Follow TV Tropes


Series / America's Next Top Model

Go To
"Wanna be on top?"

America's Next Top Model is a Reality Show hosted and created by Tyra Banks in which 10-16 young women (and men starting in cycle 20) compete against each other in modeling-related challenges and photo shoots.

Each episode usually begins with the contestants receiving training and a challenge in an area concurrent with the week's theme, for example runway, posing, acting, or going to castings. The second half of the episode is usually dedicated to a photo shoot.

At the end of each episode, their performance is critiqued by a panel of fashion industry experts, including host Tyra Banks. One contestant is eliminated every week until the Grand Finale, when the winner is handed the title of America's Next Top Model.

The prizes vary slightly with each cycle, but generally it's a contract with a model management agency (Wilhelmina, IMG, Ford, Elite, LA/NY, NEXT), a cosmetics spread (Revlon, Sephora, Covergirl, Smashbox, Rimmel), and a feature in a Fashion Magazine (Marie Claire, Jane, Elle, Seventeen, Vogue, Nylon, Paper Magazine).


The American version of the show debuted in 2003 and has run for 24 cycles, including one All Stars cycle. Previous winners are Adrianne Curry, Yoanna House, Eva Pigford, Naima Mora, Nicole Linkletter, Danielle Evans, CariDee English, Jaslene Gonzalez, Saleisha Stowers, Whitney Thompson, McKey Sullivan, Teyona Anderson, Nicole Fox, Krista White, Ann Ward, Brittani Kline, Sophie Summer, Laura James, Jourdan Miller, Keith Carlos, Nyle DiMarco, India Gants, and Kyla Coleman. Cycle 17, the All Stars Cycle, was won by Cycle 5 contestant Lisa D'Amato.

Though Cycle 22 was intended to be ANTM's last, it was uncanceled by VH1 for Cycle 23 to be hosted by Rita Ora. Banks has returned as host for Cycle 24.

The format has been replicated in many other countries, including Britain, Canada and Australia.


America's Next Trope Model:

  • Alpha Bitch: Usually a couple each cycle. (see Character Development below)
  • Always Second Best:
    • Allison Harvard is the show's premier example.
    • Angelea Preston also finished in the same rank (3rd place) twice, though the second time happened in a less-flattering way.
  • American Title
  • A Death in the Limelight: An Elimination In The Limelight: This is a pretty good way to tell who will be eliminated. If a girl has been all but ignored and forgotten for several episodes and then suddenly an episode starts showing all of her thoughts, and many random Confession Cam snippets explaining the task of the day come from her... there's a good chance she's a goner. It has started at least as early as Cycle 6 (if not earlier), but has been blatant in almost every episode since Cycle 10. Examples include but are not limited to...
    • C4: Brita, Sarah, Noelle, Tiffany, Rebecca, Tatiana and Christina.
    • C5: Ebony, Diane, and Kyle.
    • C6: Kathy, Wendy, Kari, Mollie Sue, Leslie, and Sara.
    • C7: Megan, Megg, Brooke Michelle, and Amanda.
    • C8: Samantha, Felicia, Diana and Brittany.
    • C9: Mila, Victoria, Janet, Ebony, and Sarah. (Though in Ebony's case, she wound up quitting over the girl who had originally been picked for elimination.)
    • C10: Atalya, Allison, Amis, Aimee, Stacey Ann, and Katarzyna.
    • C11: Sharaun, Brittany, Hannah and Isis.
    • C12: Jessica, Nijah, Kortnie, London and Fo.
    • C13: Lisa, Courtney, Bianca, Kara, Rae, and Brittany.
    • C14: Ren and Simone and Tatianna.
    • C15: Anamaria, Rhianna, Lexie and Esther.
    • C16: Dalya and Mikaela.
    • C19: Destiny, Leila, Yvonne and most obviously Allyssa.
    • C21: Ivy and Shei.
    • C22: Delanie, Dustin, and Ashley.
