Okay, I'll admit it. I had Anya Kop picked as ANTM Cycle 10 winner from the fourth week of the show. Quirky accent (sort of Eastern European meets native Hawaiian meets imitation of Cycle 8's Natasha Galinka), "broken" nose, gamin, elfin, ethereal and characteristically sized two, the tow-headed Kop seemed to embody everything ANTM has always held dear -- edginess, beauty, the ever-touted body angles. Every week, she took gorgeous picture after gorgeous picture, won challenge after challenge. I picked her as the winner, in fact, after she won a challenge that earned her a discreetly nude photo shoot with ANTM judge, Nigel Barker. The unearthly results were breathtaking, and I was sure that Kop would walk away with the whole burrito.
Ironically, it was walking that proved to be her downfall. In the final stomp-off (semi-finalist Fatima -- she of the female genital circumcision and perennial whine -- having been thankfully eliminated by her stilted Cover Girl TV spot), it was down to the battle of the blondes. In a glittery runway show for House of Versace, each girl strutted in two gowns chosen for her by Donatella Versace herself. As lithe and long-limbed as Anya was, when it came down to it, she simply didn't rock the dresses. Whitney's first gown -- a curious gold number that was pretty enough, but was a bad choice, cut- and color-wise for the full-figured model -- didn't wow the judges. But her second gown -- a raspberry satin-and-chiffon mini with an amazing, billowing cathedral train that had a life of its own -- seemed like it was made for her. In spite of her difficulties in taming the wild train, Whitney was a vision in swerves, curves and hot pink on the runway. In the end, the judges felt it was Whitney who brought the stomp, and they fabulously defied my cynical expectations by choosing her Cycle 10's Top Model. I hope Versace lets her keep that raspberry dress, because it won her the competition.
After she was selected, Tyra made the point of correcting the oft-misquoted term "plus-sized" model by saying, "The correct term is 'full-figured'." There is a distinction. In modelling terms, apparently "plus-sized" is size 12 or larger. Whitney, a solid sized 10, is just a normal sized girl who happens to photograph like a high-fashion model. Go figure.
Now, frankly, I like Whitney. She's a little catty and has a bit of an attitude, but in a harmless, kind of sweet way that Southern girls have. And, let's face it, plenty of her predecessors have been bitchier and more evil. I rooted for her week after week, sure she'd be eliminated any minute now (she was in the bottom two four times during the cycle). But Whitney is smart and she's funny -- she has a bigger, more impressive personality than any of her predecessors (with the possible exception of the aforementioned Galinka, who has actually built a little career as an entertainment correspondent here and there). My favorite Whitney line has to be, "I never met a potato I didn't like." Atta girl. You speak for all of us.
So congratulations, Whitney. Go out there and break the trend of ANTM models who win, then vanish into thin air. (Where in the world is KariDee, by the way?) In your honor, I'm gonna go make some breakfast!