The Most Successful America’s Next Top Model Contestants Ever
In May of 2003, America’s Next Top Model premiered on the now-defunct UPN network. When UPN merged with the WB in 2006, the series was its first program to air on the new CW and went on to become one of the most popular reality competitions on television. In 2015, the CW announced ANTM would be ending its 22-season run, with CW president Mark Pedowitz saying, "America’s Next Top Model was a successful franchise for two networks, first at UPN and then The CW, and it became not just a ratings hit, but a global pop culture phenomenon."
But the cancellation wouldn’t last forever. In 2016, VH1 picked up the show, giving America’s Next Top Model a new life.
Beyond the makeover drama, the runways, and the smizing, the show has launched the careers of plenty of models. But which former contestants have been the most successful? Here’s the definitive list of every model who’s gone on to find fame beyond the TV show.
America’s Next Top Model contestant Lisa D’Amato became an entrepreneur
Lisa D’Amato first competed on Cycle 5 of America’s Next Top Model. She was known at the time for being incredibly outspoken, as well as for her tendency to start drama with the other models. In 2011, she appeared on — and won — the All-Star Cycle. Since her time on the show, D’Amato has kept herself busy doing a pretty wide range of things, including appearing on several reality TV shows.
In 2010, she checked into Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, and, two years later, she starred in a reality show pilot called My Name Is Lisa. In 2016, D’Amato and her husband, Hollywood entrepreneur Adam Friedman, appeared on WEtv’s Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars, and, in March 2019, Reality Blurred reported that she landed a deal on Shark Tank for her food storage bib Dare-U-Go!
But D’Amato’s true passion lies with music. In 2009, she released her debut album, La Puchinetta, which she followed up with Flippin’ the Bird. She said during her reality show pilot, "My music is the true outlet for expressing who I am."
Yaya DaCosta has been embracing her roots since appearing on America’s Next Top Model
Yaya DaCosta may have been the runner-up on Cycle 3 of America’s Next Top Model, but her career following the show has been nothing short of incredible. Two years after her appearance on the series, she made her feature film debut in 2006’s Take the Lead. She’s had recurring roles on All My Children, Ugly Betty, and Chicago Med, along with starring roles in several feature films, including the lead in 2015’s Whitney. She told VH1 at the time, "I knew from very early on that I was an actor and it was a long process to accept that title with confidence."
DaCosta has also been outspoken about representation in the industry. The Afro-Latina actress told The Grio in 2019, "It’s nice that people are actually realizing what Latin America actually looks like and that there’s diversity." But she feels that just seeing different backgrounds on screen isn’t enough. "We need to have people in the rooms," she said. "There have to be writers and producers and directors hiring, and insisting on that representation."
America’s Next Top Model’s Cassandra Jean Whitehead found a superhero husband
Cassandra Jean Whitehead competed on Cycle 5 of America’s Next Top Model, where she famously dropped out of the series after she received a hair makeover that was "the last straw in them completely trying to change who [she] was." The haircut itself wasn’t actually bad, but it was enough to make her the first model to ever quit the show.
Whitehead went on to television work, where she had several small screen appearances, most notably on One Tree Hill, Mad Men, and Arrow. Where the former model really lucked out, though, is in love. In December 2012, she married Arrow star Stephen Amell in a private ceremony in the Caribbean. Then, when the pair came back to the States, Us Weekly reported they married a second time the following May in front of friends and family in New Orleans. The couple welcomed their first child that October, and they’ve been even more in love with each other every day since.
Danielle Evans became an author after winning America’s Next Top Model
Danielle "Dani" Evans was the winner of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 6, narrowly beating out Joanie Dodds. After the show, Evans went on to walk the runway for several big names in fashion, including Mychael Knight and Zang Toi. She’s been featured in ad campaigns for CoverGirl, Akademiks, and Sephora as well.
In 2013, Evans became a published author, having written The Skinny on Getting In: An Inside Peek into the Fashion World for the Aspiring Model. The book acted as both a memoir for her own modeling experience as well as something of a how-to for others who were trying to break into the industry. In 2016, she told Sports Illustrated that her inspiration for writing the book came from the response she received after her ANTM win from fans curious about how to get into modeling. She gave the mag her best industry advice, saying, "I think confidence and knowing how to dress in this business is key."
Notably, Evans also launched her own company, Monrowe, which produces unisex hats.
