I don't know about you, but this fall TV season has been a rough one for me. That's because it kicked off without a new season of one of my reality show staples, America's Next Top Model. Luckily, that's all about to change now that America's Next Top Model will be back on its new home of VH1 after it ended its run on The CW following the conclusion of Cycle 22 in December 2015. So a new season on a new network means a new America's Next Top Model cast full of fresh faces.
Yes, ANTM has been completely reimagined as it makes its move to VH1, and that includes show creator Tyra Banks stepping down as host and head judge of the series. Luckily, Banks' fierceness and smizing won't be completely absent from the new ANTM. She's still an executive producer of the series, along with Ken Mok, and will make surprise appearances throughout the season, VH1 announced in July. "I won't be here, but I will be watching you," Banks tells a roomful of ANTM hopefuls in a preview clip of the new season on VH1's website. "And it is up to you all to go into that judging room every single week and make me proud."
Tons of celebrities will also be making surprise appearances throughout this cycle of ANTM. Expect to see the likes of Zendaya, DJ Khaled, Tinashe, Jason Derulo, Amber Rose, French Montana, Chanel Iman, Jasmine Sanders, Director X, and Stacey McKenzie help decide which aspiring model will reign supreme, VH1 announced in November.
But who will be vying for that grand prize that includes, among other things, $100,000 and the title of America's Next Top Model? And which fashion experts are going to decide who stays and who goes? Get to know the full ANTM cast below.
Rita Ora will be stepping into Banks' stilettos as the host and a judge in the all-new ANTM. You're probably familiar with Ora's showbiz resume as a singer and actress. But ANTM won't be the first time she's ever lent her expertise to a reality competition. Ora has served as a coach for The Voice and as a judge for The X Factor, both in the United Kingdom. She's also no stranger to the fashion world as an ambassador for Rimmel London and a designer for Adidas, according to her bio on VH1's website. Ora will show the ANTM contestants that to be a star in today's world, you can't be a one-trick pony.
Ashley Graham is one of the most famous supermodels today, so naturally, she'll be lending her expertise to the judges' panel. The ANTM contestants can only hope to be as successful as Graham, who has appeared on the cover of magazines like Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Maxim and has modeled in campaigns for H&M, Lane Bryant, and her own lingerie line with Addition Elle, according to her show bio. Graham is also the first plus-size model to be featured on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. This supermodel is sure to inspire the contestants and the audience alike with her talent and activism.
Since one of the prizes for winning this cycle of ANTM is a fashion spread in PAPER magazine, the contestants are really going to want to impress judge Drew Elliott, who is the chief creative officer of the publication. He's also responsible for spearheading the magazine's now-iconic "Break the Internet" Winter 2014 cover featuring Kim Kardashian, according to his ANTM bio. Elliott oversees everything when it comes to creative for PAPER, Papermag.com, and the in-house agency Extra Extra. It certainly looks like Elliott is on the pulse of what's going to rock the fashion world next.
Rounding out the judges' panel is Law Roach, a celebrity stylist and "image architect," his show bio says. Some of his famous clients include Celine Dion and Zendaya, according to the New York Post. And if this preview for the new season is any indication, the ANTM ladies better always bring it with their personal style or risk being called out by Roach.
And now onto the contestants! First up is Binta, a 25-year-old who hails from Seattle, Washington, but she was originally born in Gambia, according to that aforementioned ANTM preview featuring Banks. She's also multilingual and speaks English, Mandinka, and Wolof, her show bio says. Binta is a model, activist, and entrepreneur, so clearly she's coming to ANTM already armed with an impressive resume.
Is it just me, or does Cherish Waters already sound like the name of a star? Well, she must know a thing or two about the business of show since she's from Los Angeles, California, according to her show bio. Cherish, 25, reveals in the preview clip showing the first moments of the new season that she was bullied in school for being the only redhead. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but b*tch, you don't even faze me," she says in response to her haters. Sounds like someone already has a catchphrase!
Before joining the cast of ANTM, Cody was a server at a Jamaican restaurant, her ANTM bio describes. But it looks like this 27-year-old from San Jose, California has been dreaming of a fashion gig.
Cory Anne Roberts
Cory Anne, 19, came all the way from Bali, Indonesia to compete in this season of ANTM, according to her show bio. But as someone who attended the University of California, Los Angeles, she's no stranger to the United States. With the ability to speak English, Italian, and Indonesian, Cory Anne is sure to bring some international flair to the competition.
In addition to modeling, this 25-year-old from San Francisco, California has a creative side with spray painting and collaging among her favorite hobbies, her show bio says. From one of the previews of the new season of ANTM, it certainly looks like Courtney is going to make an impression as strong as her eyebrows.
Giah is a 21-year-old from Bryan-College Station, Texas, and she is a self-proclaimed country girl, according to the preview clip of ANTM. Giah works as a server and part-time gymnastics coach, her show bio says, but she started modeling at age 8 when her grandma would put a book on her head, create a makeshift runway by making a path out of dirt, and have her walk on the property, which also features horses, chickens, and pigs. This country girl also said she never imagined that she'd be in the big city of New York, let alone competing for the title of America's Next Top Model.
India totally looks like Gigi Hadid's doppelganger to me, and she'd be lucky to achieve a fraction of the success that fashion's latest It Girl is enjoying these days. This 20-year-old from Seattle, Washington has some prior experience in fashion, as a bridal consultant at a bridal salon, according to her show bio. Before ANTM, she worked in marketing and promotions for a local radio station. India's branding expertise could actually come in handy during this cycle of ANTM.
Justine explains in the preview for this season of ANTM that she comes from a very strict background where her parents never let her go anywhere by herself. Well, this 18-year-old from Panorama City, California is all on her own now as she competes on ANTM, a show she has been watching and has dreamed of being on since she was a little kid.
Krislian also says in the preview that she has been watching ANTM since she was 13 years old. She's now a 26-year-old from Los Angeles, California, who studied fashion design at the International Academy of Design and Technology, according to her show bio. She now works as a server at a nightclub but previously worked at Hooters.
Kyle, 23, hails from New York, New York, where this cycle of ANTM takes place. She now works as a bartender, but her background is also literary as she majored in English with a concentration in poetry at Rollins College, her show bio says. She's giving me some serious Ruby Rose vibes, which could be a good sign for how she'll fare in the competition.
Marissa is a 19-year-old from Houston, Texas, according to her show bio. She calls herself the "Mouth of the South" in the preview for this season of ANTM, which means it's probably going to be a very entertaining cycle.
This 22-year-old is from Birmingham, Michigan. She's currently a senior at Loyola Marymount majoring in theater arts, according to her show bio. Let's hope Paige is just as theatrical on ANTM.
Yes, you are seeing double. Tash is the twin sister of fellow ANTM contestant Cody, so she's also 27 years old, calls San Jose, California her hometown, and is also a server at a restaurant, her show bio says. This news definitely gives me flashbacks to Cycle 7's twins Amanda and Michelle Babin (twins Terra and Chris White also competed in Cycle 15). Amanda and Michelle ended up in fourth and fifth place that season, respectively, so we'll have to wait and see if Cody and Tash can do even better.
This Queens, New York native attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and became a licensed esthetician, according to her show bio. Tatiana, 22, has done various commercial print work as a model, she says in the preview clip of ANTM, and she is also the owner of her own skincare line, Skin Buttr. It sounds like she's already the boss that Banks wants all of the ANTM ladies to be.
With all of these qualified candidates, I don't know how the judges are going to be able to pick a winner, but as we all know, only one aspiring model can be on top.
Images: VH1 (17)