Sunday, March 30, 2008
so let's discuss: every wednesday at 8:00 pm, millions of americans--women, men, black, white, red, polka dot, gay, straight, confused--tune into the CW11 for a program which has garnered such a high accolade, i'll honestly never understand--america's next top model (affectionately known as 'antm' to those aforementioned aficionados). need i even abstract on the plot?
so i take major umbridge with this circus of a show for quite a few reasons, but my main is as prevalent as tyra's nosejob--false advertising, baby. the producers of the show quite loudly tout the program's ability to create, foster and present the next top supermodel to america. supermodel--a colloquial term attributed to those few ladies whose exceptional looks have warranted them exceptional careers, the first commercial round of whom appeared in the early 90's: naomi campbell, christy turlington, stephanie seymour, and linda evangelista. many would argue that janice dickinson, lauren hutton and lisa fonssagrives minted the term, but fashion in the 70's wasn't nearly as cutthroat as it is now.
anywho--i digress. these girls were known as supermodels because they had numerous campaigns under their belt, walked in the biggest shows, and toasted champers with the biggest names in the industry--NOT because some washed up, retired model, oprah wannabe said they were. and that's why these girls were...famous!
now ask yourself, whether or not you're a fan of antm: now in the tenth cycle of this show, how many of the winners have actually made something of themselves? adrienne curry, yoanna house, eva pigford, naima mora, nicole linkletter, danielle evans, caridee english, jaslene gonzalez, saleisha stowers. ever hear of any of these girls? well, if you watch the show, sure you have. but have you ever actually seen them in a legitimate campaign, requisite covergirl shots notwithstanding?
yeah, neither have i.
but perhaps the real opposition comes from the don of fashion himself, karl lagerfeld, who called the show, "trash that is funny for five minutes if you're with other people. if you're alone, it's not funny. those girls will never be the next gemma ward. there is no justice in the fashion business." i couldn't have said it any better.
there are plenty of similar competitive reality programs (and i won't even start on 'make me a supermodel') but at least other shows like 'project runway' are appropriately titled--it's a project that takes place on a runway. no promises, no lofty claims, no guarantees.
the sad irony is the fact that these girls go through such grueling criticism and 'coaching' by a legion of gender-confused and silver-haired mentors, yet a single issue of vogue contains multiple shots of coco rocha, sasha pivovarova, natalia vodianova, agyness deyn, daria werbowy, lily donaldson and jessica stam, aka the new regime of supermodels.
so you see--this show has a completely inaccurate title to represent its otherwise devoid premise. perhaps it should be titled, "america's next marginally-talented model." hmm.