America’s Next Top Model just announced a major change to the show’s candidacy by removing the age limits required to apply.
To clarify: I’m not referring to the 18+ requirement or to needing a parent’s permission to participate, but to how the show did not previously allow anyone over 27 years old to grace our screens. Tyra Banks announced the change in an Instagram video, officially removing the 18-27 age range from the show’s application requirements.
I'm so excited about this!!! Apply Now, boo!!! #ANTM #tyrabanks #michellemockcasting #Tyrasback Send 3 photos, Name, Age, Height, Weight (all shapes welcome!) and your Contact Information to VH1TopModel@gmail.com. You must be a U.S. Citizen! #antm24 #casting 18+ #ageaintnothingbutanumber Hope to see you soon! 💛TyTy
There are currently a slew of women’s magazine articles out there celebrating this change, and lauding Tyra Banks as an empowering body-positive hero (which is exactly how Tyra would like to be portrayed.)
I’m a little less impressed. I’ve been rewatching many of the cycles recently (praise, Amazon Prime), and time and time again, Tyra gives me pause.
While she lauds herself at the beginning of each cycle as an open-minded role model revolutionizing the modeling industry and “expanding what is considered beautiful,” her actions and her words directly contradict her PR-friendly message.
Tyra forced contestant Danielle, for example, to get the gap in her teeth removed, though Danielle insisted that it was a “part of who she was,” and pled with Tyra to keep it. She also told Danielle to get rid of her accent, which she thought was too black. Tyra continually told Renee of Cycle 8 that she photographed “old,” and that she just wasn’t “fresh” enough for the competition. She told the girls in the under 5’7 cycle that while they were short, they shouldn’t ever look or photograph short, and she constantly reminded them that their height was a shortcoming (pun intended), all under the guise of acceptance and expanding the definition of beauty.
She also critiqued several girls on the show for their weight gain or loss. She told many contestants they had “bad personalities” simply because they weren’t bubbly or vivacious enough for her.
It’s definitely good that the age limit has been lifted, and it is a step in the right direction.
I just hope this “progressive” move isn’t used to laud Tyra’s openness to all forms of beauty while she repeatedly tells older contestants that they photograph old, need to look older or younger, or should be ashamed of their wrinkles and sun spots.
Then again, it has been quite a few years since we’ve seen Tyra host the show; perhaps she’s grown. Either way, I will always watch America’s Next Top Model in all of its capacities, because there is literally nothing better than watching 19-year-olds racked with sobs as they lose their blonde mermaid hair for an “edgy cut” their conservative boyfriend won’t like or struggling to look elegant while leaping unceremoniously off cliffs in Disney princess gowns.