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.
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 pilot, “My music is the true outlet for expressing who I am.”
Yaya DaCosta is embracing her roots
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.”
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
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.”
Eva Marcille became a Real Housewife
Eva Marcille started her modeling career by winning the third cycle of America’s Next Top Model (and taking the title over previously mentioned 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 RHO 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
Toccara Jones didn’t make it as far into her season of America’s Next Top Model as some of the others here, 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.
Read more: https://www.thelist.com/154192/the-most-successful-americas-next-top-model-contestants-ever/