Though the lineup leaked months ago, on Thursday the CW confirmed the cast of the upcoming "all-star" cycle of America's Next Top Model (premiering Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 9/8c). Eight out of the 14 aspiring whatevers are 25 years old or older, which is hilarious since even at a decade younger they'd still be kind of old to be getting into modeling. But America's Next Top Model is not the real world or even the fashion world (which is also not the real world), and creator/host Tyra Banks recently told Good Morning America that this cycle will be about more than just modeling anyway. "I have the girls singing songs, doing music videos, creating perfumes. You can't just be a model anymore ... Now it's about celebrity-celebrity, so that's what I'm doing with my all-stars," she said.
Joining her in doing celebrity-celebrity with her all-stars will be the usual motley crew of guest judges. Hilariously, Kathy Griffin and La Toya Jackson will stop by the ANTM panel after having done the same for ANTM parody show RuPaul's Drag Race. Student bests teacher, and then teacher gets student's sloppy seconds. It's a tale as old as time! Other guest judges this season include Nicki Minaj, Tyson Beckford, Ashlee Simpson, Kristin Cavallari, The Game, Coco Rocha, CSI creator/executive producer Anthony Zuiker and photographer Nikos Papadopoulos. The permanent panel of Banks, André Leon Talley and Nigel Barker remains unchanged, as does Jay Manuel's role of creative director and J. Alexander's job as runway trainer.
But about those girls! Their names, ages and original cycles are listed below. For your convenience, we've arranged them by reality show archetypes. We can probably expect them to be more explosive and ridiculous than ever, since by now they're old pros. Literally old pros.
Camille McDonald, 33, Cycle 2
Our take: As her competitor Catie admired, "She's not here to make a bunch of best friends, but she's here to win this." Her mouth will be her downfall, but the claw marks she leaves on her way should be impressive.
Bre Scullark, 26, Cycle 5
Our take: In London, she made a huge deal about granola bars that went missing. Since she didn't know who stole them, she lashed out, dumping Nicole's Red Bull and eventually calling Kim an "ugly person." The location of the granola bars remains a mystery. Let's hope she'll take the opportunity to solve it this cycle once and for all.
Bianca Golden, 22. Cycle 9
Our take: She's so mean! She barely contained her glee upon the elimination of Heather, her gentle competitor with Asperger's. And then, after ANTM, she famously fought with the family of Nikki Blonsky at an airport. Alleged vagina-kicking ensued. She wasn't the one who did the kicking, but at least now she's prepared for whatever any of her competitors throws (or kicks) at her.
Angelea Preston, 25, Cycle 14
Our take: In her own words upon being eliminated, Angelea was "still that bitch." Angelea was not all mean though: She was just as prone to arguing as goofiness, like her memorable impromptu display of her club strut, which included head-nodding and pointing, for the judging panel.
Alexandria Everett, 22, Cycle 16
Our take: The only thing she wore more than her famous bonnet was a facial expression of absolute misery. Since she was on TV just a few months ago, her participation in this cycle ensures that 2011 is the Year of the Bonnet.
Brittany Brower, 29, Cycle 4
Our take: With her looks frequently compared to those of a porn star, Brittany finally reeled things in, was criticized for losing her personality and subsequently eliminated. No fair! She tried so hard to please! She was straight-up robbed, and we're rooting for her this time around.
Sheena Sakai, 24, Cycle 11
Our take: Vivacious and pneumatic, her ample curves got her into trouble: During one panel, she lied about not having breast implants and then almost immediately after, came clean and admitted that indeed, she was enhanced. She was rewarded for her honesty, even though it wouldn't have existed without her initial lie. Whatever, anyone who exposes Tyra's contradictory morality and looks this good is worth a second chance.
The pure hearts:
Shannon Stewart, 27, Cycle 1
Our take: She refused to participate in Cycle 1's penultimate shoot, in which the girls were asked to pose nude ... and she lived to see another day (fellow contestant Robin Manning also nixed nudity and was eliminated as a result). We've got a superhero on our hands.
Isis King, 25, Cycle 11
Our take: On every cycle there is what could be called "the girl with the thing." The "thing" is usually an innate feature or affliction that probably helped get her cast and inevitably will be exploited by the show. Amanda had retinitis pigmentosa, Thalia was burned, Noelle had endometriosis, Heather had Asperger's. In the case of Isis, the girl with the thing had an actual thing: She was ANTM's first (and thus far only) transgender contestant. (She has since undergone sex reassignment.) Including her on the show is basically activism, and so it's no surprise that Banks and the producers couldn't resist bringing her back.
Laura Kirkpatrick, 22, Cycle 13
Our take: She's short as a non-model (she appeared on the short-girls cycle of this show, which was a multi-episode joke in retrospect), sweet as her Gramma Wanda Sue's pies and dyslexic as a mirror image. We cannot wait to have Laura warm the cockles of our reality-TV calloused heart all over again.
Kayla Ferrel, 20, Cycle 15
Our take: She talked incessantly about wanting to become the first lesbian to win ANTM (she probably should have added "out" in front of "lesbian," to ensure accuracy). Anyway, she didn't. But maybe she will this time, and won't that be a landmark!
Lisa D'Amato, 30, Cycle 5
Our take: A wild woman who'd eventually appear on Celebrity Rehab, Lisa alienated everyone in the house so that her only real friend was a tree out back that she called "Cousin It." Can't wait to see if she's once again here to make friends with shrubbery.
Dominique Reighard, 27, Cycle 10
Our take: On the show, she was missing a tooth close enough to the front of her mouth to be frequently visible. Depending on your capacity for reality TV compassion, this either made her woefully miscast or a total underdog. She won Modeville, the brief reality show-within-The Tyra Banks Show featured in 2008. That was basically Top Model: All-Stars before Top Model: All-Stars. Shoo-in alert?
Allison Harvard, 23, Cycle 12
Our take: Known years before ANTM on the Internet as "Creepy Chan," resulting from widely circulated self-portraits that featured her giant, staring eyes, Allison did not disappoint in the weirdness department on the show. Let's see if she can make her actual nose bleed, instead of just painting pictures of them!
This cycle's winner will receive: a campaign with Express, a possible guest-correspondent gig on Extra, a spread in Vogue Italia, and a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl. And yet, we don't get Jade. Doesn't seem fair.
America's Next Top Model's all-star season premieres Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 9/8c.