Follow TV Tropes


Series / America's Next Top Model

Go To
"You 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 then undergoing a challenge in an area concurrent with the week's theme such as runway walking, 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, the contestants' 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 (such as Wilhelmina, IMG Models , Ford, Elite, LA/NY, NEXT), a cosmetics campaign with a major brand (such as Revlon, Sephora, Covergirl, Sephora, Smashbox, Rimmel), and a spread and/or cover in a Fashion Magazine (such as Marie Claire, Jane, Elle, Seventeen, Vogue Italia, 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 (Cycle 1), Yoanna House (Cycle 2), Eva Pigford (Cycle 3), Naima Mora (Cycle 4), Nicole Linkletter (Cycle 5), Danielle Evans (Cycle 6), CariDee English (Cycle 7), Jaslene Gonzalez (Cycle 8), Saleisha Stowers (Cycle 9), Whitney Thompson (Cycle 10), McKey Sullivan (Cycle 11), Teyona Anderson (Cycle 12), Nicole Fox (Cycle 13), Krista White (Cycle 14), Ann Ward (Cycle 15), Brittani Kline (Cycle 16), Sophie Summer (Cycle 18), Laura James (Cycle 19), Jourdan Miller (Cycle 20), Keith Carlos (Cycle 21), Nyle DiMarco (Cycle 22), India Gants (Cycle 23), and Kyla Coleman (Cycle 24). 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 returned as host for Cycle 24 and as of 2020, it is unclear whether the show will return for a Cycle 25.


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

America's Next Trope Model:

  • A Winner Is You: This is how America's Next Top Model for the Wii ends. The player character has a final match against their rival, they talk to Jack who announces the player character won, and then cut to credits.
  • Alpha Bitch: There's usually a couple each cycle. (see Character Development below)
  • Always Second Best:
  • American Title: Obviously.
  • 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 focusing on her and many random Confession Cam snippets explaining the episode's challenge/photoshoot 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)
    • 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 were referenced in Tyra's YA book.
  • Ascended Meme: In Cycle 8, a photoshoot's theme was to reenact the most shocking moments from previous ANTM cycles with the previous contestants that the photoshoots were referencing.
    • Subverted with Cycle 12 and Cycle 17's Allison Harvard aka "Creepy-chan" (one of 4Chan's favorite "chan girls"). Her popularity on 4Chan was never acknowledged on the show.
  • 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 contestants.
    • In cycle 19, all of the eliminated contestants were brought back for the final runway show, and in cycle 20 everybody returns except for Bianca, Chris S and Alexandra.
  • Bash Brothers: There are times that 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 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.
  • 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 contestants who aren't devastated at being cut. When Tiffany in Season 4 appeared to take her elimination in stride,Tyra proceeded to go absolutely INSANE on her.
      Tyra: Be quiet, Tiffany! Be quiet! Stop it! I have never in my life yelled at a girl like this. When my mother yells like this it’s because she loves me. I was rooting for you, we were all rooting for you! How dare you! Learn something from this! When you go to bed at night, you lay there and you take responsibility for yourself, because nobody’s going to take responsibility for you. You rolling your eyes and you act like it’s because you’ve heard it all before–you’ve heard it all before–you don’t know where the hell I come from, you have no idea what I’ve been through. But I’m not a victim; I grow from it and I learn. Take responsibility for yourself.
    • Don't insult Anslee Payne-Franklin's (Cycle 14) mothering skills.
    • And don't say anything to Alasia Ballard (Cycle 14) that is even mildly negative about her, or she will freak out. It becomes almost comical when she screams, "You need to calm the f**k down!" to another contestant who is being cool as a cucumber. The clip episode shows that Alasia will scream at anything near her. Case in point: she screamed at toiletries due to lack of people left to yell at.
  • Best for Last: The winners of a cycles were usually placed towards the end of the cycle's credits whereas the 2nd place winner tended to appear earlier. This was blatant in the early seasons. For All-Stars (Cycle 17), most of the returning contestants were featured last in their respective original cycle's opening credits.note 
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The most notorious example is in Cycle 4 where Tyra shouts "BE QUIET!" to Tiffany but other examples include:
  • Book-Ends:
    • Cycle 1: The first and second contestants featured in the opening credits are Shannon and Adrienne, who went on to be the final two contestants.
