After repeatedly unsuccessfully trying out for the show's previous editions, Krista was crowned America's Next Top Model's fourteenth-season winner during last night's broadcast of The CW reality competition's finale.
"I feel just overwhelmed, I can't believe it's me! Twelve cycles of trying out and it's me! I don't know what to think -- I can't believe I'm here, I just want to pinch myself or something because I can't believe it and no one, no one ever thought it would be me," Krista said after her victory. "I'm excited I'm America's Next Top Model!"
"Krista, you are amazing. You are the embodiment of America's Next Top Model," Tyra Banks told Krista after revealing her win. "You came in here and you didn't know what you were doing but you learned and you listened and you blossomed. There is an honesty and a rawness about you that is so beautiful and we think you could have an international career."
As Top Model's fourteenth-season winner, Krista, a 26-year-old retail manager from Pine Bluff, AR, won a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics, a contract with Wilhelmina Models and a cover and six-page spread in Seventeen magazine.
"I've been wanting to be America's Next Top Model since forever -- since 2003 when I was 18 years old and they did the first show," she said.
"For me to be [from] small Pine Bluff where there's like 100-something maybe people and nobody ever leaves... and for me to step out and to really go after and chase after my dream is amazing. And I'm glad that it's somebody like me that other people can look up to and see that she made it -- she didn't give up, she kept trying, she kept pushing, and look where she where she is now."
Raina Hein, a 22-year-old student from Minnetonka, MN, finished as the runner-up.
"I feel like I'm supposed to be sad and cry right now but I'm not, I'm just happy. I've accomplished so much. I've learned an incredible amount, I've become a model and it doesn't stop here," she said following the announcement of her loss.
"I'm not going to stop modeling. It is my passion, it is my dream and I'm taking it there."
America's Next Top Model's two-hour fourteenth-season finale began with Krista excited about the fact that she received best picture three panels in a row.
"I don't want to go back to being a store manager," she said. "It's my last chance. This is my ultimate dream. This is something I wanted to do all my life. I'm not going to let nobody take it away from me."
Alexandra Underwood, a 21-year-old student from Kerrville, TX, lamented the fact that she had yet to receive best picture at panel during the competition.
"I definitely think I'm going to be in the final two," added Alexandra. "I've always told people to be a plus-size model you have to be so much more than every other girl that's around you. When you hire a plus-size girl you know you're getting a kick ass personality, amazing confidence, and you know you're getting someone who feels like being themselves."
Alexandra also criticized Raina for "acting like a 12-year-old" and Raina knew that the other girls weren't big fans.
"The other girls don't like me because I think it irritates them that they can't upset me or bother me or hurt me," she said. "I'm a really happy person."
Angelea Preston, a 23-year-old answering service operator from Buffalo, NY, was more upset that Krista kept receiving best picture.
"I'm coming in this with no experience, but I know that America is ready to see someone like me be Top Model," said Angelea.
The girls were met by judge Andre Leon Talley, who brought them flowers and talked to them about what it would be like to be an international model.
The girls then packed an overnight bag and traveled to the New Zealand airport, where they were met by Top Model photo shoot director Jay Manuel. He explained that they'd be going to Queenstown to take advantage of the "diverse terrain" for their next photo shoot. While on the plane they were met by mentor J. "Miss J" Alexander.
He explained for their next runway challenge, the girls would be applying their personalities to a fierce runway walk down the aisle of the plane mid-flight. The winner would receive a prize package of jewelry. Alexandra and Krista did well, while Angelea and Raina were criticized for their walks. Miss J and Jay then revealed Krista was the winner.
"I kind of thought Alex had this in the bag," said Krista. "I'm just stunned and excited."
"I just feel like I cannot win one," opined Alexandra.
The girls then arrived in Queenstown for their shoot and Jay explained they'd be styled in "extreme hair, makeup and clothes" with the beautiful backdrop in an effort to "sell ugly pretty." He then revealed that two of the remaining four would be sent home at the next panel.
"I wasn't nervous coming into the photo shoot until he said that," said Alexandra.
The shoot then commenced and Krista went first and she received positive feedback from Jay.
"I feel like I got a great shot for this panel," she said. "But I don't know if it will put me with the final two."
Alexandra went next. Jay thought the shoot looked "gorgeous" but was not the "creative" he was looking for.
"Alexandra didn't quite have that fashion edge that we're looking for," he said.
However he felt she eventually understood what he was looking for and finished strong.
"Now that I have it, I'm feeling really good about it," she said.
Raina went next and knew this shoot was "really huge." Jay thought her shots were "pretty pretty," not "ugly pretty."
"It wasn't edgy enough," he commented.
She tried to stop thinking and relax a little bit and Jay commended her for taking direction well.
"I hope I did well enough to stay. I really do," she said.
Angelea went last and vowed not to "over thinking it." Jay wanted "a little more anger and intensity."
"Jay makes me mad when he gives me negative critiques all the time," she said. "I wish I had a mute button so I could tune his ass out."
The shoot ended and the girls returned to their New Zealand apartment to prepare for panel.
"I'm so nervous because I just want to be here so bad," said Alexandra. "All I ever wanted is to be a model and people have always told me no, no, no because I don't have the body type."
"Do I want to be America's Next Top Model? Hell yeah," added Angelea. "I've had so many negative people in my life... So am I nervous? Yes, I'm nervous."
