Hampton University alumna Ivana Thomas gets her shot at being VH1’s “America’s Next Top Model” hosted by Tyra Banks, Tuesday nights at 8p.m.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I love Tyra Banks,” said Thomas. “I grew up watching her on the show. With this season being her return to ‘America’s Next Top Model,’ I was beyond excited to be a part of it.”
Banks returned the compliments in the previews of the show: “Contestant number 11; this girl has the mind of a genius and the hips of the sexiest woman you’ve ever seen.”
At the young age of 23, Thomas’ resume is stacking up to prove that she has just as much brains as beauty. In 2016, she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hampton University. That same year, Thomas was named a winner of the Schwarzman Scholarship, an international award that afforded her a year of study at Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University, in Beijing, China.
It was during her time in Beijing that Thomas came across a live post on Instagram encouraging young ladies to submit audition videos for America’s Next Top Model.
“I uploaded my video and it all took off from there,” said Thomas.
It didn’t take long for Banks to recognize Thomas’ edge. After a rigorous series of virtual interviews, Thomas was called to Los Angles, where she and some 30 finalists met up for more rounds of judging and competition.
Thomas made the cut along with 13 others, but her journey is far from over.
“I was very grateful to be on the show, but it was an intense emotional rollercoaster,” Thomas said. “Being criticized by people you look up to is hard, but I understand that it has to be that way.
Thomas credits her years at Hampton University for building her strength and confidence.
“Hampton University taught me how to represent myself at all times, and going to an HBCU in general made me proud of my heritage,” Thomas said. “It allowed me to appreciate my natural look and embrace who I am.”
Thomas continues to pursue her career as a journalist, but you’ll have to stay tuned on Tuesday nights to see if a modeling career is in her future.