Let’s be honest, if Tyra Banks tells you, “Congratulations. You are still in the running to be America’s Next Top Model,” you’re already out of the running to be a real top model. While some contestants have found success -- Analeigh Tipton and Yaya DaCosta, arguably two of the most successful alumni, have established careers in acting -- the show has failed to produce an actual working supermodel.
Meanwhile, a number of contestants have found nothing but heartache when cameras stopped rolling. Here are six ill-fated outcomes, the first three actually tragic, horrible and devastating, the latter four more...unfortunate (so as not to compare apples to oranges).
1. Murder: Cycle 21 contestant Mirjana Puhar, 19, was killed in a “possibly drug related” triple homicide on February 24, along with her boyfriend, Jonathan Alvarado, 23, and his roommate, Jusmar Gonzaga-Garcia, 21. Police have arrested and charged Emmanuel Jesus Rangel, also 19, with three counts of first-degree murder.
2. Prison: In June of 2013, Cycle 8 finalist Renee Alway (known as Renee DeWitt on the show) was arrested in Palm Springs after a six-hour armed standoff with the police and SWAT team. She later pled guilty to four counts of felony burglary, one count of vehicle theft, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and a misdemeanor count of identity theft. She was sentenced to 12 years in prison and forced to pay $58,679.58 in damages to her victims.
3. Drugs: Another Cycle 8 contestant, Jael Strauss, was thrown an intervention on the Dr. Phil show for her meth and cocaine addiction, as well painkiller abuse. Six years after Top Model, the “full blown meth addict, as Dr. Phil called her, was homeless and had turned to stripping to make money. On her season, Strauss found out one of her friends had died of an overdose and, even though it deeply affected her, said, “My friend is gone and I am still here living life to the fullest.”
4. Rehab: Or, Celebrity Rehab, as it were. Cycle 5 contestant Lisa D’Amato checked into the third season of Dr. Drew’s reality show for alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine, and mushrooms addiction. At the time, Dr. Drew called her “an addict in denial.” Luckily, she got a happy ending -- though she declined sober living after treatment, she agreed to meetings, and actually went on to compete on Top Model’s Cycle 17 All-Stars season, which she won. She also had a baby boy in 2013. “I’m one of the lucky ones,” she says.
5. Escorting: Cycle 14’s Angelea Preston, 28, returned in the Cycle 17 All-Stars season and made it to the final three before she was abruptly kicked off the show. At the time, the CW only said they “learned information from Angelea that disqualifies her.” Turns out, she had been working as a paid escort for a year prior to filming that season. In 2014, Preston, who is rumored to have won the All-Stars season before producers learned about her escorting, sued Tyra Banks for $3 million for breach-of-contract.
6 - ?. No More Modeling Career: There have been a handful of Top Models who have gone on to become real, working models -- booking a campaign here and a cover there -- but most have found little success in the industry after being cut from the competition.
And that might be the show’s fault: “No one wants to take us serious as models,” Cycle 7 winner CariDee English wrote in a blog post. “The fashion industry had NO idea how to market us...Even though we just were named ‘TOP’ our place in line at Fashion World was at the bottom. The industry many times didn't care about our name, but did turn a snobby cheek to the name ANTM.”
To end on a lighter note, ET visited the Top Model set and Tyra Banks and Miss J gave us tips on how to post naked: