Friday, December 12, 2014

Renee Alway... an ANTM tragedy

Up until a couple of years ago, I was a devoted viewer of America's Next Top Model.  It's not because I ever wanted to be a model or enjoy watching mega narcissistic Tyra Banks.  I think I watched it for the train wreck craziness that came with each new cycle.  I liked that they called each season "cycle", too.  Kind of made me think of periods, which seemed oddly appropriate.

I quit watching ANTM when J. Alexander and Jay Manuel were fired.  Nigel Barker was fired too, but I cared a lot less about him.  I have heard Miss J is back on the show now, but the ship has sailed and I have no interest in watching it anymore.  Kelly Cutrone is also on it and I can't stand her, especially when she's paired up with Tyra.  Moreover, I don't like that there are guys in the house.  That was something that worked well on Make Me A Supermodel, which didn't last long, but was a more legit show.

Anyway, one of the better cycles was Cycle 8, which happened to air in the spring of 2007.  Bill was deployed to Iraq at the time, so I found myself getting very involved with trashy television.  That's also when I got hooked on Making The Team: The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.  During Cycle 8 of ANTM, there was a contestant named Renee Alway.  She was just 21 years old at the time, newly married to Jason DeWitt with whom she shared a baby boy named Troy.  I thought she was just beautiful, even though she was quite bitchy to the other women.  She was very confrontational and frequently got in fights with them.  But sometimes she'd show a softer side, like in the video below.  

Renee talks about fellow troubled Cycle 8 castmate, Jael Strauss...
Renee ended up coming in third place that season.  I was kind of sad about that, since I didn't really like the two who placed ahead of her.  Jaslene Gonzales won that cycle and the runner up was Russian Natasha Galkina, who now goes by the name Natalie Gal.

Renee gets eliminated...
But Tyra Banks still had a heart for Renee and the following year, she had her as a contestant on a mini modeling competition on her now defunct talk show, Tyra.  I didn't watch Renee on that show, but I understand she was the runner up.  As young and beautiful as she was at the time, there's no reason her life should have turned out the way it has.  

Renee on the Tyra Banks show...  She's the one looking absolutely gutted when Dominique won.

In June 2013, Renee Alway was found hiding in a garage when someone reported a "suspicious female on private property".  She was arrested for multiple counts of burglary, fraud, and a count each of vehicle theft and possession of a firearm.  I was shocked when I saw pictures of the formerly beautiful woman, now wearing chains and sporting a shaved head.  She reportedly shaved her head because she wanted to "start over".

This is so very sad... not just for Renee, but for her kids, too.

Yesterday, I got curious about Renee again and discovered that she was just sentenced to twelve years in prison.  Now no longer a ravishing blonde beauty, she has a mohawk and looks decidedly masculine.

I suppose this is a better look than...

This is what Renee looked like when she was arrested in Palm Springs, California in June 2013.

I watched Cycle 8 of ANTM yesterday and as I viewed Renee when she was still model material, I could tell she was pretty troubled, angry, and very manipulative.  But she also seemed to have a good heart deep down and I know she loved her son, who was shown on one episode.  What a tragedy it is that she has turned to a life of crime and ended up in this position.  She may not be out of prison until she's 40 years old.  By then, her little boy will be a young man.  

I hate to see wasted potential, especially if it means a person with talent and ability is sitting in a prison cell.  I hope Renee gets the help she needs, though I doubt it will happen.    


  1. Wasted potential for sure. So very sad. Drugs are indeed a slippery slope. I appreciate you writing about this, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it.

  2. It was palm springs California. Not Florida.

    1. That makes sense. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Renee Diane is an amazing person, she continues to teach me the most amazing aspects in life, she's there for me like no other person has ever been... I love her with all my heart, you don't know Renee and never will just because she's a model and is beautiful doesn't mean she's not human and doesn't bleed. We all have our story in life and deal with pain differently who are you to sit here and judge her. Walk a mile in her shoes and look into your own lives the come here and point fingers ... You don't know a thing about here keep your blog shit to yourself. If you have nothing nice to say and reflect on the world don't say shit.

    1. Thanks for the comment. This is a personal blog and I have the right to write about anything I please. If that upsets you, I'd encourage you to find something to read that is more to your liking. Based on what I saw on ANTM, Renee would probably tell you the same thing. She strikes me as quite a spitfire who doesn't let other people dictate to her what she can and can't communicate.

    2. Way to go, Knotty!

      This IS your one else's. And the thoughts you express are rightfully yours.

      Keep on calling 'em as you see 'em....

    3. Are you Lycinda S from Elsinore? I love you lol

    4. Renee, where can I write to you in prison? I love you! ;-)

  4. If it was personal it wouldn't be posted online. And your right she's definitely a spitfire and doesnt take shit from anyone or let anyone elses opinions affect her. But I'm her friend and seeing people put her on blast and talk down on her upsets me so I'm sure you understand and would do the same for your friends and ppl you love

  5. I understand your concern, but she put herself on blast when she went on a reality TV show. In any case, this post has been here for months now and is only getting new attention because you're commenting. I'm sorry Renee is in the situation she's in and I hope it gets better for her, but I can't allow random visitors to my blog to dictate what I write about. I hope you understand.

    1. Absolutely!!! You keep doing what you are doing!! You have an incredible ability to articulate your thoughts!!

  6. The season Renee was on was one of the ones I watched. I found her to be arrogant, manipulative and despicable. She wasn't a good person. You managed to find the good side, however, which is to your credit.
    Renee actually ended up with two kids when she was arrested and gave birth to a third after that. She had been addicted and committing a strong of burglaries, eventually armed when she did so.
    In her prison interview, she admits to being a person whose character had defects. She said that she thinks people watching the show saw exactly who she was and that she had problems with her character. At least that admission is a good start. But it's funny that she has "friends" on here denying what she herself has admitted and screaming at someone who wrote a compassionate post about what happened to her.


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