“America’s Next Top” TV column

Beth Carpenter

Let’s clear the air about something. I think it’s time to point out that we’ve been worshipping the wrong celebrity. It is not Oprah Winfrey who deserves our undying devotion and endless praise; instead, it is Tyra Banks.
Whether she is busy creating new vocabulary for us – “smize,” because who has the time to say “smiling with your eyes”? – or inventing a new system of measurement – “Girl, you look 5’13”!” – Tyra is dedicated to helping girls all across the country achieve their dreams of being models. And if they do not eventually become models, the girls at least get an opportunity to receive their 15 minutes of fame from the one-and-only Tyra Banks. And what dream is bigger than that?
Tyra sees the potential in everyone and encourages everyone to reach for the stars. The latest cycle of “America’s Next Top Model” especially demonstrates this. Too long have we had groups of tall girls who could actually walk the runways in real fashion shows. Too long have we been forced to watch a competition in which some of the contestants actually stand a chance of making it in the fashion industry. That stops now.
This cycle is the cycle of the short girl. No one over 5 feet 6 inches tall was allowed to enter. Tyra takes every opportunity to point out the girls’ insignificant height and remind them that their shortness is a monstrously large flaw that they must overcome so that they may be successful models.
Whether it’s having them walk next to girls who are 5 foot 10 inches tall or making photo shoots all about elongation, Tyra is dedicated to reminding these short girls that they are itty-bitty. Nevertheless, these tiny, tiny women, so short they must require booster seats in restaurants and phone books so their feet can reach the gas pedal, are being allowed the opportunity to model. This is all thanks to one Tyra Banks, proving that dreams do come true, one short-statured girl at a time.
To be honest, this cycle of “America’s Next Top Model” is one of my favorites so far – and that’s saying something, because I’ve seen every episode of every cycle at least three times. This is not because there is any particular talent in the bunch, but because Tyra has finally let go of whatever tiny grasp of reality she still had, and that fact makes for excellent television.
Whether it’s bundling herself in a scarf and pretending to be a present for the would-be models or creating a superhero alter-ego for herself, she has indeed decided that there are no barriers between what goes through her mind and what she shares with the world.
So, if you are not already watching “America’s Next Top Model,” you should start. And if you think you won’t be able to understand what’s happening, the only thing you need to know is that the girls are short, and then you’ll be caught up completely.
So in conclusion, reach for the stars, but if you are too lazy, watch “America’s Next Top Model” and learn from the best, Tyra Banks.