    • In a meta sense: CoverGirl began their partnership with the show in Cycle 3, where there were two international destinations (Jamaica and Japan), and ended their partnership in Cycle 18, where there were two international destinations (Canada and Macau).
  • Boot Camp Episode: The casting episode in Cycle 8 featured the contestants in a "boot camp" setting.
  • Brainless Beauty: Played with the contestants and the photoshoots themselves. Although some contestants are extremely intelligent (see Hidden Depths below), there are some that give the "dumb model" stereotype credence, like Cycle 8's Kathleen DuJour .
  • Broad Strokes: Due to the falling out between Cycle 1 winner Adrienne Curry and Tyra Banks, Cycle 1 is a bit of a Canon Discontinuity and acknowledgement of it tends to be glossed over.
    • In the All-Stars Cycle, Tyra applauded Shannon's performance in the All-Stars Cycle, saying that she was runner-up for a reason but never directly acknowledged Adrianne Curry.
    • Subvertyed in Cycle 20, where a trivia challenge included a question asking the contestants to name the winner of Cycle 1 and Adrianne Curry was the correct answer. Adrianne herself even took note of it on her Twitter.
  • Broken Aesop: Tyra and the other judges frequently talk about how the show is breaking new ground and how they're confronting the many issues of the modeling world in hopes of changing it for the better. However, whenever a contestant is uncomfortable with one of the show's challenges or is given insensitive feedback, they're often more or less told to suck it up because that's just how things work in the fashion industry.
  • Bullying a Dragon: It seems inevitable that there will always be one contestant who acts like they're above it all and starts arguing with the judges during their critiques, usually resulting in their quick elimination. One of the most notorious was Cycle 6's Jade Cole, who argued with them every time she received criticism and really pissed off Nigel Barker, who had trouble hiding his disdain for her during judging panels and often advocated for her elimination.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • The previous cycle's winner usually returns for the current cycle's finale or pays a visit sometime during the cycle to offer advice during a challenge. Fan favorites from previous cycles also make guest appearances as well. 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) were guest judges in Cycles 7 and 12, respectively.
    • The eponymous contestants of the All-Stars Cycle.
    • Miss J left the show after Cycle 18 and returned as a judge for Cycles 21-24.
  • But Not Too Black: The series features a lot of ethnic diversity amongst contestants and winners, but.....
    • Cycle 3 Winner Eva "the Diva" Pigford was warned by the judges not to be "another Black bitch". She beat out Yaya DaCosta 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 with Sandra Nyanchoka in Cycle 12, whose particularly dark skin was fawned over with the show's typical subtlety. Same for Cycle 1's Ebony Haith and Cycle 6's Nnenna Agba. Interestingly, all three contestants had their hair shaved off, and shared 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. At the time, the judges scolded Xiomara for not embracing the beauty of dark skin, but today, the shoot (as well as others that involved darkening contestants' skin colors) is considered Black Face and Xiomara is viewed as being rightly uncomfortable.
  • 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.
  • 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 Preston was disqualified in the All-Stars finale, all her work in the competition was nullified and the other two finalists were then re-evaluated.
  • Cat Fight: A Cycle 17 photoshoot is themed around this but contestants did get into verbal confrontations with each other.
  • Celebrity Impersonator: Serves as the theme for several photoshoots, namely in Cycle 2, Cycle 7, Cycle 12, Cycle 17, and Cycle 23.
  • 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 Golden.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Wilhelmina (first featured in Cycle 1) and IMG (first featured in Cycle 2) later returned as the model management prize for Cycles 13 and 14, and Cycle 15 and 16, respectively.
  • 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: A staple of the show is that contestants talk about the episode's events via talking heads or a Confession Cam set up in the house.
  • Continuity Nod: Every time a photographer, designer, or any sort of guest star or location that has been featured in a previous cycle, expect to have a Call-Back.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Many examples, including Cycle 8's Natasha Galkina, the possible-Mail-Order Bride who took every insult as a compliment; Cycle 8's Jael Strauss, the anarchist whom 50 Cent pushed into a swimming pool, and...well, too many to count, really.
    • Cycle 12 and Cycle 17's Allison Harvard was portrayed as an eccentric artist with a fascination with blood, even saying that she was jealous when Tyra mentioned that she used to get nosebleeds as a child.
  • Crossover:
    • Cycle 17 is an All-Stars cycle featuring girls from the past sixteennote  cycles.
