America’s Next Top Who?
I’ve seriously lost count. Somewhere after season 6 and Danielle Evans I stopped caring. But really, I was over it when Yaya DaCosta lost to Eva Pigford (come on, was there a single photo shoot she didn’t nail??!)—but I digress. Later on, I occasionally tuned in long enough to know that Jaslene Gonzalez was the first Latina winner, and Whitney Thompson was the first full-figured.
But after a while, it seemed like the show’s sole mission was to fill some sort of quota. Don’t get me wrong—I appreciated Tyra’s message. Young women of various backgrounds, shapes, and sizes, deserve a shot in high fashion. But was the show really taking these aspiring models somewhere?
Industry folk and viewers alike criticized the show for not producing any actual supermodels. While several of the contestants have gone on to appear in editorial spreads, ad campaigns, and even the big screen, none have actually reached “top model” status. If anything, the show has been successful at producing reality stars.
On the other hand, Tyra must be doing something right considering that the show is up to season, I mean cycle, 15. But every time I see a commercial for the CW series, I have to ask, is “America’s Next Top Model” even still relevant? Has it ever been? Or is it simply good reality TV? The catfights, the malfunctions, the panic attacks and the meltdowns. Are these elements the only reason people still eat it up? Or does part of us still want to believe that Tyra’s model utopia is more than a distant dream?