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America's Next Top Model

Whitney Thompson Defends Tyra Banks: Jael’s Addiction Is Not ANTM’s Fault

In light of America's Next Top Model alum Jael Strauss’s recent appearance on Dr. Phil, where she revealed that she is suffering from an addiction to crystal meth, some of the more famous ANTM modelstants have come forward to offer their opinion. Cycle 10 winner Whitney Thompson is the latest, but her opinion differs from that of Cycle 7 winner CariDee English, who placed a lot of the blame on ANTM and Tyra Banks.

“The public as well as ANTM alum are pointing fingers at Tyra Banks and the America’s Next Top Model franchise for possibly provoking Jael’s addiction,” Whitney writes on “I do not agree with these statements.”

Whitney goes on to say that, out of 211 modelstants who have appeared on the show, “only one has an addiction to meth so far.” The plus-size model, who says she’s currently “at the peak” of her modeling career and “working more than ever,” defends the show against viewers’ expectations.

Credit: The CW    

“We were brand new models with almost no experience and huge expectations,” she writes. “People expected us to be overnight successes, but that isn’t how the industry works.” She agrees with CariDee’s statements that Tyra and the show didn’t provide much help or support after their cycles were over, but she doesn’t think that’s Tyra’s responsibility.

“As hard as it was on us, I’m sure that it was also hard on Tyra,” Whitney says. “She created us, made us household names, but she couldn’t force people to like us or consistently hire us.”

In Wetpaint Entertainment’s exclusive interview with recently eliminated Cycle 19 star Destiny Strudwick, the modelstant told us that she hasn’t heard from Tyra since her elimination, and that she’s had to work to get all of her post-show work by herself.

Do you agree with CariDee and Destiny that Tyra and the show should provide more connections and gigs after the show? Or is Whitney right to point out that there really isn’t much ANTM can do for a new model once they’ve launched her?

Catch the next episode of America's Next Top Model Cycle 19: College Edition on Friday, September 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.


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