Jaslene Gonzalez wins The CW's 'America's Next Top Model 8'
By Christopher Rocchio, 05/17/2007
Jaslene Gonzalez, 20-year-old online college admissions advisor from Chicago, IL, was crowned America's Next Top Model during last night's finale of the eighth cycle of the popular The CW reality series.
Jaslene -- who had previously just missed the semifinals cut that determined Top Model's seventh season finalists -- beat Natasha Galkina, a 21-year-old college student from Dallas, TX who is originally from Russia, during the eighth season's final judging panel.
"Every little girl has a dream to be something. My family believed in my dream as much as I did," said Jaslene after it was revealed she was the winner. "And to be here, and after working so much... I think that shows all young women if you have that drive, keep going. The second time around, and I'm America's Next Top Model."
As Top Model 8's winner, Jaslene will receive a management deal with Elite Model Management, a $100,000 contract with cosmetics company CoverGirl, and a fashion spread and cover appearance in Seventeen magazine.
Renee Alway, a 20-year-old stay-at-home-mom from Maui, HI, finished third on Top Model's eighth season. While she consistently took strong frames throughout the season at the photo shoots and had an attitude change for the better half-way through the season, Top Model judges Nigel Barker, J. Alexander and Tyra Banks all thought Renee photographed "old" and looked "more mature" than she actually is. In the end, her older appearance weighed too heavily on the judges' minds and she was the eleventh girl eliminated from the competition following a CoverGirl photo and commercial shoot.
"I'm completely blown away by the judges' decision," said Renee upon being eliminated. "I had the best commercial. I had the best pictures. Apparently that's not good enough for them. Apparently I look old. Okay... that's fine. I would rather have wisdom in my eyes and knowledge in my heart than just be blank and stupid."
With the competition down to Jaslene and Natasha, the two participated in a fashion runway show that featured an "evolution" theme. While Natasha seemed to be grabbing most of Tyra and Nigel's attention during the show, she accidentally saw her skirt fall off at one point. The wardrobe malfunction could have turned into a fashion disaster, however Natasha was able to act as if nothing had happened -- a reaction that impressed Nigel.
During Top Model 8's final judging panel, the judges made it clear that they felt Jaslene had not only impressively strut her stuff on the catwalk during the runway challenge but also been the season's most consistent performer.
Although Jaslene was chosen as the winner of Top Model's eighth season, Natasha was still happy about the opportunity the show had given her and what her future night now hold.
"It was such an experience," she said. "I enjoyed every minute of it. I'm just so happy to go back to my home and see my family."