  • Art Imitates Art: The top 5 pictorial for Cycle 5, the Fairytale pictorial of Cycle 6 and Cycle 17's motion editorial of Tyra's book.
  • Ascended Meme: Creepy Chan. See Below.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Most of the time overlaps with the Celebrity Impersonator photoshoots. This was also used as the main theme for Cycle 8's fifth pictorial. It was also Played for Laughs in a Cycle 20 commercial shoot.
  • Ax-Crazy: Janice Dickinson for the judges, too many contestants to count, probably.
  • Back for the Finale: Girls who were eliminated in their season's international destination (mostly in the top five/six) are usually bought back to work with the local models for the final runway along with the final two (or three in case of the All-Star Cycle) .
    • In cycle 19 all the eliminated contestants were brought back for the final runway show, and in cycle 20 everybody except for Bianca, Chris S and Alexandra.
  • Bash Brothers: There are times that similar/comparable/evenly-matched girls appear in a cycle. They usually form a Friendly Rivalry or Worthy Opponent dynamic.
    • Adrianne and Elyse in Cycle 1.
    • Dani and Joanie in Cycle 6.
    • Sophie and Laura in Cycle 18.
    • The three former runners-up who returned in the All-Star Cycle, especially Allison and Laura. This was even referenced in the final eliminations between the two mentioned girls.
  • Bathtub Scene
  • Beach Episode: Some cycles had pictorials in the shore or near itnote .
  • Belly Dancer: The challenge for Cycle 16's final four girls.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Tyra apparently hates girls who aren't devastated at being cut. When Tiffany in Season 4 took her elimination in stride...Tyra proceeded to go absolutely INSANE on her.
      Tiffany: I'm just tired of getting upset over things I have no control over!
    • Don't insult C14-Anslee's mothering skills.
    • And don't say anything to C14-Alasia that is even mildly negative about her, or she will freak out. Became almost comical when she was screaming: "You need to calm the f**k down" to another contestant who was being cool as a cucumber. The clip episode shows that anything near Alasia when she was angry got her rage. Case in point: she screamed at toiletries due to lack of people left to yell at.
  • Best for Last: If a girl was featured last in the OBB, chances are they'll win the competition. Incidentally, the first girl introduced usually ended in 2nd place. This was blatant in the early seasons. Most of the returning girls in All-Stars were featured last in their original cycles' OBB.note 
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Cycle 4 where Tyra shouts "BE QUIET!" to Tiffany who is arguing with her, following it up with a rant about how badly the girl is acting. Stress and overwork are to blame.
  • Book-Ends:
    • Cycle 1: The first and second girl you'll see right after the OBB were Adrianne and Shannon.
    • The last scene of Cycle 3's first episode was Eva being the last girl called to be part of the fourteen finalists.
    • In a meta sense: CoverGirl began their partnership with the show in a cycle where there were two international destinations. Their last tenure/partnership was also in a cycle where there were two international destinationsnote .
  • Boot Camp Episode: the casting episode in Cycle 8 featured the girls in a "boot camp" setting.
  • Broad Strokes: Whenever Canon Discontinuity, see below, can't be addressed. So usually when talking about Cycle 1. Yes, that Cycle did exist... but who won again?
    • The closest they ever came to acknowledging that there actually was a winner, was when Tyra applauded Shannon's performance in the All-Stars Cycle, saying that she was runner-up for a reason.
    • Completely thrown out the window in Cycle 20, where a trivia challenge included a question asking the contestants to name the winner of Cycle 1. (And yes, Adrianne Curry WAS the correct answer. On the other hand, Tyra wasn't present for the challenge, so she still didn't have to directly name or acknowledge Adrianne.) Adrianne herself even took note of it on her Twitter.
