Laura Kirkpatrick was a contestant and runner-up during Cycle 13 of ANTM.
Laura was born in Stanford, Kentucky, to father Greg Kirkpatrick and mother Jodie Hill Jones. She has two younger sisters, Hannah and Jarrah, and a younger brother named Jeremy. She previously has worked on her family’s farm, where working with cattle was one of her primary jobs. She has admitted to being dyslexic. Prior to her appearance on America’s Next Top Model, she had been working as a waitress. Laura was majoring in art at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky, before joining the show, and was the first in her family to attend college. However, she missed final exams due to America’s Next Top Model, which prevented her from advancing from freshman to sophomore.
Laura was considered a favorite finalist among judges and reviewers, who praised her for her bubbly personality, strong “country girl” lifestyle and Kentucky accent. She was voted fan favorite in a poll the show held after the conclusion of the series, which won her a six-month, rent-free apartment in New York City.
Laura had been pursuing a modeling career for years prior to her appearance on the CW Network reality television show America’s Next Top Model, and had looked into applying for the series before, but she was a half-inch shorter than the 5’7″ height cutoff. Her grandmother, who Laura considers her best friend, told Laura tryouts for Cycle 13, which was called the “petite edition” because it specifically sought contestants who are 5’7″ or under. Laura said it was a last-minute, “spur-of-the-moment” decision to visit Chicago, Illinois, where she successfully applied to be on the season. Laura, who was nineteen when she started on the show, was consistently considered one of the judges’ favorite finalists throughout the season. She was particularly praised by the judges and reviewers for her strong personality, which stood out as different than those of the other contestants due to her working-class, “country girl” lifestyle. She was also noted for her tendency to break into sudden fits of excitement and laughter. Her Kentucky accent has been identified as part of her charm, although during the show, judge and fashion photographer Nigel Barker said it could prove to be a hindrance during her modeling career. Barker said, “I know that in the back of their head, they don’t want a Cover Girl with an accent, unless it is already somebody super-famous.” Laura initially tried to tone down her accent as a result of the comment, but stopped trying because she felt it made her “lose my spark.” Laura was never selected as one of the “bottom two” contestants for any of the challenges. However, none of her photos were chosen as the best photo-of-the-week except for a team photo in which she and other contestants posed for on a Cirque du Soleil set. Laura said the Cirque du Soleil photo shoot was her favorite of the show, and that walking on the runway was her favorite part of the modeling experience.
Laura’s dyslexia proved to be a difficulty during some challenges, particularly when she had to read teleprompters for Cover Girl television commercials, which was one of the final contests of the season. Throughout the show, Laura spoke fondly of her grandmother, Wanda Sue Kirkpatrick, during taped segments and often wore dresses designed by her grandmother during the judges’ comments. Wanda Sue also made a dress for Tyra Banks, which she wore on the show. Starting at 14 contestants, Kirkpatrick made it to the final two, but ultimately lost to Nicole Fox, who was named “America’s Next Top Model” on November 18, 2009. Laura and Fox became friendly during the season and, although Kirkpatrick believed her personality was strong, she also admitted Fox’s photos were particularly strong. Laura initially reacted emotionally to her loss and was comforted by the show’s host, retired supermodel Tyra Banks. She said of her initial reaction to the loss: “I was really devastated at the time and cried forever until my eyes swelled up and popped out of my head! But now that it’s all over, I’m okay with it because I know I’m going to work just as much as Nicole.”
Although Laura did not win “America’s Next Top Model,” she was voted fan favorite in a poll the show held after the conclusion of the series. Although the margin was not reported, Laura said the producers told her she won by “a whole lot.” As a result of the win, Laura was awarded a six-month, rent-free apartment stay in New York City to pursue modeling opportunities. After her six-month stint in New York, Laura plans to move to Germany to further pursue her modeling career. Laura has received several representation offers from modeling agencies, including Tyra Banks’ Bankable Productions. Laura ‘s official blog, Laurasmodellife.com, is featured on the website for “The Advocate-Messenger,” a Danville, Kentucky-based newspaper. She was also slated to be the grand marshal of a downtown Christmas parade in her hometown of Stanford on December 5, 2009. Laura has also appeared on Banks’ talk show, “The Tyra Banks Show.”
Laura mentioned that she had an offer from Ford Models, but she has not revealed whether she signed with them.