What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that despite talk of modeling "talent," this is a show in which women are judged ultimately on their appearance. Contestants are often shown making disparaging comments about one another. There has been a same-sex kiss between two contestants, and a girl has cheated on her boyfriend. Product placement and tie-ins figure prominently; Cover Girl (a sponsor of the show) is referenced regularly. Although host Tyra Banks stresses that the most beautiful contestant won't necessarily win, the women are still judged on their looks, how well they photograph, and their ability to communicate personality.
What's the story?
AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL sends 13 women from around the United States down the runway in the hopes of being crowned America's Next Top Model and winning lucrative modeling and cosmetics contracts and a magazine fashion spread. Each week, another model hopeful is eliminated in a competition. Judges -- including hostess Tyra Banks and a revolving panel that includes fashion/modeling icons like Twiggy, J. Alexander, Nigel Barker, and Jay Manuel -- rate the contestants on runway ability and appearance in photographs. Between being photographed and walking the runway, the contestants make friends and enemies with one another, adding to the show's drama.
Is it any good?
The competition aspect of America's Next Top Model is entertaining, and viewers are likely to find some of the characters interesting and engaging. Contestants come from a variety of ethnic groups and socioeconomic backgrounds, and several talk about seeing modeling as a way to overcome their difficult circumstances. This nod to diversity is definitely a step forward and has the potential of creating talking points for parents and teens -- highlighting the very different and unique faces of beauty.
But parents can expect some strong language during fights, as well as some less-than-positive images of women (cattiness, value based on physical appearance) and problematic messages about women and their bodies. But for mature teens, it's a peek into the fashion world and an absolute guilty pleasure.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how important beauty is to a person's success. What messages does the show send about body image? Do shows like this make girls feel bad about themselves?
What role do makeup, lighting, airbrushing, etc. play in creating the images that teens see in magazines?
How real is the drama portrayed on this show? Can you tell how producers have heightened tensions or exaggerated situations through careful editing?