Tyra Banks on America’s Next Top Model’s legacy – and future?

6 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

As the first and only Deaf contestant to appear in the 13 years of America’s Next Top Model, he has also provided an inspiring success story for all those watching, and shed light on some of the social struggles that come with being Deaf; for example, when Devin took his phone away to take selfies without a thought that it was Nyle’s primary form of communication. 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. But with the exception of finding out who is the 22nd and final Top Model, the finale was pretty tame.To begin the episode, we get a recap of why the 4 final models — Lacey, Mikey, Mamé, and Nyle — each deserve to win.

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. 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. 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.

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 . 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. 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. 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. 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.

Her elimination was supposed to be a devastating moment in which she realized how much potential she’d squandered, but instead, she seemed to take it in stride. Banks, who was counting on a teachable moment about wasting opportunities, couldn’t take it — or at least saw a chance to take back her control of the Top Model narrative. 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.

But even though it was a bit frayed around the edges, it became one of the more fascinating self-contained reality experiments to come out of that frantic aughts era. 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. Yu Tsai is also impressed by Nyle’s work ethic, and emphasizes that he has overcome many challenges to get great photos.And in the end, Nyle is named Top Model.While Mamé is crying and pulling off her fake eyelashes backstage, her mom gives her a healthy dose of reality, saying, “It’s not the end of the world.”Thanks for giving us perspective, Mame’s mom.

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. 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. But many people were offended that Banks boiled down ethnicity and race into generalizations about skin color, hair, and stereotypes regarding someone’s personality (Asian women are quiet, Italian women are loud, Latinas are fiery, etc.). [If anyone was offended], I apologize because that was not my intent… It’s my number one passion in my life to stretch the definition of beauty.

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). But there is hardly a better example of how draining it can be to appear on a reality competition show — where every second of the day is about playing to the cameras — than a group of exhausted wannabe models pouring out each other’s energy drinks over granola.

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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