    • Cycle 18, subtitled 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 contestant 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 is Top Model spelled backwards" in their song. For contestants who wrote a serious-minded song (in Allison Harvard's case, she wrote about the death of her father), the inclusion of a random and rather stupid phrase just served to worsen the end product.
  • Cry Cute: Played with. Some contestants, like Fo Porter (Cycle 12) cry cute but others, like Cycle 2's Catie Anderson, have ugly expressions while crying.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Many, many contestants have had these. May overlap with a Freudian Excuse.
  • Demoted to Extra: Justified. To avoid spoilers, the eliminated contestants were used as decoys for runways and photoshoots and are kept apart from where the remaining contestants are staying.
  • Diamonds in the Buff: Most notably the Cycle 1 final four photoshoot, in which Robin Manning and Shannon Stewart refused to participate.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The top 7 finalists of the All-Stars Cycle were each given a Leitmotif for which they themselves were required to write the lyrics.
  • Drama Queen: Oh boy, where do we start?
  • Dramatic Wind: The judges Squee! every time a girl gets the "wind in the face/hair".
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Cycle 1 is so much different than the other cycles, not just due to the low budget. For one, it only had 9 episodes and 10 contestants, compared to later cycles which ranged between 11-13 episodes and featured 11-14 contestants. Additionally, the contestants only stayed at the international location (Paris) for one and a half episodes, returning to New York for the season finale. In later cycles, the contestants stayed in the international location for 3-4 episodes, including the finale.
  • 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 Cole, who ended her tenure on the show with a spoken-word poem (complete with rhythmic finger snapping) entitled "Leftover Lady".
  • End of an Age: Cycle 18 featured many lasts for the series. It is the last time Vogue Italia will feature a winner on their magazine, the last time Covergirl (which has been the show's partner 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 Jay Manuel, Miss J., and Nigel Barker will be part of the judging panel together.
    • Cycle 19 was the last all-female contestant cycle until the reboot on VH 1 for Cycle 23.
    • Cycle 23 is the last cycle where the maximum age limit is placed at 27 years old (Cycle 24 featured no age limit).
  • 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: The makeover episode usually serves as this point.
  • Fairy Tale Episode: in season 6, there was a photoshoot where the girls had to interpret different fairy tale characters for an editorial photoshoot.
  • Fake-Hair Drama: Varies. During the makeover episodes, there is no shortage of contestants who want or get weaves, extensions, or a drastic hair color change. Whether their complaints are justified due to hair/scalp damage (Brittany Hatch from Cycle 8 is an example of this.) or just based on the fact that they don't like their new look, varies.
  • Faking the Dead: A photoshoot in Cycle 8 required the contestants 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 become one.
  • Fashion Show: While the show is (mostly) about fashion, the trope only plays straight during runway challenges or/and the season finale.
  • Five-Man Band: The panel. Except for Tyra's and guest judges, roles vary or/and overlap 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 and it was the first time the audience saw Tyra angrily chew out a contestant.
    • The majority of the returning contestants during the All-Stars cycle were former fourth placersnote . All were eliminated in dramatic fashion. For example, Brittany Bower (Cycle 4) placed in the final 4 of her original cycle but was the first eliminated. Later on, a double elimination axed Cycle 9's Bianca Golden and Cycle 15's Kayla Ferrel (which was particularly brutal for Kayla, who was already a victim of a double elimination in her original cycle. The following episode then saw the elimination of Cycle 16's 4th place winner Alexandria Everett. Cycle 10's Dominque Reighard was eliminated in favor of Angelea Preston, the 4th/3rd place winner from Cycle 14, who became the resident Elimination Houdini by surviving four eliminations and even being named the winner of the cycle,only to be disqualified in the end.
      • Additionally, Laura Kirkpatrick, the 4th place winner of the All-Stars Cycle, originally appeared in Cycle 13.
  • Freudian Excuse: Often the AlphaBitches turn out to have this, whether it was a rough upbringing or deep-seated insecurities (Eva Pigford from Cycle 3, Tiffany Richardson from Cycle 4, Renee Alway from Cycle 8, Elina Ivanova from Cycle 11, Angelea Preston from Cycles 14 and 17 come to mind as examples). Usually a contestant is expected to come over their past and TakeALevelInKindness or they are eliminated.
  • 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 executive producer Ken Mok noticing that most of the contestants are heavy smokers in Cycle 8.
