'Top Model' Draws Focus to Asperger's

Reality TV contestant with disorder becomes a viewer favorite
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2007 3:20 PM CST

(Newser) – Although she has been eliminated from "America's Top Model," contestant Heather Kuzmich, a consistent viewer favorite, continues to bring attention to Asperger's syndrome. Kuzmich, who has the neurological disorder, says she hopes to keep modeling and become a spokesperson for others with the condition, the New York Times reports.

People with Asperger's have trouble with social interaction and communication. Kuzmich had a hard time coexisting with 12 other models in a house, a requirement of the show, but was voted the viewers' favorite 8 weeks in a row. "At first I was really worried people would laugh at me because I was so very awkward," she says now. "I got the exact opposite." (Read more Asperger's Syndrome stories.)