Models are not typically recognized for their intellect at first glance. After all, their job is to look good —whether that’s on the runway, in editorial photoshoots, or advertisements. So let’s take a second glance and talk about America’s most smartest model.
Shows like America’s Next Top Model gained massive popularity during the early 2000s. On its own, this iconic show was already quite campy. It was precisely this that made it gain a cult-like following in audiences.
People couldn’t get enough of the elimination rounds and dramatic makeovers. And of course, who could ever forget the time Tyra Banks yelled at Tiffany in season four? America’s Next Top Model eventually inspired several other reality TV shows that featured models competing for top prizes and a chance at a successful professional modeling career.
One of these spin-offs aimed to bring out the best in the modeling hopefuls: brains and beauty. Called America’s Most Smartest Model, the show was hosted by Ben Stein and Mary Alice Stephenson and aired on VH1.
The contestant who demonstrated that there were real brains behind the beauty would win $100,000, a feature in a VO5 ad, and of course, the title of America’s Most Smartest Model. It seems like a show that’s too good to be true.
Here are X brainy top model facts from that show that make it such a treasured and blissfully crazy guilty pleasure.
America’s Most Smartest Model
1. One of the contestants was arrested
Russian model Andre Birleanu was 25 when he competed on America’s Most Smartest Model, and he was notoriously aggressive during its run. He was arrested in October 2007 after two women claimed he molested them, allegations which VH1 told him not to respond to.
The Blanch Firm represented him and called the claims “a conspiracy.” However, Birleanu’s lawyer Ryan Blanch also added that they had “witnesses who will testify and clear his name in court, and prove these allegations are entirely unfounded.”
2. Basic necessities in the model house could only be unlocked by solving trivia
When all the contestants moved into their shared house at the show’s beginning, they were greeted by an unpleasant surprise: the bathrooms and refrigerators were locked and could only be opened by solving some form of trivia.
For example, in the first episode, contestant Mandy Lynn is stumped by a question asking for the year Christopher Columbus discovered America.
3. Some contestants are intelligent and accomplished
Somewhat surprisingly, some of the contestants on the show are quite smart. For example, Daniel Schuman worked on his doctorate in Psychology, and Jeff Pickel was an electrical engineering major. While the latter’s decision to drop out of college may not sound like a smart move, he became one of the more intelligent contestants.
4. Bill Nye the Science Guy and Santino Rice were guests on the show
Two famous guests did appear on the show, the first being Bill Nye. He appeared on episode 4 and had the models compete in a science fair.
Santino Rice from Project Runway also guested on the show in episode 6. The models’ challenge during this episode involved measuring and cutting out various shapes in a Project Runway-style workroom. The winner of the challenge would then use the shapes in designing a geometric outfit.
5. Some contestants starred in other famous shows
It may be surprising for those who watched America’s Smartest Model see these models’ faces on other popular TVs and shows. Some contestants have made short appearances in Hannah Montana, How I Met Your Mother, and Nip/Tuck.
For more fun facts on other shows, check out our upcoming posts! In the meantime, you can read our previous fun facts articles.