She didn’t win “America’s Next Top Model,” but Scotia native Laura LaFrate is now a licensed driver.
After failing the test three previous times, the 20-year-old earned her license Wednesday — just hours before it was revealed that she came in second to British contestant Sophie Sumner in the season finale of the CW television network modeling competition.
This year’s edition was dubbed “British Invasion” and pitted seven American contestants against seven former contestants on “Britain’s Next Top Model.”
LaFrate explained that she got nervous taking the driving test, but perhaps in gaining confidence from her experience on the show, she was successful this time out.
Though disappointed to finish second, she said she was happy with the experience.
View season finale
View Wednesday night’s season finale on the CW Network HERE.
“For most people my age, you’re at this point where you’re trying to figure out what you want to do,” she said. “When I saw that final [episode], I was like ‘Wow, this is exactly where I’m supposed to be, what I’m supposed to be doing.’ ”
She said she was happy for Sumner because they had become friends during the course of the competition, often pulling pranks on the other contestants.
“Me and her would constantly be hiding things,” LaFrate said. “We were always being a little naughty.”
LaFrate’s parents were in the CBS6 news studio watching the final show as their daughter conducted a live web chat with fans.
They watched LaFrate overcome a panic attack during a shoot.
“I felt like my chest was closing in,” LaFrate said.
“She thought she was having a heart attack,” said her mother, Marilyn. “She wasn’t sure what it was. Her heart was beating.”
Her father, Tom, expressed amazement that he was seeing on the screen the same tomboy who liked to play in the mud and collect bugs.
“It was so new to her, and she walked into it like she’s an old pro,” he said.
The final challenge was shooting a CoverGirl commercial, parts of which were already filmed over the course of the season.
The judges praised LaFrate for coming alive and doing what it takes to get the picture during the course of the season. However, a picture of LaFrate faded from the screen and Sumner was revealed to be the winner.
LaFrate received words of encouragement, however, from host Tyra Banks, who called her the “rockin’ rebel who zags instead of zigs.”
Marilyn LaFrate said she is proud her daughter made it as far as she did.
“This just opens doors to a lot of different things,” she said.
Tom LaFrate said it may even be an advantage because she is not tied to the modeling contract awarded to the winner.
“She’s completely free to do whatever she wants,” he said.
Laura LaFrate had glowing words for the woman who did win the contract, as well as a guest correspondent role on the television show “Extra,” a fashion spread in the magazine Vogue Italia, a cover shoot and spread in the magazine Fashion in Vogue, a spokesmodel role for a new perfume, a music recording to be released by CBS and a $100,000 promotional contract with CoverGirl.
“I love her to death,” LaFrate said of Sumner. “She came back again and rocked it out. She’s got that amazing walk of hers, and she really lights up a room.”
And there is the accent.
“British girls have those cute accents. They’re always so cute, and there’s no way to over power that,” she said.
LaFrate said the experience gave her extra motivation to continue her modeling career. She has several projects in the works. She will be returning to Hong Kong at some point to film a movie with Nicholas Tse and a music video. LaFrate won a part in the movie as part of a challenge.
She is also developing an underground clothing line, is seeking her skydiving license and shooting commercials.
LaFrate said she is grateful for having seized the opportunity.
“I’m so happy that I get the chance to show that you should never be afraid. Sometimes you only get one chance,” she said.
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