First Winner of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ Adrianne Curry Claims She’s Still Waiting for Tyra Banks to Give Her The Prizes She Won on Season 1

“Does it LOOK like I’m smizing, Tyra?!”

Viewers watched as Tyra Banks climatically named Adrianne Curry the very first winner of America’s Next Top Model back in 2003, but nearly 15 years later, Adrianne is finally talking about what went down after the cameras were gone… and it’s nothing to smize about.

While Adrianne was given the coveted title of America’s Next Top Model, she said she wasn’t given much else. In a blog post entitled ‘The Truth About Top Model,’ Adrianne stated that Tyra and the show’s producers never gave her the prizes she won during Season 1.

‘ANTM’ fans from back in the day may remember watching a then-20-year-old Adrianne work the camera on various shoots and appear before the judging panel. For the inaugural cycle of the show, contestants were vying for a modeling contract with Wilhelmina, a contract with Revlon and a photo spread in Marie Claire magazine.

Adrianne wrote that, upon meeting with Revlon, they informed her they had no plans to use the winner of the show for ads like they had told the contestants. Revlon did, however, hire Adrianne to model makeup “in a room with 10 executives in it” for $15,000 as their way of honoring the ‘ANTM’ contract.

The former model claims that the show’s producers even went to great lengths to cover their tracks.

“They did voice-overs on the actual aired show and changed what was being said to us while filming,” Adrianne wrote.

According to Adrianne, the Revlon contract wasn’t the only prize she never received. In her blog, she claimed that, because ‘ANTM’ ended up dropping Wilhelmina after Cycle 1 — a decision Adrianne said made the agency furious—Wilhelmina told her they didn’t want her to be successful in any way just to spite the show and that they would brag about pushing Elyse Sewell (who finished in third place during Cycle 1 and also signed with Wilhelmina) for jobs instead of her.

Adrianne wrote that she was tied to an agency that she says purposely tried to make her be unsuccessful in the modeling world. She stated that she called Tyra for help, but says she heard nothing. (Perhaps she would have had better luck reaching her via Tyra Mail?)

“I reached out to Tyra and Top Model, desperate to get out of my contract and get advice as I was not being given any castings, etc by an agency that wanted me to fail,” she writes. “CRICKETS. Phone calls ignored. Then, my [$]15k for Revlon? Suddenly I wasn’t being paid. I had did the job, but no paycheck was coming. Revlon blamed Wilhelmina, Wilhelmina blamed Top Model.”


After demanding pay for her three days of work with Revlon, Adrianne was told by Wilhelmina that she’d have to take them to court. At this point, she attempted again to get in contact with Tyra, to no avail. Adrianne ended up being sent to model in Africa, though her agency still refused to pay her. She said she found herself “broke and stuck in a third world country” and forced to reach out to family for money to return back to the States.

After a year of struggling to go on castings and go sees, Adrianne ended up getting Wilhelmina’s attention when she appeared on VH1’s The Surreal Life — a reality show the agency and ‘ANTM’ wasn’t too fond of her taking part in.

“Suddenly I exist again,” she writes. “Then, anger. Pure betrayal and anger. I saw Tyra and the show as angels that had saved me and gave me a new life. The realization that they didn’t give a f**k about me was crushing. I was so angry. Here, I was being given an opportunity to work a job and actually make money and they want me not to because it might make their show look bad. Yet, when I needed even advice, I got crickets.”

Adrianne ended up joining the show in 2005 (and meeting Christopher Knight, aka Peter Brady, her husband from 2006-2011) and using it as an opportunity to purposely bother those who hadn’t helped her, calling it her “ode to f**k you.” She said she took every opportunity to talk badly about Tyra and the show though her anger, she said, was a mask for her broken heart.

“I took every opportunity to let press know I was never paid or given my prize,” she wrote. “I’d talk s**t about Tyra just to do it…Revenge was sweet. I talked mad s**t that I wouldn’t do now. I was a kid.”

After ‘The Surreal Life’ Adrianne continued her reality TV stint on three seasons of My Fair Brady — a spin-off documenting her and Christopher’s dating life, engagement and eventual marriage.

Her first blog about ‘Top Model’ garnered a lot of attention, so she followed it up with a second post to explain things a bit more.

