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Heather Kuzmich was a contestant during Cycle 9 of ANTM.

Heather Kuzmich is an art student and American fashion model from Valparaiso, Indiana. She is best known for being a contestant of America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 9, where she was the fourth runner-up of the show. During the show, it was revealed that Kuzmich has Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD.

Kuzmich was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome when she was fifteen years old (mistakenly reported as thirteen by Tyra on ANTM), around the time her father died. She has stated in interviews that it wasn’t the easiest time in her life as living with Asperger’s syndrome, the most difficult things for Kuzmich are approaching people and her communication skills.

Kuzmich was one of the final five contestants on America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 9. At the beginning of the competition, some of the other contestants bullied Heather, making fun of her “awkward” behavior and talking about her behind her back. However,  she later reported that “they didn’t make fun of me that much” and that the show’s producers chose not to broadcast more “civilized” exchanges.

Heather always wanted to model. Initially, she was hesitant about trying out for the show, but finally she agreed to do it after a friend convinced her to watch Cycle 7.

Heather’s journey began when she was the 12th girl called to participate in the final 13. Early on, she was deemed to be the underdog of the competition, but this changed when she excelled in the photo shoots. At week five, in which they had to pose as fashion gargoyles, Kuzmich was called late because the judges critiqued that she only took “profile” shots. With that critique the next week, while the girls had to portray recyclable material (Heather wore aluminum cans), she gave all her shots face forward, causing the panel to be blown away by her stunning features. The next week, while filming a music video for Enrique Iglesias, the artist was so taken by Heather’s haunting looks that he picked her and fellow contestant Lisa Jackson for featured roles, where both models were praised and were the first two called at elimination.

Eventually, Heather’s strong portfolio could not compensate for her Asperger’s Syndrome that began to affect her when having to communicate with others. During week nine, a runway challenge requiring her to speak caused her to freeze up in front of the audience and negatively affect her shoot with a burning car in the desert. Tyra Banks noted that while it was a good shot, it was her weakest.

The following week in China, Kuzmich had problems delivering her lines for the CoverGirl Queen Collection commercial. Mr. Jay noted that while she looked gorgeous, Kuzmich could not say her lines well – even when he fed them line by line. Despite taking a great CoverGirl shot, she found herself in the bottom two because of her inability to deliver, even while being given help from Mr. Jay.

She was spared for another week, but the following week saw her yet again landing in the bottom two. That week, the girls went on go-sees in Shanghai, and while the other four girls made it to at least three or four designers, Heather got lost and ended up only making it to one. The designer praised her look and strong photographs, but criticized her runway walk as well as her lack of eye contact. She was also disqualified because of her late return. Fans were angry when fellow competitor Jenah Doucette did not offer Heather a ride back because she had lost her taxi, but she explained that it was against the rules. That week, the two models that Banks deemed to take the strongest photos of the remaining girls – Heather and Jenah – were placed in the bottom two, both for their lack of good communication. Heather was eliminated and became the ninth girl eliminated.

Heather won nine CoverGirl of the Week awards (including one after she got eliminated), equaling the record with Cycle 4‘s Naima Mora who also won nine throughout the entire competition (once every week). Heather also set Top Model history by winning the award the week after she was eliminated. She also appeared on ‘Top Models in Action’ of ANTM, Cycle 12. The short clip featured her photo shoots including the cover of Spectrum magazine.

A challenge win during Top Model allowed Heather to participate in a special photo shoot art-directed by Mary J. Blige for Carol’s Daughter. Heather also did a photo shoot for the July 2008 issue of Wedding Essentials, which was featured on MTV’s Made, where a young boy with Asperger’s followed her on set. Heather has modeled for the clothing company “Blue Eyed Girl,” cover and inside of Spectrum Magazine, a magazine for families and individuals who have autism.

Heather received great press attention due to her Asperger’s Syndrome condition, including talk show appearances (such as being interviewed on Good Morning America and an article in The New York Times). She plans to continue modeling, while continuing her education at the Illinois Institute of Art located in Chicago. In a recent interview at a viewing party, Paulina Porizkova stated that her favorite model was Heather. Kuzmich has appeared in People magazine twice, once in October 2007 and the second time in December 2007 and she was recently one of the nine girls featured in America’s Next Top Model: Exposed on the CW. During the filming of that feature, she became close friends with Jael Strauss from Cycle 8. Heather has also appeared twice on The Tyra Banks Show, once in a “Where are they now?” episode and for the Fiercee awards.

