Why Angelea Preston was Disqualified from ANTM

Top Model Angelea Preston
CW

The ending of Cycle 17 of "America's Next Top Model" was shocking even to longtime viewers, who are used to the show's often controversial and salacious plot twists. The all-stars season ended with Angelea Preston, the model tapped to win the season, being suddenly disqualified. As a result, the Cycle 17 finale was hastily reshot, and host Tyra Banks announced to viewers that Preston was out after violating ANTM rules.

Rumors Swirled After ANTM Filmed a New Finale

The awkward finale and new winner, Lisa D'Amato, signaled to viewers that something strange had occurred. Immediately, the Internet was swarming with speculation about why Preston got the boot. The theories included:

  • that she had prematurely bragged on Facebook about winning;
  • that show host Tyson Beckford announced her win before the finale;
  • that she was pregnant; and
  • that she had abused drugs or alcohol.

Preston's Difficult Road to Top Model Contestant

From the beginning, Preston wasn't the typical top model. The biracial beauty was the scrappy underdog. She was called “ghetto” during her first stint on ANTM, once slept in Port Authority waiting for a callback and had survived the death of her first child. Deeply combative, she fought hard to win Cycle 14, which was her first appearance on ANTM. Although she did not come out on top that season, Preston got a second chance as an all-star on Cycle 17.

Preston's Win Is Taken Away

In the Cycle 17 finale, Angelea clearly was the winner, beating out the other finalists Lisa D’Amato and Allison Harvard for the $100,000 prize before suddenly being disqualified. After reshooting the ending, Banks awarded the top prize instead to D'Amato. The CW issued a press release saying it learned of the disqualifying information about Preston after the show wrapped.

Angelea Preston's Lawsuit Against Tyra Banks

Eventually, fans got some answers when Preston filed a lawsuit against Tyra Banks and the producers of "America’s Next Top Model," claiming that she was disqualified because she had previously worked as an escort. Preston claimed she already had told producers about her yearlong job as an escort---which ended before filming began---but apparently was grilled about her escort work by show staff after the original finale taped. Preston has argued that she was a legal escort and not a prostitute, but in either event, show sponsors were likely concerned.

Preston's lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, argued that because she worked as an escort prior to being cast on ANTM, she was still entitled to the prizes she won before the judges yanked it. Those prizes included a spread in Vogue Italia magazine and a $100,000 contract with Cover Girl. Her lawsuit asked for $3 million for breach of contract, infliction of emotional distress and other claims. Additionally, she alleged that "America's Next Top Model" failed to provide appropriate meal and rest breaks for contestants when filming for up to 16 hours at a time. She said that contestants worked every day for six continuous weeks without any days of rest. The lawsuit also alleged that the producers intentionally withheld treatment for at least 10 minutes when Preston suffered an anxiety attack.