Win or lose, Molly O’Connell said she will profit from her experiences on “America’s Next Top Model.”
The 23-year-old Charleston native is thrilled to be one of the final three contestants, having survived round after round of cuts on the strength of presence and personality.
The second of three final episodes of the show’s Cycle 16 competition airs at 9 tonight on the CW. We’ll know then if O’Connell makes it to the finale, or follows an alternate path to a modelling career.
“The photographers I’ve worked with and having these photographs in my portfolio is huge,” O’Connell said. “People strive their entire lives to be able to work with these photographers, and we (contestants) got to work with them in a month and a half. Every single person we have dealt with on the show plays a major part in the fashion industry, and now I have an amazing portfolio that’s going to help me get work.”
O’Connell said the publicity she has garnered during the competition, which began with 14 young hopefuls, will serve her in good stead no matter the outcome.
“I feel like I’m getting a little bit more attention than some of the other girls because I make a lot of weird facial expressions and don’t always have a filter on what I say.”
O’Connell said she made it a point to be “100 percent” herself the entire time.
The winner of Cycle 16 receives a contract with IMG Models, a fashion spread in Vogue Italia, a spread and cover of Beauty in Vogue, and a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics.
“There is no consolation prize other than being recognized as being in the top three,” O’Connell said. “But Cover Girl has dibs on every model on the show. Everyone has a huge chance.”
In July, O’Connell will be moving with sister model Brittani Koine to New York, or, to be precise, New Jersey.
For now, her dream of becoming a top model no longer seems so remote.
“No it really doesn’t. Even four or five months ago, the thought of me being in this position was far-fetched. I always wanted to do it, then — poof! — I get this insane opportunity, I got blindsided by it. I never expected to make it on the show, much less get this far. But with every goal I’ve accomplished I’ve set a higher goal.”