America’s Next Top Model Final: Part 2 Recap

5 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘America’s Next Top Model': Where Are They Now?.

On Friday, Nyle DiMarco became America’s Last Top Model by winning the 22nd and final cycle of the Tyra Banks-hosted competition series. Models and model wannabes around the country are giving one last Tyra-approved ‘smize,’ one last perfect booty tooch, in honor of America’s Next Top Model’s final strut down the runway Friday night.

After 12 years and 22 seasons (“cycles” to those in the know), the show that brought the elusive modeling industry into living rooms around America is coming to an end, but not without leaving its mark. Now, with the last-ever title of Top Model, DiMarco is “humbled” by a win which he says “proves that Deaf people can do anything and everything.” EW caught up with DiMarco via email fresh off his win to discuss the season, the platform his win provides to the Deaf community, and his plans for the future. While it never enjoyed the monster ratings of a Survivor or an American Idol, the Tyra Banks–helmed reality series was a standard competition show combined with elements of The Real World.

Before the Kardashians ruled the airwaves, before housewives across the U.S. were flipping over tables and competing for the award of who can host the most ridiculously expensive party, supermodel Tyra Banks was Queen Bee of the burgeoning reality TV scene. And at this point, I’ve heard their life stories and seen the same old photos so many times that I feel like I could do their final presentations to Tyra for them. The dark-haired model remained solidly in the middle of the pack until coming out of his shell in the sixth episode of the season, after a challenge that hoisted the contestants in the air to pose as possessed fashionistas.

When the inaugural episode of her new competition show aired in May 2003, it was one of the first of its kind (Survivor and American Idol were two of the rare hits that preceded it). In fact, after 22 “cycles” (the show insists on using this term instead of “seasons”), it’s almost a joke to point out just how few of the show’s winners have gone on to achieve actual modeling fame. DiMarco tells PEOPLE: “Being a Deaf person on a television show alone is pretty groundbreaking, so it felt incredible just to be on the show – but to win it was amazing!” With his piercing blue eyes and sculpted abs, DiMarco performed consistently well throughout the photo shoots, which had him posing with live animals, as a doll and in the dark. “My proudest moment would be the picture of me with the husky,” he says. “It was basically the first time I was clothed for a shoot, and I won the best photo. Along with a handful of handpicked experts and fellow judges, Banks gave the prospective models makeovers (often involving extreme haircuts), taught the girls to walk and pose, and set up competitive photo shoots and runway shows with some of the top industry professionals. “I think that [the show] did [bring] an awareness about the business and it did bring a bit of visibility and a bit of know-how to the amount of work it takes, and that’s pretty valuable,” Jason Valenta, Head of Scouting for Next Model Management, tells The Daily Beast. I don’t know.In case you still don’t know, Lacey used to be fat, Nyle wants to change the world for deaf people, Mikey used to be poor, and Mamé’s parents shipped her off to America.

While his fellow finalists took the top position in the weeks leading up to the finale, the 26-year-old wound up on top when it counted and won the coveted title of the final . Valenta acknowledges that the industry is “quite insular and… in it’s own way exclusive.” The show opened up this world, and helped give interested girls a sneak peak that made modeling seem a bit more accessible. “I can remember vividly the massive increase in blind submissions that would pour into the agency after ANTM became a sensation,” Tiffany Press, an agent at New York Model Management, says via email. Rough lives all around.The Final PresentationsBut now we’re back at Walt Disney Concert Hall for the final runway show, and there’s less than an hour before the show begins.

While he’s by no means the first deaf contestant to compete on a reality series—there have been deaf contestants on Survivor, Chopped, The Amazing Race and Project Runway, and Marlee Matlin came in second on The Celebrity Apprentice—he is the first one to take home the win. The recent rise of social media arguably made the increased accessibility of the industry inevitable; top models like Karlie Kloss, Kendall Jenner, and Gigi Hadid now document every photo shoot, runway strut, and daily happening in their lives as fashion “It” girls. DiMarco also recurred on the latest season of ABC Family’s Switched at Birth as a potential love interest for Vanessa Marano’s Bay. “It was so funny…All of the burly, super macho grips on set were drunk by his beauty.

Crazy stunts included (but were certainly not limited to) making the contestants strut their stuff in dangerously high heels (one girl had to crawl off the runway); staging a runway show on a constantly moving, tilting runway positioned over a pool of water (a spill was inevitable… yet all the judges seemed shocked when it happened); an Indiana Jones-inspired runway that required models to dodge two swinging, heavy pendulums (a truly horrifying scene in which one girl was swept off the runway); and a shoot in which one model face-planted into Plexiglass, all to capture an artfully beautiful photo. Oh, sure, she’d bust out some kooky prank every now and then (her hilarious go-to was convincing contestants she’d just had a heart attack), but for the most part, Banks treated America’s Next Top Model as if the stakes were life or death. In the end, the terrified model in question inevitably sucked it up, took a killer photo, and was told she had learned the lesson of what it takes to be a true professional. Her preferred relationship with the contestants was maternal, in the sense that she tried to mentor and nurture them while simultaneously doling out harsh discipline when they disappointed her.

