On a Friday night, it is not uncommon to find my client and I watching America’s Next Top Model. Now in its eleventh year since it first aired in 2003, there is no question that Tyra Banks who serves as host/head judge and executive producer, has put the modeling business on the minds of young girls the world over. The show has had such a mass appeal that it is now aired in 170 countries. It has also given many young girls access and information to the modeling industry, my client included.
Tyra Banks, the former Sports Illustrated and Victoria Secret model, has made herself a household name. She has used her platform to successfully educate young aspiring models in several ways. Any model today under 30 years old has probably gone to the ANTM Modeling University via the CW network. The younger the model, the more influential Tyra has been on their career. What exactly have we learned from ANTM?
1. Modeling lingo. Tyra masterfully introduced model lingo that is now commonly used. Before ANTM, no one had really heard of terms like “go-see.” Today, we look at someone strangely if they don’t know what the term means (Go-see: When a model goes to an interview or appointment with clients such as designers, casting directors, show promoters or editors.) Smizing and H2T are both terms are used by Tyra when it comes to photo shoot techniques. Smize is a term created Tyra that means to “smile with your eyes.” H2T is another Tyra creation which means “to model from your head to your toes.”
2. Anyone can be a model. One of the greatest thing we have learned from ANTM is, anyone can be a model. The show has done a wonderful job of showing us that models come in all shapes, sizes and colors. This has given models the confidence to try to make it in the business who previously may not have tried. The show has given opportunities to models suffering from diseases such as lupus, vitiligo and Asperger’s Syndrome. It has also given transgender models the opportunity to equally compete.
3. It is all about the angles. Who knew that you should always find your angles when posing for a photo shoot before ANTM. Tyra shows her contestants exactly how it is done because she does the same photo shoot they compete in each week. We also never knew the importance of combining those angles with modeling HT2 (Head-to-Toe). Add being fierce and showing expression in your eyes to the posing recipe and top it with spending an hour per week modeling along with Tyra and her cast of young hopefuls. This will guarantee a perfect shot!
4. Critiques aren’t always nice. We always knew that the modeling business was difficult. But we never knew how brutal the critiques actually were before ANTM. The judge’s panel mince no words when delivering evaluations of the models runway walks, photo shoots, performances or personal style. This may be one of the most realistic aspects of the show! The criticism your client will receive can be brutal. If your client cannot handle tough critiques, this is the WRONG business.
5. Success is difficult. Some of the things you see on the show are completely unrealistic. Your client will probably never have to walk a runway wearing stilts or do a photo shoot swinging from a tightrope, but the struggle to make it in this industry is realistic. The competition that the show displays is for television but the competitive nature of the modeling business is true. A model will need the commitment and dedication like the ANTM contestants to succeed in this business.
There is nothing better than a rainy day and a good ole’ ANTM marathon. My client and I will always be ANTM fans. Love it or hate it the things we have learned cannot be denied. The Tyra posters may come down in three weeks when my client moves to pursue modeling in NYC, but our love and appreciation for what Ms. Banks has taught us over the years is timeless.