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YMMV / America's Next Top Model

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  • Anvilicious: Multiple:
    • The "inspiring" work the girls are doing by modeling cannot be understated according to the show. Tragic backstories are played up at every opportunity, too.
    • In accordance with its theme, Cycle 13 was renamed America's Next Top Petite Model because all the models were 5'7" and under. While it's true girls that short are not common in the modeling world, the girls' height was beaten over the audience's head all the time. To wit, the first two photoshoots the girls of Cycle 13 did? Recreating baby pictures (because babies, like all of the girls of the cycle, are tiny!), and then posing (topless and with Godiva Hair) with horses and jockeys. You know. Because jockeys... are short. And, despite all of this, the tallest girl wound up winning - Nicole Fox, at 5'7". She not only wasn't even the shortest winner in the show's history at that point in time (that title goes to Eva Pigford of Cycle 3, at 5'6.5" - still the shortest winner to this day), but her height was right at the minimum requirement to compete on a typical cycle of ANTM anyway. Considered justified by many, however, due to the fact that Nicole was far and away the clear frontrunner of the pack, both by the judges and viewers.
  • Badass Decay: In the All-Star cycle, some of the returning victors were criticized for losing touch with their skills during their time away.
    Nigel: (To the panel) "Cycle 1, I looked at all pictures of her (Shannon) and there's this fire. Now, she just gone bland."
    Tyra: (To Shannon) "You were a great model. But when you came to All-Stars, you just became a good model. Go back to the great you once were."
    Tyra: (To Kayla) "I think Miss Kayla is melting away."
    Tyra: (To Bre and Alexandria) "Both of you are losing the strength you had from your original cycles."
    Mr. Jay: (To Camille) "Right now you're just giving 60% of what you can give me. I want Camille back!"
  • Catharsis Factor
    • Generally when a girl who has been bullied in the house unfairly delivers a great photo and is universally praised for it, this trope occurs, or it happens when the resident bitch is called out on her horrible behaviour, for example:
    • Monique getting eliminated early on after her insane, diva-ish behaviour tyrannising the other girls.
    • In Cycle 24, Jeana ignoring the child model during the final runway had the judges finally calling her out on her self-centeredness, one of them commenting that Jeana would run into a burning building to save a Chanel bag, not the child.
  • Creator's Pet: There are contestants every cycle that Tyra and the judges loves gushing at. It can be argued that the alleged predetermined winners are this by default.
    • Basically the first 2 cycles when guys were introduced, where Tyra didn't hide the fact that she wanted a guy to win. The reason why the first backfired was Jourdan turned out to be too good at modeling. Though the second was acceptable since the Top 2 (Both male) were deserving of the win. With that said, however, Tyra lavished attention on eventual winner, Keith, and some believe that the suspension of fan vote in the finale (that caused the elimination of fan favourite, Lenox) was to ensure his victory.
    • Many feel that Saleisha (cycle 9 winner) and Whitney (cycle 10 winner) were especially egregious examples of this; Saleisha had worked with Tyra in the past (and was mediocre at best, despite being given high praise). Whitney was the plus-sized winner Tyra had been craving forever, and landed the title with only one "best of the week" photo and four bottom 2 appearances... over someone with five "best of the week" call-outs and no bottom 2 appearances.
    • Many fans view Ann Ward of cycle 15 as a creator's pet. Despite having strong potential and a high fashion look (as this was the "high fashion" cycle, where Italian Vogue was a prize for the first time), it was obvious from the beginning that Ann was going to win, and the judges made no secret of their favoritism towards her, calling her first five weeks in a row, even when she did not do particularly well and there were stronger photos in the bunch.
    • Jeana was literally spared from elimination because the guest judge liked her and wanted her to walk in his show - something that has never happened on the show before, and Jeana had already been eliminated and then brought back two weeks previously.
