America’s Next Top Model Cycle 21 Premieres Tonight On The CW

America’s Next Top Model Cycle 21 premieres tonight and along with the returning fierceness of Tyra Banks, and PR Maven Kelly Cutrone, fan favorite and runway diva extraordinaire Miss J. Alexander returns as judge. The model hopefuls are competing for a career-launching prize package that includes a $100,000 cash prize from GUESS, a fashion feature in Nylon Magazine and a modeling contract with Next Model Management.

America's Next Top Model Cycle 21
(L-R): Romeo, Keith, Lenox, Matthew, Chantelle, Mirjana, Kari, Tyra, Shei, Denzel, Ivy, Adam, Will, Raelia, Ben

Miss J. called me from Paris, where he was busy hand-sewing the 6-foot long train for his boyfriend’s sister’s wedding and we had a lovely chat. Who wouldn’t love to wear a Miss J original for their wedding!

America's Next Top Model Cycle 21Of course, my first question to Miss J. had to be “What are you wearing this season to represent the demise of each contestant?” In the past, Miss J. has worn Number necklaces, Velcro name-tags, Bows, and the mega-awesome Elizabethan ruffles. Miss J. confided, “I decided to wear the exact same suit from the neck down but something changes every decade from the neck up.” We’ll have to watch tonight to see exactly what he means.

Miss J. has been away from ANTM for two seasons, but he’s been still been active in other Top Model franchises. “I was just on an Asian and European tour of judging on Top,” said Alexander. “I’ve been doing all of Russia, I did Denmark, I did Vietnam, so it’s like I never stopped doing the show.”

While Miss J. was globetrotting, America’s Next Top Model introduced men to the modeling competition. Cycle 21 is the second installment in a row to have babes and boys. Male and female modeling is vastly different so to impart parity into the judging process, the show introduced a social media aspect and numerical scoring. The CW says the social aspect of the judging and was told that production this past spring, fans could for their favorite contestants based on a variety of photo shoots. The contestants who had already been eliminated had the opportunity to return to the competition via votes on their photo shoot pictures. I’m still fuzzy about how it works, and when asked what he thought of the new-to-him scoring system, Miss J. laughed, “I’m still trying to figure it out girl; I’m still trying to figure it out.”

This season’s final contestants will jet to South Korea and participate in Seoul Fashion Week. Miss J. judged a season of Korea’s Next Top Model and describes the country as, “quite stylish, quite a fashionable place to be. There are a lot of great, cool designers.” Miss J said for the contestants, other than the expected hardship with language and food, their biggest challenge is the photo shoots themselves. “Shooting in the streets and on locations with this whole K-pop culture, the models had to really embrace it and be a part of it. And sometimes that’s not easy when you feel like, ‘maybe doing that dance, I look kind of stupid.’ But you have to realize that a) this is a competition, b) you’re competing to win a title, and you have to do what it takes.”

Meet the Cycle 21 Cast
Name: Ivy Timlin
Age: 20
Hometown: Buffalo, NY
Height: 5’8

Name: Shei Phan
Age: 23
Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK
Height: 5’9 ¼

Name: Chantelle Brown-Young
Age: 19
Hometown: Toronto, Canada
Height: 5’8 ¼

Name: Mirjana Puhar
Age: 18
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Height: 5’8 ½

Name: Raelia Lewis
Age: 22
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Height: 6’0 ½

Name: Kari Calhoun
Age: 23
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Height: 5’ 8 ½

Name: Lenox Tillman
Age: 19
Hometown: Newnan, GA
Height: 5’9 ½

Name: Keith Carlos
Age: 26
Hometown: Bridgeport, CT
Height: 6’1

Name: Romeo Tostado
Age: 23
Hometown: Salinas, CA
Height: 6’0 ½

Name: Will Jardell
Age: 23
Hometown: Nederland, TX
Height: 6’4 ¾

Name: Denzel Wells
Age: 23
Hometown: Houston, TX
Height: 5’10 ¼

Name: Ben Schreen
Age: 24
Hometown: Waverly, IA
Height: 6’3

Name: Adam Smith
Age: 26
Hometown: Memphis, TN
Height: 5’10 ¼

Name: Matthew Smith
Age: 24
Hometown: Highlands Ranch, CO
Height: 6’4

Who has what it takes to win America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 21? Watch Mondays starting August 18 on The CW.

Cast Photo ©2014 Pottle Productions Inc. All Rights Reserved.
J. Alexander image ©Eric Leibowitz/The CW©2014 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

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