Saleisha Stowers was a contestant and winner of Cycle 9 of ANTM.
In her Seventeen Magazine interview, Saleisha stated she had a rough life growing up. She lived with her grandmother in Madera, California. When she was 14, she attended Camp T-Zone, Tyra Banks’ self-esteem camp just for girls. Saleisha also worked as a receptionist in Los Angeles. Before appearing on Cycle 9, Saleisha was signed with Photogenics Model Management and had also appeared in a commercial for fast-food restaurant Wendy’s, with actor Tom Lenk. She had modeled for DOMIJ clothing., and d.e.m.o. She was also an extra in an episode of the TV series Ugly Betty and on two episodes of the Tyra Banks Show, modeling for Rami, Project Runway season four contestant. Saleisha appeared in the “Welcome Back” music video, and had an ad for 24 Hour Fitness. She also modeled for Especially Yours wigs, and was featured in a fashion spread for InTouch Weekly. She was recruited for America’s Next Top Model, which she subsequently won.
Saleisha entered the competition with a lot of confidence and high self-esteem. Her bubbly, positive personality, and her strong walk won the judges over. But the judges in the beginning felt she relied too much on her commercial look, so they gave her a Louise Brooks-inspired black hair weave to edge her out. She struggled during the third week, and consequently landed in bottom two with contestant Victoria Marshman. But she was spared, and she started improving, producing better photos. She received two first call-outs and two bottom-two appearances. In one of the challenges, she won an ad for Old Navy. In the final deliberation, the judges were impressed with Saleisha’s command on the runway and for her fluidity. She won against contestant Chantal Jones.
As part of her prize, Stowers won a contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics which features her campaigning for WetSlicks Fruit Spritzers, and appeared on the cover of the February 2008 issue of Seventeen magazine. She has also won a contract for representation with Elite Model Management. Like previous winners of ANTM, Stowers appeared in weekly segments of My Life as a CoverGirl during the running of America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 10.
There has been controversy regarding Stowers’s eligibility to appear on the show. The show’s rules state that a contestant must not have appeared as a model in a national advertising campaign during the five years prior to production. Stowers appeared in a 2006 commercial for Wendy’s, an ad that was part of a national-level campaign. The CW issued a statement that Stowers did disclose her participation in the Wendy’s spot, and “after reviewing the commercial, it was determined that her appearance did not amount to “modeling” experience, and therefore did not exclude her from participating in the show.”
Several blogs and news outlets have speculated that her past relationship with Banks (her participation in Banks’ T-Zone camp and her past appearances on Tyra’s television shows and her appearance as a model on The Tyra Banks Show and Cycle 6 of America’s Next Top Model), may have influenced the selection of the winner. Saleisha had also been a national spokesmodel for Especially Yours wigs for more than a year before the show ran, as well as appearing in an episode of the hit U.S. sitcom Ugly Betty.
Saleisha has appeared on the Tyra Banks Show multiple times. This includes the time when Saleisha, along with Tyra Banks, Jaslene Gonzalez, Claire Unabia and Michael Bloomberg planted a tree on April 10 in New York City in honor of Earth Day which aired on April 30, 2008 and the Fiercee Awards along with past ANTM contestants that aired on May 14. Stowers attended the premiere of Polanski Unauthorized, the Vavoom Upfront party with Caridee English and Jaslene Gonzalez, and the CW Upfront Party celebrating the Cycle 10 finale with past ANTM alums.
Saleisha is currently signed to Elite Model Management and L.A. Model Management.