It was 14 years ago when a then 21-year-old Adrianne Curry was crowned the first winner of America’s Next Top Model. The show created and hosted by 90s supermodel Tyra Banks was the first of its kind and would go on to produce 23 cycles.
Previous winners and contestants, including Fatima Siad, Analeigh Tipton, Yaya DaCosta and Winnie Harlow, have walked on major international runways and started promising TV and movie careers. But according to the series’ first-ever winner, her success ended the moment the cameras stopped rolling.
“I was brought on season two, picked up in a limo from my apartment and told to brag and rave about my success. I did, but I was still waiting for my prize,” now-35-year-old Curry writes in a lengthy blog post titled The Truth About Top Model.
“We were promised a Revlon contract on my season and a contract with Wilhelmina,” Curry claims in the piece.
“They did voice-overs on the actual aired show and changed what was being said to us while filming. When I met with Revlon, they informed me they never planned on using the winner for any campaigns.”
Curry says that after booking, and then never being paid for a US $15,000 (AUD $19,922) modelling job with Revlon, and being overlooked by her modelling agency, she contacted Banks and the Top Model team, but never heard back.
“I reached out to Tyra and ‘Top Model’, desperate to get out of my contract and get advice as I was not being given any castings, etc. by an agency that wanted me to fail. CRICKETS. Phone calls ignored,” she claims.
"I had a big heart and I really looked to the show as my saviours and Tyra my angel. When I was desperate for help and being punished by my agency for being from the show after they dropped Wilhelmina... I just wanted some guidance... some ... something. That was my first great life betrayal. Nothing had hurt more than the realisation that those people didn't really care about me."
Currently, Curry is married to American voice-over actor, Matthew Rhode and says she is grateful to have learnt her lesson about Hollywood and the entertainment industry early on.
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"Every setback, every heartbreak I faced, I grew. It made me stronger. I was set on a path that led me where I am today," she wrote.
"I wish Tyra well in her life and have no hard feelings anymore. She is a woman looking out for herself in a world where no one else gives a shit about you. Being cutthroat and numb to others in that industry is the only way to get ahead."
Neither Banks nor Top Model have commented on Curry's claims. You can read the full blog post on Adrienne Curry's website.