Zagilicious or Illuminata? Blonde or pink? Pirate or pixie? Rocker or fairy? Edgy or feminine? We’re down to the last episode of America's Next Top Model Cycle 18 and it’s not exactly a shocker who made the finals — American Laura LaFrate and British Sophie Sumner — but it’s a total toss-up who could win. We already shared reasons why the win could go to Laura, but here are some reasons why Sophie will strut her way to victory.
1. This is the “British Invasion” after all.
If a Brit doesn’t win, then there really was no point in recruiting the top UK models, was there? The Brits all came in with more experience on a modeling TV show and out in the real world — and none more than Sophie.
2. She’s a working model.
Sometimes a “Top Model” is anointed in theory — they pick a girl with an inspiring transformation story who can navigate the waters of reality TV, but she can’t book work in the real world. Sophie can book work in the real world. Back on Episode 5, Sophie mentioned how she goes to about six castings a day back in London. That’s pretty huge considering a lot of the girls — especially the Americans — had never done modeling before. The go-see challenges are especially telling because, in the real world, you don’t always get gigs playing creepy baby dolls with Kris Jenner or posing with silkworms. Most real models go out to castings and either get hired or rejected. Sophie tends to get hired. She has her “Sophie strut” walk helping her land jobs. She and Eboni tied for the most shows booked in Toronto and she booked all four jobs in Hong Kong. Not only that, she ended up the face of Marisa Zeman’s Nude is Rude for the entire year, with her face flying over Hong Kong. That’s big. She’s already a “top model” she just needs to break through in the States to be a “Top Model.”
3. She takes the most consistent photos
Laura has won best photo three times over Sophie’s twice, but Sophie is close to first more often and never takes a bad shot. There are times when Sophie hasn’t pushed through with enough of a wowser, but she’s never been told she’s doing too much of the same thing, the way Laura has been told she’s playing the sex card too much again or falling back into her same bendy pose. Laura can go way up or way down but Sophie tends to be more steady with flashes of brilliance. Even when she had to pose on the top of a tower — with her deadly fear of heights — she still managed to produce a good picture. If you are casting someone for a shoot, you know Sophie can deliver.
4. She has a unique look
With or without pink hair, she has that pixie face with striking features. She can do soft and feminine, she can do edgy and cool. Laura is gorgeous and has plenty of range, but she has some of Cycle 7’s Melrose and Caridee to her — especially in her final CoverGirl shot, which has a cool Laura smirk and come-hither stare, but otherwise looks like a shot any number of California blondes could take. Sophie’s final CoverGirl shot — including that upside-down pic — may not be the best lipstick ad, but she stands out and looks memorable. There’s no confusing her with another “Top Model” out there.
5. She has the right attitude
Sophie is a merry prankster who doesn’t take living in a model mansion too seriously, but she has repeatedly said how much she desperately wants to win this. She’s driven and competitive without being too catty or intense. She’s been trying to get into modeling since she was 11 but it’s been a struggle. She was an awkward, gawky teenager and as she grew older she supplemented her modeling work with waitressing. She took second on Britain’s Top Model but she wants to move to the U.S., saying when you’ve made it in America you’ve made it worldwide. She knows what it takes to succeed. She’d never quit like Louise or Alisha and she doesn’t have flashes of in-your-face temper like Laura. Her fortune cookie in Macau said she was destined for fame at the cost of jealousy, and we saw a little bit of that with Alisha, but she’s not dramatic or confrontational, just a jokester who knows how to work hard and play hard without losing sight of the goal.
6. She’s a good fit for the prizes
What do you get when you win this puppy? A modeling contract with LA/NY Models, a chance to be a guest correspondent on Extra, a fashion spread in Vogue Italia and the cover and spread in Beauty In Vogue, the face of ANTM’s perfume Dream Come True, a single to be released with CBS and a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl cosmetics. Sophie won the Dream Come True photo challenge, so that was a big step forward for her to win it all. Remember the ad focus group from Episode 4? They thought Sophie was “cute” and when they asked what she should advertise someone said “CoverGirl.” So she would probably be charming and likable on Extra and random people on the street already see her as a CoverGirl. She also seems to be ready for her music single. She and her fellow Brits rocked the music video challenge and judge Kelly Cutrone said, "Sophie to me stole the show today. I mean, she really looked like a Warhol superstar. She's what Edie Sedgwick would want to be today.” Sophie even sang in her video, “They all know me, I’m Sophie, I’m the one they talk about mostly.” Yeah! They talk about how she ticks all the boxes this cycle wants.
What do you think? Who will win in the May 30 finale?
Catch the finale of ANTM Cycle 18 Wednesday, May 30 at 9 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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