Clarissa Cruz
October 15, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Could America’s Next Top Model be more interested in juicy backstories (one wannabe is legally blind! One’s a stripper!) than in finding the next bona fide catwalker? Let’s just say Gisele needn’t shake in her stilettos. ”Generally speaking, you need to be in your teens,” says Kirsten Weaver, VP of ID Models in NYC. (Only four of Top Model‘s 14 hopefuls are under 20; finalist Amanda, right, is 25.) As for looks, Weaver dismisses the lot as ”run-of-the-mill catalog models.” Producer Ken Mok insists, ”We cast girls who have a shot at becoming a top model.” But he’s no reality TV fool: ”You also have to find a girl whose personality is going to pop.”

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