E! News: Saleisha Tops Top Model, Cue the Carping
Were a pretty face, a fierce walk and a perky attitude all it took to propel Saleisha Stowers to the Top Model title?
After the 19-year-old former receptionist from Los Angeles was named the winner on Wednesday's ninth-cycle finale, the blogosphere was buzzing with reasons why she may have been undeserving of the victory.
Though it was made clear from the outset of the season that Saleisha had a prior relationship with Tyra Banks, having attended the supermodel's T-Zone camp for underprivileged girls when she was 14, viewers were given no indication that the twosome's acquaintance extended beyond that experience.
However, sharp-eyed fans soon dug up footage showing Saleisha walking the catwalk in an ANTM cycle-six fashion show, as well as appearing on the runway in an episode of The Tyra Banks Show.
Viewers also found that Saleisha had appeared in a nationwide Wendy's commercial that aired in 2006, seemingly in violation of an America's Next Top Model eligibility rule that states would-be contestants "must not have previous experience as a model in a national campaign within the last five years (including, but not limited to, appearances on television and print advertisements)."
Whether Saleisha's prior experience gave her an unfair advantage over Barbie-esque runner-up Chantal and cynical third-place finisher Jeneh is up for debate.