SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from the season finale of America’s Next Top Model. Proceed with caution.
The newest winner of America’s Next Top Model was just crowned.
Kyla Coleman, the 20-year-old biracial beauty, won the top prize, which includes representation by Next Models Management, a fashion spread in Paper Magazine, and a $100,000 cash prize from Pantene.
Jeana Turner and Khrystyana Kazakova placed second and third, respectively.
There were actually four finalists heading into Tuesday night’s episode. Shanice Carroll was cut right before the Philipp Plein runway show, the casualty of a new rule that allowed the judges to eliminate competitors at any time in the competition. While Carroll improved greatly throughout the season, her walk was deemed too weak for the finale.
The eliminated contestants joined the top three on the runway, which had a floral theme.
Kazakova, a 32-year-old Russian-born immigrant, was cut after the runway show, despite having the most challenge wins and getting best photo or runner-up in 10 out of 15 episodes.
Turner suffered from alopecia and removed her wig early on in the competition. She was eliminated in Episode 12, but beat out the other eliminated contestants to earn her place back in the competition. She placed in the bottom of Episode 13, but was saved by designer Philipp Plein, who wanted her to participate in the final runway.
From the beginning, Coleman was praised for having the look of the model, but not always the skill. In the end, it was her growth and potential that prevailed.
Cycle 24 was creator/host Tyra Banks’ first after one season away. The age limit was removed, allowing the likes of Kazakova and Erin Green — a 42-year-old grandmother — to compete. It’s unclear if future cycles will also remove the age limit; Banks has said one of the driving factors for the show is to change perceptions of beauty.
This season was not without its drama. Liz Woodbury quit in Episode 4 after getting into a fight with fellow contestant Brendi Seiner. Seiner herself quit in Episode 9. She and another hopeful, Christina McDonald, were both labeled as bullies. Ironically, they had to work together in an anti-bullying public service announcement midway through the season.
Hopefully, producers will screen contestants more closely as the behaviors of some models were opposite of the season’s anti-bullying theme (and the entertainment industry’s #metoo movement as a whole). However, Top Model is a reality TV show first and competition second, so expect to see more drama when the milestone 25th season comes around.