Who’s gonna be on top? The America's Next Top Model Cycle 19 finale airs this Friday, November 16, and we’re down to the final three: Kiara Belen, Laura James and Leila Goldkuhl. It’s anyone’s prize to win at this point, and we’re sharing arguments for each model. Here are five reasons Laura could smize her way to victory.
1. She's the full package
Laura takes great photos and usually does well in challenges. Kiara and Leila have been much less consistent — Kiara sometimes struggles with photos and Leila has difficulty in challenges. Laura won the video game and Nylon TV ad challenges and almost won the Alicia Keys challenge too. She’s not really bad at anything.
2. She's had some of the most memorable photos
Laura has had first call-out three times — that's more than both Leila (twice) and Kiara (once) and tied with our dearly departed Nastasia. Laura's photos tend to get raves from the judges — remember her zombie and Steampunk photos? — and adoring social media comments. Even when she doesn’t win best photo, she’s usually near the top. Yeah, she's been falling off a bit in the past couple of weeks, but that only levels the playing field, because in the middle of the season there it looked like Laura had this whole thing already sewn up.
3. She can walk
That may sound obvious, but apparently Leila can't walk. That was part of her downfall back during the Alicia Keys runway challenge. She was an awkward baby giraffe out there. That could be a major issue on the finale, if she hasn't magically improved. Kiara won that runway challenge, but Laura was the only model booked by two designers when they went out for go-sees. Go-sees are a practical determinant of real-world modeling potential. Leila wasn't even around for that section of the show, which could be a serious problem. Did she even get to meet the designers?
4. She has her own unique look
At 6 feet, Laura is the tallest of the finalists. She started out as a striking brunette but, like her fellow finalist named Laura from Cycle 18, she’s owning her new platinum blonde look. Laura has spoken out on not being size 0, like some of the Cycle 19 contestants. She said she represents girls with healthy bodies and curves — but she really represents gorgeous amazon women who could book Sports Illustrated calendars tomorrow. She grew up rich, the child of Dynasty actor John James. ANTM usually prefers triumph-of-the-human-spirit backstories like Kiara’s, but maybe Laura will be ANTM’s rich-girl-from-happy-family-stays-happy story. It would be something different!
5. The judges treat her like the frontrunner
We can just picture them actually sitting down to debate who should win — like they used to do every week before the scoring system rendered their comments irrelevant. Hopefully they’ll treat this final decision as worthy of a full judge panel discussion, and we can imagine them talking about how many weeks Laura dominated this season. Leila wasn’t around for some big stuff, and while Kiara started off pretty strong, she wasn’t really a contender until the past couple of weeks. It’s still kind of surprising to see her in the finals instead of Nastasia. If they recap all the challenges Laura won and photos she rocked, it’s going to be hard for them to justify giving the win to anyone else.
Check out why we think Leila has a chance to win, and stay tuned for why we think Kiara could win.
Catch the next episode of America's Next Top Model Cycle 19: College Edition on Friday, November 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
Gina Carbone is a contributing writer at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @ginacarbone.
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