Some people can’t stand to watch it, others can. I am one of those that can. I am discriminating in my viewing habits though, I don’t watch everything, just a couple or so. Over the years, I have found myself rolling my eyes and yelling at the TV or rather, my laptop screen, trying to grab the attention of one contestant or the other. It goes without saying, I have never succeeded in so doing. And Eureka! my light bulb moment. I will try to put down everything I wish I could tell the contestants on one of my
favourite watched shows, America’s Next Top Model.
For those of you who have never seen it, a bit of background. This is a competition where thousands of girls around the USA vie to be chosen as (cue drum roll, gasp) America’s Next Top Model! They send in their pictures, videos, whatever, then they get whittled down to 13 contestants who then jump through various hoops until one of them emerges victorious to claim a $100,000 modelling contract or something of the sort.
‘Jump through hoops?’ you ask, ‘like performing seals?’ ‘Exactly like performing seals!’ I exclaim, because the whole show is like a circus, except the clowns are usually in floods of tears.
Oh, before I go further, let me tell you about the judges.
There are usually four or five judges, including Tyra Banks, the creator and producer of the show. She is an amazingly talented woman who has the ‘four Bs’ in abundance. Beauty, brains and the other two. There is Jay Manuel, the photo shoot director (or so) Please understand that these might not be their official titles, merely my perception of what it is I think they do. Back to Jay. He is one handsome fellow. Chiselled features, elegantly coiffured, he looks like a
plastic Greek statue come to life. Picture perfect.Nigel Barker is a ‘noted fashion photographer’. He too is quite handsome, but in a rugged, natural way. He does not look like he spends every daylight hour preening himself like a peacock, neither does he appear to spend a fortune on tons of makeup. There is another man referred to as Ms.Jay. Why he has chosen this moniker is beyond me. There is nothing feminine about his looks, and he does not improve them in any way by appearing in outlandish hairstyles and headgear. His claim to fame is his runway walk. Enough said. I haven’t seen him on the judging panel in the last couple of seasons, he appears to have been replaced by Andre Leon Talley, a flamboyant man who swirls himself in capes and used to be an editor-at-large of Vogue at some time in the past. And then there is always a guest judge, from the fashion world at large. Their job? To argue, pontificate, and generally look like they have a hand in making the decisions, when everybody knows it is Tyra’s show. She gets to decide ‘who leaves, and who stays on in the competition to be….America’s Next Top Model!’ (Emphasis Tyra’s).
Personally, I wouldn’t think of entering a reality show. And if I did do so, I would first watch every single episode of past shows so I would know what I am letting myself in for. This is called ‘making an informed decision’. And this rule does not apply to most of the contestants on ANTM.
On the off chance that a future contestant is able to tear her gaze off the mirror long enough to read this, here are a few things I wish I could tell you.
- It is highly likely that you will have to get butt naked in front of the cameras at one point in the show. For an ‘artistic photo shoot’.If you have any reservations whatsoever about flashing your bits before millions of viewers, this show is not for you. If you profess to have a faith that is at variance with doing the above, don’t bother entering this competition. Your exposure will count for nothing, you are guaranteed not to win.
- There is always a makeover. As a model, your body is not your own, not to talk of your hair. Tyra has the right to try out every hair style she has ever imagined on the heads of her real-life mannequins. Yes you. So don’t start going into meltdown about how you’ve never ever cut your hair, or how you prefer being a brunette as opposed to being blonde etc, because all that might change at the drop of a hat. And if you are black, you are either getting a weave, or getting shaved, there’s rarely any in-between. Deal with it. Please save me the trouble of having to fast forward through your blubbering.
- Learn to smize. I had no idea what this word meant, till Tyra said it. As a matter of fact, it did not exist until she coined it. It means smiling with your eyes. And makes absolutely no sense to me. Trying to do it makes me squint, but hey, you’re the contestant, not me. This is one of the random meaningless Tyraisms that you will have to absorb over the course of the competition. She and her fellow judges spend hours dreaming up conflicting critiques that make absolutely no sense at all. So while one judge might say ‘You look fierce in this picture’ the other might retort ‘I happen to think you look too serene’, and then Tyra will round up by saying ‘You have to learn how to maintain your serenity while looking fierce’. Your job is to smile and say thank you even though you don’t understand what you have just heard. It doesn’t matter, they don’t have a clue either.
- Don’t argue. Do not try to defend yourself. It does not matter if a boulder was lodged behind your contact lens during the photo shoot, that is no excuse for not taking a perfect picture. And so what if your size 9 feet were forced into a pair of size 7 shoes? Girls that argue with the panel of judges never win.
- Do remember that there is a life after the show. So do not spend your time slating your former employers, school, or even town. You might have to go grovelling back to them after you have been eliminated for not being ‘modelling material’.
So there you have it. I am quite a few episodes behind in this current season, so will add points I might have omitted after catching up.This is all I can remember for now, please feel free to add any more you like by leaving a comment.
Please join me next time as I share my take on ‘The Amazing Race’. Thanks for stopping by :).