Top 10 Reasons Americas Next Top Model Hasn't Aged Well



Top 10 Reasons Americas Next Top Model Hasn't Aged Well

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nancy Roberge-Renaud
There are more than a few reasons "America's Next Top" model hasn't aged well. For this list, we'll be looking at the main reasons why Tyra Banks's popular reality show hasn't aged well, from toxic behaviour to downright discrimination. Our countdown includes Tyra's behaviour, pressure to be nude, normalizing toxic behaviour, and more!

Top 10 Reasons America's Next Top Model Hasn't Aged Well

Some of our old TV favorites are just… dated. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Reasons America's Next Top Model Hasn't Aged Well.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the main reasons why Tyra Banks’s popular reality show hasn’t aged well, from toxic behaviour to downright discrimination.

#10: Tyra’s Behaviour

When people first watched the show in 2003, few took issue with Tyra’s behaviour. “ANTM” was a novelty at the time, and it’s possible people categorized certain issues as part of the modelling industry. However, many people have been rewatching ANTM and noticing just how downright offensive the show could be towards its contestants - for example, making fun of a girl who didn’t want to “fix” the gap in her teeth. Tyra Banks’s behaviour, and her allowance of her fellow judges’ behaviours, are now being observed more closely - and it’s not good. Particularly striking is the way in which Banks treated the show as the ultimate gift to its contestants. Case in point, the infamous Tiffany incident.

#9: Shading the Intellectuals

ANTM saw a host of different contestants from all walks of life entering the competition. There were plenty of girls who put off their studies, or planned to continue their studies post-show. Girls who were pursuing this path were discouraged from education as a primary focus, in order to put all their attention on a modelling career. Cycle 1 contestant Elyse was subject to this, as she planned on going to medical school - and was called uppity for her ambitions. Cycle 19, in which all the contestants were enrolled in higher education, served as a sort of “last chance” platform to launch a modelling career rather than continue their chosen educational paths.

#8: Personal Tragedy as Entertainment

Unfortunately, everyone loves a good sob story. However, ANTM seemed to take advantage of the contestants’ personal tragedies on some occasions. In a few instances, the show seemed to force certain models to face their demons in order to gain footage. Just take Cycle 4 contestant Kahlen, who found out a childhood friend had passed away while she was filming the show. She questioned her strength, and was then faced with an inappropriately timed graveyard photoshoot, in which she was encouraged to “use” her tragedy to get a good photo. Cycle 15 contestant Kayla was forced to kiss a man during a photoshoot, despite her anxiety towards men as a result of sexual abuse trauma. She was pressured into the shoot, despite her objections.

#7: Putting Contestants in Danger

The show has aired for over 20 seasons, so there must have been some struggle to keep things fresh and not repeat challenge ideas. However, some of these photoshoots and challenges were downright hazardous. The girls in Cycle 6 had to wear the highest of heels and walk the catwalk. We can feel it in our own ankles as we watch this… Contestant Kari was eliminated after falling repeatedly, and Danielle actually sprained her toe because of the ordeal. Other challenges have included posing in frigid waters, hanging from building rooftops and walking on a number of unstable runways.

#6: Pressure to Be Nude

In more than one season, contestants had to pose nude in at least one photoshoot. However, the competing models were not all comfortable with the idea. Cycle 7’s very first episode featured a nude photoshoot in front of all other contestants. When the theme was announced, the crowd was visibly divided, with some girls excited and others shaken. Ginger, an 18 year old conservative, expressed her moral opposition, and when she was first called up to pose she refused. The second time around, after some coaxing from the girls, she came onto the set clutching to her towel for dear life. Hesitant girls were subject to criticism from both fellow contestants and judges. Meanwhile, others were shamed for past images or sex work.

#5: Treatment of Disabilities

The show has had more than one contestant with a disability. However, they made no concessions for these individuals, and often seemed to use said disabilities to create drama. Cycle 3’s Amanda Swafford revealed she was legally blind, and had a degenerative condition. She was told she would have to find some way to “overcome” it in order to continue in the modelling industry. Cycle 9’s Heather Kuzmich was revealed to have Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. The other girls in the house bullied her, although Kuzmich has said there were also “civilized” exchanges. Regardless, nothing was done to rectify the situation, presumably because it made for “good television”.

#4: Normalizing Toxic Behaviour

Unfortunately, negative drama makes for entertaining television. “ANTM” definitely leans into this, as many contestants were subject to inappropriate behaviour over the seasons, only to be told it was part of the industry. Cycle 7 contestant Jaeda hit an emotional roadblock when she had to film a commercial that required her to kiss a racist male model. Jaeda did actually kiss him, despite her trepidation - only to be criticized for her performance and eliminated. Cycle 4 contestant Keenyah was subject to sexual harassment during a photo shoot. Following this, she worried about whether or not she hid her discomfort well enough during the shoot.

#3: LGBTQ Discrimination

“ANTM” did include diverse contestants over the seasons, many of whom were part of the LGBTQ community. However, they weren’t always met with acceptance by fellow models and judges. Isis King, of Cycles 11 and 17, was a transgender contestant on the show. Though she was met with a mostly favourable response by judges, her fellow contestants did not quite accept her, and could be seen laughing at her or pointing out the alleged unfairness of the situation. Their jeers were aired with no apparent repercussions. Cycle 1’s Ebony Haith was the first openly gay contestant on “ANTM”. Fellow contestant Robin Manning created tension, as she was deeply religious and opposed to Ebony’s sexuality.

#2: Cultural Appropriation & Black/Brownface

Though the show appears to be inclusive of all cultures and races, “ANTM” seems to favour the
“blank slate”, androgynous or ethnically ambiguous model. Ethnicity is treated as something foreign or exotic, as can be seen in multiple photoshoots featuring representations of foreign countries or their inhabitants. Cycle 13’s “Hapas” (or mixed race) photoshoot is a prime example of this, as girls were essentially wearing black-face make-up and traditional ethnic costumes to pose in a sugarcane field. Cycle 3 contestant Yaya DaCosta fought for her right to represent her ethnicity in an authentic fashion, only to be criticized by judges come panel time.

#1: Obsession with Weight

One of the biggest issues in the fashion industry is sizeism, and that’s certainly beenapparent on “ANTM”. Though some of the models were brought on as plus-sized, others were criticized by fellow models and judges when they ate too much, or appeared to put on any amount of weight. The show claimed to be aware of their audience, and the message being conveyed, however it also misrepresented skinniness as healthiness in more than one instance. Cycle 3’s Cassie Grisham admitted to vomiting after eating, and trying to lose as much weight as possible to attain her modelling dreams. Cycle 4’s Keenyah was openly ridiculed for her slight weight gain, and had photoshoots as the sin of gluttony and later as an elephant.