The Detroit-based beauty comes out on top in the reality show contest hosted by Tyra Banks

By Stephen M. Silverman
May 19, 2005 01:00 PM

In a final contest set in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday night, Naima was crowned “America’s Next Top Model” on the TV show of the same name.

It was partly her Cover Girl commercial and print ad that put the Detroit-based model over the top. “She rocked the fashion show,” said Tyra Banks, Top Model creator, judge and model herself.

Naima has now been awarded placement with Ford Models, a $100,000 contract from Cover Girl and an upcoming spread in Elle magazine.

Not that winning was a breeze. Three contestants vied for the title in the season finale – Keenyah, Kahlen and Naima – with Keenyah eliminated first (“Not high fashion at all,” opined judge Janice Dickinson), followed by Kahlen, who blew her lines during the commercial, even though she held up well against Naima during the fashion show.

In the end, Banks actually favored Kahlen, for being an “edgy blond,” but stylist and judge Nole Marin deemed Naima’s performance “flawless.”

As the final winner, Naima told the New York Post on Thursday: “I just had to find a place inside myself, believe in myself, find confidence and truly believe that I could do this.”

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