Disgraced America’s Next Top Model winner Angelea Preston has alleged that producers knew she worked as an escort when they allowed her to enter the 2011 All Stars season, then disqualified her and pretended it was a shock when another contestant reported her for it.
Preston won the 2011 season and was due to sign a $100,000 contract with Covergirl cosmetics but she was stripped of her title and scrubbed from the finale episode after another unnamed contestant reported to Tyra Banks and the show that she had worked previously as an escort.
The episode that did air saw Banks address the controversy cryptically.
‘We’re back in Los Angeles on the Top Model set and we’re here for a special finale that’s being conducted under unusual circumstances,’ she said.
‘It turns out that after shooting was wrapped, our production team and the network learned information from Angelea that disqualifies her from the competition,’ co-judge Nigel Barker added somberly.
Runner-up Lisa D’Amato was crowned the winner instead. In 2014, Preston sued the show for breach of contract. She later told DailyMail.com exclusively how she and other contestants were starved and deprived of water for hours while filming.
Now, Preston and another former ANTM contestant Krista White are claiming that the show’s producers were fully aware of her sex work when they invited her to compete in the season.
In an interview with Bustle, Preston alleges that casting producer Michelle Mock even quizzed her about it, asking: ‘Were you being pimped?’ before asking her to sign on.
Angelea Preston won the 2011 All Stars season of America’s Next Top Model but was stripped of the title because she had worked as an escort. Producers claimed it was news to them that emerged after filming wrapped but Preston (right in 2015) now says they knew all along
The finale episode that aired showed Banks and other judges talking about the ‘unusual circumstances’ that led to Angelea being disqualified
Winner: Lisa D’Amato captured the crown after it was taken away from Angelea for her stint as an escort
‘It was going to be our little secret,’ she said in her interview with Bustle.
Mock did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s inquiries on Monday.
Preston has told in the past how she was portrayed as the ‘broke one’ on the show. She had a young son and had also mourned the loss of a daughter.
Now, Angelea works in upstate New York as a reporter
She first took part in the show in 2012 but never made it past the audition stage to get into the final house of contestants.
In Season 14, she made it into the house and claims producers told her to ‘amp up the drama’.
‘Basically, they said I’d go home if I wasn’t giving them good TV.
‘I started to realize what this game was about.
‘It’s about staying on the show as long as you possibly can by playing the game,’ she claimed in her Bustle interview.
She lost out on winning that season, then fell into sex work, she claims, because no one would book her for modeling jobs.
She says the show carried a stigma at the time which meant the models were not taken seriously by real-world agents.
‘It started to feel like a joke to me. I would bring my portfolio to an agency, which had all my Top Model photos in them. That’s all I had. I remember going to an agent in New York, and he asked, “This is a Top Model portfolio, isn’t it?”
‘After I said yes, he scoffed and closed my book. He said, “If we like you, we’ll call you.””
It was 2010 and she was living in Jamaica, Queens, struggling for money when a man she named only as ‘T’ approached her and asked her to work for him.
She claims she naively thought she would only have to go on sexless dates in exchange for money, then was coerced into prostitution.
She claims she ended up traveling with him to North Carolina then Florida and finally Las Vegas.
That is where White – who won the 14th season of ANTM – tried to intervene and rescue her.
She claims she contacted Banks, Banks’ assistant and others who had connections to the show.
‘I reached out to everyone I knew that could help me get her out of there,’ White told Bustle. She says no one got back to her.
‘I understood how she came into that work, and what she needed to do to make money. There was no way for her to find [modeling] work or take care of herself or anything. No one was hiring or booking her.
‘And for Tyra to be like, “I’m for women, I’m for girls, I want to have your back.”
‘When it came time for her to show up and really help someone, what happened?’ she says.
Later, after she had escaped the pimp, she says she was recruited again for the All Stars season.
That’s when Mock, who now claims to work for CBS as a casting agent, allegedly quizzed her.
‘Up until this point, I didn’t know if Krista’s call had even reached anyone. So when Michelle mentioned it, I realized someone higher up did know what was going on with me, and did nothing.’
She says she denied it at first because she did not want to risk her place on the show, but that at a second meeting, Mock told her she knew ‘what had happened to her.’
‘To my understanding, she knew what happened, but she wasn’t going to say anything to anyone else. It was going to be our little secret.’
She took part in the show and won the series after a dramatic finale in Crete, Greece.
Weeks later, she said she was contacted by Mock and executive producer Laura Fuest Silva who said they had ‘heard rumors about her past from a former contestant.
‘They asked me to be honest with them so they could protect me because I was the winner. So I was.’
She then was invited to a meeting with Mock, Silva, series psychologist Suzanne Zachary, and attorney Andy Wong, where she was told Banks had decided she was losing her title.
Preston claims they then asked her if she was sleeping with a male friend in exchange for him allowing her to live with him.
She also alleges that Wong then told her: ‘You know, Angelea, you have no one to blame but yourself. You did this to yourself.’