“America’s Next Top Model” was one of the most successful reality competition series in the history of American TV, with more than 20 seasons that left a lasting impact on pretty much every reality series that has come after. But, back in 2004, it was still “merely” a hit new offering entering its third season.
The season in question was won by Eva Pigford, but YaYa DaCosta, then 21 years old, wasn’t too far behind. A consistent high performer across all episodes and challenges — especially acting-related ones — DaCosta ultimately emerged as the runner-up of “Cycle 3.” As she’s made no secret of in the years since, modeling was always meant to be a gateway to an acting career. Sure enough, her “ANTM” run did the trick.
Her participation piqued the entertainment industry’s attention, leading to her first handful of acting roles. First, she had a guest spot in the UPN sitcom “Eve,” then appearances in the music videos for Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” and Chingy’s “Pullin’ Me Back” (via Soap Opera Network). In fact, DaCosta was a bit of an it girl in hip-hop and R&B videos during the late 2000s, also appearing in the videos for Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls,” Jay-Z’s “Roc Boys,” and Raphael Saadiq’s “Good Man” (via IMDb).