@JERRLIFE

Why ANTM Continues To Get Worse


America's Next Top Model, the reality show that promises to make the modelling dreams of aspiring women come true. A Cinderella story with a fashion angle. But like fairy tales, ANTM is an ideal world that is imaginary. Unlike fairy tales though, the characters are real people and most don't model happily ever after.

In its first season, the show read more like a documentary than the glossy sharply edited show it is now. Casting were held in a dingy hotel room and Tyra popped in during a dinner just to say hi sans life story.  No set, no "fabulous" judges. Being the first season and having a low budget, it was a just the basics format. Have you seen the tiny make shift judging room? It was rough but the show was more real (relatively) then. Without the bells and whistles, the show didn't have anything to detract from it's premise: "To create a top model in 8 weeks." It was the little show that could.

After 19 cycles, the show has gone through it's share of changes. There has been a revolving door of controversial judge switch ups and the winning prize varies season after season. Just a few cycles ago, Tyra said there would be no more regular cycles opting instead for themed ones. And for the latest cycle, Top Model had arguably the biggest facelift by adding social media to the judging panel.

It's more great tv than relevant work. But sometimes Top Model gimmicks have even been detrimental.

But the fact remains for Top Model: it hasn't created an actual top model. The definition of a 'top model' is up for interpretation but according to Models.com, a site referred by the actual industry, the model hierarchy is sensibly measured by the number of magazine covers/editorials, campaigns, and runways walked by a model. Stats any Top Model alum haven't even come close to achieving.

The changes for the most part hasn't been for the model hopefuls' benefit but rather to rectify the flailing viewership of Top Model. Last week's acting episode had the contestants disguised as obnoxious characters in the streets with Tyra and guest judge Tyler Perry in their ear telling them to do crazy things. It's more great tv than relevant work. But sometimes Top Model gimmicks have even been detrimental. Last cycle's hair makeover included pink hair and get this, blonde hair with blue and red streaks. That girl's modelling chances went from slim to patriotic themed work. Only.

"This isn't Top Role Model. It's not mandatory for a top model to be a role model and although this is Tyra's show this isn't the Tyra Show either."

And the problem is Tyra Banks. As the executive producer, Banks uses Top Model as a platform for personal purposes which detracts from the point of the show. In addition to the gimmicks and petty reality tv drama, Banks has a personal mission of being a role model for young girls and this is heavy handedly incorporated in to the show. Contestants are painted into archetypes such as the ugly girl or the poor girl who's overcome the odds. It is also not uncommon to hear Tyra self-indulge and share her own stories. The thing is this isn't Top Role Model. It's not mandatory for a top model to be a role model and although this is Tyra's show this isn't the Tyra Show either.


Those from the inside don't think the show is credible either. "The one guarantee you will never make it as a model is to go on that show." Paulina Proizkova, an ex-judge said in an interview with New York post. Recently Carridee English, winner of cycle 7 shared this on the Gawker comment section (if that isn't a sign...): "Even though I won a model competition I still had no idea what the modeling BUSINESS was like...Even though we just were named "TOP" our place in line at Fashion World was at the bottom."

And that's the thing, Top Model is an illusion. It's a reality tv bubble with false promises and ideals that amount to very little when the cameras wrap up. After nineteen cycles, there has been no top model and the viewership has declined every season. Who wants to be lied to constantly? Tyra has resorted to flashy and outrageous antics rather than try to create a legitimate model search that it originally intended to be. Isn't building a credible show as a businesswoman a better message for young girls anyway? At least that way everyone has a happy ending.

Photo from top via homorazzi, ericonmedia

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