Saleisha Stowers (born January 10, 1986), is an African American fashion model who became the winner of Cycle 9.
Early life/modeling career
In her Seventeen Magazine interview, Saleisha stated she had a rough life growing up because both her parents were drug addicts, with her mother also being bipolar. So she lived with her grandmother. Saleisha was a receptionist in Los Angeles. She attended Camp T-Zone, Tyra Banks' self-esteem camp for girls when she was 14. Before appearing on Cycle 9, Saleisha was signed with Photogenics Model Management, a successful modeling agency in Los Angeles which has also signed Cycle 7's contestant, Eugena Washington, and had also appeared in a commercial for fast-food restaurant Wendy's, with actor Tom Lenk. She was also an extra in an episode of the TV series Ugly Betty and on two episodes of the Tyra Banks Show, modeling for Rami, Project Runway season four contestant. She has also modeled for Especially Yours wigs, and was featured in a fashion spread for In Touch magazine. She was then recruited for America's Next Top Model.
America’s Next Top Model
Saleisha entered the compition with a bubbly and confident personality, winning the clothes challenge in the first week. On her first photoshoot, she modelled alongside fellow contestent, Heather Kuzmich doing an image focoused on second-hand smoking. On a runway challenge the following week for Collen Quen, Saleisha again on the challenge, which caused jealousy between her and fiesty Bianca Golden. For the early stages, Saleisha had respectable pictures, but in Week 3 she landed in the bottom 2 against Victoria Marshman for having dead-eyes, despite being given a fierce new makeover. From then onwards, Saleisha worked hard to try and bowl the judges over, finally achiveing Best photo for her Week 5 photoshoot based on being Car-Parts. Making it through to leaving the country, Saleisha along with Lisa, Chantal, Bianca, Jenah & Heather left for Shanghai, China. When photographed by both Nigel Barker & Tyra Banks in Weeks 9 & 10, both photographers were blown away by Saleisha's abilty to be charming and professional on set and the abilty to produce such a strong photo. Against Chantal in the final, Saleisha's runway walk was significantly stronger than Chantals. After a final deliberation, Tyra announced that Saleisha was the ninth winner of America's Next Top Model.
Saleisha is the fourth woman of African American heritage who has won America's Next Top Model. Prior African American winners being Eva Marcille of Cycle 3, Naima Mora of Cycle 4, & Dani Evans of Cycle 6. She is the second ANTM contestant from Los Angeles, California to win, the other being Eva Marcille.
As part of her prize, Stowers won a contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics which features her campaigning for WetSlicks Fruit Splitzers, and appeared on the cover of the February 2008 issue of Seventeen Magazine magazine. She has also won a contract for representation with Elite Model Management. Fashion is limiting; be unique. Don't aim to look like anyone else. Like previous winners of ANTM Stowers appeared in weekly segments of My Life as a Covergirl during the running of America's Next Top Model Cycle 10.
Since Stowers's win, there has been controversy regarding her eligibility to appear on the show. The show's rules state that a contestant must not have appeared as a model in a national advertising campaign during the last five years. Stowers appeared in a 2006 commercial for Wendy's. There is debate among viewers of the show over whether the commercial for Wendy's could be considered an advertising campaign, which would make Stowers ineligible to compete in America's Next Top Model. The CW said in a statement that Stowers did disclose her participation in the Wendy's spot, and "after reviewing the commercial, it was determined that her appearance did not amount to "modeling" experience, and therefore did not exclude her from participating in the show" although her modeling contract with Elite model management was shortened. Several blogs and news outlets have speculated that her past relationship with Banks (her participation in Banks' T-Zone camp and her past appearances on Tyra's television shows and her appearance as a model on The Tyra Banks Show and Cycle 6 of America's Next Top Model) have influenced her selection as the winner. Saleisha has also been a National Spokesmodel for Especially Yours wigs for more than a year before the show ran.
Post Show Career
Saleisha along with Tyra Banks, Jaslene Gonzalez, Claire-Aimee Unabia and Michael Bloomberg planted a tree on April 10 in NYC in honor of Earth Day and the filming aired on April 30, 2008 on the Tyra Banks Show. Saleisha has also attended the Fiercee Awards along with past ANTM contestants that aired on the Tyra Banks Show on May 14th. Stowers was at the premiere of Polanski Unauthorized. Saleisha attended the Vavoom Upfront party with CariDee English and Jaslene Gonzalez. She also was at the CW Upfront party for the Cycle 10 finale party with past ANTM alums.
Stowers was on the cover of Seventeen Magazine as part of her prize. She has also appeared on the covers of Paper Doll Magazine
Saleisha has walked for Tibi. Stowers has walked for Peter Som's Bill Blass Fall 2008 Collection at Saks Fifth Avenue on April 2. She has also walked for Carson Kressley's Safilo USA Spring/Summer '08 Designer Eyewear Fashion Show at Vision Expo East on April 12. Saleisha walked for Jose Duran for NYC fashion week, which also showed on her My Life as Covergirl commericals. Saleisha has also walked in a GenArt Fashion Show for Jennifer Mary. Stowers appeared on the finale episode of Cycle 10 to give encouragement to the final three, and she opened for the mock Versace runway show.