America's Next Top Model Cycle 9 was the ninth cycle of America's Next Top Model and the third season of the series to be aired on The CW network. This cycle's promotional tagline was "The Future Of Fashion".
The international destinations during this cycle were Shanghai and Beijing, China. The prize was management and representation by Elite Model Management, a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl cosmetics, and a cover and six-page spread within Seventeen magazine.
The ninth cycle premieres with 33 potential contestants each receiving a phone call from Tyra Banks, announcing that they are the semifinalists. They convene at a port in San Juan, Puerto Rico and meet J. Alexander, who gives them boarding passes for a luxurious Caribbean Ocean Liner, their residence for the week until the 13 finalists are decided. Their first task is to walk a runway modeling life-jackets. At breakfast, the women meet Tyra, before proceeding to their interviews with the judges. Memorable moments include Janet's mock waxing of Tyra, Heather revealing that she has Asperger's Syndrome and Lisa's revelation of being an exotic dancer. Marvita Washington failed to make the final cut, but later successfully became a contestant on Cycle 10.
They dock at St. John’s, Antigua for a beach photo shoot, where they meet Cycle 8 winner Jaslene Gonzalez. After the shoot, the final 20 are selected. Tyra asks the final 20 why they should become America's Next Top Model, before the final deliberations with Mr. and Ms. Jay are done and the final 13 contestants are chosen.
The girls' first challenge is to create an outfit that is simple yet fashionable from Old Navy in 10 minutes. They go to Old Navy and Benny Ninja (posing expert-Voguing challenge, cycle 8) is there to help them/supervise them. The shop is left a mess. The girls' outfits are judged at panel. Saleisha won the prize of doing an ad for Old Navy and $1000 to Old Navy.
The first photoshoot portrays the negative sides of smoking. In one set of frames, they will look glamorous smoking; in the next set, they are shown after smoking has affected them. The girls portray the following:
|Heather||Second hand smoke (with Saleisha)|
|Jenah||Baldness from Chemotherapy|
|Mila||Losing hair from chemotherapy|
|Saleisha||Second hand smoke (with Heather)|
Most of the contestants, especially Heather, Lisa, and Chantal excel, Victoria delivers an angelical photo, but Bianca, Ebony, and Mila struggle. Ebony and Mila find themselves in the bottom two, Ebony because she is too stiff and Mila for not taking the photoshoot seriously. In the end, Ebony is chosen over Mila for displaying more potential. At the end of the episode the girls are informed that smoking will be banned for this cycle because it sets a bad example to young girls and women.
Some girls help Heather dress up to spruce up her image. The girls then proceed to Fashion Madhouse, where J. Alexander shocks the girls with a scary lesson on perfecting their runway walk while wearing straitjackets. Miss J teases Heather because of her weak walk, and also teases Bianca because she shows her signature walk too much. Back at the house, Saleisha and Bianca get into a heated argument.
After a couture runway challenge, Saleisha wins a trip to Paris in the future for a Colleen Quen fashion show. For the photo shoot, the contestants are placed on a climbing wall while wearing couture gowns. Lisa, Sarah and Chantal shine again in their shoots, while Ebony, Bianca and Kimberly struggle. Although Ebony struggles, she manages to improve and impress the judges with a better shot than last week.
Ultimately, it is Bianca and Kimberly who land in the bottom two. Tyra stated that, besides herself, none of the judges liked Bianca's photo, but Kimberly's inability to transfer her high fashion appeal in person onto film and lack of fashion sense sends her home.
The contestants get their makeovers at the Ken Pavés salon. Bianca was initially intended to get a long blonde weave, but her damaged hair wouldn't have been able to accept the weave, so she was shaved bald. She was given a blonde wig, but it went unused for the rest of the season, because the bald look suited her.
The challenge that week involved the girls putting their look together using CoverGirl cosmetics at a make-up table and the girls must then rummage through racks of clothes to find the outfit with their name on it. Janet is deemed by the judges as having the best make-up and she would have won, however since she didn't put on the correct outfit, she was disqualified. Sarah wins the challenge, and she gets the opportunity to shoot a tutorial video on the CoverGirl website on makeup application.
The week's photo shoot had the girls portray different plants, as follows:
|Model||Type of plant|
|Ebony||Bird of Paradise|
Jenah and Heather and Sarah once again pull off strong shots,and Bianca, Ebony, and Janet are commended for their improvements, while Chantal, Saleisha, and Victoria struggle with their shoots.
At panel, Tyra tells Ebony that she would have been called first if it wasn't for her up-tight personality in front of the judges. Chantal gets criticized about her inability to take in both the photographer's and the art director's instructions during the shoot, and Saleisha's lack of emotion in her picture doesn't sit well with the judges. When evaluating Victoria's cactus picture, Twiggy remarks that it was a fitting representation since she felt Victoria has a "prickly disposition". Saleisha and Victoria end up in the bottom two and Victoria is sent home for her lack of charm and her inability to take criticism.