She currently lives in Chicago, Illinois where she is studying video game design. Heather has signed to the women’s division of Elite Model Management in Chicago.

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Heather’s Myspace
Source: Heather’s Facebook
Source: All ANTM

Source: ANTM

Source: ANTM

Source: ANTM

Source: ANTM / Jim De Yonker

Source: ANTM / Jim De Yonker

Source: ANTM / Matthew Jordan Smith

Source: ANTM

Source: ANTM / Lionel Deluy

Source: ANTM / Mike Rosenthal

Source: ANTM / Fredric Reshew

Source: ANTM / Trevor O Shana

Source: ANTM / Nigel Barker

Source: ANTM / Jim Wade

Source: Carol's Daughter

Source: Mireya Acierto

Source: Mireya Acierto

Source: Mireya Acierto

Source: Russ Hadziabdie

Source: Russ Hadziabdie

Source: Russ Hadziabdie

Source: Russ Hadziabdie

Source: Russ Hadziabdie

Source: Russ Hadziabdie

Source: Russ Hadziabdie

Source: Russ Hadziabdie

Source: Russ Hadziabdie

Source: Russ Hadziabdie

Source: Blue Eyed Girl

Source: Time Out Chicago / Colleen Durkin

Source: People Magazine / Dec 07

Source: People Magazine / Dec 07

Source: Spectrum / Abel Berumen / Feb March 08

Source: Spectrum / Abel Berumen / Feb March 08

Source: Spectrum / Abel Berumen / Feb March 08

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64 Responses to “Heather Kuzmich”

  1. Marts Says:

    You didn’t post her 6-page spread in the wedding dress magazine?

  2. kiki Says:

    She should have been in the top two with Bianca.

  3. mishelle Says:

    Apesar de su enfermedad es una chica linda y muy pero muy fotogenica, la felicito.

    Rough Translation: “Despite her illness, she was a pretty girl and very photogenic. I congratulate her.”

  4. Dora Says:

    I wanted her to win, but maybe it was the best for her to start slow but sure. That gives time for her to adapt to modeling world (I think).

    Heather, love you so much! You go girl!

  5. Marie Says:

    Heather, I thought you were the most beautiful model on Top Model. I have Asperger’s myself and you have inspirered me to be a model. In my opinion, you should have one.

    Ps. You’re really photogenic! :)

  6. Jaamgirl Says:

    Heather is my absolute fave of all ANTMs. I thinks she embodies what young women can become and accomplish.

    Rock on, Heather!

  7. KriStina Says:

    Heather была лучшая. Она настоящая модель. Все остальные были во 1000 раз хуже чем она. Я так хотела чтоб она побелила….:-(

    Rough Translation: “Heather was the best. It the present model. All the others were 1,000 times worse than Heather. The competition has really become whitewashed.”

  8. Gina Says:

    Heather,

    You were robbed. You totally deserved to win. I loved that cycle right until you were voted off. Then I stopped watching because it was clear that the fix was in for Saleisha. I don’t believe you were treated fairly, but I’m glad to see you haven’t let it stop you or even slow you down. Your pictures are stunning. I’m so proud of you.

    I have an autistic son and I tell him every day not to get discouraged because he can do anything his heart desires. You’re proof that I was right. He wants to be a doctor, and you’ve shown him that he can be whatever he wants to be.

    Thank you so much for having the courage to follow your modeling dream, and especially for all the beautiful pictures of you we get to enjoy. Good luck with game design at the Art Institute. I hope you become the next Bill Gates. You’re so much more than just a pretty face.

  9. kiki Says:

    Heather was robbed of her deserved victory. Also, she had only taken one bad shot.

  10. polarpanda Says:

    I think this season was fixed. There is NO way Saleisha had the talent to win! it should have been Heather and Jenah in the top two.

  11. Guz** Says:

    It’s cool and amazing woman.

