America’s Next Top Model is the most successful and longest running fashion reality TV series in history and is now in its 24th series. Although she may have left for a little while, Tyra Banks is definitely the face associated with the popular show, and you’ve been a diehard fan since the programme started in 2003, then you know there’s no one in the business quite like Ms. Banks. If you’ve been watching ANTM since its very beginning, then there’s no doubt you’re familiar with a lot of its history and many of its scandals.
However, even the most devout fan of the show won’t know many of the sordid details Tyra has purposefully kept from getting out in the open, so we’re here to unveil some of the dark, mysteries that lie beneath ANTM’s surface. From shocking revelations about the show’s judges to details about some of the most infamous scandals in the show’s history, here’s the scoop on all the show’s details that Tyra’s been desperate to keep hidden from you.
Any illusions you might have that the winners and best contestants of America’s Next Top Model go on to have brilliant, seamless careers is actually a big lie.
Even if you’re lucky enough to win on the show, the likelihood of you making it as an actual supermodel is very slim.
Although they instantly become celebs by taking part in the show, once they go out and try to make it for real in their modeling career, they face a lot of obstacles, not least the fact that they’re essentially still rookies to the modeling game. And, to make things worse, once they leave the show, they get no additional support from any of their ANTM mentors. If you think about, out of all the cycles we’ve been through of the show, how many of the winners do you actually see make it big? Not many, right? Even though they may be named “Top” on the show, their place in the fashion world is definitely at the bottom.
A lot of controversies occurred when Angelea Preston was disqualified from the All-Stars round of ANTM. Angelea was on ANTM for two cycles, she got to the final three in cycle 14 and actually made it to the final two in cycle 17, the first cycle including All-Stars. Much to her demise, at the last moment, Preston was suddenly and dramatically ejected, without any explanation given to the fans of the show. Sometime after, the news came out that Angelea was disqualified because the judges claimed they discovered the job she had done prior to entering the competition. Preston argued that the show already knew about her career track record before she entered the competition, and only decided to eject her like that in order to cause more drama for the show. She, therefore, set about suing the show for not honoring the contract and sued for about $3,000,000 in traumatic damages.
One thing’s for sure, life was never boring on ANTM when Janice Dickinson was around. The over the top ex-model never was one to shy away from drama, and she was sure to get her opinion heard when she was a judge on the show’s panel. It’s no surprise then that she and Tyra Banks didn’t always get along.
Although they usually tried to be on their best behavior to each other in front of the cameras, claws often came out when they weren’t filming.
Janice especially got her claws out when she told US Weekly: “Yes, I have a distaste for her (Tyra Banks).” Ouch! However, since then, Janice has apologized for her hurtful comments and has blamed her previous bad behavior on substance abuse. She respects Tyra and thinks she’s an incredible businesswoman.
Although Tyra Banks is the face of America’s Next Top Model and the show’s main host, she actually doesn’t have the final say in which contestant wins the competition. Each week, the panel of judges assesses each model and based on their appearance, performance, and the best shot taken from the photo shoot that week. The judges then vote on who to eliminate that week, but it isn’t always a unanimous decision. When it comes down to it, majority rules, so even if Tyra is in favor of a certain model winning, unless she has the agreement of the rest of her panel, her decision won’t be put into effect. Tyra probably wants her viewers to think that she’s the Queen B of the show, but when it comes down to the most important decisions, she’s got to consult her team first.
One of the things Tyra definitely doesn’t want you to remember, let alone know, is the fact that in the 13th cycle of ANTM,
Tyra had the contestants be styled to look “biracial”. The competing models were made up to look like they came from different races, and the end result was just plain offensive.
Cultural appropriation is a very serious subject and one that should not be taken lightly. Many fans felt that it was weird and incredibly insensitive that Tyra condoned the models sporting blackface and changing the color of their skin for the shoot, and some of the models expressed the fact that they felt very uncomfortable with the whole thing. Tyra denied the fact that she was trying to make her models dawn blackface, and insisted that she in no way meant for the photoshoot to be taken in an offensive way.
It’s fair to say that a lot of the outfits the contestants on ANTM have had to wear are risque, to say the least. Then again, many of us might take it for granted that models have to wear revealing outfits and clothes that might make them feel uncomfortable. But getting naked crosses a line for even the most dedicated aspiring models. Robin Manning, a contest in cycle one of the show and a devout Christian, was shocked and appalled when she was faced with having to do a nude photo shoot.
Robin refused to go through with the pictures, and the judges weren’t exactly pleased. Tyra put a lot of pressure on the model, telling her to basically put her career aspirations before her fervent beliefs.
Ultimately, Manning’s refusal to do the nude shoot caused her to be eliminated, and fans weren’t impressed by Tyra’s behavior of the situation.
The phrase “We were rooting for you!!!” has become one of the most iconic moments in reality TV ever, and one of the most inescapable GIFs on the Internet. This infamous catchphrase is, of course, in reference to the mega-meltdown Tyra experienced over contestant Tiffany Richardson in cycle four of the show. During the season, Tiffany, the stripper-turned-model, was a huge hit for fans, not only for her rough-around-the-edges style but also for her hard work ethic. However, when it came to her elimination, Tiffany tried to act like she wasn't upset, making it seem to Tyra as if she was being ungrateful. This sparked the judge’s rage, and viewers saw Tyra in a way they had never seen her before. According to Tiffany when she was speaking to Buddy TV, the whole situation was way worse than what they included in the aired episode with Tyra screaming really personal things at her like “You can go back to your house and sleep on your mattress on the floor with your baby,” among others.
It’s safe to assume that Tyra would want us to think of her models as being not only gorgeous but great people too. Unfortunately, even the best people can sometimes slip up. And what slip up it was when
the models competing on cycle 10 of the series absolutely trashed the 6 million dollar apartment they were staying in in Lower Manhattan.
