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] Keep reading »
Last night I was on “Showbiz Tonight” discussing Tyra Banks’ Bazaar cover, and the photo shoot within the magazine in which she dresses up as Michelle Obama. The shoot is not a fashion spread — i.e. there’s no “10 Looks Michelle Obama Will Need As A First Lady, As Worn By Model Tyra Banks” — and the interview accompanying the images isn’t really serious in nature, though Tyra does say that her Secret Service code-name would be “Kiss My Fat Ass”. Rather, it seems like Bazaar is trying to cash in on the Obama craze in any way they can, since they apparently couldn’t get the real woman to do a shoot with them. (By the way, I predict Michelle will be in Vogue, instead!) As for Tyra? Well, this is hardly the first cuh-razy stunt the talk show host has pulled. After all, Ty-Ty seems to feel like the world is The Tyra Show, and we’re all just lucky to get out alive. After the jump, six other classically nutty and self-absorbed “All About Tyra” moments.
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And you know what? She looks GREAT. We were worried when she won that the whole “plus-size model” thing was just a conspiracy to make Tyra and the America’s Next Top Model producers look good, but it seems Whitney has kept her gorgeous, curvy figure. Here she is on a photoshoot. If we were the types to say things like, “You go girl”, we would say it right now. [New York City, 7/28/08] Keep reading »
Rough sex. Sure, it’s not for the faint of heart, but it certainly has a large and enthusiastic following. But lately it’s been getting some bad press and from “The Girl Next Door” at Men’s Health mag. A reader wrote in to her because his girlfriend wants him to pull her ponytail during sex. The Girl Next Door sees this as being potentially sadistic. Hmm, everyone has a right to have the sex they like and be open about what they do want with a partner. Sure, some people like to get pretty freaky — like on The Tyra Show, for example — but a little hair-pulling doesn’t seem so nutty. Still, if a little rough sex is weird enough to freak a guy out about his girlfriend, then maybe they’re just not compatible. What do you guys think? [Men’s Health] Keep reading »
For the record, Tyra is giving: the catalog smile, the commercial smile, and the smile without the eyes. [New York Times Magazine, 6/1/08 edition] Keep reading »
According to a press release sent to Jezebel, this tittilating New York Times Magazine interview will detail all 275 of TyTy’s modeling smiles “from ‘angry but still smiling’ to ‘flirting with boyfriend.’” Will there be a part two which details all 1,576 of Tyra’s smiling-with-her-eyes poses? Keep reading »
We have some news for Tyra Banks — a size eight dress isn’t plus size and America’s Next Top Model winner Whitney Thompson ain’t no fat girl charity case. The new “plus sized” model is on the cover of the June issue of Seventeen, sending the message to America’s highest risk group for eating disorders that a perfectly fit size eight means you’re a big girl. Adolescents already have enough body issues without a thin girl getting called thick. This is some major mean-girl fashionista bull crap. If you’re gonna give us a plus-size superstar, she better be big enough to play the part. [Bitten & Bound] Keep reading »
Tyra loves it when she isn’t the freakiest entertainment on her show! Girlfriend is fine with flashing a neon thong out the top of her jeans on national television, but some things still make her uneasy — like Pete, a guest with a trampling fetish. Tyra volunteered a dozen of her audience members to indulge his desires. They all hopped up on him at once, some were even wearing heels. As Pete asked them to step on everything from his face to his hands, you know the dude was trying hard to not to pop a woody. All of the twelve women seemed nervous about hurting him, but apparently Pete has already been hurt by women in the past who just couldn’t understand his secret sexual fantasy. He told his sob story to Tyra about an ex-girlfriend who left him when she found out he had been sneaking around at fetish parties, asking women to do what he was afraid to even tell her he wanted. This story got us thinking…how far would we go to indulge a man’s fetish? Would you let a bunch of women trample your boyfriend if that’s what got him off?
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Over the course of its many seasons, America’s Next Top Model (a new episode airs tonight) had tread into some fairly risque and/or controversial territory, though not in the way that Tyra Banks intends. Though she thinks the shoe has gotten “edgier” and more “fierce”, a number of women’s sites and organizations have cried fowl over some of Tyra’s creative choices when it comes to the photo shoots — a couple seasons ago, the models were photographed as highly sexy looking corpses, which many said glamorized sexual assault. Now a blog called “Menstrual Poetry” (stay with me ladies!) says that the current season’s opening montage features the women looking like less like models and more like, um, whores. “Her entire attitude in the first 15 seconds exudes sexâ€“not modelesque, look at me kind of sexy, but look at me and give me a dollar bill sexy. When the Americaâ€™s Next Top Model hopefuls are pictured, we are given a series of somewhat disturbing images including a few in particular of Kimberly, Dominique and Marvita, who look like prostitutes waiting in a dark alleyway.”
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