  • Bullying a Dragon: It seems inevitable that there will always be one girl who acts like she's above it all and starts arguing with the judges during their critiques. One of the most notorious was Cycle 6's Jade, who argued with them every time she received criticism and really pissed off Nigel Barker, who had trouble hiding his disdain for the girl more than once.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • The previous Cycle winner usually returns for the current Cycle's finale or pay a visit early or halfway through. Basically, any alumnae that guests.note 
    • After being fired as a judge after Cycle 4, Janice Dickinson was Commuting on a Bus from Cycles 5 to 7. She was Put on a Bus for good starting Cycle 8.
    • Former judges Beau Quillian (Cycle 1) and Nole Marin (Cycles 3 and 4) guested in Cycles 7 and 12, respectively. The former guested twice in that season.
    • The eponymous contestants of the All-Stars Cycle.
    • Miss J is set to return for Cycle 21 after being fired during Cycle 18.
  • But Not Too Black, A lot of ethnic diversity, but.....
    • Cycle 3 Winner Eva "the Diva" was warned by the judges not to be "Another Black Bitch". She beat out Yaya in the finale, another black contestant who was very proud of her African heritage, but considered uppity and in need of "a slice of humble pie".
    • Averted by Sandra in Cycle 12, whose particularly dark skin was fawned over with the show's typical subtlety. Same for Cycle 1's Ebony and Cycle 6's Nnenna. Interestingly, all three contestants had their hair shaved off, and another similarity.
    • Discussed during Cycle 2 when contestant Xiomara went into a crying jag after having her skin painted much darker to impersonate Grace Jones for a photoshoot.
  • Camp Gay: Miss J. The man generally wears fancier outfits than anyone else on the show, including the models. The only way to top him(her?) by this point, would be to have Lady Gaga guest star.
    • Hell, Miss J is a better model than most of the models. Girl can smize and catwalk.
  • Canon Discontinuity:
    • Expect this whenever a reference to Cycle 1 is made, as Tyra now likes to pretend that Adrianne Curry never existed and applies Broad Strokes whenever this Cycle is mentioned.
    • After Angelea was disqualified in the All-Stars finale, all her work in the competition was nullified and the other two finalists were re-evaluated on their own merits.
  • Cat Fight: A Cycle 17 photoshoot is themed around this.
  • Celebrity Impersonator: Some photoshoots require the contestants to be this.
  • Character Development: The entire Cycle 17 cast appeared Older and Wiser compared to their initial appearances. Most of the Alpha Bitches Took a Level in Kindness or at least defrosted. Except for Cycle 9's Bianca.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Wilhelmina (from Cycle 1) and IMG (from Cycle 2) returned as Model Management contract prizes for Cycles 13 to 16. The first two for the former, while the last two for the latter.
  • Competence Zone: Realistically, modelling agencies rarely but mostly never sign girls who are above 21-22 years old. The show, however, allowed contestants older than said age requirement to participate, and in three occasions, win. Aside from age, there are also height and weight requirements, but let's not go there.
  • Confession Cam
  • Continuity Nod: Everytime a recurring photographer or designer guest stars once again or a studio featured in a previous cycle will be revisited, expect to have a Call-Back.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Many examples, including Natasha, the possible-Mail-Order Bride who took every insult as a compliment; Jael, the anarchist whom 50 Cent pushed into a swimming pool, and...well, too many to count, really.
    • Allison aka "Creepy-chan" from Cycles 12 and 17, one of 4chan's favorite "chan girls" (though this was never brought up in-show) and an artist with a fascination with blood. She even said that she was jealous when Tyra mentioned that she used to get nosebleeds as a child. Polls showed her to be the most popular contestant that season and the favorite to win (yes, even amongst non-channers). She came in 2nd. Twice.
  • Crossover:
    • Cycle 17 is an All-Stars cycle featuring girls from the past sixteennote  cycles.
    • Cycle 18, called British Invasion, featured seven returning Britain's Next Top Model contestants.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: The All-Star season included a challenge where the girls had to write a short song and shoot a video to go "viral" . Only one girl had experience with singing and songwriting, so between the dreadful lyrics and the blatant autotuning, some of the models' videos were very hard to watch.
