We’ve all been there. When you watched “America’s Next Top Model,” you couldn’t help but get super attached to the contestants. You’d cheer alongside them when they won, or curse the show for wrongfully naming another model as winner. Even today, longtime fans are still fuming over some choices the judges made when choosing the final winner of each cycle. Some blame host Tyra Banks, others blame the social climate they were in, and some contestants even said that the final choices were a joke. While it’s harsh, it’s warranted. When you put out over 20 seasons of beautiful, likeable models, it’s no wonder fans get so heated about who should’ve taken home first prize.
Ever since Cycle 2, when Yoanna House beat out fan favorite Mercedes Scelba-Shorte, fans have questioned Tyra’s, and the judges’, judgment (via Hollywood). From Anya in Cycle 10 to Yaya in Cycle 3, fans have some opinions on who the real top models should’ve been.
Anya Kop deserved better on America's Next Top Model
This one may be super controversial, but Anya Kop Rozova should’ve beaten Whitney Thompson in Cycle 10. Many agree with this feeling, and even claim Tyra Banks just wanted a plus-size model to win, so they let Whitney take first place (via Hollywood). Now Anya, known primarily from her stage name Anya Kop, was one of the most strong competitors in “ANTM” history, based off of her numbers alone.
Anya is one of the only girls in “ANTM” history to have five first call-outs, never land in the bottom two, and frequently won the challenges. Fans loved the Russian beauty immediately for her bubbly persona, while very often during the show, the judges didn’t even like Whitney’s personality (via Fandom). So that’s why when Anya wasn’t called the winner, people got angry, and understandably so. However, Anya — who now goes by Jenya — seems to be living her best, relaxing life, according to her Instagram.
Allison Harvard fans were robbed twice
Okay, this one hurts probably the most. Not only was Allison Harvard runner-up once, she was runner-up again in the All Stars cycle. So basically, fans were robbed twice. Allison started out strong in Cycle 12, with her large doll eyes and internet legacy as Creepy-chan (via Know Your Meme). She quickly won over the audience with her adorable personality, strong photos, and — let’s face it — those eyes.
Allison probably has the biggest “ANTM” cult following of all time (via Fandom). If you go on any video or website that talks about Allison, chances are they’re saying that she should’ve won both times (via Facebook). Judges said she had the same look on her face a lot throughout the show, but fans don’t care. Her unique personality still shines above other “ANTM” contestants. Allison Harvard is still modeling to this day, along with acting and doing fun art projects, per her Instagram.
ANTM fans are still debating over Analeigh Tipton
You may or may not already recognize this face outside of the “ANTM” world. Analeigh Tipton was a bit of a controversial contestant in her time on Cycle 11. Some fans were hardcore in love with her, while some didn’t seem to understand the hype at all. Now McKey was a great model, but Analeigh has that special something.
The Minnesota native had been a professional figure skater since she was a child, and had a bunch of stories to tell throughout the show (via Allure). She had experience and range, which is why fans are still peeved that she was eliminated. But Hollywood saw that special something, and she has since been cast in films such as “Warm Bodies,” “Crazy Stupid Love,” and “Two Night Stand” (via IMDb). And she’s currently working on three more projects! So while she didn’t win first place in Cycle 11, she’s definitely winning at life right now.
Nik Pace is a fan favorite to this day
So we’re going to throw it back all the way to Cycle 5 in 2005, and the battle of the Nicoles. In Cycle 5, Nicole Linkletter ended up beating Nik Pace, and fans were super confused why. After the other fan favorite, Bre Scullark, fans were rooting for Nik Pace to beat Linkletter. Pace had the style, charisma, and great photos to prove that she had the potential to be a supermodel. She was also named CoverGirl of the Week seven times, which is one of the most to date.
However, none of that seemed to be enough for the judges, and they ended up penalizing her for her runway walk (via Reality TV World). But fans continue to scrutinize the show for overlooking Pace’s obvious talent. However, Pace went on to sign with Ford Models, and is as gorgeous as ever (via Instagram).
Melrose Bickerstaff should've won Cycle 7 of ANTM
This one may be the most controversial yet, but Melrose was the “America’s Next Top Model” contestant who should’ve won Cycle 7. Melissa Rose Bickerstaff — known by her stage name Melrose — was robbed of the win. Yes, CariDee is an amazing model, but Melrose Bickerstaff had just about everything. She may not have been a fan-favorite, but she literally didn’t care about that. She had the looks and the range, won a bunch of the challenges, and did everything she could to win in the end (via Obsev).
In the finale, when CariDee was announced the winner, Bickerstaff had a very dramatic reaction, saying she was hated for nothing (via YouTube). Even if you weren’t a Melrose fan, that broke everyone’s hearts. However, Melrose had a solid modeling career, getting signed to multiple agencies and walking for brands like Scoop NYC and Jack Rabbit Belts. Currently, Bickerstaff is taking a break from social media and traveling the world, according to her Instagram.
Yaya DaCosta got the last laugh
Born Camara DaCosta Johnson, Yaya DaCosta was the runner-up of Cycle 3, and fans were devastated. The Harlem native was probably one of the most blunt contestants, with many people in the Cycle saying she was arrogant. However, she was a great model and ended up winning most of the challenges (via Complex). While fans were okay with Eva winning, they preferred Yaya to take the crown. Honestly, a beautiful, blunt woman was just what the modeling industry needed back then, so it was their loss.
However, like Analeigh Tipton, Yaya took Hollywood by storm. She started acting in TV soon after Cycle 3 on shows such as “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.” Along with that, she had minor roles in blockbuster hits like “TRON: Legacy” and Lee Daniels’ “The Butler.” And she is now one of the main characters in the show “Chicago Med” (via IMDb). So while she didn’t win the cycle, she definitely had the last laugh.
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