The week kicks off with a posing lesson with vogueing expert Benny Ninja who teaches the girls how to pose while in the air by jumping on a trampoline. Ambreal is praised for her natural ability to strike amazing poses, while Heather and Lisa struggle with their awkwardness.
Later, the remaining 10 girls use what they have learned from Benny when they have to pose in the air while being carried by ice-skaters in a rink for this week's reward challenge - the prize being an Akademiks photo shoot for Seventeen magazine with Cycle 6 winner Danielle Evans. Lisa wins the challenge, picking Ebony and Janet to join her in the photo shoot, but causes tension when some other girls feel that her win was not deserved.
For the week's photo shoot, the girls are to take high fashion photographs posing as gargoyles on the roof of a high rise building. Bianca and Ebony shocked Mr. Jay with their astounding progress, while Jenah, Heather and Lisa all delivered once again. Sarah struggles to fit the character, Janet is worried about showing her underwear, and Ambreal has to fight her fear of heights.
At panel, most of the girls receive praise from the judges. Though Heather delivered another strong photograph, she was advised that she needed to model her face forwards as well, and not just profile. Sarah was criticized for not grasping the concept of the shoot, and Ebony is once again cautioned about her uptight in-person appearance, and is told to smile more.
The bottom two are revealed to be Janet and Ambreal. Tyra felt that both girls had striking features and great personalities, but feel that Janet is constantly coached from photoshoot to photoshoot, and Ambreal is worsening rather than improving, but Ambreal is given another chance, and Janet is sent home.
At the house, Ebony was talking to a few of the girls, and shocks them by saying she no longer wants to be there. Later on, male model Tyson Beckford surprises the models at the house and gives them a lesson on being a spokesperson. Most pull off an impromptu sales pitch for their teacher, but a few have a hard time concentrating on their task. Later, the girls are split into groups and create a public service announcement for the charity Keep A Child Alive. Though the group consisting of Heather, Jenah and Ambreal struggle to put together their announcements, they win the challenge and receive gift baskets from Carol's Daughter. In addition, Heather wins an extra prize; she gets to participate in a photo shoot for Carol's Daughter, directed by singer Mary J. Blige. She uses the photo shoot as an opportunity to practice shooting face-front pictures.
The week's photo shoot had the girls model with various recyclable materials, as follows:
This is the recap episode of the season, reviewing the first six episodes of the cycle. It included some never-before-seen footage, including Miss J's fashion checkpoint at castings, Bianca running into a glass door, Jenah visiting the dentist over a chipped tooth, Tyra discussing body image with the girls, Janet teaching Bianca how to unclog the toilet, Jenah dealing with nicotine withdrawal, and Bianca's confrontations with Saleisha, Chantal, Ebony and Heather.
As the girls reel over Ebony’s shocking departure, Sarah starts questioning her own self-image. Things heat up when Bianca accuses Heather of just “sitting pretty” and not doing anything extra to produce good photos.
Tyra teaches the ladies how to model in front of a moving camera. Later, the contestants shoot a music video with Enrique Iglesias. The girls meet Enrique in their van, where he tells them one of them will win the reward of being featured more in the video. They gather again later where both Lisa and Heather are announced the winners as they best portrayed the “gothic” look being incorporated in the video.
The filming of the video turns to tragedy when Heather faints for a minute due to overexhaustion. The situation soon bides over, and Heather is touched by the genuine concern of most of the girls.
At panel, Lisa, Saleisha, and Heather's clips receive praise, while Sarah is criticized for feeling embarrassed about her own body. In the end, she lands in the bottom two together with Chantal, both for the same reason that they seemed to be "coasting" by with no significant improvements. In the end, it was Sarah who was eliminated due to her lack of self-confidence.
The remaining seven girls go to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. There, they are paired up with student fashion designers, as their muses. On the runway, the girls must show off their outfits as well as explain their dress. Heather and Lisa both stumble on their performances, and Saleisha is chosen as the challenge winner. The reward for the challenge is a photo shoot for Seventeen magazine, and she chooses Bianca and Lisa to join her in her reward.
For their photo shoot, the girls are dropped off at the desert where they have to portray a model stranded in the middle of nowhere, posing with a burning car. During the photo shoot, Heather's frustration over her poor challenge performance takes its toll, and she produces many mediocre takes.
At panel, the girls are told that they will be going to Shanghai, China for the remainder of the competition, but there are only six spots available. Most of the girls receive praise for their pictures, especially Bianca and Jenah, but Heather is informed that this was her weakest shoot to date. Ambreal is advised that she needs to work much harder, and Lisa is told that she is fading away from the judges.
In the end, Ambreal and Lisa land in the bottom two, but it is Ambreal who is eliminated since the judges felt Lisa had more model "vibe".