Eva Marcille became a Real Housewife after her time on America’s Next Top Model
Eva Marcille started her modeling career by winning the third cycle of America’s Next Top Model (and taking the title over Yaya DaCosta). After the show, Marcille had a pretty fruitful career on TV, with roles in Smallville, The Young and the Restless, and House of Payne. Between 2013 and 2015, she appeared on the reality TV series Real Husbands of Hollywood, but it wasn’t until 2018 that she fully embraced the reality TV lifestyle with The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
But the model and actress isn’t only interested in making a living on camera. In 2018, she launched her home design collection, which emphasizes fashionable pieces at an affordable price point. Marcille told People she had always wanted to be involved in interior design, saying, "My goal is to give women an oasis with warm patterns and comfortable fabrics, for an easy getaway from life. Enhancing your living space is therapeutic, and our prints make for a calming environment."
Toccara Jones hasn’t slowed down since appearing on America’s Next Top Model
Toccara Jones didn’t make it too far into her season of America’s Next Top Model, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t leave a lasting impression on the modeling world. After Cycle 3, Jones appeared on several TV series, including Are We There Yet?, In the Cut, and VH1’s reality show Celebrity Paranormal Project.
But the model, who had her fair share of ups and downs in an effort to prove herself as more than just "plus-sized," has gone on to do just that. In 2008, she appeared in the "all black" issue of Vogue Italia. The issue was featured in The New York Times, where photographer Steven Meisel said of her, "I wanted to say something about weight, and I’m never allowed to do that." He continued, "I met Toccara and thought, she’s beautiful. What’s the deal with her? She’s great and she’s sexy." The following year, Jones appeared in BET’s Rip the Runway fashion show, and she’s since gone on to design her own intimate apparel line.
Former America’s Next Top Model contestant Nyle DiMarco is breaking stereotypes
Nyle DiMarco was the first deaf model to win America’s Next Top Model , taking the title of the show’s 22nd cycle. When he appeared on the series, he talked about how his deafness was actually an advantage, saying, "Being deaf has definitely been a strength to me in this competition, just because American sign language requires a lot of facial expression and using your body, and that’s what modeling requires also." He had actually done some modeling and television work prior to being cast on ANTM, so it’s little surprise that he would find such success afterwards.
In 2019, Out reported that DiMarco, who won Dancing With the Stars in 2016, snagged a role on Grey’s Anatomy spinoff Station 19 as a deaf firefighter. Besides spearheading the Nyle DiMarco Foundation, which works to "improve the lives of every Deaf person in the world," he also started a production company specifically focused on deaf filmmakers. He told L’Officiel in 2019, "I think Hollywood is finally listening and becoming more aware of the extreme lack of representation, but there is a lot of work still to do."
America’s Next Top Model star Isis King is giving visibility to the trans community
Isis King only came in tenth during the 11th cycle on America’s Next Top Model (she competed again on the All-Stars Cycle), but she’s made a lasting impression on the modeling world. Although initially reluctant to audition for the show, King took a chance after doing background work the previous season. She told Jonny McGovern on Hey Qween, "I didn’t want to go on [Top Model] originally. I was like, I don’t know if they just trying to use me or what. But to hear that [praise] from some of the girls kind of solidified my feelings about going on Top Model."
The time she spent on ANTM proved to be meaningful for both King and the larger LGBTQ community. The first-ever trans model to appear on the show has gone on to become a prominent voice for trans rights. At the time of this writing, she serves on the board of the Ali Forney Center, an organization dedicated to helping homeless LGBTQ youth. According to HuffPost, she’s the only member who’s actually gone through the system.
Leila Goldkuhl is a true top model after competing on America’s Next Top Model
Leila Goldkuhl’s appearance on the 19th cycle of America’s Next Top Model had its ups and downs. After being eliminated during the fifth week, Goldkuhl wound up winning a second chance to be in the competition via a social media vote. Once back on the show, she nearly won the season, landing in third place.
After the series, Goldkuhl went on to work in high fashion. In 2016, she made her runway debut at Givenchy’s spring show in New York. According to Vogue, Riccardo Tisci — then a creative director for Givenchy — liked her look so much that he planned to use her for the brand’s followup campaign. In 2017, Goldkuhl walked for a number of designers at Fashion Week, including Chanel, Nina Ricci, and Tom Ford. And by 2018, she was recognized as one of the 50 best models in the world. Pretty impressive.
Former America’s Next Top Model contestant Analeigh Tipton is a Hollywood hitter
Analeigh Tipton was one of America’s Next Top Model‘s biggest successes. When she placed third on the show’s 11th cycle, Tyra Banks told her, "Paulina thinks that you are a star actress that can get a lot of modeling campaigns. We think that that’s probably the direction that you should go." Tipton certainly took the advice to heart. A few years after ANTM, she landed roles in Crazy, Stupid, Love and The Green Hornet. By 2014, she was cast as the lead in the series Manhattan Love Story, and she’s seen steady on-screen work ever since.