  • Hidden Depths: The stereotype that all models are just brainless beauties is subverted with some contestants, who came from prestigious backgrounds or have gone on to impressive success. A short list includes:
    • Cycle 3's Yaya DaCosta majored in African Studies and International Studies at Brown University prior to her appearance on the show
    • Cycle 5's Kim Stolz has a bachelor's degree in politics and as of 2018 heads up Bank of America's U.S. prime brokerage sales team. Which are... uh...
    • Cycle 6 spawned two lawyers: Furonda Brasfield and Sara Dodds (who is an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice).
    • Cycle 9's Victoria Marsh was studying art history at Yale before competing
  • Hollywood Thin: Not surprising, considering the modeling industry praises thinness.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Again, not surprising, considering that the fashion industry's samples sizes only ranges from 0 to 4 and anything above that is considered unacceptable for modeling. Contestants who gain weight over the course of filming (such as Cycle 8's Keenyah Hill and Cycle 12's London Levi) are chided for not maintaining a model's figure.
  • Hopeless Auditionees: Mostly averted. The entire auditions process is never shown; only one episode is dedicated to the semi-finalists. At the semi-finalist stage, nearly all contestants have some potential although there are some, who 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 or the other judges.
    • The aversion is doubly surprising because the CW officially released pictures of the cycle's official contestants, so there’s little to no tension since viewers know who makes it past the semi-finals. Despite this, the show rarely makes fun of the losing semi-finalists.
  • A House Divided: The contestants all live together for the entire competition. Cue the instant formation of cliques.
    • Cycle 18 enforced this between the British and the American contestants to cement the "British Invasion" theme, including placing the contestants on teams for the majority of the cycle.
  • Human Aliens: The theme of Cycle 4's very first pictorial.
  • Human Head on the Wall: The first pictorial in Cycle 19 had the models pose as taxidermy trophies, accomplished by putting their heads through a hole in the wall.
  • 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 are the Recap Episodes.
    • Since Cycle 19, episode titles have returned to "The Girl/s" format - though with the addition of male participants in Cycle 20, episode titles now also include "The Guy/s" as well, i.e. "The Guy Who Cries".
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Most of the contestants cite this as their reason for pursuing a modeling career.
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: Cycle 1's Kesse Wallace is the first to say this on ANTM. Also see Jade Cole 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, many contestants cry if their hair is cut, particularly if they get super short haircut. Cycle 6's Catie Anderson is the most notorious example, who wailed, "I look like a boy" after seeing her pixie cut.
  • Insistent Terminology: Wanna know the quickest way to get on Tyra's angry side? Refer to a cycle as a “season.” Also, referring to a model having emotion in her eyes is always as "smizing."
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: The show has featured a few examples, notably Cycle 2's Mercedes Scelba-Shorte (who publicly revealed she had lupus on the show), Cycle 3's Amanda Swafford (who was legally blind at the time of filming), cycle 9's Heather Kuzmich (who has Asperger syndrome), Cycle 12's Tahlia Brookins (who is a burn survivor), Cycle 20's Nyle DiMarco (who is deaf), and Cycle 21's Chantelle Young-Brown aka Winnie Harlow (who has vitiligo).
  • It's All About Me: Tyra Banks to the core. Some contestants are also this.
  • Jerkass: Again, many examples.
  • Joker Immunity: Played with. One criticism on the show is that contestants with bad attitudes are kept around regardless of performance in order to create drama for the show, such as Cycle 6's Jade Cole. But sometimes awful contestants, like Cycle 7's Monique Calhoun, are quickly eliminated.note 
  • Kick the Dog:
    • After it was noted that Cycle 4 contestant Keenyah Hill was gaining weight, the photoshoot assignments particularly hammered this in. First, she was given the assignment to portray "Gluttony" in a seven deadly sins-themed photoshoot and then assigned to portray an elephant in an animal-themed photoshoot.
    • 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 9 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 noting that Heather was shrinking in front of the panel. Keep in mind that this was after Tyra knew that she had Asperger's Syndrome and therefore sometimes had trouble making eye contact. On top of that, Heather was bullied/ostracized by the other contestants, led by Bianca Golden.note 
  • Large Ham: All of the recurring judges and sometimes the contestants themselves.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Tyra Banks and Janice Dickinson in the early cycles. Tyra would usually be dressed in bright colors while Janice favored black and other dark shades.
