'America's Next Top Model: College Edition' crowns Laura James winner
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/19/2012
America's Next Top Model: College Edition crowned Laura James its champion during The CW's broadcast of the nineteenth season's finale episode Friday night.
Laura, a 6' 0" 21-year-old student from Cambridge, NY attending Paul Smith's College, was declared the winner of the competition after she received the highest overall score when she, Kiara Belen and Leila Goldkuhl were evaluated on their entire body of work since Week 1 of the season.
The scores were calculated based upon the average of Top Model's three judges' scores -- which were determined during the finale broadcast after Tyra Banks, Kelly Cutrone and Rob Evans each picked a number from 1-10 they felt best represented each model's body of work -- and the average fan vote and the average challenge score they had received over the course of the entire season.
"Oh my God! Oh my God! You have no idea! Thank you so much. Oh my God. I'm 'America's Next Top Model!' Oh my God, you have no idea," an emotional Laura yelled following her victory announcement. "I've been dreaming of this for such a long time."
"And you have won $30,000 extra for scholarship money," Tyra told her, referencing how Laura had won three challenges this season and received $10,000 as a prize for each one.
Laura then hugged her parents and continued to cry tears of joy.
"I have never seen my Dad cry before. Oh my God! I think it's amazing that now I'm representing girls who are healthy and who are strong -- and it's okay to have a butt and a figure," Laura said.
For winningAmerica's Next Top Model: College Edition, Laura walked away with a prize package consisting of a feature in Nylon magazine, being the face of Top Model's fragrance "Dream Come True," a modeling contract with L.A. Models and New York Model Management, a $100,000 cash prize, and a campaign with both Smashbox cosmetics and Nine West.
Laura finished in first place after she received a total score of 41.2 points. Tyra and Kelly both gave her nine points when judging her modeling performance overall this season, and Rob gave her a perfect 10. All of her challenge scores averaged 7.6 points, while all of her fan vote totals averaged 5.6 points.
Second place went to Kiara, a 5' 9" 22-year-old student from Las Vegas, NV attending the University of California - Irvine.
"You are amazing. You got so far. You have to know how strong you are. You can sing. You sang for Alicia Keys! She said you can sing. You're not 'America's Next Top Model,' but it is not over," Tyra told Kiara.
"It's very hard for me because this was everything that I've ever wanted," Kiara said with tears streaming down her face. "Life goes on and it moves forward, and now I will get back up, finish school. Hopefully this is just the beginning and not the end. I'm glad my grandma's here with me, because it's just nice to have my rock here to support me."
Kiara finished with 36.6 total points. Tyra scored her a seven, Kelly gave her eight points and Rob thought she deserved nine. Her overall challenge score was 8.3 and her overall fan vote came out to 4.3 points.
Leila, a 5' 11" unemployed 20-year-old student from Framingham, MA attending the University of Rhode Island, finished the competition in third place.
"Thank you so much Tyra," Leila told Tyra.
"Your pictures are stunning, but the judges did not feel comfortable with you going out there and walking that runway and working it," Tyra told her, referencing how Leila had fallen twice during the final runway challenge.
"Your scores would've been higher and you probably would've taken this entire competition. But you made a comeback -- first time in America's Next Top Model history those fans voted you to be here and to come back."
"I wish I could've made the [my fans] more proud," Leila responded. "I've learned so much from my journey. I wish I won, because I wanted to be 'America's Next Top Model' for awhile now, but I'm accepting the fact that I came in third. And that's still pretty good."
Leila earned a total of 35.2 points -- which included eight from both Tyra and Kelly and seven Rob. She received an average of 6.7 for all her challenges and 5.5 from the fan vote.
During Friday night's finale broadcast, Laura, Kiara and Leila shot their campaigns for Nylon magazine and Nine West and also participated in a runway fashion show at Rose Hall, "the most famous house in all of Jamaica" that is supposedly haunted, according to Tyra.
Joining the girls in the runway show was last season's winner Sophie Sumner and America's Next Top Model: College Edition's previously-eliminated contestants Kristin Kagay, Yvonne Powless, Destiny Strudwick, Allyssa Vuelma, and Nastasia Scott.