This was the most intense and emotional episode for me during the whole season. Everything I had worked for and everything I had learned was finally culminating in our last challenge: the final runway. Throughout this journey, there were many days when I wished I could just run to my mother for comfort, so it was the best feeling ever having our moms with us this time around. I'm extremely blessed to have had this opportunity and cannot thank Tyra, Kelly Cutrone, Yu Tsai, Miss J, and the production team enough for everything.
We began the final moments of the show by presenting to the judges our life and career plans post ANTM. They wanted to know that we were capable of capitalizing on the platform we were being given, and that we wouldn’t simply fade out. Lacey presented an almost robotic rendition of her PowerPoint slides, but had good ideas on how to further her virginal “good girl” image and brand. I decide to just speak from the heart and present to the judges why this platform, in addition to my platform as Miss Maryland USA, would benefit youth—specifically young girls—everywhere. I genuinely aspire to inspire. No choking this time; I expressed my love for service and social change, and how my efforts beyond modeling could make an impact. Tyra commended my realness and said, “The one thing that I feel with you is passion and drive...I feel your fire.” Nyle, on a similar track, hopes to make a greater impact in the world rather than just achieving fame. Mikey finally showed off his vulnerable side when he could barely able to get through his presentation because he was fighting back tears. His presentation was very touching.
Besides his best effort though, Mikey was sent off first, and Lacey soon followed, which meant Nyle and myself were the Top 2 finalists of Cycle 22. Then it was show time!