When she won UPN's "America's Next Top Model" show, Yoanna House took a giant step toward realizing her dream -- becoming a recognizable model in the fashion industry.
The Jacksonville, Fla., native lost close to 60 pounds before competing in "America's Next Top Model: Season 2."
"But I am also 6 feet tall. So I was like a size 10/12," she tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. "It took a while, and I did it in a really healthy way. My friend, Ann Peters, who is a trainer, I worked with her. I got educated and worked with her. After the show, I had to tone. I got into Pilates with her. I love it. And I did a lot of yoga."
Before pursuing her dream, the 23-year-old worked as a babysitter and clothing designer's assistant. From a very young age, she says, she has loved fashion.
"I was addicted to Elsa Klensch. I never watched cartoons. It was all about Elsa," she says, "As a little girl, it even came off. It's something that I've always loved, and I think destiny or fate - I think everything fell into place at the right time."
With this show, Tyra Banks really tried to create an experience that was true to the real life experience that fashion models face.
House says, "A lot of the girls, we got along. I think most of us all got along. And then it was hard competing, especially some of the tasks that they had us do (that) were really outrageous and exciting at the same time." Some of the competitions involved swinging from high wires and posing partially nude.
The final episode had a few surprises: A surprise elimination, and a high fashion runway competition in front of hundreds of people.
At the end of the competition, House was criticized for her walk. But she notes, "I guess, to be honest that night, I think the public should know we were so tired. Some of those judging nights were at 4 o'clock in the morning. We would start really early. You know, in the early evening. We were in front of the judges that day and I didn't give it my all. I regret it because I think you're just kind of like, I don't know. It just started getting really tense."
Now that Tyra Banks crowned her America's Next Top Model, House says she has been having fun keeping up with her busy schedule.
"Yesterday, I did 'Letterman.' That was very exciting. It was neat," she says, "We have a full day's schedule ahead. I'm meeting with IMG (modeling agency). They represent some of the best girls. And, you know, it's all just going really fast."
Late Tuesday evening, a story appeared on the Internet claiming that Sephora, a sponsor of one of the grand prize packages awarded to the Top Model winner, might have had advance notice of the show's winner. Sephora released its spring catalogue and adorning the cover was a stunning beauty who looks just like House. Sephora denies that it's Yoanna, but also refuses to reveal the identity of the model.
About that, House says, "I don't know if she looks exactly. But some people say there's a slight resemblance. There was some buzz. But I'm actually meeting them for the first time today. They had no idea who the winner was. No, I don't think Sephora knew. The network wouldn't jeopardize the secret of who the winner is."
Copyright 2004 CBS. All rights reserved.