This week Gawker published an article about former America’s Next Top Model contestant Jael Strauss’s devastating battle with meth addiction (she will be appearing in an intervention on Dr.Phil today) and former ANTM winner Caridee English commented on the article. In her post she blamed the show and it’s creator/host, Tyra Banks, for not supporting the young women who appeared on the show in their careers once the cameras stopped rolling. The women who win the title of America’s Next Top Model are not given the career support they need to navigate this tough industry and use this launching platform correctly, according to Caridee. She even called out the show for psychologically messing up her and perhaps Jael, because the show made them famous but they couldn’t get work because of their association with it.
She wrote on Gawker:
“Tyra won’t do anything. She provided a wonderful platform for girls to have a chance at their dream, but, after there is no “Tyra Mail”. I had to guide myself, and even though I won a model competition I still had no idea what the modeling BUSINESS was like. I had no idea what the industry was really like. I was famous, but no one wanted to take my picture. And critics and industry love to give us all shit for not being the next big supermodel. We all have done well, and we all had to do it on our own. I am not complaining, I am simply defending. I love love what I have made for myself since my win, but mentally, its horrific. And any girl who has been on ANTM can back me up. No one wants to take us serious as models.”
Now you might be saying, ‘Tough luck you tall blond glamazon.’ Modeling is a very tough industry to begin with and most young women in this industry face a lot of challenges to get work in it. Caridee knows she wasn’t forced to be on the show but she was promised help and according to her, these girls aren’t getting that kind of help. This is show that promotes a contest in which the prize is a successful career. That is a tough promise to make. But supporting a career is different than promising a super successful one. If the show did make the promise of supporting these women (and I don’t know if it offered help to the non-winners) then it sounds like they failed at that. Caridee hinted that everyone on the show should be given some sort of real support. She also makes a good point that in a way the show screwed these young women in terms of marketability so it actually hurt their chance at a career in the industry. She wrote:
“Now this isn’t Tyra’s fault.. we are all capable of becoming anything… I am saying it would have been a good call to have some after show support…
When it boils down to it, there is just not a place for ANTM girls to fit post show. We just needed some guidance.. Are we “Reality Star” ? (ARRRGG I feel deeply that I have contributed more, and have more to offer professionally in The Arts than someone being taped from the shore of Jersey) I truly did the show because I am a model…. and a damn good one given the shot.. (pun intended)
The fashion industry had NO idea how to market us. Our agents, our managers….. because we become a instant celeb…. but had a portfolio of a rookie model. Even though we just were named “TOP” our place in line at Fashion World was at the bottom. The industry many times didn’t care about our name, but did turn a snobby cheek to the name ANTM.”
CariDee also explained how much she did not want to be associated with the Top Model brand. “I got reached out by her “camp” asking if I would do a “All Star” cycle… I said “What’s the prize? Because last time the only thing I didn’t win was being taken seriously as a top model…” (I declined after no consideration) The only person that has reached out to me directly is Nigel Barker. He even hired me.”
Of course there are women from the show who have had successful careers but not necessarily in modeling. Analeigh Tipton starred in Whit Stillman’s Damsels in Distress and Crazy, Stupid, Love and Kim Stolz had a hosting gig at MTV before going back to a prominent career in finance but they may be outliers.
Tyra Banks acted as these young women’s mentor but if these allegations are true, then this was just another performance of Tyra’s.
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