“Imagine you’re in Vegas. You pull the lever and you hit on the slot machine!” she wrote. “Everything lights up, a crowd forms and everyone congratulates you…you walk up to the cashier with your receipt to collect your earnings. They never pay you. You’re mad about it. Then, the very people who applauded your win say you should just be grateful for the opportunity they gave you at having people look at your face and feeling that moment of winning…let it go and move on.

“Now. Times this by a zillion…and that is what it feels like when you win a big prize on national television and you never get it. Even if you get over it, as I have….it will always be something you bring up in your life…I won one of the biggest television competitions in the world and never got my prize.”

Her first blog post received negative comments from fans advising her to “let it go,” since it’s been over 14 years since the alleged events took place. Adrianne explained that she was bringing the topic up again because ‘America’s Next Top Model’ is returning to television, this time on VH1.

“One, I was being asked if I would make an appearance now that ‘Top Model’ is on VH1. I figured explaining old news would enlighten those wondering why I wouldn’t [be appearing],” she wrote.

She also gave her fans an update on her life today, which is far removed from her reality TV and modeling past. These days she’s living in Arizona and is engaged.

“I no longer care to pursue entertainment,” Adrianne wrote. “I quit the business, run my Avon store and ran away to the mountains with the love of my life. Getting on the next show, etc. to extend my earning ability is the last thing I’d want for me or us. Hollywood destroys real love. I don’t really care what the repercussions are of just tossing my truth out there. It doesn’t affect my new life.”

Adrianne also said she no longer has any hard feelings towards Tyra and understands that she’s just a woman “looking out for herself in a world where no one else gives a s**t about you.”

However, she said it would be nice to get that $15,000 she’s owed.

(Photos: Twitter, The CW)



  1. Tyra!!! You have declined in my opinion of you!!! Since reading what you have done to Andrenna and others, you should be ashamed of yourself!!! God says that you will reap what you sow. May you ask Jesus into your heart b4 it’s to late!!!

  2. I watched the first season and got scouted for the show a couple of years later when I was 18. They put me and a handful of other PROFESSIONAL AGENCY MODELS straight through to the semi-final stage of casting (right before the televised group where they pick out their final 14 or however many). Being behind the scenes at the casting process and reading the preliminary contract they gave us to look over was very…eye opening. Details are foggy (we’re all clearly old as dirt now) but for one, they had called up agencies looking for girls for the show, it’s not as if all the finalists were just lucky gorgeous amateurs who had sent in pleading, heartfelt applications. Second, it was very much a *TV* show…they were casting people who had dramatic back stories to tell and people they could instigate and manipulate into putting on a good performance in the house, and also picking out some girls who were OBVIOUSLY not going to make it very far (I’m assuming it was to line up the first few to get cut). I ended up throwing the competition by not giving up the juicy goods during the interview segment and I was happy with the decision because the whole thing felt a little bit fraudulent and unfair. Had I gotten cast for the show, I would be on lock down until the season finished airing, unable to take any other modeling jobs AT ALL, even if I was cut from the show on day 1 of filming. If I won, awesome, if not…I was legally bound to refrain from working until my episode aired. It would have been MONTHS with no income. ALSO…we wouldn’t even be able to go home until they were done filming…so as not to give anything away to friends or family. Can you imagine flying off to “wherever” for a competition, getting the boot immediately, and having to spend the next however-many-weeks living in a hotel room near the model house, unable to DO anything but wallow in your failure while they pick the girl who simply made for the best television?? No thanks.
    I say all that to say, I totally believe everything Adrianne Curry is claiming. Except maybe Wilhelmina being vindictive just because ANTM switched agencies. I think that Elyse was more marketable in the industry at the time and they only had to take Adrianne because she won. Also agencies don’t like wild card girls (or they didn’t, back then). They don’t want the model’s personality and image to overpower their productivity as beautiful mannequins. I got in trouble with my first agency in 2006 for having an online presence. It wasn’t like it is today where Instagram followers are a REQUIREMENT. The pro agencies wanted their girls to be who THEY decided, there was little room for individuality outside of your “look.” You also had to be a good actress, in a sense, and adapt to your role and be a blank canvas for designers. If your reputation preceded you (as was the case for the FIRST EVER WINNER OF ANTM)…that could be bad for business. It sticks you into only one set persona. Elyse was smart and also boring AF, and she had the look of that decade. Wilhelmina probably just…liked her better. I never thought Adrianne should have won, God bless her I think she’s an awesome woman. She just didn’t scream “model” to me. Hell, I didn’t last in the industry for more than a handful of years myself because I didn’t like being told who to be and what to do. She was always doomed. But I hope one day she gets her money, at least.