  • The Makeover:
    • One episode per cycle is devoted to this concept. In each cycle there are two types of contestants to look for: the contestant that gets a drastic makeover but learns how to make it work, and the contestant who makes such a huge stink over their makeover that they get kicked off shortly due to a negative attitude.
  • 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 20 where 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 being too "catalog" or "commercial" (which are deemed basic and cliche poses) and 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 mostly about aspiring female models who are assigned skimpy clothing (sometimes none at all!) for photoshoots. But as Tyra puts it, some contestants just "pop".
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Possibly the greatest unintentional moment in reality TV history, during Cycle 9.
    Heather Kuzmich: Hey, pretty ladies. And Tyra. (see here)
  • 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 (and one of them, BNTM Cycle 5 runner-up Sophie Sumner, actually wins).
  • My Hair Came Out Green: As pointed out by Youtubers and the fan community alike, a large number of the platinum blonde makeovers on the show are actually far more on the yellow side.
  • 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 terrible styling 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 seen in the go-sees episodes. Poor Cycle 9 Heather Kuzmich got so turned around that she walked past several go-see locations and Cycle 11's Marjorie Conrad got so lost that she only made it to two go-sees.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Mostly in Couture shots.
  • Old Hero, New Pals: Cycle 19 features new judges although Miss J returns in Cycle 21.
  • 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 Bianca Alexa were eliminated quickly (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: Usually after the makeover episode, some contestants played into this.
  • Pro Wrestling Episode: Cycle 15 featured a photoshoot where the girls must pose as professional wrestlers.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness:
    • Kahlen Rondot from Cycle 4 had never seen the show before, and was often praised for her success despite not having any knowledge of what to expect.
    • All the contestants go in knowing that they will eventually get makeovers and there is a possibility of their hair getting cut super short. Cue some girls being shocked, throwing tantrums, and one even quitting.
    • Some contestants are terrible at memorizing lines, even knowing they'll have a commercial shoot later in the competition.
    • The importance of returning on time during the go-see challenge is always stressed and there have been cycles where contestants lost out on the challenge's prize because they were disqualified for being late. Nevertheless, almost every cycle there is one person who believes they will have plenty of time to get to the final location.
    • Although a nude shoot is featured in almost every cycle, there is usually at least one contestant who is shocked at the assignment and in some cases, refuses to pose nude outright.
  • Reality TV Show Mansion: Almost every season, especially the seasons filmed in Los Angeles, the contestants stay 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, the contestants stay in a large penthouse loft, with similar amenities (minus the pool usually).note . Also when contestants go overseas, they usually stay in similar luxurious accommodations.
    • Averted in Cycle 1, where Tyra Banks tried to make the living conditions similar to how working models would normally live, which is living in with multiple models in a small apartment. As more girls were eliminated, they were forced to move into each other's rooms and have less space available. During the Paris episodes, the contestants stayed in a humble French hotel and one person had to sleep on the floor.
    • Also averted 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 the smaller space is a more realistic way that a young model working overseas would be living, as opposed to the luxury accommodations they are usually given.
  • Recap Episode: Every cycle featured one at some point, either in the midway through the cycle or right before the finale.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Mr. and Miss Jay, the American and British contestants in Cycle 18, and ocassionally the top 2 contestants in a cycle fall into this.
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Basically, girls who refuse to pose nude, or at least sexy. In most cases, they are placed in the Bottom 2 of the episode if not outright eliminated.
    • The most notable example is Cycle 1's Robin Manning, who refused to pose nude and encouraged Shannon Stewart not do so either (yet allegedly had no problem flashing Jay Manuel on set).
    • Anna Bradford from Cycle 2 refused to pose nude, as she felt it was inappropriate for a mother and wife to do so.
    • The Cycle 7 semi-finals featured a girl named Ginger, who only agreed to shoot one frame during the nude shoot. Needless to say, she didn't make the final cut.
    • Cycle 1 runner-up and All-Stars sixth placer Shannon Stewart is a quintessential and yet a strange example. She allowed herself to be photographed in swimsuits that left little to the imagination, but never underwear (even if it covered more than the swim suit) because she felt that lingerie was only for her husband to see.
  • 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 Stewart) "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 judges, common phrases include "you look so fierce", "lost your neck", "catching flies with your mouth", "giving face/neck/mouth", "the camera loves you", "smizing," etc.
  • Revolving Door Casting: The judging panel members. Only Jay Manuel, Miss J, and Nigel Barker had the longest tenures.
