'America's Next Top Model' crowns Ann Ward fifteenth-season champ
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/02/2010
Ann Ward must leave her shy persona in the past, as she was crowned America's Next Top Model's fifteenth-season winner during Wednesday night's broadcast of The CW reality competition's finale.
"Thank you, thank you all so much, oh my God!" Ann said in tears after her victory.
As Top Model's fifteenth-season winner, the 19-year-old student from Dallas, TX won a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics, a contract with IMG Models, a spread in Vogue Italia, and a cover and spread in Vogue Italia's beauty magazine Beauty in Vogue.
"What do you think Momma and Daddy are going to think?" Top Model star Tyra Banks asked Ann.
"They're probably going to cry just like I am right now! They're going to be so proud of me. I'm so honored right now. I can actually say that I'm America's Next Top Model!" Ann exclaimed. "All these comments about being too tall or just being not normal." I'm just so happy that I won everything. I won Vogue Italia, I won IMG, I won CoverGirl! I just can't believe any of this right now."
"Can you think about the people that made fun of you?" Tyra questioned.
"They're going to look back and think, 'Man I should've been nice to that girl,'" Ann joked.
Chelsey Hersley, a 22-year-old waitress from Boise, ID, finished as the runner-up.
"I'm really upset. I feel cheated. I feel like I have what it takes to be America's Next Top Model and I don't think Ann does," Chelsey said following her ouster.
"We've chosen Ann, but you have to say that we made the wrong choice...," Tyra told Chelsey.
"I will," Chelsey interjected.
"Because now you have a platform. Now you're not just the pretty blonde girl. Now they know your name," Tyra said.
The fifteenth-season finale began with fashion photographer Vincent Peters shooting Ann and Chelsey for the competition's Vogue Italia prizes.
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Vincent -- who said he wanted the girls to look simple, natural and be themselves -- appeared to love Ann's look.
"Ann is definitely more like a fashion model... I think Couture, very high end," Vincent said following Ann's photo shoot.
But he also seemed to believe that the camera loved Chelsey.
"Don't forget me when you're famous!" Vincent told Chelsey after her shoot.
"Chelsey just works in front of the camera. She has something that the camera likes. It's a sort of affair."
The next day, Ann and Chelsey met Top Model photo shoot director Jay Manuel for a commercial and photo shoot for CoverGirl. Shot by Federico De Angelis, the Lash Blast Fusion mascara commercial featured the girls posing as two friends vacationing in a little town in Italy.
Jay was impressed with both girls' deliveries during the commercial and said he was glad they fed off each other's strengths.
"They really wowed me. I was so surprised how Ann found a way to vibe off of Chelsey and Chelsey in turn found a way to really work with Ann. And the synergy really did help to make the CoverGirl commercial a success," Jay said afterwards.
Federico thought Ann and Chelsey both did a great job during the CoverGirl photo shoot, but he saw different potential in each model.
"Chelsey, everything seems to be really really easy for what we had to do. She's very commercial in a certain way," Federico noted.
"Ann, I loved her. I found her an incredibly editorial girl. So to try to do a beauty shot was a little bit difficult."
The girls then met individually with IMG Models executive Ivan Bart, who felt Chelsey portrayed quality traits that Ann could work to improve and vice versa.
"I think Chelsey has a great personality and I felt very comfortable talking with her. I can see us working with her," Ivan said.
"I think Ann, she actually made clothes look really good, but I think I'd like to work with her personality a little bit."
"My mind's not made up at all. I will be sitting in my seat and really scrutinizing when they come out on the runway," Ivan explained.
The girls next and last order of business was to walk in a real runway show in Roberto Cavalli fashions intermixed with Italian models and a few of America's Next Top Model's previously-ousted fifteenth-season finalists, including Jane, Chris, Liz, and Kayla. In addition, fourteenth-season Top Model winner Krista White also participated in the show.
The next day the girls met with Top Model judges Tyra, Nigel Barker and Andre Leon Talley, as well as Jay and Roberto, who served as guest judges for the season's final judging panel.
The judges then critiqued both girls' CoverGirl photos and commercial as well as their runway walks before deliberating and revealing their decision.
Chelsey's runway walk was critiqued first.
"A tad fast and a little stiff as well, but what's great about you is that the camera loves you, so all the natural photographic shots of you, you look beautiful," Nigel told her.
Tyra said Chelsey looked a little lost when she reached the end of the runway and had to turn around, while Jay agreed that she looked tentative.
"Chelsey, I felt no snap, no crackle, no pop, but your legs looked fantastic," Andre Leon added.
Then Ann's runway show was evaluated.
"Ann, I have to say that I think you really improved in your walk. The only thing is if you were to zoom in on the face, your eyes were bulging out of your head," Nigel told her.
"It was a little zombie," Tyra said.
"I just wanted you to own your walk. I don't think it'll ever be a cookie cutter walk, but you need to believe in it," Jay added.
When it came time for the judges to discuss the commercial the girls had starred in, they all came to an agreement that the girls were almost too natural while acting, diminishing their model look.
"I found you all to be too realistic and when you are selling a product, you have to think about the product. You are selling makeup not ice cream or a map," Tyra explained.
"At the end of the day, you girls are model actresses, not actresses trying to be models," Jay said.
The judges then ended their critiques by discussing Ann and Chelsey's individual CoverGirl photo shoots.
They had opposing opinions regarding Chelsey's photo, as Roberto felt it was a beauty shot that did not sell a distinct product while Tyra and Jay disagreed.
"Chelsey this picture was stunning, stunning, stunning. You were an actress in the face but still holding onto the model," Tyra told her.
"Shooting her was a joy. [Roberto] loved shooting you," Jay said.
When it was Ann's turn, the judges said they felt she would be more comfortable in a high fashion setting rather than in a natural beauty shot.
"To get to this shot, it was still quite difficult. When you stepped on set, everything was awkward and it looked like you were holding back," Jay told Ann.
"I love going through your film every week -- it's gorgeous, stunning -- and for some reason, I just felt like you clinched up and got very nervous. I don't think your incapable because this is a beautiful photo, I just don't think you understand commercial modeling," Tyra explained.