Dear Tyra, We Get It!


After 13 seasons of America’s Next Top Model, I think it’s about that time the plug gets pulled. 13 young women who were promised the opportunity to be what Tyra Banks was in her hay-day, a top model. 13 winners, 13 beautiful women, 13 dreams materialized, and not 1 top model:

I’m sure all the winners, runner-up’s, and contestants have achieved some level of success in their own right, but again: NOT ONE TOP MODEL. Which is the basis of the show. It’s not America’s Next Mediocre Model, America’s Next Book-At-Least-One-Job-Per-Fashion-Week Model, America’s Next Damn-I-Can’t-Even-Get-A-Spread-In-Teen-Vogue? Model, it’s AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL. Name one model, a winner, who has left the show to achieve prime fashion industry success. I’m talking about snatching up an ad campaign for Bottega Veneta, strutting in a Chanel show, at least being the new face of Movado watches! Baby Phat ad? Nothing? Not even a Rocawear endorsement? How about a perfume campaign? Damn it! Even Amber Rose has one of those (no shots fired)!

My thing is, if you can not do for these girls what you promised them to do, what they signed up to do, why bother? Tyra knows a thing or two about leaving the game on a high note, as she did with modeling. So instead of waiting until the show gets canceled due to a decline in viewership, just announce Season 14 as your last season, and develop a new fashion centered show. Where new opportunities are available, new promises are made, new standards are set. Instead of fueling this stigma of unrealistic perfection with a weight and height limit, why don’t you leave the physical requirements alone and base a fashion centered show on something a lot more substantial? Like a skill. No shots fired at you models who put work in to perfect your craft, props to y’all!

When I say a skill, I mean something substantial where there will be no physical limitations… like an editorial opportunity at a major fashion magazine. Or a chance to develop their own (online) magazine. A show centered around young designers (25 & under), and giving them the opportunity to apprentice with a major designer for like 6 months to learn the ropes. A competitive show for entrepreneurs trying to win money to start their own fashion business, the list and ideas and market potential goes on. The point I’m trying to make is, WE GET IT! The only person that doesn’t seem to get it is Tyra and the good ole’ folks over at the CW and Bankable Productions. Oh, and the models don’t get it either. The only thing they get is a short-run CoverGirl contract without the possibility of a renewal. Oh, and representation from a top agency that never books them jobs. Womp womp.

Tyra, if you’re reading this, understand that I’m only reiterating what I hear in coffee shops, book club meetings, round table discussions, chat room debates, and high school hallways. We’re sick of it. And if you really want to show young girls how it’s to be done, as far as being a model goes, show them something a little more realistic. ANTM’s challenges has become more irrelevant to the field of modeling than Diddy‘s requirements from his aspiring Making The Band members. (I’m still trying to figure how walking to get cheesecake will transfer to record sales, wake me when we get there).

Tyra, I AM CHALLENGING YOU TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING FRESH, ORIGINAL, NEW, EXCITING, AND REALISTIC! I dare you to be great! Should you accept this challenge?


Tara Decoda

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