Saleisha’s modeling experiences and work with Tyra raise questions about her win

Tyra Banks and company tend to make irrational decisions on America’s Next Top Model: “So who goes home? The girl who takes flawless pictures and walks the runway better than anyone we’ve ever seen? Or the girl who has such low self-esteem and such an ugly face that she’ll forever credit me with giving her a chance when no one else would?” But was their decision to award Saleisha the show’s ninth title fair?

One of the apparent conflicts of interest–the fact that Saleisha Stowers participated in one of Tyra’s camps for teenage girls–was disclosed at the beginning of the season. But the rest were not, and E! News reports that those included “footage showing Saleisha walking the catwalk in an ANTM cycle-six fashion show, as well as appearing on the runway in an episode of The Tyra Banks Show.

Perhaps more significantly, “Saleisha had appeared in a nationwide Wendy’s commercial that aired in 2006, seemingly in violation of an America’s Next Top Model eligibility rule that states would-be contestants ‘must not have previous experience as a model in a national campaign within the last five years (including, but not limited to, appearances on television and print advertisements).'”

Here’s the Wendy’s commercial, Jezebel has the footage of Saleisha on Tyra’s talk show, where she’s modeling the clothes of Project Runway 4 designer Rami Kashaou.

Saleisha Tops Top Model, Cue the Carping [E! News]
middle driving [YouTube]
ANTM’s Saleisha Has A Long History With Tyra [Jezebel]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.