Each season of America’s Next Top Model has a sob story or a gimmick, a model that is just so different from the competition, that host Tyra Banks has decided to take under her wing and mold into the perfect supermodel. Usually this gives Tyra a platform to “save” someone and then applaud herself for being so courageous — at first, this “different” model was just, say, overweight (only last season did a big girl actually stick around long enough to win), or from the streets. But as the seasons went on, Tyra and crew had to find someone with a more dramatic story — a refugee from Africa, a woman with Asperger’s Disorder, a woman who had been raped and molested, and a woman who had experienced domestic violence. Last season, I thought Tyra peaked with the sadness by casting an African woman who had experienced genital mutilation. Though she was gorgeous and certainly a worthy competitor, it did seem like another cheap ploy for Tyra, again, to toot her own groundbreaking horn.
Well, this season the gimmick isn’t sad, but it sure is daring. One of the models on the new season, which premieres September 3, is a transgender woman (who was born a man) named Isis, 22, from Maryland. Sure, in the past many of the models who have appeared on Top Model have looked like drag queens (love you Dominique!), but this is a pretty fantastic step for a popular reality show on a major network to take. While transgender characters have appeared on TV shows like Nip/Tuck, The L Word, Ugly Betty, and even the soap opera All My Children, but never on an American reality show. So here’s a pat on the back Tyra, from The Frisky. Give that hand a rest! [Us Weekly]