  12. Tanya Ferguson Says:

    Beautiful girl!!!! She was my favorite for that cycle! The winner was not half as beautiful!

  13. alexis Says:

    Robbed easily! She should have been 2nd (first being Jenah). Saliesha looks like a man and her photos are just awful.

  14. hello Says:

    She should have won, no doubt.

  15. Светлана Says:

    На мой взгляд, Heather была самой красивой девушкой на проекте!!! Я тоже расстроилась, когда её выгнали.

  16. Becks Says:

    She was my favorite of the season. She is so so beautiful and unusual! Love her.

  17. olle Says:

    У нее фамилия Кузьмич? Да уж, со всех сторон не повезло девушке.

  18. anastacia Says:

    My all time favorite person on this series! I even wrote a book about her and looking for a publisher! Beautiful soul!

  19. Khatarina Says:

    I just loooove her look, especially the one with green dress by Jim Wade. You girl are wow!!

  20. nesu Says:

    The best of ALL cycles!

  21. cindy Says:

    Heather is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!! I agree that she should have been in the top 3. Really, how many models do you see doing commercials? That was supposed to be her undoing. Hope your career is exploding!

  22. Tanya Ferguson Says:

    When I look at this girl, I dont see autism, awkwardness, or insecurity. I just see beauty! She one of my 2 favorite!

  23. AnKa Says:

    Heather was my fave. Not just because of her talent and looks, but also for her illness. My sister also has Asberger’s and after watching this cycle I went to her, showed it to her and told her she could do anything she wanted. :)

  24. Emily Says:

    I’ll be the first one to say it. I hated her. Every week I thought, “The judges are NOT going to tell her THAT’S beautiful this week, too, are they?” But they kept doing it. In the shot of her crawling, you tell me she wasn’t Tyra’s little golden child. Look at the photo of her with purple hair and a pink dress or something with another girl. Being practically ASLEEP is attractive? Everyone’s gonna be mad. I’m sorry. That was a little harsh.

  25. Boone Says:

    Beautiful woman who should have won her season! Rock on Heather and don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re not good enough. As you know now, you can do anything you set your mind to. Love you, girl. Keep up the excellent work.

  26. Fuli Money Says:

    I love u so much~~
    U are so amazing~~


  27. I think Heather should have won. She’s unique, a great high-fashion model and an inspiration to others and she’s really beautiful too.. Well its life… I love her drawings!

  28. Sidonia Says:

    I loved Heather, her and Jenah were the best models of cycle 11!

  29. B Says:

    Heather,you rocked and really inspired so many people.Besides for you being an amazing model,you were also so genuine and not vicious or spiteful throughout the competition. You shone!!!!

  30. JayJay Says:

    She’s awesome. The go-sees were always going to be the tough part for her because of her disability. I feel that it was a tad unfair. It would be like kicking a girl in a wheelchair because her runway walk sucks. But such is life. I’m happy to see that she is doing well with something she loves. Keep at it Heather! i wish you all the happiness!

  31. larissa Says:

    I love Heather and she photographs very, very well. She has a natural talent for be a model. For me, she had be the winner of america’s next top model. But, good luck for her in you career! You rock!

  32. Donna Says:

    I also loved Heather. They knew of her disability and should have gave her a little help finding the places for go-sees. In the real world there would be someone to help her. I also think she should have been in the All-Stars show. Bianca is still the diva. Do one ever learn.

  33. Annika Says:

    No matter what she has really adapted to this way of life. Look at her she is a completely different person. She was my favourite an she deserved to win!

  34. Эвелина Says:

    Ты Классная!! самая самая лучшая!!

  35. vishal doiphode Says:

    Hi heather: I am Vishal Doiphode (from INDIA)
    I have asperger’s syndrome myself; you are very beautiful.

  36. AM Says:

    My all time antm favorite

  37. Daniel Germer Says:

    Voilà Heather with her unique beauty, her class, her poise.
    I discovered her just this year on a French channel. It’s really a beautiful girl, very photogenic.
    it’s incomprehensible she ends only fifth. Especially when we see the two girls who are any second and first. But these “girls next door” are not supermodels.
    So, why Heather and Jenah, the two girls with the most potential, with impressive beauty, whether they end up misfiled?
    It’s too bad for Heather, really beautiful with her unique charm and so photogenic.
    Daniel from France

  38. Emma Says:

    Breathtaking… Love!
    Underbart vacker med en än själ vackrare ändå! Och ja, jag är lite kär… (Swedish)

  39. Mina Says:

    I remember that all of the other girls treated her like she was an alien. I felt bad for her but it’s good to see that she’s still working.

