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These reality TV models are worth a second look

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When America's Next Top Model Cycle 21 premiers on the CW network at 9pm on August 22nd, we will see the return of runway coach J. Alexander as he re-joins the Top Model team as one of the judges in the search of the next big fashion modeling star.

Hosted by supermodel Tyra Banks, America's Next Top Model isn't the only televised modeling competition to make headlines this year. In what has been dubbed 'the year of the model' 2014 has seen more than its fair share of model TV, and then some.

But the real story is not the competitive nature of modeling, as much as in the stories behind these model citizens, who are living proof that good looks shouldn't be taken only at face value.

Chantelle Young, ANTM Cycle 21
Chantelle Young, ANTM Cycle 21 Courtesy ANTM Instagram

Chantelle Young, ANTM Cycle 21

Cycle 21 of America's Next Top Model with host one contestant living with a unique skin pigmentation condition called vitiligo, Chantelle Young. The pigment disorder causes areas of discoloration on the skin, making it appear white, and it has been known to cause emotional stress in patients. Interestingly though, in Young's case the white patches are symmetrically formed on her face. Hailing from Toronto, Canada, she said in her Top Model video that 'a lot of people have a story and a background, but mine is painted on my body.' Young adds that just like she went for her dreams, she wants everyone to know that 'you can do it.'

Tiana Zarlin, The Face Season 2
Tiana Zarlin, The Face Season 2 Craig Barritt/Getty Images for ELLE

Tiana Zarlin, The Face Season 2

The Face Season 2 winner Tiana Zarlin, originally from San Diego, California, said in her contestant bio on Oxygen.com that she 'loves to volunteer' and intends to use modeling as a 'platform to give back to her community.' Looks like she will get the chance to do just that, as the new face of Fekkai, a company associated with charitable events like the GiveLight Foundation's Annual Women's Gala.

Aleyda Ortiz, Nuestra Belleza Latina
Aleyda Ortiz, Nuestra Belleza Latina Nuestra Belleza Latina Twitter Page

Aleyda Ortiz, Nuestra Belleza Latina

When Aleyda Ortiz of Puerto Rico won the title Nuestra Belleza Latina 2014, she was not only chosen because of her abilities as a model, but also as a role model. Ortiz overcame her personal struggles with health and weight issues by changing her diet and fitness routine, gaining the confidence to compete and win the title of Miss Puerto Rico, before going on to compete in the 8th annual modeling event Nuestra Belleza Latina broadcast on Univision.

Heather Meyer, The Fashion Hero
Heather Meyer, The Fashion Hero Courtesy The Fashion Hero website

Heather Meyer, The Fashion Hero

New reality TV modeling competition The Fashion Hero has attracted contestants from around the globe with the slogan 'Everyone can become a model.' The online voter-driven competition, still seeking to add to its roster of contestants, sponsors and affiliates, is set to film at a Mexico location in November of 2014. One aspiring model leading the pack, Heather M. of South Fork, Colorado, is a survivor of childhood abuse who went on to become an Early Childhood Specialist and an advocate for Sexual Assault Awareness.

Mekayla Diehl, Miss Indiana USA
Mekayla Diehl, Miss Indiana USA Miss Indiana USA Facebook page

Mekayla Diehl, Miss Indiana USA

Among the 51 contestants competing for the title of Miss USA on Sunday, June 8th, will be young ladies who have overcome many forms of adversity from health problems, to family struggles and even rape, to become successful models and budding professionals. Miss Indiana USA, Mekayla Diehl speaks openly about her past experiences with child abuse, in the hopes of inspiring the youth of her community to 'be the best we can be' while teaming with organizations like Bashor Children's Home, which provides services to victimized children.

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