'Why was Jael Strauss ever allowed to enter America's Next Top Model': Former winner blames show for meth addict contestant's drug problem
CariDee English says crystal meth addict was too mentally fragile and should not have been allowed to compete
13:37 GMT, 18 September 2012
Outspoken: CariDee English says TV executives only selected Strauss because of her volatile personality
A former America's Next Top Model winner has slammed TV executives for exploiting one of the reality show's most vulnerable contestants.
CariDee English, who won the modelling competition in 2003, has spoken out in support of fellow competitor Jael Strauss.
Strauss, 28, has battled a life-threatening addiction to methamphetamine – also known as crystal meth – and been homeless in the five years since her 2007 appearance on the programme.
The troubled former star opened up to
TV's Dr Phil McGraw about her problems recently, prompting other ANTM
contestants to come forward with their own well-wishes and opinions.
Now English – who won a $100,000 CoverGirl Cosmetics contract and a deal with Elite Models after her 2003 triumph – says Strauss should never have been allowed to take part in the competition.
'[Execs] should have evaluated her a lot
more before letting her on the show,' she said in the comments section of Gawker.com, in an article about the Strauss family's plea to Dr Phil to help Jael.
'All they saw was a personality good
for television. Well, this hopefully will save at least her life and
someone watching. Everything happens for a reason.'
English says it is the fate of every
ANTM contestant to face terrible struggles in the fashion industry after
appearing on the show.
She wrote: 'I love, love what I have made for myself since my win, but
mentally, it's horrific. And any girl who has been on ANTM can back me
'No one wants to take us serious as models. Even though we just were named 'TOP,' our place in line at Fashion
World was at the bottom.
'The industry many times didn't care about our
name, but did turn a snobby cheek to the name ANTM.'
But another former ANTM star –
plus-size winner Whitney Thompson, who triumphed in 2009 – has also blogged to say there is no point blaming
producers and executives for Strauss' demise.
She wrote: 'There have been 211
contestants on the show. Only one has an addiction to meth so far. Statistically speaking, Jael's problem is evident in
less than 1% of the contestants.
'Do I think that Tyra Banks
would give us this enormous responsibility if she didn't know we could
handle it No.'
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Before and after: Jael Strauss, a former contestant on
America's Next Top Model (left) has spent six years struggling with drug
addiction since she left the show (right)
Thompson continued: 'All of the girls go through rigorous testing before
setting foot in front of a camera. Unfortunately,
Jael made some bad decisions and those clearly became too much for her
'I am glad to see her getting help. My thoughts and prayers go
out to her and her loved ones. Addiction is a scary thing. We should
all count our blessings.'
Strauss, a former contestant on America's Next Top Model, has spent six
years struggling with a drug addiction which has ravaged her once
striking looks, leaving her desperate and homeless.
At 22, Ms Strauss
was an aspiring model and a finalist in cycle eight of the Tyra Banks
hosted show, But now, the 28-year-old's family says she is close to
losing her battle with methamphetamine.
Not to blame: Former ANTM winner Whitney Thomspon, left, says neither the show's producers nor Tyra Banks, right, should be held accountable for Strauss's addiction to crystal meth
what they say was a last ditch effort to reach out to their daughter,
the family enlisted the help of Dr Phil. However on the episode, which
aired on September 13, 'the full blown meth addict' resisted all help.
With Ms Strauss living on the
streets, Dr. Phil her brother, Brandon, and mother, Debbie, go to her
hometown with the hope of finding her. Reluctantly, she agrees to travel
to Los Angeles to see Dr. Phil.
However, after she is seen physically
resisting being placed on the Dr Phil stage, she then runs away, out
onto the Paramount lot.
Phil follows her, and makes a point of noting: 'This is the first time
in ten years I've come out here, [and it's] to talk to you.'
America's Next top Model: At 22, Ms Stauss was an aspiring model and a finalist in cycle eight of the Tyra Banks hosted show
Ms Strauss, who called herself 'well-rounded' while on the show, also had her fair share of struggles prior to her appearance on Dr Phil.
A few episodes into the 2007 America's next Top Model season, she had to deal with a
friend's death from an overdose.
While she decided to remain on the show, saying in an interview: 'There was never, never a question in my mind to leave
the competition. My friend is gone and I am still here living life to
She chose to dedicate her picture that week to her dead friend.
Ravaged: Jael Strauss refused to appear onstage beside Dr Phil as she was so ashamed of her behaviour
Then, that same year, she sued over the release of erotic photos taken of when she was 16.
family adds that while experiencing her friend's overdose 'really shook
her', she herself could not keep away from drugs.
A habit they say has taken its toll both mentally and physically, including rotting her teeth and leaving her body covered in sores.
Ashamed: Jael Strauss found it a struggle to appear on the US show but told Dr Phil she was a 'well rounded person'
Broken: Jael Strauss' close friend killed themselves during series 8 of the show which her family claimed left her vulnerable
Devastated: Jael's behaviour has broken her family, including mother Debbie
Every chance: Jael Strauss placed sixth in Cycle 8 of America's Next Top Model (far left, middle)
Intervention: In what they say was a last ditch effort to reach out to their daughter, Ms Strauss' family enlisted the help of Dr Phil
Dr Phil: On the episode, which aired on September 13, 'the full blown meth addict' resists all help from Dr Phil
VIDEO: Dr. Phil asks Jael if she secretly wanted an intervention
VIDEO: Jael refuses to join Dr. Phil on stage