TV Land is normally my haven for “The Cosby Show” and “Roseanne” reruns. But lately, the network’s branched out into original shows, like “The Cougar,” basically a “Bachelorette” rip-off where the lady doing the picking is 40 and the guys are all in their 20s. Tonight at 9pm is the season premiere of “She’s Got The Look,” the show that looks to “discover the next supermodel over the age of 35.” And I’ve got some pretty mixed feelings about it.
Tens of thousands of women lined up at mass casting calls in five cities to audition for the show. Some of the women were models back in the day. Others are just hot moms. One of the women is 72. The prizes for winning the show sound cribbed from “America’s Next Top Model”—the winner will bank $100,000, a contract with Wilhemina Modeling Agency, and a spread in Self magazine.
At first glance, the concept is awesome given how obsessed our culture is with youth, youth, youth. How annoying was it on the last season of “ANTM” when the judges constantly criticized superstar Celia for being too old at the ripe age of 25. It’s certainly an important thing to show that there are stunning women at every age.
But still, I won’t be watching “She’s Got The Look” tonight. Part of the reason is my pure fatigue with modeling reality shows after 12 seasons of “ANTM,” two seasons of “Make Me a Supermodel,” not to mention “The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency,” “8th and Ocean,” “America’s Most Smartest Model,” etc. Honestly, I’m sick of seeing pretty women (and not nearly enough guys) put in swimsuits in freezing weather, dangled over an abyss, or asked do shoot with a tarantula on their cheek. I’m sick of judges and experts who take themselves wayyyyyyy too seriously (Tyra, I’m talking to you) talking about how hard it is to smile with your eyes. Does modeling take talent? Sure. Is it hard? Please. Being a hospice nurse—that’s hard.
I guess my basic beef with this show, and all these others, is—how has modeling become such a revered profession that everyone’s so obsessed with becoming one? Remember when I told you that tens of thousands auditioned for “She’s Got The Look?” Tens of thousands. Heck, there was a freaking stampede during the casting for the next season “ANTM,” which, on this same all-inclusive tangent, is for model wannabees shorter than 5’7. I’ll bet you $50 that Tyra is already planning a season dedicated to plus-sized models. What’s next? A show for model hopefuls who are short, old, petite plus-sized, and missing a limb? Oh wait, that last one has been done.
All I’m saying is that 99.99999 percent of us won’t be models. Nor should we want to be. Models are basically cogs in the image-obsession machine. It’s a profession where people are torn down rather than built up. (See: Every judging panel on one of these shows, ever.) Where eating disorders are de rigeur. Where sleeping with the photographer is sometimes seen as a must. So can we put a moratorium on model competition shows already?