Eva Pigford, a 19-year-old student from Los Angeles who had been criticized for her "diva" attitude earlier in the competition, was crowned America's Next Top Model during last night's finale of the third cycle of the popular UPN "dramality" series.

Top Model 3's finale began with Eva, Amanda Lynn Swafford, and Camara "Yaya" Da Costa Johnson competing in a CoverGirl photo shoot, after which Amanda was the first girl eliminated in the finale. Eva and Yaya then moved on to the final competition where they appeared in a Noriko Fukushima runway show. While both girls gave impressive performances during the show, the judges had to choose only one winner, and Eva Pigford took the title.

The first challenge for the three remaining girls was a photo shoot for CoverGirl Wet Slicks Crystals lip gloss, in which the winnerís best photo will be used in a CoverGirl ad in the People Magazine issue that will be available on newsstands this Friday. All three women rose to the occasion and produced gorgeous photos, causing the judges to be truly torn when it came time to eliminate one of the girls. Noted host Tyra Banks, "Last week, when I said we didnít think you guys were really ready... those pictures proved us very wrong." However, the judges were forced to make a choice, and Amanda, a 25-year-old mother from Hendersonville, NC, was eliminated.

With Amanda no longer in contention, Eva and Yaya, a 21-year-old student from Harlem, NY, then faced their final challenge -- walking the runway in a fashion show for renowned designer Noriko Fukushima. The girls were surprised by the unconventional square-shaped runway with audience members seated in the center. Runway expert J. Alexander instructed the girls that their walk should be very somber and slow, and when it came time to strut, both Eva and Yaya impressed the judges with their calm, professional air on the runway.

At the final elimination, the judges evaluated each girlís final runway performance as well as their photos taken throughout the competition. The judges noted that the two finalists offered different representations of beauty and felt each had potential as models. As she prepared to announce the winner, Tyra Banks commented, "The decision was hard tonight. It was so hard because you two are so different... both of you represent beauty from different aspects."

But the judges had made their decision, and Eva was announced as America's Next Top Model. "Eva has vitality, she has sass and spunk that make her relatable to young girls everywhere," said Tyra. "She is a true cover girl."

In describing Eva's transformation, acclaimed fashion designer Nolť Marin said, "Today, I almost fell down when I saw how incredible Eva looked... she looked like a superstar." He added, "Eva... she's like Cinderella. She comes in like a little tough boy, and she turned into this incredible gorgeous woman."

"I am a cover girl," Eva exclaimed in emotional response to her win. "This little tomboy from L.A. that has never been beautiful. I was not the cute girl in school. I came here the shortest and the one that had the most insecurities inside of them, and now Iím Americaís Next Top Model."

In becoming America's Next Top Model, Eva receives the opportunity to be managed by Ford Models; a $100,000 contract with cosmetics giant CoverGirl; and a fashion spread in Elle magazine.

America's Next Top Model 3 followed 14 young women as they attempted to prove they had what it takes to make it in the high-stress, high-stakes world of modeling. Each week, the field was narrowed via a series of high-pressure, high-stakes competitions designed to determine the series winner. In addition to Tyra, Janice Dickinson, the self-described "world's first supermodel," Nigel Barker, a renowned photographer, and Nolť Marin, an acclaimed fashion editor and stylist, also served as judges.

America's Next Top Model 4, the next edition of the series, will premiere in March 2005.