    • None of the songs were helped by the fact that at the last minute, the models were informed that they had to include the phrase "Pot Ledom - Top Model Backwards" in their song. For contestants like Allison, who had written a song about the death of her father, the inclusion of a random and rather stupid phrase just served to worsen the end product.
  • Cry Cute: Too many to list.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Many, many contestants have had these. May overlap with a Freudian Excuse.
  • Demoted to Extra: Justified. The eliminated girls were used as decoys for runways and photoshoots and are kept apart from where the remaining girls were staying. Only the girls who made it to the international destination will be acknowledged on-air during the final episode.
  • Depending on the Writer
  • Diamonds in the Buff: Most notably the cycle 1 final four photoshoot, where Robin and Shannon refused to participate.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The top 7 finalists of the All-Stars Cycle were each given a Leitmotif in which they themselves were required to write the lyrics.
  • Drama Queen: Oh boy, where do we start?
  • Dramatic Wind: The judges Squee! everytime a girl gets the "wind in the face/hair".
  • Elimination Statement: The eliminated contestant is always seen making a goodbye statement as they are packing their bags, which often times may vary from words of gratitude to feeling the whole experience was a waste of time. Perhaps the most well known Elimination Statement was cycle 6's Jade, who ended her tenure on the show with a spoken-word poem (complete with rhythmic finger snapping) entitled "Leftover Lady". For many fans, this was the series' Moment of Awesome.
  • End of an Age: Cycle 18 featured many lasts for the series. It is the last time Vogue will feature a winner on their magazine. The last time Covergirl, which was with the show since Cycle 3, will award a cosmetics spread to the winner. And last but definitely not the least, this will be the last time that the two Jays and Nigel Barker, at least all together, will be part of the show.
    • The 19th cycle would be the last time all contestants were female until the reboot.
    • The highest-ranking female contestant of the 21st cycle finished fourth.
    • The 24th season marks the end of age restrictions.
  • Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: There have been many photoshoots on the show that center around jewelry, notably in cycles 1, 3, and 15. Jewelry has also been given out as a challenge prize many times on the show.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change
  • Fairy Tale Episode: in season 6, there was a photoshoot where the girls had to reenact different fairy tale characters.
  • Fake-Hair Drama: A frequent occurrence on the show as there seems to be no shortage of women wanting weaves and those that do not know how to take care of them.
  • Faking the Dead: A photoshoot in Cycle 8 required the girls to portray murder victims.
  • Fanservice: Each cycle will generally have at least one nude or semi-nude photoshoot.
  • Fashion Model: The goal of the contestants is to be one.
  • Fashion Show: While the show is (mostly) about fashion, the trope only plays straight during runway challenges or/and the season finale.
  • Final Girl: The whole show usually follows the same elimination pattern as a serial killer movie.
  • Five-Man Band: The panel. Except for Tyra's and guest judges, roles varies(ed) or/and overlaps(ed) from time to time.
    • The US and UK teams from Cycle 18 played this straight.
  • Flanderization: Invoked in the first photoshoot of Cycle 17.
  • Flyover Country: The filming locations are only shot at either New Yorknote  or Los Angelesnote . Cycles 11 and 12 were filmed at both cities. The only other states visited were Texas, Hawaii, and Nevadanote .
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Janice Dickinson to everyone. Most contestants are also prone to this.
  • Four Is Death:
    • Cycle 4 featured the first double elimination in the franchise's history. It also had perhaps THE worst photo in the entire history of the franchise and it was the first time the audience saw Tyra on a really bad day (after the aforementioned double elimination). Another criticism of that Cycle was that the good photos weren't as relevant as the previous and preceding Cycles resulting to some Shocking Eliminations.
    • Majority of the returning girls during the All-Stars cycle were former fourth placersnote . None of them won the game and all were eliminated in dramatic fashion. The first girl eliminated was the fourth placer from the fourth cycle. Later on, a double elimination axed two former fourth placers simultaneously, one already a victim of this in the past. The following episode then saw the elimination of another fourth placer. During the top five, one (who was also the fourth placer on her original season) became a victim of a controversial Shocking Elimination in favor of the remaining fourth placer from Cycle fourteen, who became the resident Elimination Houdini by surviving four eliminations and ultimately making it to the finals, only to be disqualified in the end.