The six remaining girls fly to Shanghai, China, and are brought to their suite. However, there are only five beds inside, and when Saleisha refuses to share the only king-sized bed, Heather is left without one. Jenah and Bianca end up sharing the large bed.
The girls learn basic martial arts poses. Their challenge is to showcase their poses in the air on high wires. At the challenge, Bianca refuses to pose in the air, disqualifying herself. Heather wins the challenge, and is rewarded with a shopping spree. She chooses Chantal to accompany her.
This week, the girls will shoot both a commercial and photo shoot for CoverGirl Queen collection, and are told to wear clothes that showcases their personality.
At panel the judges felt all the girls struggled with either their commercials or their photo shoots and only Chantal and Saleisha receive relative praise for their commercial performances, despite unsatisfactory photos, while Jenah is praised for her photo, but her personality is questioned by the judges. Heather and Lisa's commercial takes are deemed the worst, and they land in the bottom two, despite strong photos. Though her photo was deemed "warm and approachable", it was Lisa who was eliminated, with her ability to handle criticism in question.
The remaining five girls are sent on go-sees. Heather has difficulty finding her way around town, and ends up only visiting one designer, and Jenah receives bad comments about her personality and walk. Bianca and Saleisha are the only two to make it back on time; Chantal, Jenah and Heather are all disqualified for their tardiness. Bianca wins the challenge; as her reward, her picture will be used in a campaign for the 2008 Olympics.
Later, the girls take part in a photo shoot with Nigel, where they have to stand out in a crowd of Chinese lions and dragons. Some of Jenah's comments causes friction between her and Nigel, leaving Jenah to worry about her fate in the competition.
During panel, Tyra announces that the final four will go to Beijing, China for the remainder of the competition. Saleisha shines, while Bianca is critiqued for forgetting about her face in her photograph, and Jenah's communication skills are questioned. Chantal is complimented for a beautiful picture, but is objurated for overreacting when she receives her critiques. Heather is criticized for not being able to handle pressure and doing the worst in the go-sees challenge, although her picture receives praise.
Jenah and Heather ultimately land in the bottom two, both for their communication improprieties. While both are commended on having the two best portfolios of the remaining models, the judges felt they lacked something in their communication. With that, Jenah's name is called and Heather is eliminated.
The final four fly to Beijing, where they are introduced to the story of the Four Beauties. The next day, they participate in a challenge in which they must turn a traditional Chinese garment into their own style. During the task, Bianca purposefully gives Jenah bad advice, so when she is declared the winner, she instead chooses Chantal to share her prize of custom-made Chinese qípáos. Jenah also wins a personalized runway lesson with Miss J.
The girls then travel to the Great Wall for a Mongolian warrior-themed photo shoot photographed by Tyra. Chantal excels throughout the photoshoot, while Jenah and Bianca struggle at first but pull off good takes at the end. Saleisha was praised for doing amazing jumps and utilising creativity. Tyra is generally positive about all the girls' performances but she shows concern over Jenah's identity crisis and Bianca's stiff poses. The shoot concludes with a final group shot to see which girl can stand out the most.
At panel, all the photos are greeted with positive reviews, and Tyra confesses that her opinions about the girls have changed after photographing them. Chantal's ability to stand out in the group photo, and Saleisha's creativity in the shoot advance them to the final three. Jenah explains that she was homesick but cared greatly about the competition, and Bianca argued that she had consistently improved. In the end, Bianca is eliminated for not demonstrating the same innate talent as the other finalists.
The final three are put to the test when they have to shoot a CoverGirl commercial for CoverGirl Wetslicks Fruit Spritzers. The girls get to choose from 12 fruity flavors to portray in their commercial.
All the girls struggled with their commercials at first, but all managed to pull off good takes in the end, although Jenah's attitude comes off as slightly abrasive to Jay, and Saleisha has to be pulled to the side to cry due to frustration.
Before evaluation, the girls are asked to critique their competition. All the girls commended themselves as having the most potential, but Jenah's laid-back attitude causes her to be deemed as having the least. Saleisha and Jenah landed in the bottom two. In the end, Jenah was eliminated.
The final runway takes place near the Forbidden City where they will model for Qi Gang's line of couture dresses, and Cycle 8 winner Jaslene Gonzalez starts off the show. Chantal is a bit stiff, and has a slight accident when her dress trips a stilt performer, and Saleisha owns the runway show. Behind the scenes Saleisha consoles a slightly distraught Chantal, about tripping the stilt performer.
During the final panel, the judges praised both finalists' personalities and their pictures throughout the season. The judges praised Chantal's high-fashion appeal and Saleisha's commercial ability and final walk. The girls are called back and Saleisha is declared the winner of Cycle 9.
|Order||Ep 1||Ep 2||Ep 3||Ep 4||Ep 5||Ep 6||Ep 8||Ep 9||Ep 10||Ep 11||Ep 12||Ep 13|