The Reason Why I Will Be Watching ANTM Again
“Many people believe I created Top Model to show girls just how to become models. But no. It was about much more than that. ANTM has changed the definition of beauty and empowered women when they need it the most. We celebrate the Beauty in all of us. The fight continues to show you, you are beautiful and that’s why I’m back.” - Tyra Banks
Imagine my surprise when I found myself not only on the couch last night with the tv on, but tuned into Vh1 and not the usual CNN. I’ll be honest, I was trying to catch some of the tea from LHH Miami. I have basically been on a reality tv sabbatical since 2013 with no intentions of returning. But alas, there I was. Only able to catch the last few minutes, almost serendipitously America’s Next Top Model was on my screen. Immediately, I was taken back to the time where I couldn’t wait for the next episode of ANTM. Drawn in by the impeccable filming and editing, I got comfortable.
America’s Next Top Model Junkie
I’ve been watching ANTM since cycle 1 (May 2003 to be exact). Adrien, Jaslene, Eva, Jade, Tocara and Naima—- I watched so many cycles, I’ve lost count. Height deficient, as a teenager I could only dream of modeling: it was definitely out of reach. When Tyra allowed all heights on, and we got Eva and Yaya. Many of the winners and contestant continued on and flourished in their own rights. But somewhere between kids, Tyra’s exit and responsibilities, I stopped watching. Fast forward to last night, and I might be hooked all over again.
The modeling industry is industry evolving and trying to stay ahead like the fashion stock market. The bull market of fashion’s stock, Top Model seeks to capitalize on the increasing inclusivity being thrust upon the fashion world. We call say a collective “it’s a bout damn time”.
With the age limit removed, Tyra returns to the judges panel flanked by plus-size supermodel Ashley Graham, chief executive of Paper Magazine Drew Elliot, and celebrity stylist/image architect Law Roach. They immediately seem to have chemistry and a whole lot of sass, like when Law describes one model’s wall as “trash”.
Age inclusivity is the next dimension in fashion and, hopefully, in marketing across all industries, as well. As I embark on 40, I realize how young at heart I will always be. Many things I’ve retired with age, but many other things I can still enjoy when I’m rubbing my aches with Bengay. And rather than water and coffee, when I’m drinking tea at all hours of the day, I still want to feel like I can enjoy the latest this or that. The age limit is now 18 to “infinity”, so imagine my surprise that I continued to watch the show for a brand new reason.
Enter Erin. At 42, the mother of five and grandmother of three is also an identical twin. With her sister, she’s previously appeared on “The Real” and “Fear Factor”. For the avant garde photo shoot and runway, they dressed her in head-to-toe throwback Grace Jones attire while questioning her ability to capture a more current modeling aesthetic.
The Surprise Elimination
The anticipatory elimination scene is always one of my favorites because it captures joy, excitement, drama and sadness all in one moment. When they cut our girl Erin, I was about to turn the tv off.
*spoiler alert* Then Tyra turned up the drama! Once eliminated girlsladies were packing up and heading out, Tyra made a surprise reappearance. Just as Erin was hauling her luggage out the door, ms banks shocked everyone born before 1985 and had us balling for joy. Erin was indeed safe!
But Tyra, why you did that to me tho? Why were my eyes watering so hard, ain’t to onions out! 42 seems like it’s right around the corner for me and for so many of us. But to do the elimination fake pump with the one person I could pretend to relate to? ANTM’s first episode of cycle 24 was in one moment “washed” and in the next tear-jerkingly inspirational.
Tyra, thank you for including all types of women regardless of color, height, weight, religion, and now AGE. Inclusivity wins again. The boss is back, and so am I.
Be sure to tune in to ANTM on Vh1, Tuesdays at 8/7c.