With America’s Next Top Model finishing its last season tonight, Tyra Banks has crowned Nyle DiMarco as the final winner of the series. DiMarco was up against Mame Adjei in the final two, after both contestants were able to beat out Mikey Heverly and Lacey Rogers. Cycle 21 winner Keith Carlos guest-starred on the finale episode, walking down the runway with all 14 contestants from Cycle 22. Throughout the cycles of the series, DiMarco is the first and only deaf contestant to compete on the show. During his time there, the model was able to earn two top photos, the same amount that his competition Mame had earned in the competition.
However, at the end of the season, Tyra Banks has to make a decision and it came down to Nyle DiMarco, who Banks claimed “killed” the competition. In his closing statements, DiMarco stated “Being deaf doesn’t matter. There’s so many opportunities out there for the deaf community.” The model, 26, continued, “I feel like this 2000lb weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I can’t believe it’s happening, but it’s real.” His mother, who had been present at the finale episode also expressed pride in his ambition to “giving to the community and the world.”
DiMarco, born in Queens, New York, comes from a primarily deaf family with his parents, two brothers, and grandparents all being born deaf. The model later grew up in Frederick, Maryland where he graduated from Gallaudet University with a degree in Mathematics. He made full circle though by returning to New York City where he lives now. DiMarco, a proud member of the deaf community, considers American Sign Language to be his first language. However, he is also proficient in lip reading and nonverbal communication.
As for his current career, DiMarco has expanded from modeling into acting. This year, the America’s Next Top Model winner landed a recurring role in ABC Family’s scripted series Switched at Birth. The breakout star has also gained a following on social media, amassing nearly 65,000 Twitter followers and approximately 440,000 Instagram followers. DiMarco also gained some attention after coming out as sexually fluid via his Twitter account. Keep up with the America’s Next Top Model winner on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.