In 2019, Deadline reported that Tipton had signed with ICM Partners, a major agency in the entertainment industry. Of her newfound acting cred, Tipton told Brief Take, "I think that people still see me as the Crazy, Stupid, Love babysitter and it’s been interesting trying to showcase myself as a woman, because I tend to read young … It’s trying to find that balance of unique roles like this and hope that people will see them."
Bre Scullark is one America’s Next Top Model star who’s using yoga to reach out to others
Even though Bre Scullark made it all the way to third place on Cycle 5 of America’s Next Top Model, she wound up being remembered more for her feud with that season’s winner, Nicole Linkletter, than for anything else. Luckily, Scullark would bounce back from "Granola Gate," shifting from a modeling career to a life focused on balance and community — but it took some hard hits to get there.
In an interview with Office Magazine, Scullark recounted the period after ANTM ended, during which she went from making $200,000 on one particular day to being dropped by her agencies after a bad haircut. Hard drug use led to a stint in rehab, after which the model discovered yoga. Noticing a lack of yoga in urban areas, Scullark took it upon herself to set up her own "pay what you can" community classes. Eventually, she began teaching in prisons, a thing she said is more fulfilling than her previous work. "I feel healed and needed," she told Office Magazine. "I always felt disposable modeling. There was no real need for me."
Kim Stolz went all the way to Wall Street after America’s Next Top Model
Cycle 5 of America’s Next Top Model certainly saw its fair share of in-house drama. While Kim Stolz’s fight with Bre Scullark would become one of the season’s most memorable moments, Stolz definitely didn’t let it affect her for long (of course, she was eliminated immediately afterwards). She has the distinction of being the show’s first out lesbian finalist, not to mention one of its most outspoken ones. In a 2005 interview with Village Voice, she vented her frustration with the judges’ criticism to appear "more feminine" in her shoots. "At some point, I said, F-it, I’ll be myself, and to hell with what they think, because they’re being too confusing," she said.
But more than that, Stolz has worked as a writer, an MTV reporter, and a Wall Street employee. In 2014, Bloomberg announced that the former model had been hired as a director for equity-derivative sales for Bank of America. And, according to her LinkedIn, Stolz later became the head of America’s prime brokerage sales for the company.
Former America’s Next Top Model contestant Fatima Siad transitioned into high fashion
Somali-born model Fatima Siad competed on Cycle 10 of America’s Next Top Model, coming in third place in the overall competition. Although she wasn’t one of the more well-liked contestants on the show at the time of her elimination, Siad said the fights between her and the other girls were "dramatized" for TV. "It was ridiculous," she said in her final interview, but she also admitted to being "very blunt."
In 2011, Siad accomplished an ANTM first by landing spots on runways for Dries Van Noten and Hermès, according to The Cut. The transition into high fashion came after a three-year period of commercial and print work. She later graced the pages of Nylon magazine and was included in Urban Decay’s fall/winter 2016 ad campaign.
So, what’s her best advice for models? She told New York Magazine (via Daily Mail), "Now that I work as a professional model, I advise people to stay away from any television shows. It’s a waste of your time; it’s just entertainment. It’s not the fashion that we now know."
Winnie Harlow has shown how beautiful being different is after America’s Next Top Model
Winnie Harlow was actually discovered by Tyra Banks via Instagram prior to joining America’s Next Top Model. She was the first Canadian, as well as the first model with the skin condition vitiligo, to compete on the show. Initially eliminated in the fourth week, Harlow returned after she won the show’s comeback series and wound up making it to sixth place overall.
Harlow has been incredibly outspoken regarding living with vitiligo. In a 2019 interview on The Jonathan Ross Show (via Independent), Harlow took aim at news outlets that referred to her skin condition as something she was "suffering" from. "I feel like it’s not anyone else’s person position to tell me I am ‘suffering,’" she said. "I don’t feel like I am suffering. I am conquering, I am living, I am living my best life in the way that I can and thriving."
Certainly, vitiligo has become an asset for the model, who’s done work for Moschino and Julien Macdonald, as well as walked the 2018 Victoria’s Secret runway.
America’s Next Top Model contestant Ebonee Davis has worked with top brands
Ebonee Davis was a working model before coming in fifth place on Cycle 18 of America’s Next Top Model. In a 2012 interview with Seattle Met, Davis revealed she felt her preparedness would set her up for success post-ANTM – unlike many of the aspiring models who go on the show hoping to land their first modeling gig.
