Image: Angelea Preston | Instagram
“I was gutted.”

If you are an original fan of the reality tv show America’s Next Top Model, or ANTM for short, you might recognize the name, Angelea Preston. In recent years, the show has come under fire for problematic situations including blackface and many have scrutinized Tyra Banks for the way she treated contestants on the show. But some will argue that Angelea Preston was treated the worst of all. Now, after eleven years, she discussed her heartbreaking experience in a recent article with Bustle.

Angelea Preston’s experience

After Preston came close to winning the show’s twelfth season, she says that it was hard to find work as the modeling agencies judged her for being on the television show, as they saw the contestants as reality tv stars more than models. From this, she became incredibly desperate for work and was unfortunately tricked into escorting. Although Preston thought she would be modeling for a man known as “T”, she ended up having to go on dates for money, which later ended in her having to have sex with these men. When she refused at one point, he slapped her against the face.

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Although Preston’s friends had reached out to the ANTM producers and even Tyra Banks herself for help, nothing was ever done. But, soon after she was able to get out of the dangerous situation, she was invited to join ANTM’s all-star season, featuring fan favorites of the show and giving them a “second chance” to win the season. Preston had quite a dramatic season, as she alleges that the key to winning the show had nothing to do with actual modeling, but instead making sure the season would be interesting to watch.

Preston ended up winning the season, which she says was an incredibly emotional moment for her as she saw this as a moment to escape poverty, as the winners are given a $100,000 contract with Covergirl. This came all crashing down when she was told due to her escorting past they would be revoking her crown and making the season look like she never won at all, even though she’d still be included in the season. And although this is already outrageous, Preston says that she had a conversation with a talent producer indicating that she knew about Preston’s past.

Preston goes on to say that this was made worse when a network attorney told her that she “did this to herself.” Although Preston does not claim to be a victim of human trafficking, it is evident that once Preston learned what she would have to do after meeting T, she was uncomfortable but went along with it due to safety concerns, so she did not go into escorting willingly. But, Preston did not let any of this stop her, as she is now working as a Sunday host for NPR after receiving her bachelor’s in Journalism. She is also working on a memoir.

Twitter reacts

Although many were aware of Tyra Bank’s treatment of contestants, along with how the show’s producers egged drama and the show was overall faked, many were not aware of the extent of Preston’s story and experience, which opened a lot of discussions online.

Many reposted Preston’s interview, highlighting how this has never been addressed by Banks before. Although she addressed past controversy before, she has never commented directly about Preston, and neither has the show. This seems to be the most disappointing part to many, and even Preston, who says that she only wants “is an acknowledgment that they messed up by revoking her crown.” Many online agreed this would be appropriate, with one person on Twitter writing that “This is infuriating, and every Top Model producer should have to publicly acknowledge what they did to her and apologize.”