She injected sporadic doses of Oprah Winfrey’s tearjerking interview style into her talks, the better to convince a contestant that Banks was personally, deeply invested — even if it wasn’t true. All the while, the American version was increasingly losing the “reality” portion of reality TV. “I used to have a joke… ‘ever since ANTM, models believe a supermodel means being able to do your eyeliner on top of an ice capped glacier,’” says Press, who says she was a fan of the show in its early days purely for its entertainment value. “It definitely did not give a realistic idea of the maturation process and development of a model. Mikey wants to go back to Florida so he can “give back to the kids.” Except I think that’s what he said, since he had trouble getting through his presentation without crying.

It’s that Banks’s fury came from Tiffany refusing to play her assigned part in the story. (Also, that Banks really doesn’t know when to quit.) See, Top Model’s editing played into reality show tropes as aggressively and overtly as possible. The most successful past contestants are predominantly known for their work in other industries, like Analeigh Tipton, who took third place in cycle 11, and had a break-out acting role in 2011’s Crazy, Stupid, Love. So the only real advantage ANTM contestants have had is that [they] came prepared with pretty good portfolios from the show to present.” Participation can end up being a little more of a burden than a boon.

If you need to know, you can probably find out on Instagram.The Final Runway ShowThe runway show begins, and for some reason, everyone in the audience is wearing white gloves. Devin, per usual, is over the top, prompting Miss J to ask, “What are they serving backstage?”Nyse can’t feel the beat of the music, so his first walk is a little too fast and his turn is a little abrupt. Courtney is still a disaster on the runway, and walks like a baby deer who’s just been born.The next day, Nyle and Mamé are back at the house, making breakfast for their moms, when the Oppo phone starts ringing. As obvious as the edits became later on, they were even starker in the early going, when Top Model hadn’t yet hammered down its contestant tropes and Banks hadn’t yet determined how harsh she wanted the judging to be.

Just a lot of chunky haute couture ensembles with an urban chic vibe that you would never be permitted to wear to a Target, unless you’re Whitney from Cycle 10 who was so commercial it’s painful. I created Top Model to expand the definition of beauty and to use the modeling industry as that microcosm of beauty worldwide. “I need to show that you don’t have to be like this cookie-cutter thing where it’s like, ‘oh I look so perfect,’ but this beauty that’s interesting. A gap in the teeth, lips that are too big or too small, eyes that are on the side of the head where you look like an antelope and prey in the wild, foreheads that are too big. When the producers successfully created drama with a nude photo shoot, you could see them working out the kinks of exactly how hard they could come down on the contestants, how much they could push them, and how to elicit an entertaining reaction: Looking back at it now, it’s easy to imagine a behind-the-scenes environment not unlike the one we saw on Lifetime’s scripted summer drama UnReal, on which reality TV producers constantly manipulated their subjects’ emotions to reach their desired outcome. Tyra praises Mamé for her walk and even likens the finalist to herself, specifically 2003 Tyra at the Victoria Secret Fashion Show, because unlike us peasants, Tyra remembers every step of every show.

Patterns start coming into focus (the girl who needs more personality, the makeover episode, the dreaded commercial challenge), and you begin picking up on Banks’s favorite themes. This role means a lot to me because there have been so many misconceptions about Deaf people and I’m more than happy to help people understand our culture and change the perspective into a positive one. 2) I partnered up with The ASL (American Sign Language) App. But even more so than that, the show was founded upon this notion that if a young woman works hard and eats and breathes fashion, she can rise up from the ranks and become a real life model. In order for hearing people to become great allies, I believe that they must learn ASL (a little, at least) in order to understand us better. 3) I became a LEAD-K spokesperson. In the case of a Nyle victory, which seemed too predictable to actually happen, I anticipated that Tyra would have spent the entire season practicing for how to announce his win in American Sign Language, but instead, she simply signs “congratulations.” And though it wasn’t an Adrienne Curry or a beloved Danielle Evans who finished on top, it was a new version of the ANTM fairy tale — a deaf model with a six pack and icy blue eyes, impossible to root against.

The LEAD-K (Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids) campaign is a visual civil rights movement that works to end the nationwide epidemic of language deprivation by promoting equality of language of both ASL and English as a basic human right for all Deaf babies, leading to a new generation of Deaf children who are kindergarten-ready. In cycle four, she had contestants assume the qualities of an ethnicity different from their own for a photo shoot inspired by the Got Milk? ad campaign.

Sometimes when you’re watching a reality show, you get so caught up in the minutiae of its rules and drama that you don’t realize it’s making something out of nothing (a.k.a. 80 percent of reality television). Each time the contestants traveled overseas with the show, they were made to do something “cultural.” It was always unclear if any real models had ever done the same things.

Furonda didn’t exactly learn it so much as make it drastically better: Early in every cycle, each wannabe model underwent a Top Model–sanctioned makeover.

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