Runner-up Laura happy her British friend Sophie took home the title on ‘ANTM’
Laura LaFrate was the last U.S. model standing on “America’s Next Top Model: British Invasion” but lost the title to U.K. model Sophie Sumner, making her the first non-American winner in the show’s history.
But 20-year-old Laura couldn’t be happier her British friend from Oxford, England came out on top after a final runway showdown on the May 30th finale.
“When we went to the back while the judges deliberated, I kind of already knew. It’s something very hard to explain but I was happy and I knew that this isn’t the end for me and I’ve got to just keep working harder. I was just so proud of her,” Laura tells CTV.ca over the phone.
Cycle 18 of “ANTM” pitted U.S. hopefuls against former “Britain’s Next Top Model” contestants for the first time ever and Laura says there are definitely no hard feelings that the Americans were defeated.
“We’ll give them this one,” says Laura with a laugh. “No, I’m just kidding … there wasn’t any big culture clash. It was just the best person (who won).”
Laura was praised week after week by the judges for her strong photos and willingness to take chances, but stumbled on the final photo shoot for Cover Girl in Macau after she had a panic attack and had to go to the hospital.
“I feel like that was probably my biggest downfall,” says Laura, who adds that it was an extremely scary moment because she didn’t know at the time what was happening to her.
“I felt like I was having a heart attack … I had no idea what was going on. If someone had told me to just control my breathing I felt like things could’ve been a lot different.”
Other than that, Laura is happy with how she represented herself during the competition.
“It was all just a learning experience. I’d never done this before. It takes all of that for you to really understand your product, who you are and how you come across and what ways to fix it in the end.”
During her time on “ANTM,” Laura spoke a lot about the difficulties she faced growing up with alcoholic parents and the recent death of her friend.
She says all of these challenges have made her a stronger person.
“Before I went on the show, I lost a really good friend of mine. I was going through a lot of different stuff. My grandfather is going through Alzheimer’s and I’m spending some time with him. I think (with that) whole experience, you’re just like, ‘If I can get through all this and this crazy competition, I can take on the world.’”
Now that “ANTM” is over, Laura plans on starting her own clothing line, doing commercials and music videos, and returning to Hong Kong to appear in movie star Nicholas Tse’s music video – a challenge she won while on the show.
Tyra Banks also made a comment about Laura being destined to be a high fashion model but that’s not the only thing the “ANTM” runner-up has set her sights on.
“That was really sweet but I think what Tyra needs to know is that I’m more than just a model. I can do everything.”
About Sheri Block
Sheri Block has been covering entertainment for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to covering Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding in London, Sheri’s highlights have included going on tour with “Canadian Idol,” being a stand-in on “Canada’s Next Top Model” and meeting Colin Farrell at the Toronto International Film Festival.Follow her on Twitter!