Naima Mora wins UPN's fourth 'America's Next Top Model' edition
By Reality TV World staff, 05/19/2005
Naima Mora, a 20-year-old coffee shop waitress from Detroit, MI, was crowned America's Next Top Model during last night's finale of the fourth cycle of the popular UPN "dramality" series.
Top Model 4's season finale began with the show's three remaining contestants -- Naima, Kahlen, and Keenyah -- visiting South Africa's Table Mountain National Park, where Keenyah wondered whether a group of cute penguins could attack her. After that, the girls each met with host Tyra Banks for one-on-one conversations, where Naima talked about having learned so much about herself, feeling that she had gained "comfort" and "acceptance."
The next day, girls participated in a TV commercial and photo shoot for a CoverGirl ad campaign for OutLast Makeup. The TV commercial was difficult for all three finalists, although Kahlen struggled the most with overcoming her inhibitions as a spokesperson. Keenyah was criticized during the photo shoot by art director Jay Manuel, who felt she seemed insincere, commenting "Keenyah gave me the right smile, but it just got stuck there." Naima, on the other hand, showed her beauty, versatility and charm in both the TV commercial and photo shoot.
The next day, the girls faced the judges for the twelfth elimination in the competition, which would determine the two finalists who would continue on to compete in the final challenge. At the elimination, the judges felt that all three girls had given strong performances, yet they agreed that while Keenyah didn't lack self-esteem, she lacked the overall versatility required to become a high fashion model, thus eliminating her from the competition.
Later, the two remaining girls, Naima and Kahlen, faced the competition's final challenge -- a runway show for top South African designers Poison Ivy, Ruby, and Gavin Rajah. When they reached the location for the show, the girls were shocked at the dramatic set that would make the girls appear to "walk on water." The runway platform was partially submerged in a pool of water and placed in an outdoor courtyard with a fountain in the center. During the show, Naima impressed the judges with an intense performance, while Kahlen performed well but showed less stage presence.
During the final elimination, the judges considered the runway performances from the final runway challenge, as well as each girl's weekly photos from the competition. After the judges deliberated -- a deliberation that Tyra stated was the show's longest ever -- Kahlen was eliminated from the competition as Naima was named the winner. While Kahlen's season-long portfolio was considered to be significantly better than Naima's, Naima was deemed to have been the girl who "killed in the final exams." While Janice continued to vocally support Kahlen during the deliberations, in the end, Tyra declared that "uniquely versatile, undeniably edgy, Naima, the spunky girl from Detroit embodies a true cover girl."
As America's Next Top Model 4's winner, Naima will receive the opportunity to be managed by Ford Models, a $100,000 contract with cosmetics giant CoverGirl, and a fashion spread in Elle magazine.