As the title of the show suggests, this cyclical competition is open for women from all over America to vie for a spot to be called the next “it girl” in the modeling world.
Created by the supermodel/host Tyra Banks under her very own Bankable Productions, she also leads the panel of judges, comprised of influential fashion editor André Leon Talley and photographer Nigel Barker.
Jay Manuel serves as the photo shoot creative director while Miss J Alexander returns as the runway trainer.
Each cycle, as the show calls its seasons, has 9-13 episodes and casts 10-14 contestants. In every episode, a contestant is eliminated, though in rare cases a double elimination or no elimination is announced with the agreement of the judges. Makeovers are done to the candidates usually in the first part of the contest, and a trip to an international destination is set nearing towards the end of the competition, with usually about 5 or 6 long standing girls. These model hopefuls will compete for the ultimate career-launching prize package: a contract with IMG Models, one of the top international modeling management companies in the world; a fashion spread in Vogue Italia and an additional spread and cover of Beauty in Vogue; and a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics.
The show is currently running its 16th cycle, and is now casting for cycle 17. America’s Next Top Model aired its first season on May 20, 2003 and was one of UPN’s highest rated shows. For the 2006–2007, 2007–2008 and 2008–2009 television seasons, ANTM was the #1 show in average viewers on The CW. However, amidst great following of the show, it has accordingly received criticism from several entertainment scoops and magazines. They recognized how the judges of the show explicitly humiliated the contestants with their cruel critiques and possibly degrading one’s self-worth. Yahoo’s Shine lifestyle website even created a list called “Top 10 reasons why America’s Next Top Model is bad for women, humans” mentioning how the show gives unrealistic vision to the contestants of what life is about in the real world of modeling. While another magazine, Allure, criticized how the show has not produced any actual supermodels since it started its search. But with these critiques and words from media and competitors, creators of the show noted every word and strived to come up with even more sensitive search with its upcoming cycles, thus prompting the “green” theme for its ninth cycle, citing the statement of co-producer Ken Mok, to which we quote, “Tyra and I understand the influence ‘Top Model’ has on a generation of young people, and we want to make sure we get the right message to our audience.”
Apparently, the controversy makes the show even more interesting and attracts more socialite-wannabes glued to every episode. The contestants make friends and enemies with one another, pouring a reality drama to the show. Because these contestants come from different cultures and social backgrounds, followers are likely to find each character more engaging.