A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that American Beauty Star is a reality competition pitting hair and makeup artists against each other. It has lots of sexy outfits, bleeped cursing, and overall argumentative behavior, which is often justified as simply being a part of the beauty industry. It also features lots of beauty brand logos, ranging from Orly nail polish to JTV jewelry. Social media sites like Instagram are also referenced. Fashion-interested teens will enjoy seeing the ins and outs of this sometimes glamorous business, but it isn't an ideal tween option.
What's the story?
Hosted by international model Adriana Lima, AMERICAN BEAUTY STAR is a reality competition pitting hair and makeup experts against each other for a $50,000 prize. Each week the beauty experts are given a series of challenges designed to test their ability to put a complete look together by styling a model's wardrobe, makeup, and hair. They are teamed up with experts who can fill in the gaps in their expertise in order to produce a complete fashion package. Throughout it all, they are mentored by world-renowned expert and Beyoncé's personal makeup artist, Sir John. After a photo shoot, the models walk the runway showing off their concept and skills. The judges, Teen Vogue beauty editor Sarah Brown, photographer Russell James, and guest judges like model Christie Brinkley and singer Michelle Williams determine the top looks. Winners of each challenge get immunity for the next round, while the losing stylist and teammate are sent packing. The contestant that makes it to the end of the entire competition gets the cash, an editorial spread in Teen Vogue, and beauty products from the show's sponsors.
Is it any good?
This cutthroat reality competition series makes it clear that the styling industry is creative, competitive, and not always pleasant. It highlights the importance of understanding the craft and articulating a concept through fashion. It also notes the skills of true professionals, whose talents are often compromised by popular Instagram pictures and other amateur looks. Despite Adriana Lima's bland hosting style, the contestants and the styles they create are interesting to watch.
However, the competitive cast, many of whom have achieved their own successes as salon owners, red carpet stylists, bloggers, and social media stars, are as mean as they are talented. While the show justifies much of this by noting how cutthroat the industry is, it doesn't make it very pretty. So, American Beauty Star contains all the arguing, insults, and mean-spirited attitudes reality shows are often known for. If you find this entertaining, the show won't disappoint.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the beauty and styling industry. What kind of skills do you have to have to succeed in it? Is it possible to be an expert in all aspects of it? Or is it a team effort to create fashion looks?
American Beauty Star features contestants that aren't always nice when they're being competitive. Does this behavior represent what the industry is like in real life? Or is it exaggerated for entertainment's sake? Is this behavior ever justified?
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