The new season of ‘ANTM’ has basically no size diversity, and people are not pleased
Tyra Banks signed over her baby, America’s Next Top Model, to VH1 after hosting the model search reality show for 22 seasons. On Monday, the 23rd season aired with a host of new judges, including model Ashley Graham (who was the first plus-size model to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated). But Graham’s inclusion on the shiny new show didn’t mean America’s Next Top Model would actually give curvy models a shot.
One celebrity viewer was highly annoyed with the lack of representation from women who are, you know, the average size of the majority of women in this country. Orange Is the New Black star Danielle Brooks hopped on Twitter the morning after the show debuted to express her displeasure with ANTM for what she calls not even having a woman size 6 or 8. “This 1% thing is real,” the actress tweeted. “The world really disregards plus size. Watched #ANTM and not one contestant was plus, hell, not even a size 6 or 8.”
We didn’t watch because… come on. TWENTY-THREE SEASONS. Enough. But Brooks told the truth to shame the devil. The fashion and modeling industry is very slow to represent the average woman. And the few plus-size models booking gigs face adversities. Graham knows this all too well as a plus-size model herself, and she mentioned as much to The Daily News. “You do not see enough women of color on the runways just like you don’t see enough women my size on the runways,” Graham said, “so this is very important to have it be a diverse group.”
So then, how is it possible that of ANTM’s 14 contestants, not a single one is plus-size? In an era where social media is king, and you will be called out, it’s baffling that a bunch of creatives and executives missed the mark. “Unfortunately, it didn’t happen this round,” Graham told The Daily News. “Hopefully for season two — I’m looking for the woman who wins to be plus-size. I think it would be so epic.”
Of the 22 winners in ANTM’s history, only one has been plus-size — Whitney Thompson of Cycle 10. Tocarra Jones of Cycle 3 is perhaps the most well-known curvy top model contestant. Last year, Tyra boasted about the show being ahead of the curve, pointing to Thompson’s win in 2008. The show must’ve thought it was safe from backlash with Graham as a judge.
Brooks wasn’t the only one disappointed. Model Tess Holliday gave the show an ol’ nasty read for its exclusion. Fans of the show also expressed their disproval. Like we said, this is the social media era. Everyone should know better.
And because any time a celebrity passionately speaks their mind about an issue, people (and media) call it “bashing” or a “clapback,” Brooks took to Instagram to elaborate on her thoughts with a photo of beautiful plus-size women posing in black panties and bras.
She also had the last laugh when she posted a “Queening” photo of herself in a black bodysuit baring her perfectly normal body. Hopefully ANTM executives are somewhere already brainstorming about how it’s a must to include all types of models next season. If they’re smart, that is exactly what they should be doing.