      • Also noteworthy is that four cycles were unrepresented (3, 6-8), though the winner from one of those unrepresented cycles (Eva from 3) made a guest appearance.
      • The fourth placer that cycle was from Cycle 13.
  • Freudian Excuse: Eva from Cycle 3, Renee from Cycle 8, Elina from Cycle 11, Angelea from Cycles 14 and 17.
  • Girl Posse: Pink Positive from Cycle 3.
  • Green Aesop: The first half of Cycle 9 (Side effects of smoking, rock climbing, flowers and recycling), due to Tyra and Ben Mok noticing that most of the girls are heavy smokers in Cycle 8.
  • Hidden Depths: Kim Stolz from cycle 5 has a bachelor's degree in politics and is currently a vice president with Citigroup in equity-derivative sales. Which are... uh...
  • Hollywood Thin: Most of the contestants.
  • Hopeless Auditionees: Mostly averted! They never show the entire auditions process. Of the 35 or so girls who make it to the semi-finals, the audition week episode mainly shows footage of the girls who eventually make it into the house, plus two or three unsuccessful semi-finalists to convey at least a little bit of tension.
    • The aversion is doubly surprising because the CW officially releases pictures of the contestants who made it into the house before the cycle even starts, so there’s little to no tension in the first episode for many viewers. Yet, this free space is rarely abused to make fun of the other contestants.
    • However, some of the semi-finalists, while not being exceptionally terrible models, are clearly picked to fill this trope anyway, either in the form of a special kind of Alpha Bitch, Loser Archetype, or by causing drama with Tyra Banks.
  • A House Divided: The contestants all live together for the entire competition. Cue the instant formation of cliques.
    • Cycle 18 enforced this to the British and the American girls.
  • Human Aliens: The theme of Cycle 4's very first pictorial.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Until Cycle 10, episode titles began with "The Girl/s". Since Cycle 15, episode titles are named after the guest judge of the episode. The exceptions: Recap Episodes.
    • Since Cycle 19, episode titles have returned to "The Girl(s) Who(se)" format - though with the addition of male participants in Cycle 20, episode titles now also include "The Guy(s) Who(se)" as well, i.e. "The Guy Who Cries".
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Most of the contestants.
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: See Jade from Cycle 6 and her quote "This is not America's Next Top Best Friend". Too many contestants to count, really.
  • Important Haircut: Due to the belief in Long Hair Is Feminine, one contestant, after getting her hair cut, said, "I look like a boy."
  • Insistent Terminology: Wanna know the quickest way to get on Ty-Ty’s angry side? Call it a “season.”
    • So damn-it-all what?
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: The show has featured a few examples, notably cycle 3's Amanda Swafford, cycle 9's Heather Kuzmich, cycle 12's Tahlia Brookins, cycle 20's Nyle DiMarco, and cycle 21's Chantelle Young-Brown (now known as Winnie Harlow).
  • It's All About Me: Tyra Banks to the core. Some contestants are also this.
  • Jerkass: Again, many examples.
  • Joker Immunity: One criticism on the show is that girls with bad attitude are kept around regardless of performance only to create drama for the show.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • The panel loved to pick on cycle 10 contestant Katarzyna. Even though her name is pronounced "Kat-uh-GIN-nuh" (and was explained as such more than once), they repeatedly pronounced it as "Guitar-jenuh". Judge Paulina Porizkova in particular was especially catty towards her.
    • A more shameful example was treatment of cycle nine contestant Heather. As Tyra critiqued her anti-smoking photo and went on and on about how "inferior" it was to Saleisha's, she went on to further humiliate the girl by claiming that her critiquing was actually causing her to shrink. Keep in mind that this was after she knew that she had Asperger's Syndrome but before she learned of the bullying/ostracizing that the other contestants, led by Bianca, had subjected her to back at the house.note 
  • Large Ham: All of the recurring judges.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Tyra Banks and Janice Dickinson in the early cycles. Most of the final two girls counts.
