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Where are those former 'America's Next Top Model' contestants now?

December 1, 2010 |  5:08 pm

Yaya If you're a regular watcher of "America's Next Top Model," you probably know the prizes by heart at this point. Every week at elimination, Tyra breathlessly reels them out to the group of anxiety-ridden models waiting for their name to be called: a contract with a modeling agency, a spread in a magazine (this cycle, of course, in Vogue Italia), and a chance to be a spokeswoman for CoverGirl cosmetics. Tonight we finally find out which Cycle 15 lady will hit the jackpot.

But the runner-up shouldn't worry too much. Some of the most successful "ANTM" alumnae don't win the title -- in fact, some of them don't even make it to the finale.

Take Yaya DaCosta, at left, who came in second during Cycle 3. Though she didn't become the face of CoverGirl, she did land contracts with big names like Garnier Fructis and Sephora, before launching a successful acting career. This year, she had a role in The Kids Are All Right and a part in the upcoming Tron: Legacy. Not bad for someone kicked off the Tyra farm.

Kim Stolz, who came in fifth in Cycle 5, now has a healthy career as an MTV news correspondent. Even Cassandra Whitehead, who stormed out after the makeover episode of Cycle 5, went on to act in One Tree Hill, CSI: Miami, and this season's finale of Mad Men

Jaslene Past season's winners haven't necessarily had as much luck as models as they have had as reality television stars.

Adrianne Curry, the winner of the inaugural cycle of the show, went on to do modeling for a handful of magazines (including a nude pictorial in Playboy) but is probably best known for marrying Christopher Knight on My Fair Brady. Cycle 7 winner CariDee English, after her year as a Covergirl, has only nabbed some print work, a series of Tyra Show invites, and a cameo on Gossip Girl.

But some "Top Model" winners do make it big. Jaslene Gonzalez, at right, who dominated Cycle 8, was one of the few ladies to have her CoverGirl contract renewed, and has accumulated a fair number of print campaigns and catwalk stints.

Eva Pigford, who won the second cycle, now has an ongoing role on the soap opera The Young and the Restless as a young mother named (natch) Tyra.

Nicole Linkletter, Cycle 5's Top Model, appeared in Elle, US Weekly, and Marie Claire Malaysia and has worked with such brands  as Burberry, Skechers, and Alice and Olivia.

So it just goes to show: no matter who wins tonight, not even Tyra Banks herself knows who'll actually turn out on top.

-- Margaret Eby

Photos: (Top) Yaya DaCosta attends the 9th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation's benefit. Credit: Jemal Countess / Getty Images.  (Bottom) Jaslene Gonzalez during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week this year.  Credit: Katy Winn/Getty Images