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Image / Editorial

‘Insensitive’: Tyra Banks admits some America’s Next Top Model moments were problematic


by Jennifer McShane
09th May 2020
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During the pandemic, many of us have taken to re-watching what was once cult TV. America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) was one such show. However, now the series’ host Tyra Banks has admitted some of her comments on the show were over the line


The 24th series of ANTM is currently re-running in the afternoons. The show is also 17 years old. As a result, “Tyra” – that’s host, supermodel Tyra Banks who ensured the concept skyrocketed around the world – recently became one of Twitter’s top trending topics. However, the iconic Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model and reality competition genre pioneer was the subject of a conversation that has been spoken of many times in the almost two decades after its premiere.

The result on social media was people pointing out how, in hindsight, America’s Next Top Model was, at times odd and embarrassing. But, at the heart of it, there’s little doubt the show frequently perpetuated toxicity, unhealthy body image and mixed conversations around weight, race and sexuality.

Problematic 

Old clips of ANTM and reactions to them started going viral in early May. One, in particular, went viral Tyra told a gay contestant on the fifth season of ANTM how to make her sexuality “acceptable.” Tyra tells the contestant, “I’m black and proud … but I’m not, like, walking down the red carpet [saying] ‘I’m black, I’m black.”

God knows how this wasn’t called out at the time.

And let’s not forget the shouting, screaming (much of it by Tyra who was, at the time, just ‘rooting‘ for the girls) and cutting of hair – that happened whether you wanted a ‘makeover’ or not. And I can’t even talk about the bi-racial photoshoot ‘transformations‘ being deemed acceptable.

Intentions were good; Trya wanted to help the girls, to see their lives change for the better – that we know. She did help break boundaries, lest we forget.


Be that as it may, it doesn’t discount her, at times, very problematic comments.

The supermodel herself has acknowledged this. In response, Banks has apologised for her at times “insensitive” comments.”

Been seeing the posts about the insensitivity of some past ANTM moments and I agree with you,” she tweeted. “Looking back, those were some really off choices. Appreciate your honest feedback and am sending so much love and virtual hugs.”

It doesn’t go in-depth but, it is at least an acknowledgement that more care needed to be taken. A start, if nothing else.

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