Stylista

 
(i)

 

Reality show tells teens that image is everything.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

One of the assistants competing for the prize is noticeably overweight, and her outward confidence about "being different" in the fashion world seems shaky. A few of the other contestants are admirable, but just as many are shallow, catty, and conspiratorial. The show also has no qualms stressing that "first impressions are important" and that fashion magazines like Elle are in the business of making people "want things" like expensive purses, designer shoes, and other of-the-moment trends.

Violence

Unless you consider bad fashion a violent crime, the coast is clear.

Sex

The hopefuls nickname one of their competitors "Boobs" due to her love of cleavage-baring clothing. Her breasts become a running joke.

Language

Mild expletives like "damn" and "crap," plus stronger language like "s--t" and "f--k," which are bleeped.

Consumerism

Specific brands mentioned include both high-end lines like Chanel and budget stores like H&M. Elle magazine is also a prominent -- and obvious -- product tie-in. Contestants are vying for an editorial position at the magazine, and most of the action takes place inside the Elle offices.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some social drinking by legal adults, but it's pretty rare.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the biggest concerns in this reality competition series are an obsessive focus on fashionable brands and an overall message that says style trumps substance. Looks are essentially everything, and the show practically serves as a running commercial for Elle magazine; contestants are competing for a paid position there, and they're also being judged by the magazine's top brass. There's some mild swearing, too, plus occasional social drinking.

What's the story?

With an eye on a paid editorial gig at Elle magazine and a package of other cushy prizes (including a paid lease on a Manhattan apartment and a sizable clothing allowance at H&M), 11 young fashionistas and fashionistos compete for the ultimate title of STYLISTA on this reality show executive produced by Tyra Banks. Standing in as the Miranda Priestly-esque judge (with a nod to The Devil Wears Prada) is Elle Fashion News Director Anne Slowey, who decides who to cut each week with help from Elle creative director Joe Zee.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The show's premise was clearly inspired by Prada (which itself was inspired by Lauren Weisberger's best-selling book). And, much like both the book and movie, Stylista sounds exciting, glamorous, and chic. But after an initial rush of exhilaration, the show reveals itself to be a lot like so much other fashion-centric reality fare, with the same assortment of eccentric "characters" who are trying to make their dreams come true -- and are willing to do just about anything to make them happen. As for how much the show plays up Slowey's persona to make her look like an impossible-to-please ice queen? Well, no one but a real Elle staffer could say for sure.

The most interesting aspect of Stylista is that it offers audiences a look at the business of selling style. To that end, the show doesn't hide the fact that fashion magazines like Elle have considerable influence over the way we dress and, in turn, the things we buy. Quite the opposite: Stylista seems to relish that power with unabashed glee.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the show's opening statement about the influence of fashion magazines like Elle: "They have the power to make you want things like the new 'It' bag, the hottest must-have shoes, or the latest designs off the runway." Do you agree with that assessment? Have you ever thought about print publications having "power" over their readers? And, if they do, is the inverse true as well? Are we, as readers, power-less? What other messages does this show send? How does it make you feel about yourself and your own style?

TV details

Cast:Anne Slowey
Network:CW
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG

This review of Stylista was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byKaty0 March 24, 2009
 

Ridiculous

The drama-seeking obnoxious people are pretty much the only type on this show. Skip it!
Parent of a 6 year old Written byJulie P November 13, 2008
 

I Had Such Hopes for This

Tyra Banks, Inc. couldn't make this one interesting enough. It was a great idea, but pretty much a piece of cr#p. It could be educational to watch with your kids to demonstrate how these magazines try to dictate what we think we need and how detrimental they can be to self esteem and body image. This definitely isn't Top Model or Prada. Sorry Tyra.
Kid, 9 years old February 24, 2010
 

but slob

you are stupitititty off your identity and get a job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lazy but!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Too much violence

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