After a long, tense, and at times bizarre, battle during the 18th season of ANTM, the UK’s leading talent and modelling agency Talent Management has just heard that America’s Next Top Model is, well, British.
UK model Sophie Sumner proved so popular with viewers and judges in the latest ANTM cycle – which was themed “British Invasion” – that she finally took the crown this week amid drama-a-plenty. The 21-year-old received high praise from Tyra Banks during the series, including a comment that one of her contest performances was, quite simply, “genius”.
Fans of Sumner were left confident that the pink-haired model would steal the crown following her assured appearance in the Covergirl challenge. She breezed through the assignment to achieve a great shot and, despite a cheesy script, managed an edgy delivery of her lines.
Fellow contestant Laura LaFrate, however, was clearly feeling the pressure of the competition by this stage. The photographer acknowledged this with his comments that he was “concerned” for her, and felt that she had “something quite serious going on” – before she was rushed into hospital with what turned out to be a severe panic attack.
Despite this unfortunate turn of events, and with the help of some sympathetic hugs from Sumner, a brave LaFrate managed to put herself firmly back into the competition with an admirable show of determination in the next challenge – the Italian Vogue shoot. The tension mounted as she was named winner of this modelling task and the competition appeared to be very much still on for the final catwalk show – which, it has to be said, turned out to be one of the strangest we’ve ever seen here at Talent Management.
The runway was set up parallel to the audience and featured a number of what can only be described as bewildering distractions – ranging from an over-sized cuddly lion toy that accompanied LaFrate on her walk – to holograms that the two models were made to fight with fake swords. Confused? So were we. But apparently Sumner’s battle skills were the more impressive as she won approval for her sword-wielding talent, and finally her overall performance throughout the series.
Sophie Sumner looked genuinely shocked as she took in the announcement that she had been named “America’s Next Top Model” but many agree that she was the clear winner. What did you think of her victory? And will you be tuning in to see a new panel of judges on ANTM next time?