  • The Makeover:
    • One episode per cycle is devoted to this concept. In each cycle there are two girls to look for — the girl that gets a bad makeover but learns how to make it work, and the girl that gets a meh makeover and makes such a huge stink over it that she gets kicked off either by next elimination or not long after.
    • One girl who has to get their hair cut short, and then cries for the rest of the day, and bitches about it until they're eliminated.
  • Male Gaze
  • Manipulative Editing: Inevitable when each hour-long episode has to express an entire week's worth of events.
    • A particularly egregious example happens in cycle 2.0 two contestants are having a conversation in the guys room with digital clock being shown in both their shots. the clock shows a difference of 2+ hours for both sides of the 'conversation'.
  • Modeling Poses: The girls often have to create poses for their photo shots. In the show, the girls must avoid stereotypical modeling cliches and instead they must find new and interesting poses that highlight the clothing, the theme of the session and their natural assets. This puts the focus on skill over looks, as judges have stated even when they think some contestants are better looking their modeling abilities aren't good enough compared to others.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Granted, the show is about aspiring female models. But as Tyra puts it, some girls just "pops".
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Possibly the greatest moment in reality TV history, during Cycle 9.
    Heather: Hey, pretty ladies. And Tyra.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: The main plot of the All-Stars Cycle. The returning Britain's Next Top Model contestants on the following Cycle were all gunning for this (one of them won).
  • Never My Fault: During photo shoots where the majority of the models end up with a lackluster shot (i.e. Cycle 3's Alter-Egos, Cycle 4's different ethnicities and seven deadly sins, Cycle 5's Superheroes, Cycle 7's Celebrity couples, etc.), it ends up being the fault of the inexperienced models instead of the art director, Jay Manuel, or whomever was in charge of that particular shoot. Only rarely does the panel blame the latter (as it was the case in the celebrity couples where Tyra expressed annoyance at the inaccuracy of the couples, with the Oprah/Stedman costume gaining the most ire.)
  • Non Action Dress Rip: Ripping T-shirts to make them cool was an example.
  • No Sense of Direction: Mainly in the Go-Sees episodes.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Mostly in Couture shots.
  • Old Hero, New Pals: In Cycle 19. Miss J will return in Cycle 21, though.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Generally enforced when Tyra tells girls they need to pick a nickname if there's more than one of them in the same cycle, as was the case in Cycles 10note , 11note , 13note , 18note  and 20note .
    • Played straight with Cycle 11 winner Brittany "McKey" Sullivan and Cycle 16 winner Brittani Kline.
    • Averted with Jay Manuel and J. Alexander, though as it was, they were often referred to as Mr. Jay and Miss/Ms J, respectively anyway.
    • Also averted with Cycle 5 and 13's respective winners Nicole Linkletter and Nicole Fox, as well as Cycle 13 and 18's respective runners-up Laura Kirkpatrick and Laura LaFrate.
    • Oddly enough averted for the guys of Cycle 20, with Chris Schellenger and Chris Hernandez (shortened to Chris S and Chris H, respectively), while one of the two Biancas had to change her name. Ironically enough, Chris S and the Bianca who kept her name were the first two eliminated anyway (though that didn't stop the other Bianca from going by "Kanani" for the rest of her run regardless).
  • Patriotic Fervor: The American vs. European feud of Cycle 11. Also invoked by the girls from Cycle 18.
  • Phone Booth: The infamous pic in Cycle 5 where the top six had to pose together inside. Naked.
  • Pool Scene: Many times the Reality TV Show Mansion that the models were living in featured a large swimming pool. Sometimes they even did photoshoots in a pool, notably in cycles 7 and 11.
  • Prison Episode: In cycle 19, when the girls did a mugshot themed photoshoot.