"They don’t see that the experience of the show isn’t correlated to the real world of fashion modeling," Davis said of her fellow ANTM contestants. She continued, "I was modeling before the show, I already had career before I went on the show."
Since being catapulted to fame, Davis has found success, modeling for brands like Calvin Klein and Victoria’s Secret. She’s also used her platform to speak out about societal issues, including diversity within the fashion industry. "As artists in the fashion industry, we are the embodiment of free speech," Davis wrote in an open letter published in Harper’s Bazaar in 2016. She continued, writing, "It is no longer acceptable for us to revel in black culture with no regard for the struggles facing the black community."
After America’s Next Top Model, Natalie Pack was crowned
Natalie Pack has managed to make quite the name for herself since appearing on America’s Next Top Model Cycle 12. In 2012, despite having no previous pageant experience, Pack was crowned Miss California — however, the model failed to place in the subsequent Miss USA competition. Still, Pack charged on, eventually landing multiple modeling gigs with GUESS.
While technically getting a fair amount of work post-ANTM, Pack revealed in 2018 that she hadn’t been paid in a timely manner for her talents. In documents obtained by TMZ, the model claimed she’d worked 48 modeling jobs for GUESS from 2015 to 2018, but the company hadn’t compensated her within 30 days, which is required by state labor laws.
Fortunately, Pack seems to have a solid support system to lean on. The model married actor Aaron O’Connell in a lavish, "dream come true" Italian ceremony. Describing her life as a newlywed to Gahlia Lahav, Pack revealed, "When [Aaron and I] are home together, we love spending time with our 4-year-old Vizsla Fig, who fills our days with outdoor adventures like hiking and days at the beach."
Don Benjamin has made the most of his big break from America’s Next Top Model
Don Benjamin might not have been crowned the winner of America’s Next Top Model: Guys & Girls, but he definitely made an impact on the show’s fandom with his modeling prowess, numerous tattoos, and piercing green eyes.
In an interview with Inked, Benjamin explained that he didn’t expect much to come from his ANTM audition. "At that moment, I was pursuing music heavily," Benjamin revealed. "I didn’t have much going on, so I figured I would give it a try, not realizing it would be the break I needed." When asked about his post-ANTM career, Benjamin said his life "changed drastically after the show." He continued, telling the publication, "I can do what I want now entertainment wise and I have a better platform to chase my dreams."
Speaking with Hunger in 2017, Benjamin revealed his most exciting campaign — a campaign with GUESS. "A few years ago I was without a job looking for work and applied at [GUESS] and didn’t get the job," the model shared. He continued, "Fast forward to today and I’m one of their main male models." What a glow-up!
America’s Next Top Model contestant Eugena Washington made Playboy history
While Eugena Washington’s run on America’s Next Top Model ended with the Cycle 7 contestant coming in third place, the aspiring model wasted no time in making her next big career move — starring in the music video for B.o.B. and Bruno Mars’ hit single "Nothin’ on You." After making her music video debut, Washington kept a relatively low profile, picking up modeling gigs with companies like CoverGirl and Lexus. However, in December 2015, the model was named Playboy‘s Playmate of the Month — and, in 2016, Washington made waves when she was crowned Playmate of the Year. As noted by E! News, Washington was only the third African American woman to hold the highly coveted Playmate of the Year title.
In an interview with Pop Dust, Washington revealed that timing played a large part in her Playboy accolades. Washington shared, "[Playboy] wanted to be more diverse and appeal to a different crowd, and I think I just came along at the right time to lead them into a new direction."
After America’s Next Top Model, Raina Hein found success in both her professional and personal lives
Raina Hein was largely seen as the frontrunner during her run on Cycle 14 of America’s Next Top Model. However, the aspiring model ultimately walked away from the show as runner-up to Cycle 14 winner Krista White. Still, Hein experienced her fair share of success post-ANTM, modeling for numerous campaigns, appearing in various televised advertisements, and walking runways.
In a 2014 interview with FCM Style, Hein described her hectic schedule as a working model. "I was just in Barcelona for a week shooting the campaign for Tarik Ediz, and was in Monaco and London two weeks ago for a meeting with a magazine," Hein told the publication.
However, it seems as though Hein is finding success elsewhere these days. Just one look at her Instagram will tell you all you need to know about the model’s priorities, as nearly every post is a cute photo of her growing family. In 2019, Hein took to the social media platform to announce that she and her husband, Rhett Ellison, has welcomed their second child.