    • Cycles 3 and 4 of the Australian version were also quite bad about this. While all the judges of the show have their own personal favorites, then-Host Jodhi Meares was downright incapable of being unbiased in regard to her own favorites, lavishing Steph H. (Cycle 3), Demelza (Cycle 4), and, to lesser extents, Rebecca/Alyce (Also Cycle 4) with near-endless praise even when they completely bombed challenges and photoshoots. She also refused to ever entertain the idea of her top favorites Steph/Demelza being in the discussion to be eliminated, even on weeks where they truly blew it.
  • Cory Hindorff in Cycle 20, for being the resident Only Sane Man and a Deadpan Snarker at that. That he got along with just about every other contestant also helps.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Despite being treated as a joke in the American media, it has managed to spawned at least 120 International Versions, and produced working models.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Adrianne's victory. Especially showing how proud Tyra was on it.
    Tyra: "Adrianne is the present. Adrianne is the future."
    Adrianne: "I'm gonna have a good life now. My family's gonna have a good life now. A lot is going to change, and it kicks so much ass."
    • The lyrics of "I'm Here", Angelea's Leitmotif during the All-Stars Cycle, was about her being a Plucky Girl most of her life. At the cycle's finale, she was disqualified and wasn't even present during final judging. What's even worse for her is that she's also the alleged winner. These are words from the song..
    • Ditto Alexandria's. Hers was titled "Go, Go, Go!", which was a Punny Name on about how she plans to go further in the competition. Alex was eliminated at the end of the episode (over Angelea).
    • In one Cycle 8 episode, Jael finds out the sad, tragic news that a friend of hers has died of a drug overdose. During the course of the episode, while Whitney consoles her and holds her while she was crying and prays for her and her friend, Renee is disgusted and says that the last thing Jael needs is "all these bitches up in her face pretending to be her friend", all the while not doing a thing to console her herself. Several years later, both Jael and Renee are addicts.
    • Also in Cycle 8, Jael posing as a dead woman her posing as Delicate and Sickly Rebecca Epley is a lot harsher in the wake of her death in 2018 from breast cancer, (The caption "I guess I AM drop-dead gorgeous!" doesn't help.)
      • In addition to that, during the casting episode of Cycle 8, Jael makes the following comment:
      Jael: "It's just modelling, we're not curing cancer here!"
    • During Cycle 1, Elyse won a challenge earning a visit from a loved one. Her boyfriend was allowed to stay for a short period of time at the contestants' hotel room, where they shared some cute scenes. Around 2008, said boyfriend allegedly assaulted her in a hotel.
    • Janice kissing Tyra in Cycle 4. As of now, they hate each other.
    • Cycle 4 runner-up Kahlen was told by Jay Manuel that she looks like supermodel Carmen Kass. After the show, Kahlen had a hard time booking jobs because of her Celebrity Resemblance which lead her to eventually leaving the industry.
    • During the All-Stars Cycle, Dominique laughed at the idea that her curse is being photographed by resident judge Nigel Barker (She was referring to her boot in Cycle 10 where he was the photographer. Nigel photographed the girls earlier). At the end of the episode, she wasn't laughing at all.
    • During the tenth episode of Cycle 11, Elina tells Sheena that she had a dream about the two of them crying, which Sheena laughs off. They end up in the bottom 2 at judging and Sheena is eliminated.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Multiple:
    • Cycle 2's April Wilkner wins the acting challenge with Mark Collier and post-ANTM she's had a successful career in acting and entertainment correspondence.
    • During Cycle 4, Michelle and two other girls note  lost a challenge and had to sleep outdoors as consequence (the challenge winner will choose two contestants to take with her to spend the night at a luxury cottage). Michelle had no qualms about it, saying she watches Survivor. About three years later, Michelle will marry Survivor's infamous villain Johnny Fairplay.
    • Elyse Sewell's Elimination Statement in Cycle 1, as after the show she had a very successful modeling career in Hong Kong.
    Elyse: "I'm going back to med-school. Modeling is not for me."
  • Taye Diggs shows up for a challenge with the girls in Cycle 3 and the following conversation becomes hilarious today as the woman he was married to at the time (Idina Menzel) is now much more of a household name:
Ann: Taye Diggs wants me.
Eva: Taye Diggs is so married.
Ann: He's married?
Eva: So married.
Ann: To who?
Eva: To his wife!
  • In Cycle 9, Heather Kuzmich having autism spectrum disorder (then known as Asperger's) created more buzz than almost any casting choice. It was lauded by some as progressive, criticized by others as exploitative and gimmicky, and the show and other contestants at times treated Heather as though she was mentally a child. Now, in the 2020's, the world knows far more about autism and the spectrum, and the idea that a beautiful aspiring model could be autistic wouldn't be seen as so strange. Not to mention, it's somewhat comedic (if not borderline cringeworthy) to see Heather's ASD treated as though she mainly has issues communicating and socializing or her self-esteem, with no mind given to things like the overstimulating environment of photoshoots, managing energy, sensitivity issues, etc.
  • Lio Tipton was praised for having the best commercial in America's Next Top Model history. After they were eliminated, they moved on to acting!
  • Hollywood Pudgy:
    • One has to be at least size 12 to be considered plus-size, usually size 16-24. The "plus-sized" contestants might not be as Hollywood Thin as the other girls, but aren't big beautiful women yet either. Case in point: Cycle 10 winner Whitney, who mentioned more than once that she's a size 10.
    • Tyra tells Cycle 2's Heather that she is "borderline plus size" and should either gain a little weight or lose weight in order to better fit into a fashion category.
    • Poor Keenyah in Cycle 4 after she puts on a few pounds, which is barely noticeable. During the Deadly Sins photoshoot she is chosen to portray Gluttony, in the South African photoshoot where they portray different local animals she is chosen to be an elephant, and they make sure to show her eating as much as they possibly can.
    • The judges criticized Sarah Hartshorne from Cycle 9 for being too thin for plus-sized, but still too big for regular modelling. Ironically, this is despite the judges bringing it up in her casting and being okay with it, and deciding to cast her as a "real-sized" girl.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Anamaria's pretty unpleasant to be around, but she has an obvious eating disorder. The way the judges treat her about it by eliminating her rather than trying to seek her proper help, just to use her as an example does not do them many favors.
    • Renee can be a real bitch, but she admitted her abusive father was a big part of why she was so hard-nosed. Plus she was even eliminated simply for looking "too old" in her Covergirl pic!
    • It's hard not to feel for Alexandria in her appearance on the first live judging in Cycle All-Stars, where she is cussed by someone. And being dissed by most recap sites despite being friendly with the contestants in this season.
    • Chris Hernandez manages to rub every other contestant the wrong way at some point during C20. But you can't help but feel sorry for him when you learn of his past, which involves an abusive mother and undoubtedly not enough love.
    • While Jayla in cycle 5 is a largely un-likeable contestant and an Elimination Houdini, one cannot help but feel she was sabotaged in the Bollywood photo shoot. While the other girls were placed in the center of their photos and given large, colorful costumes and long hair extensions, she was placed on the side for her photo, and given a short Cleopatra-type wig and darker clothing, just so the judges could complain about her "not standing out" and giving her a reason to finally eliminate her.
    • Celia in Cycle 12. While she may have been out of line to tattle on Thalia to the judges at panel, however it's really hard not to feel for her, since in spite of her good portfolio (and the fact that she won 2 challenges), she was continuously criticized for looking "too old," and she was unfairly eliminated, in spite of the fact that her photo (and portfolio) were superior to Aminat's. Not to mention she was really excited at the idea of a helicopter ride (following the go-see challenge), only for her and Fo to realize that they were denied that reward for being late- to which Teyona even stated that it served her right, for being late
    • Fatima Siad in Cycle 10. Sure she was brash and rude towards the other girls, but what she went through growing up was horrifying beyond all reason: her sisters were killed by the Somalian army, she had her genitals cut at the age of 7, and when she and her mother immigrated to the United States, they both lived in a shack, experiencing poverty.
  • Les Yay: With girls living on the same house for over a month, it's quite inevitable to be "close". Some of the more obvious examples over the years include Adrianne and Elyse from cycle 1, Eva and Anne from cycle 3, Kim and Sarah from cycle 5, Clark and Elina in cycle 11, Lio and Marjorie in cycle 11, Celia and Allison from cycle 12, etc.
    • Eva more-or-less confirmed this in the True Hollywood Story.
    Eva: There was a lot of action going on behind closed doors. A lot. Some tomfoolery.
    • Jael and Renee from cycle 8 were both closeted at the time of their cycle (Renee being married to a man at the time) and, after coming out post-show, engaged in a brief relationship.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moment of Awesome:
    • The runway challenges almost always have a factor to ensure a challenge for the models, such as rotating stages, stages underwater, etc., but some are Crazy with a capital C—case en point, the first challenge of the first boys-and-girls cycle had the contestants walking down the side of a building. The results are almost always stunning, however fear-inducing.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Bre crosses it in Cycle 5 after one of her granola bars goes missing. She decides Nicole did it (without any evidence except that she finds Nicole annoying) and pours her Red Bulls down the drain. She then tells Kim and Nicole that she's done discussing the matter, but eventually talks it over with Nicole and claims that she didn't steal her Red Bull because stealing means something goes missing and you don't know where it is - Nicole knows where her Red Bull is, even if it is down the drain. Later she tells Kim, who caught Bre in the act and confronted her about it, that she's not going to win the competition because she's got an ugly soul and God doesn't like ugly. Which are strong words, especially given the situation. She also complains that she's tired of people acting indecent. Many people had a hard time liking her after all this went down. To her credit though she did own up to what she did and apologized to Nicole, which must have taken guts given the situation.
  • Mis-blamed: Lisa got a chunk of hate for Allison's second defeat. If it's not her, it's Tyra.
    • Bre in Cycle 5 blamed Nicole for eating one of her granola bars. In a 2021 interview, Jayla confirmed that it was a member of production who wasn't even aware that this caused a conflict.
  • Narm: In Cycle 2, the audience is treated to the awful scene of Shandi calling her boyfriend to tearfully admit that she had cheated on him with a male model. It's horrible to watch Shandi dissolve into a puddle of tears, as well as said boyfriend audibly sobbing after she tells him...but many viewers have unfortunately admitted to laughing at his high-pitched shriek of "YOU HAD SAX?!"
  • Narm Charm: The show delights in this. There's a lot of crying going on, and so over the top that it's downright charming.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy:
    • Saleisha "Scandaleisha" Stowers must have had a hard time enjoying her win of Cycle 9. Despite being pretty, bubbly, delivering mostly good and decent pictures and being far from that cycle's Alpha Bitch (a title which belongs to Bianca), most people only remember her history with Tyra.
    • In 2020, the show came under fire as fans began examine it more closely and took notice of a number of insensitive scenes and episodes. Notable moments called out were the blackface photoshoots in Cycle 4 and Cycle 13, Tyra insulting Danielle Evans over the gap in her teeth, and Tyra criticizing Kim Stolz for being open about her sexuality among many others.
  • Reality Subtext: Kahlen Rondot channeled the emotion needed for her portrayal of Wrath in the Seven Deadly Sins pictorial by using her grief and frustration regarding her friend's death.
  • The Scrappy: There are many...
    • Bryan Boy's appearance on ANTM was not well-received, partly because the idea of a social media correspondent seemed unnecessary when all Bryanboy did was report what other people were saying and couldn't give his own opinion like a real judge.
    • Monique in Cycle 7. Despite her short stay on the show, she left quite the impression. Although in the first episode, she came off as a shy, sweet girl who had been bullied by her older sisters for being darker than them, the next episodes she makes a 180. When she was one of the two girls left without a bed, she took Eugena's bed, poured water on it, and pretended that she had peed on it, saying she was "marking her territory". During a challenge in which she had been disqualified, she then hogged the phone from everyone else for over three hours, despite other girls needing it (especially Melrose who needed to talk to her landlord). Later, she wipes her dirty underwear on Melrose's bed, while she is sleeping in it. In the recap episode, after another girl supposedly eats her Doritos, she throws everybody else's food in the garbage. Thankfully, her run on the show did not last long, as she fell ill and decided not to participate in that week's photo shoot, getting eliminated, while the rest of the girls (especially Melrose) were pleased about this.
    • Natalie from Cycle 12 is this all over. She explained to Teyona and Aminat that she grew up in "a different place than they did," and wasn't used to chores . Later, on the episode where she was eliminated, she complained about how "ugly" Brazil was, and while others were happy about doing a photoshoot in a Brazilian ghetto, Natalie complained about the poor people. She tried to play the "they took my words out of context" card post-show quite a bit, but just made it worse for herself. For example, in the first episode, she bragged about having never worked a day in her life. Post-show, she argued that they cut out that she had never worked a day because she chose to focus on school something most poorer people don't exactly have the privilege of choosing to do. Oh, and she firmly believed that Tyra liked Aminat and Teyona more because they were black.
    • The Elimination Houdini always get this treatment, especially those with lackluster performances who advanced over consistent and fan-favorite contestants. Ann over Toccarra and Norelle in Cycle 3, Whitney over Katarzyna in Cycle 10 and Angelea over Dominique and Laura in All-Stars are examples.
    • Tahlia from Cycle 12 is almost universally hated by fans for her whiny personality and lack of modeling skills, though that didn't stop the fans from calling out Celia for telling Tyra during panel that Tahlia should go home.
    • Jeana in Cycle 24 for being arrogant, selfish and constantly copying or sabotaging the other girls, like deliberately picking a wig the exact colour of Khrystyana's or carrying one of the child models after the photographer did it during the final runway despite ignoring her partner earlier.
    • Among the winners, Saleisha (cycle 9) and Whitney (cycle 10) are by far the most hated. While both are often regarded as Creators Pets who outlasted and won over several fan favorites of their respective cycles, having an unlikable personality on Tv and providing portfolios that are overshadowed by other contestants, both are hated for different reasons.
      • Saleisha is hated mostly for her pre-existing relationship with Tyra (having attended her "T-zone" camp years ago), having more previous modeling experience than the rules allow (having appeared in a national campaign for Wendy's) and actively participating in bullying Heather at times.
      • Meanwhile, Whitney is hated due to many feel she won simply for being a plus-sized model(however, being only a size 10, she would normally be considered too small to be plus-sized), with her ability, while good enough to reach the overseas stage, is lacking in a strong cast endgame. Some fans also perceive Whitney as low-key racist, from an argument with Dominique accusing her of this, she replied with "My best friend is BLACK!" and laughing at Alison's rude claims of Fatima when playing dolls with her.
    • Judge Kelly Cutrone isn't well liked by many fans not only because of the Louise incident, but because she underrates and unappreciative of some contestants talents (Annaliese and Catherine. AzMarie at the time of her boot). Turning her back on Laura, her favorite contestant, in the Cycle 18 finale didn't help either.
    • On the Australia side, Demelza, Rebecca and Alyce in Cycle 4 are this for their vicious bullying of Alamela. The fact that Demelza won that season also doesn't help either, nor does their subpar modeling.
    • Cassi from Australia 5 for her rude, uneducated demeanor and constant anger issue. The fact that she took the final 2 spot away from fan-favorite Clare doesn't help.
    • Host Jodhi Meares on the Australian version already had an uphill battle due to being a glamour model compared to the other hosts. She quickly proved completely inadequate as a host, having little charisma and screen presence, being truly egregious when it came to favoritism (Steph H in Cycle 3, Demelza and Rebecca in Cycle 4... who were scrappies themselves). To top it all off, she humiliated herself at both finales, in Cycle 3 by having a meltdown live on-stage and actually insulting one of the clients/sponsors, and in Cycle 4 by bailing mere hours before the finale began.
  • Seasonal Rot:
  • 17 (All Stars), despite the returning "Fan Favorites note ", the majority of the photo shoots rather weak for All Stars. Worst of all, most the girls defrosted and were usually nice towards each other, so the infighting between them were generally low note . It is also the rot where they shifted from pretense of high fashion 2 cycles ago to relying on gimmicks.
  • Some fans said early as cycle 8, or even cycle 7, as that was when the show switched networks from UPN to The CW.
  • Cycles 9 and 10 are largely disliked by fans, largely because of the winners of those cycles winning over seemingly more deserving contestants.
  • Cycles 12 and 14 are also disliked by fans, and while the winners of those cycles are more liked (with 12's being well-regarded and 14's being divisive), the overall casts and photo shoots of those seasons are not as popular or well-liked as previous seasons.
  • Cycle 19 had a complete change from the previous cycles, ditching long time sponsor Cover Girl from their prize package, hiring an all-new judging panel, and introducing the social media scores into determining the winner.
  • Shocking Elimination: In most cases, they had better careers over the contestants who made it further than them, including the winners.
    • Elyse Sewell from Cycle 1, who later had a notable career working in Asia. She was the front runner of the competition, having the most consistent praise from the judges.
    • From Cycle 3, Toccara Jones - before her elimination, she was a front-runner and beloved for her vivacious personality, but is then eliminated because the judges feel she is fading into the background. She also once had a spread in Vogue Italia.
    • Lisa D'Amato and Kim Stolz from Cycle 5 (the former will come back with a vengeance by winning the All-Stars Cycle)
    • Nnenna Agba from Cycle 6 was considered an early frontrunner due to a very strong showing in the first few weeks; however, she quickly plateaued and was cut in her first bottom 2 appearance against Furonda, who had improved greatly from a weak beginning.
    • Katarzyna Dolinska and Fatima Siad from Cycle 10, both went on to have notable fashionable careers (with the former once worked in Christophe Josse Haute Couture show in Paris and latter once worked in Herve Ledger for Spring/Summer 2012)
  • So Bad, It's Good: Best enjoyed MSTed. A large part of the show consists of grown women fighting like high school girls, crying hysterically over things like makeovers, and—as many compilations made in the late 2010's came to prove—many moments that are now uncomfortably problematic.
  • Squick: In Cycle 7, Monique's crazed, bullying behavior is made downright gross by her methods of doing so - which consist of sticking her hand into her crotch (while she only had a wet towel on) and then shoving said hand into a girl's face (with said girl commenting that it smelled like a "rotting, spoiled pumpkin"), and then later on taking off her bikini bottoms and rubbing them on the same girl's bed when she was asleep. And according to Word of God from the producers, that was the stuff she did that they could show - some of the other stuff was considered illegal. Subverted with one of her other antics - she claimed another girl's bed by saying she peed on it, so it was hers now... but in reality, she just poured water on it. It does say a lot, though, that nobody actually questioned her story.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • Even though Catie from cycle 2 was portrayed as being in the wrong for getting upset over the critique that Simon Dooley of Barney's gave her over her outfit (to the point that some of her fellow contestants sided with him and called her immature) and he trying to invoke that she Can't Take Criticism, there are a few things that work in her favor. Aside from being 18 at the time and a lot more sheltered than the other girls, she had a right to be upset due to a) she put together an outfit that she worked hard on, she believed would be seen as modelesque and represented her personal style, only for him to write off as looking like a prostitute and b) the fact that he humiliated her in front of her friends and on national television (which she lampshaded saying that the criticism would have been accepted by her if it were done in private).
    • Tiffany, the girl who is known for getting yelled at by Tyra, has a point. While Tyra was right to chew her out for not taking the competition seriously, Tiffany was right about how she shouldn't cry so much about getting eliminated because there was nothing she can do about the decision and throwing pity parties wouldn't have helped her case. Also giving her more credence is the alternating reasons as to why Tyra yelled at her (with the aforementioned "she's wasting her opportunity" and "Tyra was stressed out from getting her talk show off the ground" being the most popular).
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: It is universally agreed that Cycle 2 was superior to Cycle 1. Then comes Cycle 3, which is arguably an Even Better Sequel to the former. In fact, majority of the succeeding cycles are considered superior to Cycle 1, though it has become a Cult Classic to the show's fans.
  • Tear Jerker: Kimberly Rydzewski's boyfriend committed suicide right before she entered the competition. In hindsight, it's understandable why a modeling competition may seem insignificant in light of such an event.
    • It's even sadder when you learn that she died a little while after her cycle ended
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Cycle 17 front-runners Dominique and Laura were eliminated in favor of the resident Elimination Houdini who was ultimately disqualified.
    • Twiggy was a pretty knowledgeable judge (a given how she was one of the defining supermodels of the 1960s) and was pretty fair and likable as well. Yet to the average fan, her reception was more along the lines of "Waaah! Make her more like Janice!"
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: In relation to the above, Cycle 17's final five consisted of the four front-runners and the resident Elimination Houdini. Guess who made it to the top three and got disqualified.
  • Unnecessary Makeover: Usually on Makeover Day, there's at least one. Most of the time, they do try to find hair colors and styles that better compliment the girls' complexions and bone structure, but every once in a while, a girl that already had a really pretty and flattering hairstyle will have it completely changed simply for the sake of every girl having equally drastic makeovers at the same time.
  • Vindicated by History:
    • Cycle 3 fourth placer Ann Markley is the series' first notable Elimination Houdini. After the show, she improved on her being photogenic and had a great modelling career.
    • Cycle 7 had Eugena Washington, who had a shaky start in the beginning of the season, and although she improved during the show, she was never really the strongest of the bunch, many believe she coasted to the top 3 based on her model potential rather than a strong portfolio. However, since then she has worked consistently as a model, been in lots of commercials, and eventually becoming Playmate of the Year in 2017.
    • Dominique Reighard had a rough attitude that gains the ire of the other contestants and made it the top 4 in Cycle 10, outlasting fan-favorite Katarzyna Dolinska. However, she largely redeemed herself during Cycle 17, consistently turning out strong photos and becoming a fan-favorite in her own right during that season.
    • In 2020-21 during the COVID-19 pandemic and with many former contestants' ND As having expired, YouTube creator Oliver Twixt hosted interviews with several dozen ex-contestants. A number of contestants were able to set the record straight about meltdowns, drama, photos and more, most notably Bianca (Cycle 9/17), Brittany (Cycle 8), Jayla (Cycle 5), Eugena (Cycle 7) and more.
      • Brittany Hatch (Cycle 8) spoke up for Jael regarding the 50 Cent incident and stated that it was actually 50 who continually called Jael over to where he was, only to taunt her and ask her to leave. He also made a lewd comment about Brittany, which led to Jael standing up for her friend and 50 throwing her in the pool.
  • The Woobie:
    • Cassie Grisham was suffering from bulimia. And her dad was a Jerkass too.
    • Kahlen's friend died and she had to pose inside a coffin immediately. Sure she won best photo, but it's hard not to feel like hugging her during that episode.
    • Natasha is the victim of some nasty bullying when the models go to Australia, where the three remaining girls call her the weakest model in front of the judges. It backfired on them enormously, Tyra called them out for ganging up on her and Dionne got sent home.
    • Tyra (and the panel) liked to pick on Katarzyna and mispronouncing her name. Just watch Cycle 10.
    • Nicole constantly got called "weird" or "creepy" by the other girls and was often seen sitting alone, though her winning the competition does sweeten this somewhat.
    • Isis, especially when the girls are hanging out in the hot tub and Hannah physically pushes her away when she gets too close.
  • Kayla. She had to pose, in her underwear, with the word "queer" written all over her, then later admitted that she was sexually molested as a child. Ouch.
  • Ondrei Edwards' brother died just a few months before she got in ANTM.
  • Allison Harvard due to being Always Second Best. Also for what happened to her in the All Stars Cycle. The contestants were challenged to write lyrics for their own song and perform it in a video. Allison wrote a song about her feelings about her father's death... only to find out later that footage of Tyra dancing around with a feather boa would be spliced into the video and she had to add the words "pot ledom is top model spelled backwards" into the song. Ouch.
