Credit: Alli Harvey/ Getty Images Photo: Whitney Thompson in 2009

Whitney Thompson, Cycle 10 winner of America's Next Top Model (the first plus-size one ever!) and a model for Wilhelmina, shares her thoughts on Tyra's Punk'd-style prank, this cycle's "fiercely real" contestant, Kasia, and more.

America's Next Top Model's Cycle 16 premiere started out particularly cruel. During each season so far, 40 girls are initially cast, but only 13-14 are ever chosen to move into the Top Model house. This cycle, Tyra pulled a mean fake-out on the girls, telling the girls who actually made it to the show that they didn't and telling the ones who didn't make it that they did. The worst part was that she chose not to show the reactions of the real rejected contestants — who were apparently told the truth behind closed doors. I realize that this is for television but these girls have real emotions and I don’t think that the "prank" was necessary or cool. My heart goes out to all of the ones that didn’t make it, even though I think the contestants on the show are fantastic.

I am a little biased as a plus-size Wilhelmina model but I do love Kasia, the “fiercely real” girl. She seems really light-hearted and young even though she’s 26 (a bit on the older side for the modeling industry). I would have guessed that she was still a teen — she is absolutely gorgeous. I do think that her walk needs some work and I’m still a little baffled as to why Tyra pulled a girl who was already signed to Wilhelmina and was a successful plus model and stuck her on the show, but I’m hoping that Tyra has some secret, good reasoning behind all of that. Also wondering why Kasia would agree to going on the show, given she was already signed.

Now let’s get to the bubble runway. Funny enough, I actually saw this done at Full figured Fashion Week in New York City and I thought the same thing then as I do now —  it looks dumb! The bubble had a huge gash of silver duct tape rolling around which really takes away from the “look."  It’s a really interesting concept and I think that it could be done well, but not with duct tape across the front, lined with cheap confetti, and in the middle of a swimming pool! Once again, I attribute this to the fact that everything on ANTM has to make for good television. Yet, I admit that I watched with horror and delight as each model teeter-tottered down the 12"-wide runway.  It really got my attention. There are few things in the world more satisfying then watching a model fall on her face and not be able to get back up! Bravo, Tyra for being a genius and please keep the stunts coming for the rest of the season!

I actually got to shoot with Russell James, who was on last night's episode, on my cycle of Top Model — he is my absolute favorite photographer. Everything he touches is so full of life. His work is usually brilliant but for a cycle opener I expected a lot more. The photos were beautiful but I wanted to see someone on fire, jumping on a trampoline with a message for curing cancer. I think that this premiere was one of the most boring shoots to date. I found myself tweeting while it was going on and confused about whether it was the “actual” shoot or if there would be another one before panel. But I have to admit, nothing made me giggle more than Nigel describing a girl’s mouth in her photograph as a “cat’s bottom mouth" and making his interpretation of a “cat’s bottom” face. It was hilarious watching this because Nigel is so handsome. I can only hope that he doesn’t say such things about my pictures.

Looking forward to seeing the girls get stung by bees next Wednesday!

In addition to her thriving modeling career, Whitney also designs and sells candles and jewelry on her website ShopSupermodel.com, where a percentage of the proceeds go to the National Eating Disorder Association. You can also follow her on Twitter @WhitneyANTM


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