‘America’s Next Top Model’: Which favorites are leaving after cycle 18?

Parting is such sweet sorrow

America’s Next Top Model’ has been delighting fans for 18 seasons now and while the contestants may change every cycle, there are a few familiar faces that have been part of the show since the beginning.

Longtime judge Nigel Barker, runway coach J. Alexander and creative director for many of the photo shoots Jay Manuel will not be returning to Top Model after cycle 18. Tyra Banks and co-executive producer Ken Mok released a joint statement about Barker, Alexander and Manuel’s departure from the show, saying;

“Nigel Barker, Jay Manuel, and J. Alexander have been an integral part of the America’s Next Top Model brand and they helped turn this show into the household name it is today. They have been amazing assets to the show and will always be a part of the Top Model family. We will continue to actively work with each of them on future projects.”

While it’s not really clear why they have all left the show, Tyra’s Twitter message to them shows that there is still much love within the ‘America’s Next Top Model’ family for them.  She wrote;

“Fierce & love 2 my @NigelBarker, @MrJayManuel & Miss J. #ANTM turned us in2 a family. Excited for what the future holds for us. XOXO TyTy.”

Barker spoke about the news of his departure from the show on his official blog saying that although he will miss the cast and crew, he is excited about some new opportunities that will be coming his way.  He wrote;

“After many fun filled years with America’s Next Top Model, I will not be returning to the program for cycle 19. Many of you have come to know me over the past eight years on the show, during which we have shared numerous amazing adventures. It has been an exciting chapter in my life and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to do the international version of Top Model for Canada, New Zealand, Finland, England, Mexico and even Russia. What a ride it has been!  I will miss the cast, the crew and ANTM will always have a special place in my heart, having made life-long friendships with countless fond memories. This change will allow me to take on new projects and turn my attention to other business prospects in the worlds of fashion, beauty and entertainment. I also have a number of new ventures that have been in the works, and I look forward to sharing them with you very soon – Stay tuned!”

Manuel was thankful for the support of his fans over his many years at Top Model and wrote that he is ready to move on to new projects.  He wrote;

“Thank you all for your kind words. It’s true, after 18 cycles, I will not be returning to America’s Next Top Model. Most importantly, I must give a big thank you to all our fans!  It’s been extraordinary being a part of an such an amazing brand that we all worked hard to build.  From the first cycle you embraced us and nine years later, we still feel that love.  I’ve truly been blessed to work on a show that was recognized and loved around the world.  I’ll take with me memories and lessons that will last a lifetime. Nigel, Miss J and I had a great run, and now it’s time for us to move on.  But you know me… I’m already working on many interesting projects.  I look forward to sharing with you soon!”

At this time there has been no announcement concerning who will be replacing these positions, but if we know Tyra we can be sure that she will be looking for someone fierce.

Photo: CW

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