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Wednesday, July 27, 2011
ANALEIGH TIPTON: Hollywood's Surprise Ingenue!
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Marlow Stern, http://www.thedailybeast.com / Jul 27, 2011 2:10 AM EDT.
Analeigh Tipton as
With her film Crazy, Stupid, Love hitting theaters Friday, former America’s Next Top Model hopeful Analeigh Tipton talks to Marlow Stern about being “sold” to a Saudi prince and going Hollywood.
You are a star actress… we think that’s probably the direction you should go.
With those words, host Tyra Banks bid farewell to a teary-eyed Analeigh Tipton on the reality competition America’s Next Top Model, eliminating her in third place. Tipton's brush with fame should have ended there, with her vanishing into the abyss of the L.A. club scene or hooking up with an Entourage cast member like so many contestants before her. But after Tipton landed starring roles in HBO's Hung, Venice Film Festival closer Damsels inDistress, and the highly anticipated ensemble dramedy, Crazy, Stupid, Love, the latter earning her the distinction of being one of The New York Times's "Faces to Watch," Tyra is looking mighty prescient.
Tipton, now 22, was born in Minnesota and began skating when she was just 2 1/2 years old. "You learn to skate then you learn to walk," she says. At age 8, she moved to Sacramento, California, where she was home-schooled and, for a time, lived with her skating coach to avoid the travel time to the rink. After being crowned two-time regional champion in the pairs division and competing twice at the U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships, Tipton retired from the ice. "I was really good at being pretty on the ice, but when it came to jumping, I think I landed more on my bottom than I did anywhere else," Tipton says. "We even went to a doctor to see how tall I would get. They said I was going to be 5-4, and when I was 16, I woke up and I was nearly 5-10."
At 17, she moved to Los Angeles to write and direct films. Soon after, a woman at the gym approached Tipton and said she wanted to sign her to a modeling agency. Tipton then went out to a dinner to meet some men, presumably in the fashion world, only to discover that she was the dinner date of a Saudi prince. "I didn’t know anybody and these nice people offered friendship," Tipton says. "They ended up being bad people that wanted to exploit young, trusting girls." Not long after, she began receiving phone calls that said, "You have to come to Saudi Arabia. He wants to make you his wife." It turns out she had been "sold" to the aforementioned Saudi prince for an undisclosed sum. "That was my moment of, 'OK, I have to grow a spine,'" says Tipton, who removed herself from the situation before the deal was sealed.
While browsing the mall one day, 19-year-old Tipton met some actual modeling recruiters, and was then contacted through MySpace to become a contestant on cycle 11 of America's Next Top Model. Throughout the show's 2008 season, Tipton was very genial—no thrown drinks or back-stabbing, just a plethora of pick-me-ups—and adorably clumsy. After she was eliminated, she signed with Ford Models and appeared in a multipage spread in Maxim as well as catalog work for Guess and Forever 21.