‘America’s Next Top Model’: All the most problematic moments
It may well have been a hot minute since you last heard of America’s Next Top Model. The long-running show which started in 2003 ended at the end of 2018, so there hasn’t exactly been much news about it as of late. However, Twitter being what it is, America’s Next Top Model came under fire over the weekend for being problematic.
Now, was the show perfect? Absolutely not. However, it feels a bit late to take issue with the show now that it’s off the air. On May eighth Tyra Banks took to Twitter to acknowledge the new storm of opinions on some of the show’s less than respectable moments.
Tyra said, “Been seeing the posts about the insensitivity of some past ANTM moments and I agree with you. Looking back, those were some really off choices. Appreciate your honest feedback and am sending so much love and virtual hugs.” She ended the tweet with a red heart emoji.
Creator and executive producer Ken Mok also got on twitter to address what people were saying. Mok admitted he cringes sometimes when looking back at the show, and encouraged some of the anger to be directed his way, since Tyra isn’t solely to blame – he and the crew made decisions too.
If you weren’t part of the frenzied twitter storm of outraged America’s Next Top Model fans, and are wondering what happened on the show, have no fear. We’ve put together a list of some of the worst moments from the show for you to check out.
One of the most pointed to moments was from season six, when, then, twenty-year-old Dani Evans was told by Banks to close the gap between her two front teeth. Telling Evans she “wasn’t marketable” and couldn’t have a CoverGirl contract because all people would look at was her tooth gap.
Dani Evans was, by the time she was cast on the show, very comfortable and confident with her gap, and had refused earlier in the show to have a dentist close it. Later on however, she would have it closed because her options were either go back to the dentist or go home.
Some fans pointed out the blatant hypocrisy, because in season fifteen Banks wanted to widen the gap in a different model’s teeth to look more like Lauren Hutton.
Another sketchy moment the internet retroactively took issue with is the season twenty-three trailer. Now, it’s worth noting this was the first season where Tyra Banks wasn’t the host.
The trailer was a quick flashy, and highly edited montage of model poses, and b-roll footage set to the tune of “Fashion Killa” by Mason ft. Stefflon Don. Honestly, the trailer at first glance seems fairly innocuous.
However, some pointed out the song, which clearly states “They say fashion kills”, multiple times, paired with a shot of high heels hanging from a telephone wire were potentially insensitive.
The meaning of shoes on a telephone wire is different depending on who you ask, so if you still aren’t sure what seems problematic about it, don’t feel bad. The symbol is said to mean anything from “drugs for sale nearby” to “I was just bored and hate these shoes”.
However, some know the symbol as being a tribute to someone having died nearby. Some will even tell you it is specifically to honor someone who died from a turf war between drug-dealing gangs. So, the imagery being shown alongside the song “Fashion Killa” made certain people uncomfortable.
Twitter users also pointed to the disrespectful way Tyra Banks yelled at the girls, of which there were many examples. However, a specific one occurred when a girl was yelled at for not crying.
When the girl attempts to explain herself, and that she deals with emotions differently due to past experiences, Banks screams at the woman in fury so terrifying you wouldn’t have been surprised to see Banks get physical.
Another example, often discussed was the hair of the contestants. Old fans of the show recalled how Tyra Banks would compliment girls who had extremely long hair, especially the ones who had been growing it since childhood – only to make them get buzz cuts or chop it off above the shoulders.
Then, some of these girls would be kicked off the show shortly after being forced to destroy their personal hairstyle.
Other tweets mentioned various smaller events:
Banks forced a girl to do a photoshoot in a graveyard only one day after the model had learned her best friend from childhood had died. Four seasons later another model was forced to pose as a corpse on a bed, just one week after her friend died of an overdose.
Various questionable moments involving race, including blackface, and an episode where Banks allowed a white woman to tell a black model named Yaya she was acting “too black”.
A season fifteen moment forced a deaf model to pose in the dark – leaving him unable to communicate with the photographer. Similarly, a legally blind model was forced to walk on a dark runway.