  40. Joe Klemmer Says:

    I have a very special place in my heart for Heather. See, it was because of her appearance on ANTM that I discovered. at the age of 45, I have Asperger’s Syndrome. Her explanation of the symptoms and seeing some of her behavior started me thinking about my youth and what it was like growing up. From there I started looking into it and, after learning more about Asperger’s and talking to my mother, it was like an epiphany. This led me to see some psychologists/therapists which led to my diagnosis.

    This discovery was like having a giant boulder lifted off of my shoulders. It might sound strange to say but, for the first time in my life, I knew I wasn’t “wrong” or “broken.” I wasn’t “bad” and it wasn’t my fault I acted this way.

    Since then I have wanted to thank Heather for this. It has made such an improvident in my life knowing why things are like this for me. I hope that someday she knows what a wonderful result came from her courage to go on ANTM.

    Thank you, Heather.

  41. christine Says:

    Heather was a joy to watch. I thought she should have made it to the top 2.
    What I didn’t like was how mean the girls were to her during the go-sees. I understand it is a competition but the girls took advantage of her disability.
    I hope she continues to follow her dream.

  42. GUEST Says:

    I just watched the rerun with Heather and am so disgusted by Bianca and the other girls who bullied this girl. This reminded me of school yard bullies and I will be forever against buying any product from those bullies if they ever model for anyone even if it’s for selling paper bags.

  43. Sophia Says:

    She have the same problems than me. She are awsome! Love here!!! (from Brazil)

  44. cindy brown Says:

    Heather you are beautiful!! Inside AND out. I hope your career is going well and all your dreams come true.

  45. sharon Says:

    Heather has an inner beauty as well as an outer. She was unphased by getting picked on non-stop by Bianca….Who I could not stand. I can’t even watch the reruns because of Bianca. Just like when Jade was on there….I couldn’t stand to watch that hag either….Good luck with all you do Heather

  46. Donna Says:

    I like to watch this cycle of antm. I feel that Heather was the best model. I feel she should have won. During the go sees she should have had some help. In the real world she would have had help. I have a brother with disabilities and he has help when he go out.. I think you are a brave soul.You go girl!

  47. Paola Salas Says:

    When i saw heather eliminated i stopped watching ANTM uggh she WAS MY ALL TIME favorite .. :]

  48. Villafranca Says:

    She is extremely pretty.

  49. AN Says:

    The above article is nearly identical to the Wikipedia page about Heather (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heather_Kuzmich). Which plagiarized the other?

  50. Ella Says:

    Heather is awesome. My favorite of all!

  51. Rose Says:

    Una de mis favoritas de todos los tiempos. Uno de los rostros mas bellos.

  52. jjx Says:

    what is she doning recently? i can’t find any tracks of her.

  53. Jane Says:

    Watching reruns and my niece has aspergers and it was so inspired to see how Heather worked through the many challenges of the photo shoots as well as socializing with the girls in the house. She did it all with such grace even when less than understanding and mean comments were made by the other girls (Bianca!) she still pushed through and came out on top! Heather is awesome and a role model to so many people out there!

  54. Glenda Hilton Says:

    I have forgotten most of the contestants on ATM, but, I have NEVER forgotten the strikingly beautiful Heather Kuzmich!!!! She IS a MODEL!!!!!! I’m a 57 yrs. old woman & I would want to buy whatever she is selling. Her awkwardness aside, she has a look that you just don’t forget! Yes, it’s gr8 what she has done for Autism, but, what she brings to the modeling world is pure ART!!!!!

  55. Angela G. Says:

    Just watched the rerun of ANTM and was again so impressed with Heather. She was beautiful inside and out, competing with class and grace. May the Lord bless you always.

  56. Dr. Danger Says:

    She has an overcoming beauty. She makes aspergers and losing a competition beautiful. She’s a Gift .


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