  • Rich Bitch: Some contestants come from wealthy backgrounds and come off as snotty.
    • In Cycle 1, Robin Manning is portrayed as being stuck up and mean-spirited. During a teaching challenge in which the contestants visit luxury shops, the contestants realize Robin is rich when she buys a pair of expensive boots. "And then we realized...that Robynne was actually shopping."
    • In Cycle 3, Kelle Jacob complains that she is judged as this just because she comes from money and is not embarassed to admit that she owns designer jeans, saying,"They're Gucci, I can't help that."
  • Rule of Three: The show is notorious for this. Every three seasons, the opening theme and video changes, until Cycle 12. In most cycles, the final episode includes the top 3 contestants, one of whom is eliminated halfway through.
  • The Runner-Up Takes It All: It is debatable on whether winning the ANTM title is truly beneficial for the winner, as they are often stuck with the agency the show selected for them and have to stick with the sponsored prizes in addition to making a guest appearance on the next ANTM cycle, while the runner ups have more freedom to select their preferred agency and book a wider variety of work. And one could go on forever listing contestants who have had more successful modeling careers than the winners.
    • Elyse Sewell from Cycle 1 is arguably one of the most successful ANTM alumnae, who worked in both commercial and editorial modeling in Asia for several years.
    • Cycle 10's Anya Kop went on to model for Vera Wang, Elle Hong Kong, Nylon magazine, amongst others while winner Whitney Thompson had a smaller career.
    • Cycle 20's Chantelle Young went on to a successful modeling career, under the name Winnie Harlow. She has modeled for Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger, Desigual, Diesel, Swarovski, Steve Madden, Nike, Puma, MAC, and Victoria’s Secret, amongst others.
  • 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 Rondot received the news that a close friend died prior to the shoot. She was praised for channeling her pain and delivering a good photo.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: While many people would disagree, a majority of contestants do clean up nicely after their makeovers and look prettier as a result.
  • Ship Tease: In Cycle 5, Kim Stolz and Sara Rhoades flirted, even making out onscreen. And this happened as much as you would expect with Cycle 20 introducing both girls and boys as top model contestants.
  • Something Completely Different: Cycle 13 featured contestants below 5'7, Cycle 17 (featured returning contestants), Cycle 18 featured contestants from Britain's Next Top Model(see Crossover above), Cycle 20 featured only male contestants), and Cycle 24 lifted the maximum age limit.
  • 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 (which is the "petite" cycle).
  • 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 her elimination episodes included Ebony's audition videos stating how badly she wants to be on the show.
  • This Is a Competition: At least one contestant will remind us of this fact every. single. episode.
    • After the first elimination, this trope is probably the strongest in use when the contestants realize the fun of making it past the semi-finals has worn off.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: The word tends to get used a lot.
  • Timed Mission: The go-see episodes. Contestants only have a few hours to attend as many meetings as they can, which are usually spread across the city. 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 by including contestants that are Inspirationally Disadvantaged (see above) or are different in some way, like Cycle 11's Isis King (who was the first transgender contestant) or Cycle 24's Erin Green (who is the oldest ANTM contestant, at age 42).
  • Traumatic Haircut: Each cycle features at least one girl that doesn't react positively to her Expository Hairstyle Change. Notable examples are Catie Anderson from Cycle 2, Cassandra Whitehead from Cycle 5 (who quit after refusing to cut her hair even shorter) and Jaeda Young from Cycle 7 (who basically did nothing but complain about her hair until she was eliminated).
    • In a rare aversion to this, Cycle 9's Bianca Golden wound up receiving what would normally be one of these due to her damaged hair being unable to accept the planned weave for her. However, unlike most examples, she embraces her shaved head and actually keeps a primarily positive attitude towards it, to the point of refusing a wig on photoshoots.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: The blind/short/plus-size/whatever contestant will almost always make it far in the show no matter what their talent is. And interestingly rich girls who attended prestigious universities never seem to win...
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: The show will frequently have sepia-toned flashbacks to events that happened just a few episodes or even 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 theme for a photoshoot in Cycle 4.
  • 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. such as words like "Daring" and "Unique". However, some brands had lackluster connotations or ambiguous meanings, such as "Free", "Girlfriend" and "Unexpected"
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: J. Alexander, often referred to as "Miss J. Alexander" by Tyra. This nickname originated with 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 or challenge.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The theme of a photoshoot in Cycle 19.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: