Top 10 America's Next Top Model Runners Up That Should've Won



Top 10 America's Next Top Model Runners Up That Should've Won

VOICE OVER: Samantha Clinch WRITTEN BY: Beau Kimpton
We all know these "America's Next Top Model" runner-ups should've won. Our countdown includes Leila Goldkuhl, Molly O'Connell, Anya Rozova, and more!

Top 10 America's Next Top Model Runner-Ups That Should've Won

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 “America’s Next Top Model” runner ups that should’ve won.

For this list, we’ll be looking at contestants who placed either second and third on the reality competition series when they deserved to take the top spot. Since we’ll be revealing the winners of each cycle we discuss, we are issuing a spoiler alert.

Which model did you think was robbed? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: Leila Goldkuhl
Cycle 19

In the show’s “College Edition,” Leila stood out for her bubbly personality, tenacious attitude, and signature smile. Since the judges thought she had great potential, it was shocking to see her get eliminated five episodes in. But the fashion student’s social media score allowed her to return. While Leila notably had an accident during the final runway show, her last photo was acclaimed and she was beloved by the editor-in-chief of Nylon magazine. She went on to show that she had what it took to win. But her high fashion features and track record that was arguably more consistent than winner Laura’s only got her 3rd place. Thankfully, since her loss, she’s enjoyed one of the most prolific careers of any “Top Model” alum.

#9: Melrose Bickerstaff
Cycle 7

There’s no question that Cycle 7’s winner CariDee English is a talented model who was well-liked by fans. But although her fellow competitor Melrose wasn’t always the most lovable contestant, she had confidence, personality, and individuality in spades. And with three top performances and two stints in the bottom, her track record was pretty similar to CariDee. Melrose also stood out by showing off a diverse skill set. She was great at interviewing Janice Dickinson, used a dining table as a catwalk, and was good at attending go-sees. In the finale, CariDee nailed her CoverGirl photo. But Melrose’s runway walk was stronger and the judges acknowledged her other strong qualities. Love her or hate her, her tireless work should’ve secured her the win.

#8: Yaya Dacosta
Cycle 3

Admittedly, Yaya Dacosta was a divisive contestant. While she demonstrated a natural talent for posing with little experience, the judges criticized what they saw as her condescending attitude. She excelled through most of the competition and attracted high praise for her photographs before struggling with challenges in Japan. Despite her setbacks, she had as many first callouts as the winner Eva Marcille. Yaya also appeared at the bottom fewer times. Although some judges advocated for her in the finale, she was still edged out by the undeniably fierce Eva. Despite her loss, the entertainment industry picked up on Yaya’s obvious star power. She would go on to nab a lead role on NBC’s “Chicago Med.”

#7: Jenah Doucette
Cycle 9

“Top Model” can be frustrating at times for the judges’ shifting criteria of what makes a winner. Cycle 9 exemplified this with Jenah. Although the panel admitted she took amazing photographs, she came under fire for an ostensibly prickly personality. But she argued that her personality was just misunderstood. In the dramatic finale, Tyra admitted that while winner Sal had modelling experience, Jenah had one of the show’s strongest portfolios of all time with little experience. Given the high praise she received, it was downright confusing that she was not only NOT given the top spot, but she wasn’t even allowed to compete in the finale.

#6: Molly O’Connell
Cycle 16

Brittani Kline’s win came as a surprise to some viewers. Although her fellow competitor Molly was put through one of the show’s worst-ever makeovers, she dealt with it professionally. She went on to have more best photos in the weeks leading up to the finale than the winner. Molly could also keep an easygoing personality in times of high pressure. By contrast, Brittani was the center of much drama, even at photoshoots. And while the judges would go on to punish future finalists for falling during the final runway show, Brittani did so and managed to score the win anyway. Even the judges admitted that Molly’s portfolio was superior. But the fierce blonde still didn’t take home the crown.

#5: Khrystyana Kazakova
Cycle 24

The 24th Cycle of “Top Model” removed the upper age limit for the first time and aimed to celebrate a wider range of appearances. Khrystyana shined as a 32-year-old plus-size model who placed third but won us over with a striking look and bubbly personality. She also had as many first call-outs as the winner Kyla and boasted a whopping six challenge wins to boot. But Khrystyana was upset by a twist in the penultimate episode. Jeana Turner was saved after elimination by designer Philipp Plein and made it into the final two. However, we think Khrystyana’s track record and body positivity should’ve merited her consideration as a finalist.

#4: Joanie Dods
Cycle 6

When it came down to the wire in this cycle, Joanie and Danielle Evans made for an extremely strong top two. In the final deliberation, the judges even stated it was the hardest win they’d had to call. But despite her loss, Joanie had an absolutely stellar track record in the competition. During the six weeks before the finale, Danielle had one first call-out while Joanie came out on top a record-breaking five times. And while Danielle killed the final runway walk, the judging panel admitted that Joanie had a chameleon-like quality that would make her a successful model. If ever there were a time to declare a tie, this would have been it.

#3: Nik Pace
Cycle 5

When Nicole Linkletter was chosen as the winner over runner-up Nik in cycle 4, some fans were confused by this outcome. Nik was undeniably fierce, with a strong presence and consistency week-to-week that her competitor lacked. Even the judging panel admitted that she was an excellent model right out of the gate. Viewers also took a liking to the Atlanta native and she was voted fan-favorite six times across the competition. But in the finale, some judges focused an awful lot on Nik’s “bouncy” walk. Despite having more best photos and obvious editorial and commercial prospects, she still wasn’t the winner. Ford Models would later see her talent and sign her.

#2: Anya Rozova
Cycle 10

It was fantastic to see Whitney Thompson make history as the first plus-size winner of “Top Model.” However, fans had expected Anya Rozova to secure the win. She had a stronger record than Whitney during the competition. In all but one week, Anya was called before the winner. She also enjoyed five top placements compared to her competitor’s one. And while Whitney was in the bottom a whopping four times, Anya was never up for elimination. To top it all off, the judges sometimes had issues with Whitney’s personality. But Anya’s strong performance still wasn’t enough to overcome her fellow competitor. As entertaining as the show was, it could be downright frustrating for the clear frontrunner to miss out on the all-important title.

#1: Allison Harvard
Cycle 17

Fans can’t talk about contestants who were robbed on “Top Model” without talking about Allison. In her original season, this kooky introvert was responsible for some truly iconic photos. But she was edged out by the fantastic Teyona Anderson. So when Allison returned for the show’s only all-stars season, many viewers had high hopes — and she delivered. Lisa D’Amato, who was declared the winner after Angelea Preston’s controversial disqualification, had loads of personality but lacked both polish and consistency. Allison performed just as well as she did on her stellar first appearance on the show. It felt like an unusually cruel twist of fate for her to place as runner-up twice. Understandably, the model’s fans took issue with this all-important season’s outcome.