With nine seasons of America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) tucked firmly under her Prada belt, Tyra Banks has led hordes of hopeful women a little bit closer to their dreams of becoming high fashion models. Each season, millions of viewers tune in to the CW network to get a glimpse of some of reality TV’s most beautiful and interesting young women. Along the way, the show’s judges and mentors have plenty of input in what they’re looking for from the young ladies. Somehow, the contestants seem to find themselves in the “confession room” in tears for one reason or another. The show possesses its requisite number of shocks, twists, and surprises—enough to keep viewers interested. But a few things do remain constant, no matter who the “stars” of the show happen to be; every season, the young contestants seems to be making some of the same mistakes…
Thin Skin/ Thick Skin
Of course ANTM is counting on the contestants’ vibrant personalities to secure solid ratings. That being said, some of the young ladies seem to fall in to the very obvious trap of letting the other models get under their skin. In Cycle 5 Coryn found the outspoken Lisa to be her personal nemesis. But in various episodes over the seasons, other models have discovered that one or more of their house mates could be easily intimidated by flagrant behavior. But the bottom line is that whether the ladies become BFFs or enemies, there can ultimately be only one winner. If the women who found their feathers ruffled would simply learn how to deflect the negative criticism of other contestants, they would stand a much better chance of learning how to work their own individual appeal instead of constantly comparing themselves to the others.
Missing the Obvious
One of the most common mistakes ANTM contestants make on the show is in not listening to the judges. During panel judging, the mentors offer very specific advice for each contestant. However, it is up to each model to take the advice to heart, making it work for her. A few models seem to understand this, and are subsequently praised during panel. But many of them often miss the obvious. Additionally, notice that before each panel’s judging, Tyra Banks reiterates the exact collection of prizes that the girls are competing for. In addition to reminding the contestants of their potential bounty, Tyra is also hoping that an explanation of the prizes will help them to see what the judges are ultimately looking for. But very few of them ever really pay close attention; for the types of prizes offered make all the difference. A six-page spread in Seventeen magazine, and a series of CoverGirl ads represent a fairly specific look and attitude. This is why when the models’ photo shoots border on the risque, the judges often refer to the poses as very “Men’s Magazine.” They are looking for women who can embrace their sex appeal, but in a refreshing and “innocent way.” Additionally, the judges are looking to see how easily the models transform into clean, young, couture-inspired “billboards.”
If It Walks Like A Duck
By the time the models have made it into the final 10 or so, there is the expectation that they look like “models” during panel judging from that point forward. Wearing too much make-up or jewelry, and having complicated hair styles never wins any points with the critical judges. On more than one occasion did earlier cycles find judge Janice Dickinson berating the girls for looking “too pedestrian” (that is—indistinct from the average woman strolling down the street.) Not looking “like models” during panel judging clearly is one thing that will send a girl packing. Each week, the judges are looking for improvement—some evidence that the women are beginning to embrace the routine requirements of being a model. If they continue to show up unable to create an impression on judges they’ll be history by the next commercial break.
Less Is More
Sometimes it is difficult for the ANTM models to understand the fine line between too much, and too little. The various sets, and revolving door of photographers and stylists can make it difficult to determine exactly how much Va-Va-Voom to incorporate into their personas. That being said, many of the ladies end up going overboard in their posing and commercials, the finished product seeming “forced.” For example, Cycle 10’s quick release of Allison Kuehn was mainly due to her over-thinking her poses, and failing to relax into the environment; her self-appointed arrogance was also a selling point for her departure. Cycle 7 twins Amanda and Michelle, on the contrary, won a litany of praise from judges based on their acceptance of their “awkwardness” as the foundation for their appeal. As a result, at times the judges were at odds as to which one was their favorite.
The Blank Canvas
Truly, one of the biggest mistakes made on America’s Next Top Model, is the failure to become a blank canvas no matter the challenge. This is most evidenced in the models’ reluctance to let go of their personal style during the make-over portion of the show. (Subsequently, this is why the make-over portion is one of the most popular segments in the program.) During each photo shoot, the photographers and stylists present specific themes for the young ladies to follow. What the women fail to realize is that the judges are not looking for “who’s the prettiest”, per se; they are looking to see who embraces the environment the most, while using her own personality to sell the photo. Becoming a blank canvas is especially difficult when there are so many versions of beauty to adhere to. Ultimately however, the ANTM contestant who best represents a fresh face with couture tendencies will end up hanging around until the end.