  • Khrystyana admitting she was molested by her father's business associate at eleven years old and she'd never told anyone before. The judges and quite a few of the contestants were in tears at that.
  • Heather Kuzmich, who was often bullied by the other girls for being socially awkward (since she has Asperger's Syndrome)- to the point where she broke down while telephoning her mom, and even excluded her from having a bed in Shanghai, China. While she was well liked by most of the fans, had great photos, won two challenges (even winning a shopping spree with Chantal in Shanghai) and continued to be Cover Girl of the week even after she was eliminated, it's still very heartbreaking to see how cruel and immature many of the other girls were to her- mostly in the earlier episodes. Some have stated that the girls were more indifferent to Heather than anything and that she and Bianca were actually best friends who bickered "like sisters," but the environment of Top Model is stressful for anyone, let alone a neurodivergent person constant overstimulation, lack of routine, different communication styles, etc. Plus, although it was never mentioned on the show, she had just recently lost her father.
  • Anchal Joseph, one of the most beautiful contestants of Cycle 7, who was continuously fat-shamed (especially by Melrose), to the point where a challenge judge even told her "you're body's not in the right shape for the runway," which led to her being extremely insecure about her potential.
  • Jaeda Young when she has to kiss a male model in a commercial shoot who made a racist remark towards her. And because she lost all her confidence when they cut all her hair off, which made her feel "unfeminine," and was never able to regain her confidence.
  • Amanda Swafford, simply because she revealed on the show that she had retinitis pigmentosa (a degenerative eye condition) that led her to become completely blind at age 30. Even the other contestants felt sorry for her.
  • Brooke Miller, who was eliminated on the night she was supposed to graduate from high school- therefore missing the ceremony and losing the competition all at once.
  • What The Hell, Costuming Department?: While the show did have some pretty fashionable and unique photoshoots, some of them went beyond the realm of modeling and made people ask, "What were they thinking when the came up with that?!":
    • Cycle 3 had the dual personality challenge where the contestants had to portray an average side and a glamorous side. The fact that almost none of the women had a desirable photo between them (with the exception of Eva and Ann) speaks volumes.note 
    • Cycle 4's "Got Milk?" ethnicities is one of the most infamous shoots in the series' history. Aside from the controversial decision of putting some of the women in blackface, brownface and yellowface, the added stress of them holding a child for their picture, having to carry on the fashion and the ethnicity and sporting a milk mustache reminds one of the old adage of "less is more".
    • Cycle 5's premiere photoshoot of the contestants as superheroes is another example. Unlike Cycle 2's similar shoot where the women were wearing couture outfits while suspended in the air, the women were dressed as goofy, color-clashing crime-fighters while also in harnesses.
    • Cycle 7's celebrity couples is a particularly bad one. While some of the couples looked like their counterparts, most of the outfits made the women barely look like the celebrities in question. The Whitney Houston outfits just had Jaeda stuck in a bad wig with no concept of the superstar, CariDee's Brad Pitt looked more like Justin Timberlake and the fact that Tyra herself took umbrage with how little the Oprah and Stedman costuming looked like them is noteworthy (and is made even worse because most of the featured couplesnote  have since broken up).
    • While the makeovers tend to be genuinely good at best or just unnecessary at worst, some have gone down in history for elliciting a mass "WTF?" reaction from viewers. Cycle 16 contestant Molly was given a massive bleach-blonde weave that looked like ramen—it was so bad that it was ultimately removed after just a week. Cycle 18's Laura probably had it the worst, however, as she was given red and blue streaks.
    • Even the guys weren't exempt from questionable makeovers. Cycle 20's Phil Sullivan was given a Jesus-inspired hair weave (complete with a gratuitous wreath to wear in his reveal shot) and Cycle 21's Denzel Wells did him one better by being given a lace front beard in spite of him being able to grow his own facial hair (and yes, it did itch).