  • Progressively Prettier
  • Pro Wrestling Episode: Cycle 15 featured a photoshoot where the girls must pose as professional wrestlers.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness:
    • Kahlen from Cycle 4 had never watched an episode, and was often praised for her success having never seen an episode before.
    • All the girls go in knowing that they will eventually get makeovers and there is a possibility of their hair getting cut short. Cue some girls being shocked, throwing tantrums, and one even quitting. (This is possibly due to arrogance. Some girls believe they already have what it takes to be a model and that they have the right look before entering the competition. And in the past Tyra has left some girls with minimal makeovers like a trim or a slightly lighter or darker dye-job.)
    • All the girls who are bad at doing commercials, memorizing lines, knowing they'll have a commercial shoot later in the competition.
  • Reality TV Show Mansion: Almost every season, especially the seasons filmed in Los Angeles, they stayed in huge, beautiful mansions, often with spectacular views, a large pool, and a runway to practice on.note  Whenever the show was filmed in New York, they stayed in a large penthouse loft, with similar amenities (minus the pool usually).note . Also when they went overseas, they stayed in similar living conditions.
    • Averted in Cycle 1, where Tyra Banks tried to make the living conditions similar to how working models would normally live, so as more girls were eliminated, they were forced to move into each others rooms and have less space available.
    • Also in Cycle 15. While they lived in a beautiful Venice Beach house for the first half of the season, once they got to Italy, Tyra notes that this is a more realistic way that a young model working overseas would be living, as opposed to the luxury accomodations they are usually given.
  • Recap Episode: every season featured this at some point, either in the middle of the season or right before or after the finale.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The two Jays, the American and British girls in Cycle 18, and majority of the final two girls qualify.
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Basically, girls who refuse to pose nude, or at least sexy.
    • Cycle 1 runner-up and All-Stars sixth placer Shannon Stewart is the quintessential and yet a strange example. She allowed herself to be pictured in swim suits that left little to the imagination, but never underwear (even if it covered more than the swim suit) because she felt that was only for her husband to see.
    • Also notable were Robin Manning (also from Cycle 1, refused to pose nude, yet allegedly had no problem flashing Mr. Jay on set), and Anna Bradford (from Cycle 2, as she felt it was inappropriate for a mother and wife to pose nude). Cycle 7 semi-finals also featured a girl named Ginger, who only agreed to shoot one frame during the nude shoot. Needless to say, things did not work out in favor for these young ladies, as both the former two were subsequently eliminated for this, and the latter did not make the final cut.
  • Remember When You Blew Up The Sun: The returning girls during the All-Star cycle who suffered from Badass Decay were each given this.
    Tyra: (To Shannon) "Remember where you came from because it is such a strong place. You were a runner-up. Cycle 1. And it is for a reason. Don't forget that."
  • Reviewer Stock Phrases: For the Judge; "Fierce", "lost your neck", "catching flies with your mouth", "giving face/neck/mouth", "the camera loves you", etc.
  • Revolving Door Casting: The panel members.
  • Rich Bitch: "and then we realised... that Robyn was actually shopping..."
  • Rule of Glamorous
  • Rule of Three: The show is notorious for this. Every three seasons, the opening theme and video changes and, until Cycle 12, crowns a black winner. Ironically when they first introduced a final three girls, one was disqualified so judging resorted to the usual final two status quo.
  • The Runner-Up Takes It All: The winners of each cycle are often not the strongest contenders, but are stuck with the sponsored prizes. And one could go on forever listing contestants who model more frequently than the winners.
    • Elyse Sewell from Cycle 1 is probably the most successful contestant. She came 3rd.
    • Cycle 7's Melrose and Cycle 10's Anya beat out Caridee and Whitney by gaining successful fashion careers, as opposed to the winners who won Covergirl sponsorship.
    • Cycle 9's Heather Kuzmich, due to having Asperger's and both making it work, being an overall strong contestant, and barely avoiding the Freudian Excuse, has also received a great deal of notoriety.
