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Tyra(nt) Turns it Around; Cycle 15’s Ann Ward in Vogue Italia

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Saying that a singluar contestant, one of the many long-legged (or stub-equipped, as in the case of Cycle 13) beauties who have graced our television screens on Tyra Banks’ America’s Next Top Model since 2003, is the crowning achievement of the 8 year old series would be similar to hailing a track on Christina Aguilera’s Bionic as the most listenable; in other words, it’s not much of a compliment. But Cycle 15’s Ann Ward is certainly looking to prove each and every one of the show’s detractors wrong by being the first of such alumni to win one of the most sought-after modeling opportunities in the actual fashion industry itself, a realm Tyra’s little wannabes have had trouble strutting into ever since the show’s inception.

Ward won’t be the first Top Model cast member to grace the pages of Italian Vogue (Cycle 3’s Toccara Jones fabbed-up the pages a few years ago as part of their “Black Models” tribute) but she will be the first to land a cover of any sort of publication within the Vogue family; while she won’t be headlining Vogue Italia, she’ll be splattered front and center with the words “America’s Next Top Model” no doubt gaudily plastered in conjunction with her face, emphasizing why she’s there as if someone in the  industry would dare think the illuminati the Vogue family would ever put a winner of a reality show on one of their covers by the grace of their own will. Francesca Sozzani apparently has a sense of humor and a void in her wallet; mama has bills to pay, and Tyra is apparently playing sugar daddy for this little Italian gold digger…and, well, I guess Ward would be Tyra’s gargantuan forcibly-entered penis penetrating the pages of Vogue as compensation.

Anyhow, the first set of pictures from Ward’s freshman (and probably only) stint in the Vogue family have been released, giving us a glimpse of the true supermodel Ward could have been if only she hadn’t appeared on America’s Next Top Model. Give me more weave pats, drunk shrubbery conversations, and just more Angeleas and Jades in general because seeing the scum of our generation’s reality is less depressing than showing us what genuine talent you’ve destroyed with the stigma of your show, Miss Tyra.
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ANTM Cycle 15 Girls In The Haus

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Initial impressions? I can’t say I’m more excited about the girls than I am about the technical surroundings of the upcoming cycle, but I guess these girls will have to suffice. Leave it to ANTM to bring in some of the most unmodelesque-looking girls (that buttery smooth goblin in the back row on the right? ummmm gtfo, please) for arguable the most high-fashion-oriented cycles the show has ever seen.

Full article/impressions surrounding the fashion-gasm deets of this stepped-up cycle coming later tonight!

Trainwreck Results: ANTM’s Krista White Shoots a Portfolio

I still can’t believe that this…

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…won cycle 14 over the likes of this:
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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).

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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.