I like watching America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) – to some extent. The exquisite faces. The beautiful photos. That’s about it, really! See, I’ve come to notice some rather unpleasing patterns on the show. Year after year, season after season, the same ol’ issues are there. Issues which I believe result in the making of poor role models. Therefore, here are some common ‘reasons why ANTM sucks’, and some ‘ideas on how to fix it’.
Reason why ANTM sucks: Contestants who say “no” aren’t treated as they deserve
In 2011, contestant Shannon Stewart was sent home in the same week where she refused to take part in an underwear shoot. After the shoot she told viewers, “I took a stand today America and hopefully I won’t get eliminated for it.” This happened in an ‘All Stars’ season where each model’s objective was to represent their personal brand. Despite Shannon’s brand being “trustworthy”, innocent, and anything but naughty, she was still eliminated.
I understand that refusing to take part in the shoot left the judges with no photo to judge. But shouldn’t we want our top fashion models, who end up being our top role models (as well as our children’s top role models), to be women who aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe in? Who aren’t afraid to say “no”? Who refuse to let other people, no matter how important, dictate what they should do with their bodies? Shannon herself later said in an interview, “I’m not willing to be anyone’s puppet.”
How to solve the problem:
When the judges interview each contestant before selecting the final 12, they could ask them if they have any boundaries. If a model does have a boundary, such as “I don’t pose nude/in swimwear/in underwear”, the judges can organise an alternative for that model, should a photo-shoot like that come up. Perhaps they could model another brand’s clothes instead? Or one-piece swimwear? Or PJs?
In the ‘real life’ fashion industry, models can choose which shoots they do and which brands they represent, and are able to ignore gigs that don’t suit them. So, why can’t the models on ANTM also have some sort of control/choice in what they do with their bodies? This way, the judges get to see the model’s skills and potential, while the model gets to retain their personal standards and boundaries.
Reason why ANTM sucks: Contestants often fight with each other, and no one bats an eye
In probably every season of ANTM, the contestants fight with other. They accuse each other of not deserving success. They call each other ‘fat’, ‘ugly’ and ‘dirty’. They yell and shout over the smallest of issues, such as being politely asked to move into another room because someone wants to sleep, or asked to help with the cleaning. And no one, not one of the producers or judges, seems to really mind. But these models are setting terrible examples for the teenage girls who look up to them. They teach their fans that it’s okay to tear other people down, to disrespect, and to scream instead of have an actual conversation. But it’s not.
How to solve the problem:
Every so often, the judges could look at footage of the girls in the house in order to see each model’s true colours. Does a particular model frequently fight with the others? Does one seem to struggle with controlling their emotions? If there is regular drama, the judges could take that into consideration when selecting the model they think deserves to be in the professional, collaborative fashion world and become a famous role-model.
Now, I’m sure the producers of ANTM try their hardest to create a fair, worthy competition. But surely if a problem keeps occurring, there could be a solution made, in order to select models who are fierce, talented, strong and respectful of others.