The girls then arrived for their penultimate judging panel -- where they would be critiqued by Tyra, photographer Nigel Barker, Andre, and Jay.
Jay said Angelea was probably the "most confused" with the creative aspect of the shoot and he added he wasn't a "huge fan" of the photo." Andre and Tyra liked it, and Nigel thought Angelea looked upset at panel.
Krista was praised before Alexandra was criticized by Jay for going "too far" and being "ugly ugly," not "ugly pretty." Tyra said she liked Alexandra's photo and Andre added her face "projects" something.
The judges then deliberated their decision before revealing that Krista was the first finalist who would compete in the finale runway show.
Tyra credited Alexandra for having a "rare, amazing and gorgeous" body before adding her photos were "inconsistent." Raina was praised for her "strong face" but lacked "certain creativity" in photos shoots. Angelea's "edgy" and "interesting" face was acknowledged, however her ability to accept criticism was questioned.
Alexandra and Angelea were then eliminated.
"I really, honest-to-god thought I was going to be in the Top 2," opined Alexandra. "I came here because I knew I'd be really good at it. I wanted to give girls like me something to believe in. Walking away without the title is just sucky -- especially when you know you pushed yourself really hard. I'm going to take this and run with it."
"I'm proud of myself. Angelea is still a winner," said Angelea. "I've got goals and I've got dreams... Trust and believe you will be seeing Angelea because I know America loves me."
Back at their apartment, Krista and Raina wondered when they'd get the chance to do their CoverGirl commercial.
"Being in the final two with Raina is kind of nerve-breaking for me because she does everything... like, she just sounds fake," said Krista. "Over the top all the time."
Raina sensed that Krista might not like her.
"I'm a really happy, positive person," she said. "I think sometimes that pisses people off for some reason."
The girls then took a helicopter ride to an island before being met by Miss J, who explained the next day they'd be shooting their CoverGirl commercial. They practiced their lines, which would have them selling an entire collection. Raina thought Krista was a bit nervous while Krista thought Raina would be too over the top.
The next morning, Jay arrived for the CoverGirl commercial and print ad and introduced the girls to America's Next Top Model thirteenth-season winner Nicole Fox. The concept of the commercial was the girls would be preparing for a night on the town.
Raina's print ad went first and photographer Tony Drayton thought she "did amazingly" and "really knew how to emote."
Krista then had her commercial shoot and boasted that she had her lines down. However she flubbed the lines for the first several takes and adamantly refused cue cards -- but Jay insisted she use them.
"I'm not going to let this defeat me. I can't let this slip away with just me not remembering these lines," she said.
Jay liked that Krista wasn't letting her problems defeat her and she eventually got it.
"Krista was able to hold it together," commended Jay. "If you break down and cry you look like you're crying and I can't use anything. The fact is, at least I have a performance from Krista that I can use in a commercial."
Her print ad shoot came next and hoped to diversify her pictures. Tony complimented Krista's smile but thought she struggled to find a middle ground with her strong face.
Raina then had her commercial shoot and also claimed to have her lines down. However Jay warned her against choreographing herself.
"I didn't have that spark in me that I usually have," said Raina. "It's probably because I was so focused on memorizing those lines and showing everybody that I don't need the cue cards. I need to relax a little bit."
Jay thought she wasn't terrible but added it also wasn't believable.
"The fact is, when Raina has to deliver a line and model, the two don't meet," said Jay. "In a beauty commercial, it really is important to deliver the line and model through."
The next day Nigel took Krista and Raina's Seventeen cover photos before Tyra surprised them with their family members. She then took family portraits of them.
The girls then arrived for their finale runway show, where they'd be modeling clothing by designer Anna Sui and working with professional models and former fourteenth-season finalists.
The circus-themed fashion show commenced and neither girl had any problems and were both confident in their performances.
The final judging panel then began, with Tyra, Andre, Nigel and Miss J critiquing the runway performances.
Miss J thought Krista had a "hard edge" and Andre thought she had "an extraordinary" fashion show.
"I was nervous for you because I wasn't sure if you could pull off something that was light because you're so high-fashion," added Tyra. "But you were commercial and high fashion at the same time and there was a certain energy and pep that you had that I really like a lot. There was just a little, tiny bit of cheese."
Miss J thought Raina walked "heavy footed" but added she smiled and called it cute. Andre agreed and Tyra called her "freshness and happiness."
"I was shocked that you actually walked like a real model," she added. "I was feeling it."
Both girls received compliments for their CoverGirl print ads before they watched their commercials.
Nigel thought Raina could have done a better job with her eyes and Andre wanted her to smile more and thought it lacked "charm and personality." Nigel said it was okay that Krista lost her lines as long as she didn't lose herself, and Tyra agreed. Nigel added that light "loves" Krista and called her commercial "luminescent."
The judges then deliberated their final decision by looking through Krista and Raina's entire photo collection from the fourteenth season.
"I would say Krista's a better model with the whole body," said Nigel. "When it comes to face and beauty, Raina just brought it."
Andre thought Raina would be "wonderful" in the European market while Krista would "be a more international model."
"She has the ability to evoke sophistication.," said Andre.
Miss J thought Krista would be "great" for runway shows while Raina would be "great" for pictures.