'Top Model 7' winner CariDee English appears on her first cover
By Christopher Rocchio, 01/09/2007
From behind the camera to in front of it, CariDee English went from working as a photographer in Fargo, ND to winning the seventh season of America's Next Top Model on The CW. Now the 21-year-old is featured on the cover of the February issue of Seventeen magazine, a gig that was part of the prize package awarded to Top Model 7's winner.
As recently as a year ago, English had little reason to believe she'd be able to become a working model, never mind appearing on a major magazine cover. As she told Tyra Banks during one of their sit down chats on Top Model, English had been living with psoriasis, an immune-mediated disease that causes red scaly patches to appear on her skin.
"I had an agent who sent me to Miami [to try modeling] when I was 18. They took Polaroids of me before I went, but I put makeup on my legs and whatever - so I kept [my skin disease] secret," English told Seventeen. "I thought if I showed them I could take great photos, they could edit out my psoriasis. I was really naive."
Two weeks prior to the open casting call for the seventh installment of Top Model, she went to a dermatologist and began taking Reptiva, an injection she administers to herself once a week.
"I couldn't even take a picture in a swimsuit, let alone go on national TV," English told Seventeen. "Then two weeks before the open call, I started taking a new medication recently approved by the FDA, and it cleared me up completely."
For English, just appearing on the show was a victory of sorts. "I wanted to be on the show so bad, but I knew I couldn't because of my skin [condition, psoriasis]. I'd get so frustrated because I'd watch these girls on previous episodes giving up or complaining. I'd get so mad," English told Seventeen.
CariDee English's Seventeen magazine cover.
English's Seventeen appearance features photos from the final Top Model photo shoot that she and Melrose Bickerstaff, a 23-year-old fashion designer from San Francisco, CA, shot before Banks declared English to be the show's seventh season winner.
But despite her Top Model victory and magazine cover appearance, English says she isn't letting her newfound success go to her head. "This is what I'm meant to do - it's a great feeling. But I don't see myself being a top supermodel," English told Seventeen. "I can say that so easily. I wanna see myself always chasing that dream - that high, I don't think I'll ever get. This industry is wicked. It's crazy. But I can handle it."
"You can't depend on other people. You can depend on them for support, but one thing I've always know is you gotta do it yourself," English told Seventeen. "There's no elevator to success. You gotta take the stairs."
While more than half of her competitors during the seventh season of Top Model were from California, English is from a small town in middle America, but she said the temptations in her life were still there growing up.
"I was dating someone and found out [later] he was doing drugs. I can't respect that," English told Seventeen. "I've had friends waste away due to drugs or alcohol - I've seen what addiction can do. But if you wanna make your life better, it's up to you and you only."
In addition to her Seventeen appearance, English received a contract with Elite Model Management, a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl for winning Top Model 7. Her Seventeen appearance hit newsstands today.