Dear Tyra Banks

5 Mar

Dear Tyra Banks,

Girl, you are crazy. I appreciate that you’ve worked hard to get where you are, and where you are is kind of insane in and of itself, but do you have to work so hard to make it even more so?

I appreciate that the premier episode of America’s Next Top Model’s forty-eleventh season filmed in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace.  But let’s talk about a few things:

1.  You made the girls put on togas and gold lace up shoes made of, for all intents and purposes, plastic.  They laced up to the knees.  Did nobody get hives and/or welts?

b.  You made your entrance behind about fifteen gladiators.  Followed by fifteen more.  Wearing shiny stretch gold.  And then you waved your arms a lot and made proclamations and opened your crazy-wide eyes as wide as they would go–these, we call “crazy eyes.”  Honestly, everyone I was watching with expected you to actually be carried in on a Cleopatra-esque chaise lounge.  Which might have been less dramatic, if it had limited your body movement for fear of tipping yourself into the pool.

iii.  You made those poor girls wear those togas for, like, three days straight.  Or that entire episode was edited waaaay out of sequence.

Also.  This season you’ve created a “theme.”  That “theme” is…how to put this nicely…girls you wouldn’t expect to be modeling, as contestants on a “modeling” show.  (Really, the Tyra Banks Crazy Hour.)  You followed up this theme with a “themed” photo shoot.  “The lost innocence of young girls”–so you tarted up your models in hair and makeup, but gave them ponytails, and then put three bad girls in the background.

The good girls played games– hopscotch, double dutch, etc, while trying to look simultaneously cute and high fashion.  Ha.  And the bad girls smoked?  And had pregnant bellies?  And looked menacing in the background, like they wanted to eat the good girls’ lollipops?

My point, Tyra, I think, is that the stretch fabrics have got to go.  And the hair extensions.  And the goddess-on-high-in-retirement-looking-for-her-heir act.  And the jumpsuits, and the color-blocked swaths of fabric, and the dramatic pronouncements, and the hand waving, and well, all of it.  Or at least most of it.  You’ll notice Padma and Heidi Klum feel no need to do anything other than show up and look pretty on their reality shows.  And they also feel no need to “educate” the world by providing “role models” that will get kicked off after the second week because they were chosen solely for their “differences.”  Helloooooo it’s a modeling show. That would be like judging Top Chef contestants on the fitness of their mothers.  You can’t choose your mother, and everybody should love, honor, respect their mother (mostly), but it’s maybe not the format, you know?  And puts undue pressure on a relationship (mother/self, body/world) that is already difficult?

I am all for opening up the modeling world to all shapes and sizes.  But– forgive me– but maybe diving off the crazy board or getting on the loco train is not the best way to help ease that transition and provide a format for its fetus stages.  Fetuses like to be soft and warm and well-fed and generally not jiggled a lot or thrown in the air to see if they can fly.

First, let’s mentally stop referring to your judge/host seat as your “throne.”  Then, let’s vacate and let Nigel sit there.  He’ll say insightful things like he did last night: “Well yes, she’s a role model, but is she a model model?”  And we could all giggle a lot because he’s handsome.

(Call me!)

Love, despite all the hate,



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