Runway Success

updated 07/21/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/21/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

AGE: 20
HOMETOWN: Joliet, III.
OLD JOB: Steakhouse waitress
NEW JOB: Supermodel-in-training

•Why you know her: She beat out nine others to be crowned by Tyra Banks, executive producer of UPN's guilty pleasure. "It was beyond unexpected," says Curry, who won a Revlon contract, a top agent and a spread in Marie Claire. "I was not aware that I cleaned up so well."

•In the beginning: In junior high Curry was 5'1" with size-11 feet. "I constantly tripped on myself," she says. "I never matched my clothes, didn't brush my hair. I didn't care." Sprouting to 5'10½" changed her attitude.

•Why she won: With her mom, Christine, 44, laid off from her Kraft factory job last year, Curry saw the prize as a way to help out. Says Banks: "I loved that winning this would change her life."

•Love life: Recently split from her boyfriend of four years, Curry has no plans to marry. Unless, she says, a proposal is forthcoming from Trent Reznor of the band Nine Inch Nails (no, she's never met him).

•Where she's headed: With this leg up, Curry plans to "excel something fierce in modeling" after being rejected for seven years by Chicago agencies. "One said they had the feeling they were going to regret not signing me. I say, 'Regret away!' "

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