If Tyra’s main goal is to turnout a manufacture-like conveyor belt of blond hair and blue eye models that so crowd the industry today on the cusp of the rise of ethnic models then she has risen to the occasion. Last week’s double elimination of two well recieved black models was no doubt to lessen the probability that a Black model would win this year’s tittle. It was a slap to the face of inspiring young girls who thought they may have an advocate in the modeling industry that has long favored women of fair skin and light eyes. This recent occurrence allows me to question rather Tyra Banks even considers herself pretty or that her career just a fluke. She is known to constantly quipp about her own features by calling them “big forehead” and “lack of profile”.
So what is Tyra Banks trying to do with American’s next top model? When it first began, the industry most likely perceived ANTM as a talent agency on TV; which is easily noted on how many models were originally scouted right off the show. However, it must be stated that the models that were most scouted were the ones Tyra Banks originally cut for the very features, model tactics and personality that are now considered their most desired traits. Especially all the ethnic models.
For example Mercedes Scelba who has a successful commerical career along with Bre Scullark. But most notable is Fatima Siad, the model who was publicly humiliated on the Tyra Banks Show (let’s make her talk about and make light of a her genital mutilation). She walked Hermes and Dries Van Noten this year and was a favorite in London Fashion Week.She has also been featured in countless ads like Herve Lerger and Eyefly.com to name a few. Even though, Tyra tried to put her in the Spokeswoman field, saying she had “more to say about…” and she had to work on her walk. Apparently, this was a surprise to all since everyone said she looked like “Iman”
The pale skin contestants that should win ANTM never do! Take for example Jane Randall, that Tyra accused of having “dead eyes” in cycle 15, (her unusual face shape and features should have made her the clear winner)! is successful with spreads in Elle Mexico and was hired by IMG models shortly after leaving the show. Also for Lauren Brie Harding of cycle 11, with her stunning features ( unusual nose, long face and thick hair)that didn’t come close to winning but has been signed to several agencies including Elite and Next. She has been featured in countless spreads and has been on the cover of Vogue Italia Beauty. Unusual features are clearly what the industry is looking for in new white models.
Tyra really needs to stop being afraid to mentor and help ethnic models as she would only be adding to the very short list of ethnic models in the industry. She even paused in one cycle that when the three remaining models left happened to be all African American she felt she needed to address America and let it be known that this was a fluke and not done on purpose. For shame Tyra!!
I want ANTM to go back to its original premise of choosing unique models regardless of their ethnicity who have the talent and the drive to have careers long after ANTM is off the air (which might be in the very near future as Tyra has reportedly fired Andre Leon Talley, Jay Alexander, Ms. J and Nigel Barker).
Is that too much to ask?