Fashion Law

DQ’ed model sues Tyra Banks for $4M

Angelea Preston, who appeared as an America’s Next Top Model contestant on cycles 14 & 17, is suing Tyra Banks and others for $3 million over ‘ANTM’ disqualification + $1 million in labor law violations.

Angelea Preston

Preston alleges that she was disqualified because of her past as an escort – a fact that she shared with producers during casting.

During the Cycle 17 finale, Nigel Barker (photographer and then ANTM judge) stated that “After shooting was wrapped, our production team learned information from Angelea that disqualifies her from the competition.”

Should Preston be allowed to keep her ANTM win?

In December 2014, Preston filed her complaint, case number B566135 in the Los Angeles Superior Court, against defendants that included Tyra Banks, The Tyra Banks Co., and The CW Network. Preston insists she did not break any of the show’s rules because her escorting took place before she participated in ANTM Cycle 17, and that she is therefor entitled to prizes.

According to Preston’s complaint, before competing on ANTM, Preston signed a “Participant Agreement” that included a clause that allowed disqualification of a contestant if she were “caught or exposed committing any act which results in any public disgrace, outrage or other embarrassing act or any act that constitutes an act of moral turpitude.”

Preston’s attorneys* claim the agreement is invalid and is trumped by an oral agreement.

The bulk of this case will rely on the terms of the Participation Agreement. With Preston’s attorneys claiming the agreement is trumped by an oral agreement it seems like the contract may be missing an integration clause.**

The lawsuit further alleges that contestants were to be paid $1,300/episode but they worked 16 hours/day and it took about five days to film a single episode. With these figures, the contestants were paid less than California’s minimum wage. Lastly, Preston’s suit also claims that models were denied meal and rest breaks and were banned from speaking for periods as long as six hours.


* Angelea Preston is represented by Tym, Kolodzi, and Terrell of The Tym Firm

** UCC 2-202: Parol Evidence Rule: When a written contract is “integrated” or intended as the final and comprehensive agreement of the parties, evidence of contrary oral agreements may not be introduced to re-interpret the contract’s written terms.

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