‘America’s Next Top Model‘s legacy will be a confusing one.
While praised for permeating Pop culture and solidifying Tyra Banks‘ legacy on one hand, it- rather unfortunately- is also critiqued for its failure to produce an actual ‘Top Model’ and its treatment of its contestants.
From forcing African-American models to shave their heads bald for ratings-pulling reactions, to allegedly doing little to support the careers of its winners, the show- for more informed viewers- isn’t all Banks and company touted it to be.
The latest contestant to criticise the platform?
Tiffany Richardson, berated by Banks when she refused to cry after learning she had been eliminated in its fourth cycle.
What she has to say about her experience?
Find out below…
She told Buzzfeed:
I was there but I wasn’t there. It was so different for me. I don’t know anything about designer clothes, and it was kinda like I had to try to fit in and figure it out. Even with makeup, I felt really out of place.
Every time I did something wrong, I’d shut down a little bit more, and it just got to the point where I was over it. I felt like we were just there to be humiliated. It was like, ‘What else could we do to them?’
According to Richardson, the argument was “1,000 times worse” in reality. She was hesitant to elaborate, but when pressed for more details, Richardson said she recalled Banks yelling at her, “You can go back to your house and sleep on your mattress on the floor with your baby,” in front of the other judges, contestants, and crew members.
It gets more interesting.
Allegedly concerned that her encounter with Richardson would play out negatively for her when the episode aired, Banks is said to have orchestrated an on-camera meeting between the two of them to make amends.
The information below was presented to Buzzfeed by one of the show’s producers Heather Cox.
Producers did another exit interview with Richardson as a way of “buttoning up” her storyline. According to Cocks’s recollection of the decision, Banks “basically drove that train.” The concern was that the story was essentially “unfinished” without showing that Banks and Richardson had made amends.
So Banks, along with her mother, Carolyn London, visited Richardson while she was in her hotel room, which former contestant Rebecca Epley confirmed, though she wasn’t present for the conversation. Richardson said that the contestants had met London earlier in the competition and that she loved how “warm her spirit was” because it reminded Richardson of her grandmother. In hindsight, Richardson saw London’s presence in her hotel room as a way for Banks and the producers to make her feel more comfortable for the closing interview they had planned. According to Richardson, Banks recognized that they had a “moment,” said she saw a lot of herself in Richardson, and said she would continue to act as her mentor. “You would think that if you cared that much, you would’ve been there more,” Richardson said. “I didn’t think she cared. I don’t think she gave a **** about none of us, except for the ones who made it big. But hey, it is what it is.”
How she feels about the show now?
I’m a completely different person. She doesn’t owe me anything. I’m good. If I would’ve took advantage of the situation, it was worth it … but I knew nothing about [modeling]. I was just like in a whole new world … I was young and crazy, I didn’t get it.