As an advocate for natural hair, who takes pictures to promote natural hairstyling, I became an early fan of America’s Next Top Model. Not only was the show fun to watch, the shoots, the feedback and especially Tyra’s tips were always incredibly useful.
America’s Next Natural Model Season 1
To be really honest, at the beginning all I had was an idea. I wanted to use my website to promote models and natural hair with the goal to add another dimension to the world of modeling. I had no idea though what the response would be or how it would turn out. Looking back, I am glad I took the risk.
Out of nearly 100 applications, I selected ten contestants with the best photos and the best motivation to become America’s Next Natural Model. To get the competition started I shipped them boxes full of stuff I gathered all summer. From accessories to scarves and hair products. There were no sponsors.
Maybe it was because I didn’t know what to expect but it was great to see the pageant come alive. Reading the model’s reasoning behind the shoots and looking at their pictures was very rewarding. What was even better was seeing the models compete.
In her own words:
I appreciate the opportunity of being America’s First Natural Model; Miss Nappturality 2008. It is 2008 and we are just now celebrating our natural hair like never before and I am truly blessed to be a part of it. We need to be able to empower ourselves so that we will never ever lose ourselves in this society. We should never ever forget who we are; this is the beginning of one of our segments of empowerment. We have been forced to cover up our appearance and alter it since we came to this country and hopefully we will never lose our dignity and pride in ourselves again. Read more of the interview.
This poem sums up who I am as Ms. Nappturality …
One who bears the eyes of tomorrow, yet sheds tears of the past
One who bears the soul of those lost in systems of oppression
For in her, those souls reclaim their heirs, Kings and Queens of all they survey
For she embodies the past, lives the present, and rises to the challenges of the future
For Ms. Nappturality transcends time!
~Dedicated to Tiana by Kabbie Konteh
An overview of America’s Next Natural Model 2008
Challenge 9 | Challenge 8 | Challenge 7 |
Photos of Challenge 7 | Challenge 4 | Photos of Challenge 4
Challenge 3 | Photos of Challenge 5 | Challenge 2 |
Photos of Challenge 2 | Hair stories | The Models
Photos of Challenge 10
America’s Next Natural Model Season 2
By season two I had sponsors! Jamaica Mango & Lime , Sula NYC , Cowrie Shell Center and Ngozi Design with great accessories all supported the idea of America’s Next Natural Model and became sponsors of the competition.
With a little more leverage the reach was wider and the response was amazing. I am not sure if you still remember myspace but that site helped a lot. The models who signed up were even more serious then the year before. So, it was on and the results were amazing! The photos of Jamaica Mango & Lime and Sula NYC were used in advertisements around the country. That to me was a great accomplishment.
Winner of , America’s Next Natural Model 2010 season 2 was Teesha Borum. She had fierce competition but she always knew how to crank the lever up a notch when other models came close. Her professionalism helped her a great deal to stand out. By collaborating with professional photographers, makeup artists and hairstylist Joyce she produced high quality photos that sponsors used in ads nation wide. To put together such a talented team is a skill in and on itself. With photographers Tony Smart, Freddie Rankin. Alan Luckey, makeup artists Toneshia Cameron and Thomasina and hairstylist Lajoyce, Teesha managed to stun the judges every week. In my it was the joy and originality expressed in her photos made her photos stand apart.
In her own words:
Life has taught me that I will not be accepted for everything that I think, say, am or believe…My experiences have also taught me that I need to be ok with this. No matter what I pursue in life, I will come across that will not open to me. I have natural hair, I’m a woman, I’m black, I’m tall, I’m curvy, I’m intelligent yadayadayada…Depending on who I talk to- these can all be strikes against me, but I am learning to create my own mold rather than trying to fit into others. Either you fit or you don’t and that’s ok.
I came into the competition knowing that whether I win or lose, I will give it my all…The same is true in life. I know that what is meant for me is for me. As we approach 2010 I’d like to wish everyone reading this a happy day, week, month, year and life. Do your best and be blessed! Read the interview
America’s Next Natural Model Season 3 – 2011
By season three of the competition things started to fall in place. Not only was Jamaica Mango & Lime happy to sponsor another year, Imani Jewelry sponsored one of a kind jewelry and Sade Skin Care makeup. On top of that there were some serious designers who sponsored their fashionable clothes: Bweela Steptoe, Melissa Lockwood, Rodney Alexander, Denise Goring Artwear.
From the start it was clear that the competition of 2011 was going to be incredible. Nina Ellis-Hervey who already had a successful video channel was in the competition but so were Timolin Jeffers a seasoned model from brooklyn, Raven Hardy who also had modelling experience, Munya Magande with beautiful long locs and Ebony Clark a full figured real estate professional who decided to give America’s Next Natural Model a try.