    • Cycle 24's Justine Biticon, where despite being the first eliminated, one of her modeling portfolio at the start is by being a front woman for Nike.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: One photo shoot in Cycle 4 had each of the girls put in a coffin in a grave and portraying one of the sins. What made this even worse was that Kahlen's (one of the contestants) friend had died not long before the shoot. She was praised for channeling her pain and delivering a good photo.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: While many people would disagree, a number of contestants DO clean up nicely after their makeovers and look prettier as a result.
  • Ship Tease: As much as you would expect with Cycle 20 introducing both girls and boys as top model contestants.
  • Something Completely Different: Cycles 13 (featured contestants below 5'7), 17 (featured returning contestants), 18 (see Crossover above), and recently, 20 (first cycle with male contestants).
  • Statuesque Stunner: Given that this is a show about modelling, it's actually easier to count girls who are short or have average height. The trope is intentionally averted in Cycle 13, however.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Every time there's a new judge, expect some comparisons to the one they replaced.
  • Take That!: For Cycle 9, Ebony quit due to missing her family and realizing modeling might not be for her, so that episode included Ebony's audition videos stating how badly she wants to be in it.
  • This Is a Competition: No less than four different girls will remind us of this fact every. single. episode.
    • After the first elimination, this trope is probably the strongest in use. And the contestants are surprised about the fact.
      • 'Okay this is really a competition after this model went home. This is actually a competition.'
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: The word tends to get used a lot.
  • Those Two Guys: Subverted by the two Jays.
  • Timed Mission: The Go-sees episodes. Cue Race Against the Clock.
  • Token Minority: Although every cycle has a pretty broad mix of contestants racially, more than half of the cycles feature exactly one plus-sized model. note  Additionally, critics have accused Tyra Banks of purposely courting controversy with her inclusion of an autistic contestant, a possible Mail-Order Bride and a transgender.
  • Traumatic Haircut: All the time. Each cycle features at least one girl that doesn't react positively to her Expository Hairstyle Change. Notable examples are Catie from cycle 2, Cassandra from cycle 5 (who quit after receiving a traumatic haircut) and Jaeda from cycle 7 (who basically did nothing but complain about it all season until she was eliminated).
    • In a rare aversion to this, Cycle 9's Bianca wound up receiving what would normally be one of these due to her damaged hair being unable to accept the planned weave for her, but unlike most examples, not only did she suit her, but she actually kept a primarily positive attitude towards it. (To the point of ditching the wig that was offered for her)
  • Underdogs Never Lose: The blind/short/overweight/whatever contestant will always make it far in the show no matter what their talent is. And interestingly rich girls who have places at great universities never seem to win...
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: The show will frequently have sepia-toned flashbacks to events that happened just a few minutes earlier.
  • Walk on Water: The epic final runway of Cycle 4.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head:
    • Kristi from Cycle 3 wore a USA gown in the casting episode.
    • The show enforced this trope in Cycle 18. At panel, the girls had to wear shirts and lipsticks with their corresponding nation's flag printed and designed on them.
    • A case of Wearing A Flag On Your Legs with Lisa during a Cycle 17 panel.
  • Western Zodiac: The photoshoot in Cycle 4 where the infamous "worst picture in ANTM history" was named (The Pisces pic).
  • Wham Episode: Usually episodes ending in a Shocking Elimination, but that's not always the case. note 
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: The theme for a photo shoot in the 19th cycle was the aftermath of a wild party.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The girls' were given brands to embody during the All-Stars cycle. For instance, words such as "Daring" and "Unique". However, three brands have ambiguous meanings, specifically those were "Free", "Girlfriend" and "Unexpected"
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: J. Alexander, called Miss J. Alexander by Tyra. A Cycle 1 contestant called him that to avoid confusion with Jay Manuel.
  • World of Ham: With so many divas under one roof (and that's just the judges), almost every single moment is one of absolute drama.
  • World of Pun: Tyra Mails usually contain some sort of pun, Foreshadowing the next photoshoot.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: One photoshoot in Cycle 19.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: