Did you forget about Tyra Banks for five seconds? Because she’s got a plan to make herself talked about once more. The “America’s Next Top Model” host and smize-ing overlord created a series of photos for photographer Udo Spreitzenbarth’s exhibition, Tyra Banks Presents: 15, in which Tyra “transforms” herself into several iconic models — Kate Moss and Cindy Crawford to name a few.
Tyra being Tyra, couldn’t wait to share the photos with the world. “I’ve put my own spin on #NYFW w/a photo tribute to some of the fiercest #SuperModels ever. Unretouched. Real. Raw,” she tweeted.
Banks, says a statement for the exhibition, aims to capture “the likeness of her colleagues to address the powerful nature of these well-known symbols, while reminding them that ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.’” She also impersonated Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, Kate Upton, Grace Jones, Brooke Shields, Lauren Hutton, Twiggy, Carmen Dell-Orefice, Karlie Kloss, Jerry Hall and Iman for the series.
But is it racist? Some critics of the series claim that Tyra in whiteface is just as bad as a white model in black face. But as Callie Beusman over as Jezebel explains, “Blackface was historically used to dehumanize and belittle black people; it originated as a racist form of entertainment in ‘whites only’ establishments. Whiteface has no historical relevance.” But is it weird? Oh hell yes it’s weird.
As Yesha Callahan over at Clutch notes, “The true atrocity with these photos is not the fact that Tyra is wearing whiteface, but the fact that the photos are horrible. I mean, the Kate Moss photo looks like ‘The Grudge.’”