“When I saw that I was the winner, I really choked up,” Ward told UsMagazine.com after the show. “It was really emotional for me because I’ve been through a lot. I wasn’t expecting to win. It totally caught me off guard.”
The Texas native recently sparked controversy when a show promo featured judge Miss J Alexander holding Ward’s waist between his two hands.
“You have the smallest waist in the world,” host Tyra Banks told her at the time. “Look at that waist!” Tyra later apologized and removed the clip.
“People just didn’t know who I was yet,” Ward said about the incident. “I was confident that once the show started and people knew what I’d been going through — getting teased for my height and how I looked my whole life — they would get it.”
A previous contestant on the show, Anamaria Mitdita, was cut from the cmpetition for being “too thin”.
“I feel way more confident than before, but I know that I have more work to do,” she said after winning the prize.
Image source: You Tube