Imagine watching the finale of “America’s Next Top Model” Cycle 15 with the two finalists in the same room? Zap2it did just that at The CW’s finale viewing party. There were a lot of giggles from the two contestants during the screening and then some tears when we watched the winner get announced. Afterward, we spoke to runner-up, Chelsey Hersley, about what it was like to watch Ann Ward take the prize again.
“It was kind of hard reliving the moment again,” Chelsey, 22, told us. “I was surprisingly more calm than I thought I would be watching it. It was a lot harder the first time.”
The entire finale seemed like a close race. So when Ann was named the winner, Chelsey looked pretty blindsided. Since the finale’s taping, she says she has been able to work through her disappointment.
“I had time to realize I made it to the final two,” she says. “I’m the runner-up to ‘America’s Next Top Model.’ I think that’s a huge accomplishment. I’m really proud of myself.”
Now that she has had time to process it, we wondered what Chelsey thinks gave Ann the extra nudge. “I think the Cycle is more elevated, more high fashion,” the Idaho native says. “And I find myself to be very high fashionable and editorial, but Ann took amazing pictures. When it came down to it, Ann took better pictures than I did.”
Regardless of whether she won or not, we’ll always remember Chelsey’s confidence while others (including Ann) buckled at times under the pressure of the competition.
“I went through a lot of hard times when I was uncomfortable and unconfident in myself,” Chelsey says. “And I learned to develop a thick skin… You have to believe in yourself before others will believe in you.”
Chelsey also got one of Cycle 15’s more controversial makeovers when host and judge Tyra Banks had the gap between her front teeth widened. Yet, Chelsey says Tyra and the show’s producers made sure she really wanted it beforehand and Chelsey showed very little hesitation.
“If [Tyra] believes in me and is willing to make that drastic of a move in order to help my career,” she says. “Then I will do whatever it takes, because that’s what I wanted.”
So, what’s next for Chelsey? She says she’ll be moving to The Big Apple after the holidays to take advantage of her newfound fame. “Now that my name is out there,” she explains. “Now it’s up to me to knock on the doors and make the hard work come to life and come to a success. So, I’m ready to get out there and work.”
And as for Ann, Chelsey has some advice for her former competitor. “I just want her to keep her chin up,” Chelsey says. “Because she’s a little bit more inexperienced when it comes to the tough criticism. There will be criticism and I just want her to remember that no matter what, you just got to be yourself and be confident in yourself.”
Do you think the judges made the right choice? Should Chelsey have won?