But that is not enough, Banks goes on to say. She says that her 17-year-old self would be “too heavy” to model for Vogue in 2012 because while the average model was a size 4-6 when she was getting started, now the average model is a size 0. Banks is calling for the modeling industry to unionize, so that there are regulations in place regarding age, size and to prevent discrimination.
First off, “ANTM” has always included plus-sized models – which Banks awesomely refers to as “fiercely-real sized” models. And in all our time watching, we have never heard those contestants criticized for their weight or their body shape. They may be criticized at judging panel, but it’s because of the content of their photographs – facial expression, pose, energy, etc.
Secondly, in Cycle 15, the first girl eliminated was Anamaria Mirdita (pictured, right), who was painfully thin at 5’10 and only 110 lbs. During her photoshoot, red flags were raised when creative director Jay Manuel told her that because she is so thin, she needs to pose in a softer way and she responded by saying that she’s been trying to get lean. Manuel responds incredulously, “You’re trying to get lean? You don’t need to get lean.”
Her response to that, in a diary session, was that she didn’t give a “s***” and that when she looks in the mirror, she knows what she’s looking back at.
That night at judges’ panel, Tyra said to her, “Your body doesn’t look healthy and it made me very uncomfortable.” Anamaria responded, “Maybe you see it, but … I like my body. I like looking in the mirror and seeing my abs.”
“But there’s a point that even a designer and an editor of a magazine, they say, ‘This is too much.'” responded Tyra. And guest judge designer Diane von Furstenberg added, “Also, I say as the president of the CFDA [Council of Fashion Designers of America] – beauty is health and if you’re not healthy, you lose your beauty.”
Now, of course, “ANTM” has featured thin women. The very season Anamaria was sent home was the season Ann Ward was crowned winner and she was very thin. But she was just a naturally thin girl who actually had the problem of wanting and trying to put on weight. And the show repeatedly addressed that.
In fact, during the deliberation when Anamaria was subsequently eliminated, Nigel Barker pointed out that there is a big difference between being naturally slim and very tall, like Ann, and being someone who stares at herself in the mirror and wants to see her ribs show, like Anamaria.
Recently eliminated “ANTM” contestant Annaliese Dayes agrees with our assessment that Banks does live by what she says.
“I do think she stands by what she believes in. The modeling industry is tough and at the end of the day, they do require girls to be a certain size,” says Dayes. “But no, I’m not a fan of the size 0 emaciated look and it’s not a very good image to portray to kids growing up, when it’s already so hard to grow up now. I think it’s very important that Tyra stands by that in terms of not using size 0s … I don’t think it over-emphasizes being thin.”
What do you think, Pop2it readers? Do you think “America’s Next Top Model” does a good job of representing all sizes and not over-emphasizing the emaciated looks that have become all the rage in fashion today?