America's Next Top Model Cycle 13 Petites: Nicole vs Laura

Nicole & Laura at the Final Runway Show

This was the first cycle ever dedicated to petite models 5'7" and under only. I thought it was great to see having always been a "short" model myself. I think it proves that you don't have to be 5'10" to look amazing in a high fashion photo. The fashion industry is stubborn so I don't see the industry standards changing any time soon but it's a start. You don't even have to win America's Next Top Model to become a successful working model. Tyra Banks has gotten so many models discovered and working who might otherwise have gotten lost in the shuffle. Her show has been a great innovator in terms of pushing the industry towards acceptance of different looks, plus size and now she is doing it again with petites.

The stakes were really high this season. There are always tears in the initial episode where the group that actually competes to be the top model is decided but this time it was even more devastating for these girls. Short models face an uphill battle and for many of them this was their one shot to ever have a chance of making it.

Nicole's transformation from beginning to end was nothing short of incredible. In the early episodes she talked like a stoner and had the personality of a rock. Her monotone voice showed even less expression then her face and she was so socially awkward. The lights were on but nobody was home. Compare that to the final episode where she is bubbly, laughing, confident, and full of smiles as she challenges for the top spot in the final runway show. She seems like a totally different person. She takes beautiful photos and once she came out of her shell there was no stopping her. Being on the show not only turned her into a model but a well adjusted woman with confidence that simply wasn't there before.

Laura is a sweetheart. She's your down home small town girl with dreams and a heart of gold. She truly is just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside and that is such a rare and special quality. Her personal style was just about the worst ever seen in Top Model history but her personality was so charming and endearing that she made it to the final two anyways. It was amazing to watch her overcome her dyslexia and deliver such a likable Cover Girl commercial. Her commercial from last week's episode was horrible but she totally turned it around surprising everyone.

Neither one are exceptional on the runway and being 5'7" that probably doesn't matter so much anyways. They did a good job in the final runway show but I couldn't see either one in fashion week and not because they are petite. It would have been nice if the first petite top model winner was also amazing on the runway so she could challenge in that area as well. Looking at their photos from all prior shoots in panel it was clear to me that Nicole took better pictures and has greater range then Laura because of her high fashion edge. She is just a natural model with a fierceness in her eyes and carriage of her body that stands out in photos.

Although, I do think that Nicole is the better model based upon photos and range Laura was my sentimental favorite to win the whole thing. Also beautiful, Laura has this Polyanna like happiness and innocence about her that I envy. Nicole has the red hair but Laura is the Annie who believes that the sun will come out tomorrow. In her own words she is poor, from a small town, and has been told she is stupid yet has gone farther then anyone ever expected her to. It's a great story and it was so sad to watch her burst into tears as Nicole was announced the winner.

What a life changing and wonderful opportunity. Both girls are so lucky and fortunate to have this chance and I think they will both be very successful in their careers.

I have watched every single episode of every single cycle of America's Next Top model and Cycle 13 was no exception. I never grow tired of watching dreams come true and that is exactly what happens on this show. Reality TV has a bad rap for a lot of really good reasons. Some shows on the air are absolutely ridiculous. There are some really bad shows out there that I watch anyways but shows like this are different. Who can really trash talk a show that gives people a chance to have their dream? To me, this is the upside and the true potential of reality TV from American Idol to Project Runway or Top Chef. Sometimes people just need a chance and these shows give it to them.

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