Although all the models were in it to win it there was a comradely among them that I had never seen before. That didn’t make it easier to pick a winner though. In the end the judges choose Ebony Clark as the winner.
Ebony Clark, the winner of America’s Next Natural Model season 3, didn’t just have amazing hair. The full figured model took stunning photos week after week. She got the most respect when she pulled through even when her grand mother died and she had to travel to another city for the burial. That seriously raised the level of the competition to another height while also adding depth to this pageant. Ebony taught me that if one wanted the title of America’s Next Natural Model one needed to be wiling to sacrifice. Thanks Ebony for raising the competition yet another level.
Ebony Clark, America’s Next Natural Model 2011
I’d love to let the other models know that I enjoyed being apart of this with them. Although I only spoke to a couple of them personally, I felt a connection in some way or another to each one of them. They are truly beautiful and inspiring! Thanks to the judges for the time taken to provide feedback.
Thanks to you Mireille for hosting something so beautiful…I’m very appreciative to everyone who voted and supported me. I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude. I appreciate ALL the love, wishes, prayers, positivity and support. Thank you!!!! Much love, joy, and peace to you!! Read the complete interview at Ebony Clark, ANNM 2011
America’s Next Natural Model Season 4
With not just fabulous products to win but also $1.000 in cash sponsored by going-natural.com, a photo shoot in NYC and an Iman Cosmetics makeover, season 4 of America’s Next Natural Model looked very promising. Models from every where signed up and it was even harder than earlier years to make a selection.
Adian Alicea and Sula NYC, sponsors of the winning photo shoot helped choosing the ten most promising models.
The competition was extremely exiting. Almost from the beginning the level was high and every week the contestants were pushing each other by performing better pictures. It was an absolute joy to evaluate their photos and fabulous to watch them grow each week.
While Chassity was the front runner from the start, ReShonda Parker was always very close and when Kala G. raised her efforts, the competition became a true spectacle. The only minor point of this year’s pageant was the unfortunate fact that the voting system didn’t work the way it should. Thanks to the judges I managed to pick a winner but to say that it wasn’t easy is an understatement.
The fact that a few of the models were unhappy with the results was a tough pill to swallow. After all the goal of the competition is to promote them.
What this has taught me is that until a stable waterproof voting system is invented, it’s better to depend on the experience of judges. In the mean time I also work with consultants to find out how to incorporate member votes as you are fundamentally important to make this competition a success.
Despite the complications of the competition, I am grateful to be able to say that Chassity Bynum was the absolute right pick for the winner of season 4. Not only did she do a great job on NBC TV promoting natural hair and the competition, designer Adrien Alicea who dressed and shot Chassity was elated with her.
In her own words
Modeling will always be dear to my heart. I was introduced to modeling as a pre teen. My mother wanted to build my confidence and be proud of my then chipmunk teeth, red Sally Jesse Raphael glasses I wore in sixth grade and extra thin frame. She signed me up for modeling classes on self esteem, poise and etiquette as a pre teen. Now as a grown woman I am always open to modeling and promoting the positive black woman in a light the media can sometimes only show a narrow perspective of. Read more of the nterview with Chassity
Are you an aspiring model who is interested in America’s Next Natural Model? Then read this.
What is America’s Next Natural Model?
America’s Next Natural Model is Going Natural.com‘s annual online pageant. It is very much like America’s Next Top Model but it takes place online, in a social network: Ten models are chosen to compete for the title, free products and a cash prize of $1,000.
America’s Next Natural Model 2013
Win $1,000 cash, free products, endorsements, a professional photo shoot in New York and more. Be inspired by what Chassity Bynum ANNM 2012 won and click here to register.
If you are looking for outstanding models to feature your items naturally click here to contact us.
Bloggers and Vloggers
If you want the ins and outs of the competition and exclusive photos to go with it, please click here to contact us.
Members, visitors and fans we need you!
If you like this idea you can easily help us by spreading the word; on facebook, via twitter or by telling a friend. Let your beautiful natural friend know about the competition so she can join. We appreciate every form of help we get.
We like to thank each and every one of our sponsors so far to help making this year’s competition a success: Iman Cosmetics, Sula NYC , Kynx Hair Care , MM Products, Beauloni, Designer and Photographer Adrian Alicea and Norlha Beads.
America’s Next Natural Model is celebrating its 5th anniversary by taking the online competition to a social community level where everybody can win. To offer contestants more prizes, sponsors more exposure and voting members and facebook fans enticing perks, America’s Next Natural Model goes Indiegogo.