Apparently, the scale of their destruction was enormous, racking up to $500,000 in damages. The models took part in food fights and water fights that completely ruined the decor and the foundations of the apartment. They even punched hundreds of holes in the ceiling in order to hang lighting equipment. Not exactly the image Tyra wants to promote for her show, right?
Top Model has spawned dozens of foreign spin-offs thanks to its lasting popularity and its easily recreatable format, and when looking at the results of these international versions, they’re success rate for finding actual top models is way higher than Tyra’s American show. The foreign versions of the show have a better record of producing models that actually carve out successful, legitimate modelling careers. Ksenia Kahnovich was the first winner of Russian ANTM spinoff, You Are a Supermodel, and has gone on to walk for the likes of Dior and Versace. Similarly, Alice Burdeu won Cycle 3 of Australia’s Next Top Model and has gone on to have a similarly successful international career, modeling for the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, LaCroix, Marc Jacobs, and many more. While some of the American contestants have gone on to have international careers, none have been as successful as Burdeu or Kahnovich.
The audition process for ANTM is highly publicized and to actually try out for the show, you have to endure a grueling American Idol-type process involving long queues and the possibility of maybe not even getting to see the judges. However, the producers don’t always have to respect this process. If they happen to come across someone they really want for the show, there’s nothing stopping them from scouting her and casting her directly in the show. Knowing this, the whole thing seems kind of rigged and begs the question whether or not this selective loophole the producers have might give some models an advantage over the ones that weren’t specifically sought out and cast. While ANTM tries to make itself seem like it’s open to anyone, clearly the producers often have a certain type of person they have in mind for being on the show. Pretty fishy we say.
Something that Tyra really doesn’t want you to know about her show is that it can often lead models to self-destruction. Being eliminated off the show can have a deep impact on a lot of the models, especially if they were putting all their dreams into winning the show and making it big as a supermodel.Former contestants Jael Strauss and Renee Alway are just two examples of models who broke bad, falling into a destructive lifestyle that put their lives in danger.
Renee Alway got sentenced to 12 years in prison, and there’s no doubt that Tyra and the show’s producers wish they hadn’t allowed these two to compete on the programme.
Since their downfall, both women have made real efforts to heal themselves and become better people.
Becoming a contestant on America’s Next Top Model means agreeing to completely cut yourself off from the outside world while participating in the show. Models on the show only get about five minutes a week to make calls from the house line, and they aren’t allowed to have access to any news, TV, Internet, or cell phones. It’s safe to say that aside from the eliminations, it’s the drama inside the house that really creates the stakes for the show. And what better way to create drama than to trap a bunch of hungry girls in a confined space with nothing to do except spend time with one another? This is why so many tantrums and arguments erupt, as there’s nothing else to distract the women aside from themselves. Of course, there are also practical reasons for cutting the contestants off, in order that spoilers don’s get leaked. However, it has a lot to do with getting good dramatic material to get the viewers coming back.
Paulina Porizkova replaced Twiggy as one of the panel judges in cycle 10 of the show, but the gorgeous Czech-born model only stuck around for three seasons. And, to be honest, because of her vocal distaste for the show, it’s not surprising she didn’t last long.
One of Paulina’s main complaints with ANTM, was its lack of realism when it came to the winners. According to Porizkova, and actually Janice Dickinson before her, ANTM was seriously out of touch with what type of look would constitute being a top model by fashion industry standards.
Paulina Porizkova didn’t have any faith in the career prospects of the winning contestants. And to be fair, Paulina was proven right by the distinct lack of successful winners actually make it in the business.
Fans of ANTM tuned in for the drama, the fashion, and of course to see their favorite judges be their wonderful, sassy selves. So it came as a big shock to everyone when their favorite fashionista judges suddenly disappeared from the show.
It turns out, Jay Manuel, J. Alexander, and Nigel Barker were all fired from the show after America’s Next Top Model lost one million viewers between seasons 17 and 18.
Although the loveable judges were disappointed to leave the show they had been on for so many years, Barker told E! Online that there were no hard feelings. Luckily for all of us, J. Alexander was rehired for cycle 21 as a judge, because we all know, there’s no real ANTM without Miss J.
There’s always something special about your first, but unfortunately for Tyra, her first winner of ANTM turned on her - and it seems like it was for good reason. The show’s first ever winner was Adrianne Curry, who was supposed to have been awarded a contract with Revlon cosmetics. However, sadly, it never occurred to anyone that although Adrianne may have been the best of her bunch, her looks may not be right for the brand they were promising her. So it came as a shock to Curry to find out that despite being told she’d get a deal with Revlon, the cosmetic company didn’t think her look was right for them. Curry hasn’t been shy about voicing her disappointment and displeasure over this, and things got quite heated between Tyra and her. As such, Adrianne’s presence has basically been erased from the show, with no portrait of her alongside other former winners in the house and no invitations to return for a guest appearance.
One of the most unspoken about yet very serious regarding ANTM is the amount of pain, suffering, and danger the contestant models are put through during their time on the show. Viewers tune into the show to see the drama and fashion, but little thought is ever given to how extreme some of the challenges and shoots actually are for the women taking part.
From repeatedly having to fall from platforms and crash onto barely padded surfaces to being forced to walk in ten-inch heels, while the judges mocked them as they twist their ankles, the aspiring models put up with a lot for the sake of viewer ratings.
In fact, Danielle Evans, wended up with a sprained toe and had to finish the episode on crutches and famously, CariDee’s body shut down from hypothermia when she was having to pose in icy cold water. Models obviously have to go through a lot, but some of what Tyra puts them through just seems sadistic.
Sources: EOnline.com, VH1.com, Variety.com, Screenrant.com