I still can’t believe that this…
Well at least the latter is actually working. She’s had the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Dubai already, and is working some go-sees as we speak, and also got signed to the same agency Krista’s prize allowed her to sign with. Well, we give Krista about a Saleisha-sized run with Wilhelmina (the agency for which the above test shots were taken)…on shaky ground for a couple months, then a contract slash from 3 years to 1. Sorry, boo, hand-picked-by-Tyra winners don’t go over well in the fashion world. Your audience isn’t as dumb and quick-to-mindlessly-follow you as you think, Miss Banks. Maybe (just maybe) give them a bit more credit the next time you decide to fuck a perfectly good cycle up. Perhaps your shit should be together for Cycle 15, because the girl who wins that is actually going to be on the cover of a relevant renowned fashion magazine (Italian Vogue, anyone?). Oh well.
And while we’re on the subject, it’s very clear to me that the reason why ANTM is regarded as such a joke in the fashion industry is thanks to none other than Tyra Banks herself. I mean, it wasn’t quite as clear from the beginning that the winners were in fact pre-packaged, hand-picked toys of Tyra’s trade (Adrianne, for one, seemed like a truly legitimate winner in the hot-ghetto-mess that was Cycle 1), but as the series limped along, it became entirely apparent by Cycle 3 that these girls who were “winning” the competition just seemed to fit whatever agenda Tyra had in mind at the time. A plus-sized winner coincided with Tyra’s embarrassingly hilarious “Kiss My Fat Ass” era, and a black girl has won every 3rd cycle since Eva’s disastrous 2005 triumph (Tyra is incessantly vocal about african american girls not being fairly represented in the fashion world).
The exploiting of tragic sob-stories has been a key point in Tyra’s marketing of the show as well; we’ve seen girls who have fallen victim to the likes of kidnapping, genital mutilation, same-sex rape, homelessness, and even some who’ve been forcibly entered into underground sex cults where children are the valued sexual object (no, I’m not making this up). The over-emphasis on the dramatics surrounding these girls’ lives only makes for interesting televions perhaps much better suited for Banks’ discontinued talk show, but certainly not within the context of a modeling competition. And as much as I’d like to disbelieve it, Banks does indeed have a group of loyal, blind followers who will gladly accept the fact that the trainwreck mess that was Angelea Preston (of Cycle 14) was actually capable of modeling simply because she lost her daughter to a disease years ago. The truth is that while Angelea’s story is heartbreaking, that does in no way, shape, or form make her a model.
Drama-free and fashion-forward, Australia’s Next Top Model has produced some truly groundbreaking talent who have taken the fashion world by storm (Alice Burdeu, people?). As much as Tyra wants to preach about self-acceptance and redefining what is classically “beautiful”, perhaps she should find herself a much sturdier soapbox to stand on because the girls she’s using to do it might be loud, but the only thing they’re representing is the worn-out agenda of a self-inflated fading icon.