Being A 'Top Model' Has Its Ups and Downs
On September 19, Tyra Banks will kick off cycle 9 of America's Next Top Model on the CW.  She has said that this season she's looking for models who are original and bring something different to the table.  As usual, Banks hopes to discover the world's next supermodel.  When the cameras stop rolling and the show is over, how many of these models really go on to successful careers?  Last season's contestants Felicia Provost, Whitney Cunningham, and Renee Alway sat down with BuddyTV today to talk about life after America's Next Top Model.

Felicia Provost was known among the cycle 8 contestants as "Baby Tyra" for bearing a striking resemblance to a younger version of the host.  However, looking like Tyra doesn't mean you're going to get jobs like Tyra.  "I do continue to work on my portfolio and go to photo shoots," she tells BuddyTV.  "I did a fashion show recently in Chicago with Sarah (VanderHaar) and I'm planning on moving out there in November."  Provost plans to focus on the goal she's always had her sights set on: becoming a professional model.  Other contestants have their eyes set on bigger things.

Cycle 8 contestant Renee Alway was known for her good looks and abrasive personality.  She created waves in the Top Model house and FOX Reality took notice.  "I just got a call and found out I'm nominated for 'Baddest Bitch' for the Reality Remix Awards," she dishes.  "I'm excited to go to the awards show!"  Alway is based in L.A. right now and tries to balance her career with her family.  "My husband is moving out here in two weeks.  I've had to take my son to castings and jobs with me.  It's tough to find a babysitter!"

Alway has worked steadily in the modeling world for the last month and a half but would rather pursue acting.  She has taken some classes but says it's hard to live down being a reality show contestant when you want to be taken seriously as an actress.  "Being on Top Model definitely helped get my face and name out there," she says.  "It can advance you in some ways and make things very difficult in others."

Since filming wrapped last season, Whitney Cunningham has finished college and moved to New York City.  She is signed with an agency and does some commercial modeling.  For her next gig, though, she'll be heading out on a nationwide motivational speaking tour.  "The name of my speech is 'Embrace Yourself: Promoting a Positive Self-Image.'  I'm hoping to turn my tour into a magazine column and maybe even a talk show!" she tells BuddyTV. 

She agrees with Alway that being on the show can help or hurt the career of a Top Model.  "The number one thing you're told is to shed that America's Next Top Model image.  It's been a hindrance on modeling but not on the other things I want to do in life.  I've been blessed because, fortunately, modeling isn't the only thing I want to do.  For the girls who only want to model after being on the show, it's tough."

- Gina Scarpa, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of CW)