Top Model Pigford a Longtime Trendsetter
12/17/2004 AT 11:00 AM EST
"I think what makes a diva is individuality and presence," Pigford, 20, tells PEOPLE. "When I speak, people want to listen. They want to know. It's definitely a gift from God."
Says series creator Tyra Banks: "She stood out because of her strength. She is a star."
Pigford now has a shot at being managed by Ford Models, a $100,000 modeling contract and a fashion spread in Elle. She says she found her fashion sense at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia.
"I would wear an outfit one day, and the next week eight or nine girls would have that outfit," says Pigford. "I was like, 'Oh my God, do I really trend-set like this?'"
She was more of a trendsetter than she might have even imagined. According to preliminary Nielsen numbers, Wednesday's show was the series' highest rated finale to date, averaging 6.5 million viewers. That topped the last two Model finales and delivered UPN's highest ratings in that time slot in more than three years, reports Variety.