Ambition pays off for CariDee English

-- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 3:21 AM ET

It was so painfully predictable.

CariDee English won America's Next Top Model in an ending that didn't even shock her.

"I thought I had a good shot at it the whole time," says the 21-year-old photographer from Fargo, N.D. "I wasn't surprised."

While English flubbed the final challenge -- a runway fashion show in Barcelona -- she nailed the CoverGirl photo shoot, cinching the ANTM title.

But her competition, San Francisco's Melrose Bickerstaff, did not go down easy. She dominated the challenges this season and gave a far superior performance on the runway.

The judges on ANTM, however, have become so predictable in the fact they never pick the girl who, based on challenges, should win. And they never give the title to the "mean girl."

Unfortunately for Bickerstaff, she was both these girls, leaving the door wide-open for English, who won the panel over with her perky personality and likeness to former supermodel Rebecca Romijn.

"I have heard that before - lots of times in Fargo -- but the first time I met Tyra and she told me that, it was amazing. I just felt so flattered and flabbergasted," says English, adding her resemblance to Romijn will definitely give her an advantage in the world of modelling.

"She's stepped into the acting world, so the industry can use a fresh new blond with that all-American look."

While English has dreamed of becoming a model her whole life, a severe case of dry skin prevented her from pursuing it until recently.

"I had psoriasis for 15 years -- it covered 75 percent of my body. It was heartbreaking, but I got some great new medication ... and it changed my life."

While English was a favourite among the judges from the start, she almost blew her shot at winning when she asked Nigel Barker if he had removed a stick from his butt.

Or at least, that what's the edited version of the show had fans believing.

"He actually joked back, but of course they edited it and then they said something to get in my head, which definitely worked," says English, adding Barker was never really mad. "It was just more of warning to me not to act like that in the future I guess."

While English has known she won ANTM since June, a confidentiality agreement prevented her telling anyone or working in the modelling industry. That, however, is all about to change.

"I am going to Australia to do my commercial for CoverGirl and my Seventeen is coming out. After that I am just going to go on go-sees, make appearances, keep building my book and take the fashion industry by storm."

Several past Model winners have failed to make it big because their love for the industry has faded. English says that will not happen to her.

"This is all I have ever wanted. It's been my dream my whole life."


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