No More F**king Around

Like all of us, I’ve watched my share of America’s Next Top Model, particularly in the early days when it was new and interesting. You can’t deny it’s a great show concept at base – theoretically a democratising of the modeling industry. Young women who “want it” and who have “inner fierceness” and all that. A potent mix.

A big part of the show’s rhetoric throughout its tenure has been, as per the title, the idea that they are discovering/building an actual fashion model. That is, that through the show they will create a young women who is a success in the modeling industry. If not America’s next top model, at least America’s next working model, say.

But, of course, the winners of the competition pretty much uniformly amount to nothing in the high fashion world. Why? I don’t really claim to know, but they just don’t. Maybe they’re talentless hacks. Maybe it’s just a cult of personality. Maybe there are one or two production decisions made in the season. Maybe.

What’s great about Cycle 15 of the show (it’s has had FIFTEEN seasons! Holy crap!) is that the show (and, I suppose, Tyra as its creator and mouthpiece) is effectively admitting the previous 14 seasons as being kind of shitty. They do this by emphasising how this cycle there are actually kind of impressive, fashion-oriented prizes to be won. Notably, the cover of and a spread in Italian Vogue. That’s serious business, my friend. And they way they reiterate, over and over, how this season is a big deal, rams home how all the previous seasons were, in the cold light of the rear-view mirror, a bunch of crap.

Having seen the first two episodes, Cycle 15 is exactly the same as every other cycle, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun watching everyone talking themselves into believing that this time, this time, it’s different.

18 September 2010
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