'America's Next Top Model' Season 24 premiere: Tyra Banks and experts determine the Top 15 models
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/10/2018
America's Next Top Model premiered with the experts narrowing down 26 aspiring models of all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages to the Top 15 finalists during Tuesday night's Season 24 episode on VH1.
America's Next Top Model dropped its age limit this season, and the boss is back! Tyra Banks returned from a brief hiatus in which Rita Ora had taken over as host. Tyra, excited to be back in all the action, said this season features the "most diverse group of women" the show has ever had.
As part of the casting process, the panel of experts had to eliminate 12 girls in just one week, and the episode began with each hopeful presenting a photo that best represented her raw talent.
The girls' presentation, overlook look and personality was judged, complimented and critiqued by Tyra; supermodel, entrepreneur, and body activist Ashley Graham; Chief Creative Officer of Paper Magazine, Drew Elliott; and celebrity stylist and image architect Law Roach.
The experts were looking for a model who is "unlike anyone else and authentically herself." In terms of physical appearance, there were no limits!
If at any time during the casting process the experts discovered a contestant was not "next level fierce," they had the power, as a collective unit, to eliminate her from the competition immediately.
Viewers were then introduced to ladies and young women who were hoping to move on to the next round.
The women shown surviving the presentation round were Ivana, a 33-year-old from Durham, NC; Khrystyana, a 32-year-old from New York, NY; Shanice, a 25-year-old from Murfreesboro, TN; Liberty, a 20-year-old from Lava Hot Springs, ID; Chrissy, a 20-year-old from Atlanta, GA; Erin, a 42-year-old from Riverside, CA; Liz, a 24-year-old from New York, NY, and Christina, a 34-year-old from Jenkintown, PA.
More aspiring models who advanced to the next round were Jeana, a 24-year-old from Minneapolis, MN; Maggie, a 20-year-old from Surry, ME; Laminat, a 22-year-old from Brussels, Belgium; Ilka, a 25-year-old from Concord, NH; Sandra, a 22-year-old from Cliffside Park, NJ; Coura, a 24-year-old from Eastvale, CA; and Rio, a 23-year-old from Detroit, MI.
A total of 20 contestants moved on to the next round, but the following women were shown being cut: Mia, a 19-year-old from Baltimore, MD, and Angel, a 31-year-old from Hesperia, CA; and Lyric, a 22-year-old from Los Angeles, CA.
The remaining women then had to participate in a photo shoot, and they were told they could still be eliminated at any time so it was important to always bring their A-Game.
For the photo shoot, each model was required to pose within a mansion's garden in "garden couture pieces" by fashion designer Nicola Formichetti.
Afterward, the girls walked the runway in a garden-themed fashion show as another test. However, based on the photo shoot and presentation, Tyra and the experts chose to eliminate Laminat and Ilka before they even had the opportunity to walk.
That means 18 women walked in the fashion show, but at first, Tyra explained that only 14 people would make the ultimate cut.
Once all the challenges were complete and the ladies moved into their shared home, Tyra stopped by to reveal the season's results.
Tyra decided to make America's Next Top Model history by allowing Erin, at age 42, to become a contestant. Tyra therefore opted to make the Top 14 a Top 15 instead, just so Erin could participate.
"I put my dreams on hold because I wanted to raise a family," Erin said in tears after Tyra told her the good news in private.
"That's what you do as a mom, but I never stopped dreaming. I never stopped dreaming! Not only are you giving me this opportunity, but you're giving millions of ladies my age the courage to say 'I can do it.'"