America's Next Top Model set its sights on Jamaica for its 19th cycle. The long-running hit reality TV show, hosted and produced by supermodel mogul Tyra Banks, set up shop on The Rock for almost a month this past summer to film episodes of current season titled 'The College Edition' now airing on The CW. Western Jamaica was ground zero for the show's production crew, with Banks and company staying at the luxe Half Moon Hotel in St James.
Naturally, the island's top-shelf talent was called upon for their services for ANTM's filming: former Miss Universe runner-up Yendi Phillipps; fashion designer Ashley Martin, couturier and hairstylist Lisa McIntosh-Aris (Neah-Lis), make-up artist Loni Jones, dancehall star Konshens, Saint International male models, and jewellery designer Bianca Bartley.
Bartley's distinctive jewellery pieces figured prominently in an episode as a prize that contestants had to vie for in a challenge, while both Martin and Neah-Lis's designs were donned by five models for a photo shoot on the Martha Brae River in Trelawny.
For Neah-Lis, her clothing being selected as wardrobe for the ANTM models was a happy accident. "I was actually hired to work as the key local hairstylist to the lead international hairstylist Troy Pettin," she tells SO. "I went to Montego Bay specifically to do hair, but when they were going through a catalogue of local designer looks, the producers saw the collection I did for Saint International's Fashion Block and they felt it was a good representation of a Jamaican designer."
Still over the moon with her participation in the popular TV show, Neah-Lis describes her three-week involvement as "really amazing".
"The exposure is a great accomplishment for any Jamaican, as not many persons have received this kind of break," she adds.
SO features highlights from ANTM's recent Rock takeover.