A Model Life with Petra Nemcova



A kinder, gentler America's Next Top Model.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show paints a fairly realistic picture of modeling, including both its faults and benefits. Due to Nemcova's interest in humanitarian work, there's an emphasis on charity and doing work that helps others. Issues related to weight and body image -- including frank critiques of body types and sizes -- come up. Obviously, there's a huge emphasis on looks, though Nemcova and others talk about the importance of inner beauty.

Not applicable

Women sometimes appear in bras and underwear or very revealing clothing.


Occasional cursing -- "bulls--t" and "damn." Stronger words, like "f--k," are bleeped.


Brands of show sponsors like Saab, HP, and the Grand Hyatt are prominently displayed.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some smoking in the background; potential for social drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality show focuses on young women who want to be fashion models. Though it's not a strict competition, the show illustrates the competitive nature of the modeling business, and the women sometimes seem unfriendly or critical of one another. Weight and body image issues are addressed in a realistic, if contradictory, way (no matter how many times they say inner beauty is what matters, it's obvious that looks count). Some of the models have chosen their work over attending high school or pursuing other creative or educational projects. There's some swearing, with the strongest words ("f--k") bleeped.

Kids say

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What's the story?

A MODEL LIFE WITH PETRA NEMCOVA takes the America's Next Top Model concept and softens the focus. Instead of enduring crazy challenges and catty judging sessions, the six fresh faces on this show receive gentle mentoring from Nemcova, who is known as both a model and a humanitarian. The models come to New York City from as near as Florida and as far as Slovenia and are immediately thrust into the fast-paced world of big-city modeling. They go on test shoots, meet with potential clients, work with professional photographers, and get feedback from their agents at NEXT Modeling -- all while living together in a swank hotel.

Is it any good?


In line with its softer, gentler approach, A Model Life doesn't do eliminations or necessarily have a grand prize. All of the models will be considered for a contract at the end of the season, so the show isn't a structured competition. Despite that, the young women sometimes seem competitive, and occasionally criticize one another during individual interviews. These interviews with the models, Nemcova, and the professionals who interact with the young women beef up the on-the-job footage to give viewers a sense of the entire process. Each model has her own strengths and weaknesses, and it's these, as well as strong personalities, that give the show its texture.

Though A Model Life is surely more realistic than America's Next Top Model, it suffers a bit from cheesiness. Nemcova seems like a very likeable and sweet person, but her equanimity feels a bit fake and bland.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the emphasis on super-skinny models and the complete absence of fuller-figured women in this show and in the modeling industry in general. How different are the modeling industry's standards from those of the real world? Who decides how beauty is defined? Families can also discuss modeling as a career. Do parents and teens think modeling is a good career path? What are the pros and cons? Why does modeling seem so appealing when it's so competitive and cutting? And how do the modeling world's values trickle down to popular culture?

TV details

Cast:Petra Nemcova
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bysurvivalofthefittest November 23, 2008


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