America’s Next Top Model could be from Westover

Published 10:57 am Friday, July 24, 2009

At Chelsea High School, Melissa Belcher’s 6-foot-1 frame served her well as a member of the basketball team. Now, at 24, she’s learning her height can be useful in other ways.

Belcher, a Westover resident, won the Birmingham-area “America’s Next Top Model” competition July 11 – despite never having modeled before. Her head and body shots came from aspiring photographers.

“There were photographers getting into photography, so I did some photos for them for free,” Belcher said. “I’ve never really thought I looked like a model.”

She said her friends pushed her to try out for “America’s Next Top Model” once it was announced tryouts would be held in Birmingham.

“A bunch of my friends called and told me I needed to do it,” she said. “I said, ‘Well, I might as well try it. I don’t have anything to lose.'”

She beat out 110 girls for the chance to travel to the semi-finals, which will be held at a later date in either New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago or Houston. Belcher said she doesn’t know exactly when the semi-finals will happen, but she’s trying to brush up on her knowledge of the show beforehand.

“I don’t keep up with it as much as I need to,” she said. “I watch it when I see it’s coming on, but I haven’t really kept up with it as a weekly thing.”

After the semi-finals, 12-15 girls will be chosen to compete on the show. The competitors will spend two months living in a house together, going on modeling shoots for the likes of fashionistas Tyra Banks and Nigel Barker and competing for the title of “America’s Next Top Model.”

Even though Belcher’s new to the modeling game, she said she’s learning from her experiences and from her win in Birmingham.

“I thought I had a chance, but after seeing all those girls (in Birmingham), they all looked like models, so I was really excited to win,” she said. “Everybody says I look like a model, but I’m not really that confident as to looking like a model. But I’ve tried it, I like it and I’m working on it.”