Last week, America’s Next Top Model brought an All Star Season of previous ANTM contenders onto the catwalk in the season premier. Ratings of ANTM having been sinking for a while now, this is clearly a pull-out-all-the-gimics twist on the series infused with all types of contradiction. Tyra persists with her usual persona, self-mocking and overdramatic, and enforcing the lot of female stereotypes under a superficial premise of empowerment. The opener is equipped with blindingly inflated caricatures of models and celebrity, embracing the frivolousness of it all.
The season features Isis, the only transgendered to have been on the show. (Tyra actually paid for her sex reassignment surgery since the season she was first on the show). And Kayla, the only lesbian to be a finalist on Top Model and who posed wearing a rainbow flag in the first episode. To it’s credit the group is quite diverse. What all of the girls do have are big personalities, many of them former “mean girls” of their respective seasons and each bringing some level of personal drama to the table.
I quote Tyra in what was probably her most eloquent moment ever in that “with representation comes opportunity.” This is the premise for the show as a whole she says and she is striving to change the industry and ‘make dreams come true’ for women who would likely not have a heel in the door of the fashion industry otherwise. Sure, making an industry laced with sexism, narrowness about beauty, and superficiality more fair makes the industry better, but I would argue that it isn’t good.