[05/19/05 - 12:00 AM]
Naima Mora Is America's Next Top Model

[via press release from UPN]


Naima Mora, a 20-year-old coffee shop waitress from Detroit, Mich., was crowned AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL in the finale of the fourth cycle of UPN's hit dramality series. The three remaining participants completed a CoverGirl television commercial and photo shoot, after which Keenyah was the first girl eliminated in the finale. Remaining contestants Naima and Kahlen moved on to the final competition where they appeared in a high-fashion runway show. While both girls gave impressive performances, the judges had to choose one winner, and Naima took the title.

The girls participated in a TV commercial and photo shoot for a CoverGirl ad campaign for OutLast Makeup. The TV commercial was difficult for all three finalists, although Kahlen struggled the most with overcoming her inhibitions as a spokesperson. Keenyah was criticized during the photo shoot by art director Jay Manuel, who felt she seemed insincere, commenting "Keenyah gave me the right smile, but it just got stuck there." Naima, on the other hand, showed her beauty, versatility and charm in both the TV commercial and photo shoot.

The next day, the girls faced the judges for the 12th elimination in the competition, which would determine the two finalists who would continue on to compete in the final challenge. At the elimination, the judges felt that all three girls had given strong performances, yet they agreed that overall Keenyah lacked the versatility required to become a top model, thus eliminating her from the competition.

Later, the two remaining girls, Naima and Kahlen, faced the final challenge in the competition -- a runway show for top South African designers Poison Ivy, Ruby, and Gavin Rajah. When they reached the location for the show, the girls were shocked at the dramatic set that would make the girls appear to "walk on water." The runway platform was partially submerged in a pool of water and placed in an outdoor courtyard with a fountain in the center. During the show, Naima impressed the judges with an intense performance, while Kahlen performed well but showed less stage presence.

During the final elimination, the judges considered the runway performances from the final runway challenge, as well as each girl's photos from the competition. While the judges agreed that Kahlen had developed a strong portfolio of gorgeous photos, they felt she lacked the presence and confidence to become America's Next Top Model. In contrast, Naima had shown the versatility, strength, and stage presence of a top model in addition to having developed a strong portfolio of photos.

After the judges deliberated, Kahlen was eliminated from the competition as Naima was named the winner. Said Tyra, "Uniquely versatile, undeniably edgy, Naima, the spunky girl from Detroit embodies a true cover girl."

The winner of UPN's AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL will have the opportunity to be managed by Ford Models. She will also receive a $100,000 contract with cosmetics giant CoverGirl. Finally, the winner will appear in a fashion spread in Elle magazine.

The fourth installment of UPN's hit dramality series AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL follows 14 young women as they attempt to prove they have what it takes to make it in the high-stress, high-stakes world of modeling. Banks, who created the show, also serves as executive producer along with Ken Mok ("Making the Band") and Anthony Dominici ("The Amazing Race").

AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL airs Wednesdays (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on UPN. For more information about AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL, log on to www.upn.com.

  [may 2005]  


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