that lasted for a long time, as revealed during an interview on "Inside the Reality Studio." "It was a kind of screaming fight between the two of them, but they didn't show any of it," she claimed, before hinting that Pack had said some revealing things that could have been a detriment to the popular show. As for what that was, we may never find out the truth — but we can probably speculate on some conclusions based on this list alone.