27. Cycle 2: when the models had to hang from the ceiling of some big old warehouse with big holes in the floor.
This shoot is note-worthy thanks to acrophobic contestant Catie Anderson’s glorious meltdown.
26. Cycle 5: when the models had to pose as “fashion victims” while walking on a treadmill.
Runway expert Miss J was then edited in later, styled as a witch for some reason.
25. Cycle 7: when the models had to pose on fake romance novel covers with Fabio.
24. Cycle 10: when the models had to pose on that big, wet mylar sheet used in theater show Fuerzabruta.
If you look closely, the water patterns make it appear that Whitney Thompson (the cycle’s eventual winner) is pooping.
This shoot is particularly memorable thanks to contestant Claire Unabia’s concussion-inducing attempt to dive gracefully onto the sheet. Floptastic!
23. Cycle 16: when the models had to pose for a beauty shoot with bees. Killer bees!
These bees aren’t actually killer bees, but only because the shipment of killer bees didn’t arrive in time :(
22. Cycle 8: when the models had to dress up as men and pose with drag queens. Incidentally, that’s RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Raven in the center and right shots.
Also, this gender-bending concept is one Tyra’s returned to on numerous other occasions. Who knows why…
21. Cycle 13: when the models had to pose as “bi-racial beauties” in a shoot that basically amounted to blackface.
Fun fact: The show had actually featured some blackface before, back in the fourth cycle with the “Got Milk” photo shoot.
20. Cycle 15: when the models had to pose with a Mexican wrestling troupe.
And this is Top Model’s first high-fashion cycle, mind you.
19. Cycle 19: when the models had to pretend they knew what steampunk is.
And pose with owls, who inevitably upstage them because owls are just sassy/amazing like that.
18. Cycle 18: when the models went to Canada and so obviously posed for a shoot covered in maple syrup.
Why did America’s Next Top Model contestants go to Canada, you ask? Well, because Toronto Fashion Week is the only place that would have them.
17. Cycle 14: when Tyra watched too much True Blood and then made the models pose as vampires in a blood-filled bathtub.
16. And cycle 19: when Tyra watched too much Walking Dead and made the models pose as zombies.
15. Cycle 3: when the models posed for a jewelry shot with a big hairy tarantula as a bonus accessory.
Oh yes, this also led to a teary meltdown of epic proportions.
14. Cycle 14: when the models had to pose naked save for a single accessory.
This is Alasia Ballard’s infamous butt naked shoot (right), which new judge André Leon Talley proclaimed he would happily “hang in [his] salon.”
13. Cycle 17: when the models had to “design” and model their own hot dogs. THEIR OWN HOT DOGS.
12. Cycle 4: when the models had to pose in coffins, embodying the seven deadly sins.
Hilariously inappropriate for two reasons: firstly because model Kahlen Rondot received word that a good high school friend had died, secondly because it marked the start of the show’s mocking of fellow model Keenyah Hill’s apparent weight gain. (She landed gluttony.)
11. Cycle 7: when the models had to pose in Hair Wars-style wigs. I mean, there’s a parrot made of extensions in the mix here. Brilliant.
These could be almost be Top Model makeover shots, but not quite. Give Tyra a few more cycles though, and she’ll be telling some teary hopeful that she’ll look much more high-fashion with this sort of get-up.
10. Cycle 18: when the models had to pose in Hello Kitty-covered clothing. There’s a toaster stuck to the wall in the background.
Also note all the awkwardly stereotypical styling: rice paddy hats, origami, Chinese lanterns…
9. Cycle 4: when the models had to pose with an alligator… and a bottle of Lubriderm. While body-painted to look like animals.
8. And cycle 20: when the models also had to pose with animals while body-painted to look like animals.
If the idea isn’t broke, don’t fix it!
7. Cycle 5: when the models had to pose with the cast of Jackass. And then Lisa D’Amato outdid even Steve O by peeing in a diaper on set.
This moment is particularly brilliant in the greater Top Model context, because Lisa won the show’s All Star cycle.
6. Cycle 7: when the models had to pose WHILE FLOATING IN A WIND TUNNEL.
Naturally, this is an advertisement for CoverGirl’s TruBlend foundation. Aren’t you sold on the product?
5. Cycle 6: in which the models showed off Payless shoes while “krumping.”
Personally, I prefer crumpets.
4. Cycle 14: when the models had to pose in dresses made of HUMAN HAIR.
Angelea’s hair cuff is a particularly nice touch. And by nice I mean horrifying.
3. Cycle 10: when the models had to pose in meat bikinis.
YEARS BEFORE GAGA MADE IT A THING TOO, MIND YOU.
2. Cycle 7: when the models posed as celebrity couples.
At the week’s judging panel, the cycle’s eventual runner-up Melrose Bickerstaff (right) was complimented for looking just like Donald Trump. Isn’t that the sort of thing every would-be model wants to hear?
1. Cycle 17: when the models had to pose in a human-sized bowl of Greek salad, pouring olive oil on themselves all sultrily.
Look at those horrid huge lumps of Feta and imagine how bad they smelled during this shoot. Gross.
Obviously an All Star shoot had to take the prize.
(But still, what happened to Angelea?)
All photos courtesy of America’s Next Top Model, via all-antm.net.