  3. I left a comment but never saw that it was posted. Long story short, I follow this girl’s Facebook and she has NO job and hasn’t worked in years. She often whines about being broke but lives off her boyfriend… and sells Avon makeup over Facebook to her “fans.” She is ignorant AF and often posts ridiculous uninformed rants on silly subjects. I liked her on ANTM and the Brady show but all she does now is pimp Avon eyeshadow to fans that are obsessed with her and would buy anything from her and post super awkward “model-pose” selfies, reliving her glory days from 15 years ago, I guess. Oh, and she posts picture of herself and her boyfriend with the hashtag “couplegoals” which is super embarrassing.

  4. “The former model claims that the show’s producers even to great lengths to cover their tracks.”

    Think there’s a word missing from this sentence.

  5. Wow, a reality tv star that actually learned something about life and turned out okay 🙂
    Sorry to hear about the rip off. Tyra is stupid anyway. You shouldn’t take life advice from her. Glad those phone calls didn’t get returned in a way, Adrianne probably ended up better for it. While on the ANTM kick, how is Nigel not part of #metoo? He always seemed like a creeper…

  6. I’ll never forget the story where tyra banks handed out cold McDonald’s hamburgers from a Santa sack as the “Christmas bonus” to the production staff of her talk show. They thought it was a joke and were going through all the hamburgers thinning gift cards might be inside the burgers as a prank… nope… no gift cards.

  7. I never watched Top Model, but I watched the hell out of her show with Chris Knight ( AKA Peter Brady). I thought they were hilarious, even though he was way too old for her.

  8. I really liked Adrienne. She was one of my favorites of all time inn ANTM, and I honestly feel bad for her. She went through this experience thinking she would have gotten something more out of it, things she was promised, and it’s not her fault. I hope the ANTM owns up to their lack of providing the promised prizes from season one. It’s the least they could do. I understand it’s been a long time, but something life altering like that doesn’t just go away. Appearing on the show changed the course of her life, and she could have been even more successful with the promised prizes.

  9. 15 years ago?! God, I’m old. This was one of my favorite shows in college. Excuse me while I go cry in my pillow listening to my “The best of 2000’s” playlist.

    1. I bought an original caboodle today because it reminded me of yesteryear. Now if you will excuse it I have a Jock Jams cd to listen to.

  10. I don’t remember other winners coming out about this (but maybe only the first season was the problem because they started out while Tyra made millions after and it was easier to pay the winners) but still, I believe her. Tyra comes across to me as someone who only thinks about herself and the ratings, not about the girls. (Apparently Heidi is the same in the German version). She thinks if she gives them the titles, that’s all there is to it. But it’s like with every other reality show: for some time you are interesting and famous but then without help everything fades. I imagine Tyra doesn’t even say hello to the girls when she sees them walking on the street, it’s all just for a show. Hopefully she’s a better mom than she is to those girls.

    1. I wonder if it’s a precaution Tyra takes against having “competition” in the modeling world. Modeling is a youngins’ sport & “older” (granted, just by modeling standards) yet established models must find ways to remain in the spotlight.

      Perhaps Tyra just uses the show just for that purpose, but has no intention on promoting younger, newer models in the industry.

  11. I always really liked her. She won when ANTM had a small bit of credibility and she really wanted a career, she wasn’t just chasing her 15 mins. She deserved better. Tyra Banks seems like such a horrible person.

    1. Me too. I love her. If she never got the prizes that’s pretty shitty. But on the other hand, maybe she did get the money and spent it partying but doesn’t remember I like to keep an open mind. I loved the Surreal Life, wish it would come back on.

      1. No dice. If she did get the prize money and she lied about spending it, ANTM and all other companies associated with her prize would sue for libel and slander as they’d have the bank records to prove she was lying. There’s no way she got it, spent it, and would have gotten away with these claims all of these years (this is not the first time she’s made these claims).

        1. I’m curious if ANTM or Wilamenia(sp?) have sad anything bad about her – it speaks volumes when they don’t speak up and at least attempt to defend themselves.

          I like Adrienne – she doesn’t seem to bullshit or want to, her twitter feed is full of herself just being herself and she seems happy. I don’t know her personally, so who knows if that is true, but I generally like the girl I see! I think ANTM should compensate her.

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