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America's Next Top Model: Do. Not. Miss. This. Show.
America's Next Top Model
Member Name: Sunrisesunset
America's Next Top Model
Advantages: shows reality of modelling, constructive criticism, expert judges, equality
Disadvantages: predictable makeovers, favouritism, Tyra's ego
Tyra Banks is one of America's most famous supermodels, and one of the few famous black ones besides Naomi Campbell, Iman, and Alek Wek. Being a smart businesswoman and entrepreneur, she saw a lucrative opportunity in the reality TV market. She combined 'reality' with the fashion world and produced America's Next Top Model. This led to spin offs in other countries like Canada, Britain, Germany and Australia.
ANTM is about twelve wannabe models trying to impress four judges every week until the grand finale. Each week there is a small competition followed by a photoshoot. The competition earns the winner perks like $500 gift vouchers, discounts, and even free clothes at major designer stores and websites. The photoshoot determines who will be eliminated. The eliminated contestant must immediately leave the judging area, pack their bags and leave.
-Modelling is easy? Not quite...
I always thought that models had it easy, but the things the judges pick up on every week show how difficult modelling can be. Smiling with the eyes but not the face, elongating the neck, using props that push you in a certain direction but doing something original instead i.e. one model had a salsa outfit but the judges were not impressed that she did a salsa pose. Modelling seemed so easy before I watched this show, but this job is HARD.
There is no Simon Cowell-like bashing here. Every model receives constructive comments so they can improve before the next competition or when they are eliminated. No matter whether they leave during the first week or the final, they all get valuable experience and advice from the best in the industry. The judges clearly care about moulding future supermodels, not just attracting millions of viewers worldwide.
I cannot stand when 'reality' TV shows have judges who have no clue what they are talking about or have no right to be on the judging panel e.g. judges who sing off key judging music contests. Every week ANTM has four judges, and one is a special guest who took charge of that episode's competition. The judges are past and present supermodels, fashion designers, photographers, etc who are highly influential people in their field. They know exactly what they are talking about, so the advice the contestants receive is priceless.
The show pushes models who would not usually be given such an opportunity. This includes black, Asian, slightly overweight, very overweight, short, tattooed, pierced, and models who do not speak in an eloquent manner. It is nice to see a variety of models representing women who are not always associated with the media's idea of beauty i.e. blonde, white, blue-eyed and skinny.
-Never the same task
The only time the show repeats a task is when the models must walk down the catwalk, and even then the catwalk could be anything from a zebra crossing to a slippery wet bar counter. Photoshoots are various themes: dance, animals, perfume, nude, etc. The producers always bring something original to its viewers, so you can never guess what to expect.
I understand that the models need to break free from their comfort zones. They need to be living mannequins, moulded to fit the designer's vision. Tyra readies them for this by giving everyone a drastic makeover. However, the makeovers are VERY predictable. Tyra makes it seem like she has thought long and hard over every makeover, but you can foresee how she will change each model. It follows this pattern: short-haired models get hair extensions, long-haired models get a hair cut, blondes go brunette and vice versa, curls are straightened and vice versa. Every model will contrast how they looked when they first arrived. Sometimes the models do look worse because Tyra clearly felt the need to change something, even when it was not necessary.
At times there appears to be favouritism taking place. Some models have several poor weeks but live to see another week, whilst others have one or two bad days and are sent packing. It is irritating to see lesser wannabe models taking the place viewers feel someone else has earned.
The show seems to stroke Tyra's ego whenever it's possible. In the fourteenth season, the house is full of Tyra's photoshoots. I understand that the contestants need inspiration, but Tyra could have include pictures by various models throughout the history of modelling and fashion. Instead she focused on herself.
Despite its flaws, I LOVE this show. Every season feels fresh and takes the show to another level. Unlike most 'reality' TV shows, the winners have actually gone on to do big things. It is nice to see the winners out there doing major campaigns whilst remembering how much they have improved from the first episode. For future models and everyone else, this show is one you should not miss.
Summary: Despite its flaws, this show must not to be missed.