America’s Next Top Model Claims Continues To Follow Tyra Banks Almost 20 Years Later

Once upon a time, Tyra Banks was one of the leading models on the planet. The gorgeous Inglewood native took the world by storm in the early ’90s, following in the footsteps of Iman and Naomi Campbell as one of the most recognizable black models in the game. Banks took her platform and quickly diversified in over the last two decades, becoming one of the leading figures in television and hosting spaces. While now you can find her on Dancing With the Stars, Banks kicked off her career as a television host with her breakthrough show America’s Next Top Model.

Kicking off in 2003, Top Model was the premiere television talent show geared towards uncovering the next crop of supermodels. The show launched on the UPN network and featured supermodel Janice Dickinson, Model and mogul Kimora Lee Simmons, and Marie Claire magazine editor in chief, Beau Quillian, as judges. As the show kicked off season 2, it saw the addition of Nigel Barker and Eric Nicholson. Runway walk extraordinaire Jay Alexander and photoshoot direct Jay Manuel also became staples of the show.

Top Model has gone on to run for 24 seasons and produced a number of spin-offs. The show has also inspired shows like Rupaul’s Drag Race and Project Runway. Despite the show’s massive success and the multiple careers, it launched, including Eva Marcelle, Yaya Dacosta, Nyle DiMarco and Jaslene González; it has also unfortunately been plagued with controversy. In the modern era of Twitter and Instagram, clips have gone viral over the years showing how ‘tone-deaf’ the show was on many subject. Scenes of Tyra verbally lashing out at models, criticizing their appearances and putting them in precarious situations have had many calling for the cancelation of Tyra or that she atone for her past actions.

The supermodel famously had models “swap races” in one episode. She asked cycle six winner Danielle Evans if she thought she could have a CoverGirl contract with a gap in her teeth. Evans would go on to close her gap for the show. Tyra Banks sat down with Tamron Hall in September to discuss the blowback all these years later and what lead to a lot of her off-color comments. According to Banks, she was still actively modeling while hosting and judging the show, and often times was projecting the things she was going through herself, without any context, preface or discernment.

Banks admits that sometimes her desires to “break barriers” but also not limit the Model’s careers following the show were often at odds. She’d want to showcase different types of models and push beauty standards but also understood the type of scrutiny they would be under in the modeling world once they left the show. Looking back, Tyra Banks admits they messed up a lot and wishes she had just focused on giving the models real support and advice. Banks claims she had extra pressure from modeling agencies present during filming. They would signal out girls they felt had potential but would point out flaws and pressure Banks to persuade the girls into changing. She maintains that the goal was always to introduce diversity and inclusivity into the world of modeling despite her missteps.

While her actions on screen have been explained, it seems behind the scene’s issues are now coming to light. According to Sarah Hartshorne, a contestant from cycle 9 of America’s Next Top Model, they were only paid $40 bucks a day. The revelation came via Twitter. Hartshorne responded to a tweet saying, “The fact that girls on ANTM were getting paid $40 an episode and Tyra and them judges were making BANK, is kinda sick.” She said, “$40 a day, no residuals, and we had to pay for food.” She goes on to say that she talks more in-depth about Top Model on her Tiktok. There she shares videos discussing the contracts and treatment she experienced on the show. In one video she reveals that they were warned with a possible $10 million dollar lawsuit if any of them discussed details of the production outside of filming to the press. In another video she addresses payment for the show saying she made nothing off of it.

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