“America’s Next Top Model” Cycle 21 features a 20-year-old model with a skin disorder called Vitiligo. But Chantelle Brown-Young didn’t even try to go to the casting call for the reality show. Instead, Tyra Banks reached out to her after seeing her stunning pictures on social media.
"She's absolutely beautiful," Banks told E! News. "We were looking [for contestants] and I just kept seeing this girl pop up, this beautiful, striking girl…I reached out to her myself and told my team, ‘Find her! I want her here in a week.’”
Vitiligo causes the loss of skin color. Chantelle has white blotches all over her dark skin, but that hasn’t stopped her from pursuing a modeling career. She had been working for a year when Tyra’s team came calling.
"I'd only been modeling for maybe a year before she found me, so I was pretty fresh," Chantelle told People. "The fact that she wanted me so badly for her show will stick with me for the rest of my life."
Chantelle made it through the first episode of “America’s Next Top Model,” but during the episode, Tyra warned her that she wouldn’t be playing favorites. Just because she wanted Chantelle on the show doesn’t mean she has a better shot at winning.
The episode brought Chantelle many new fans since it had such high ratings. Banks told E! News that the show had tons of viewers tuning in. She said, “That Monday night on The CW hasn’t had a number like that in three, four years.” The show had just over 1 million viewers.
The ratings success could be due to featuring unique contestants like Chantelle or mixing up the formula by adding men to the show (which started in Cycle 20). Banks explained that she likes having so many changes. “I’m obsessed with creating things that are unique and different," Banks said. "You’ve got to keep it moving, keep it changing and we’re obsessed with that. And I’m all about bringing an intern or an assistant in the room and [asking what’s cool].’”
“America’s Next Top Model” Cycle 21 airs Mondays at 9 p.m. EDT on The CW. Are you rooting for Chantelle to win? Sound off in the comments section below!