Sunday, March 18, 2012

'big fish, little pond' syndrome.

For those of you who don't know me (or maybe for those who you do, but I've just kept this a secret from you until now), I'm an unapologetic America's Next Top Model fan--a fan in the "oh my God, this is so awful" kind of way. I won't disagree that I used to find it a legitimate competition back in its early days, but in just a few cycles, it became pretty obvious it was just one big lol-fest.

Or at least that's how Andrea and I see it; no offense if you sincerely beg to differ.

Anyways. I could go on and on about the politics of representation in ANTM (and I'm sure I have on some level in the past), but the main point of subjecting you to this topic is that I've just marathoned my way through Cycle 17 that aired this past fall: the All-Stars Cycle.

Which, if you know ANTM and Tyra, you know that "all-stars" is synonymous for "whichever former contestants would agree to come on the show."

It’s one thing for a show like Survivor or The Amazing Race to do an all-stars season, but for Top Model—remember when these girls actually wanted to be models?

ANTM shows you what 'high-
fashion' modeling is.
It’s long been accepted that ANTM isn’t a real modeling competition, but these girls had those dreams once, right? For someone like Cycle 1’s Shannon to go back on ANTM (16 cycles later, nonetheless) has to make you wonder: have you not moved on? Because the majority of these returners have had careers in modeling (not "supermodel status" careers, but they've been signed and things like that).

It’s like people who graduate from college, and then stick around, finding ways to be involved as an alum (whether it's in your respective sorority or fraternity, or if you tried to give campus tours or be orientation leaders) or finding ways to keep writing for that college newspaper you used to write for or performing in those college theatre productions you used to be a part of or drinking regularly at the college pub you used to frequent.

In college, you may have been the big fish in the small pond, but once you’re out in the real world, you can’t keep going back to that pond. You’ve gotta grow and move on to the bigger ocean, and if you can’t be at the top out there, then find a way to make it work. If you keep hanging around your old stomping grounds, people expect you to be the kind of person they remember (the first All-Stars photo shoot was a rehashing of their “ANTM personalities,” and Bre was constantly fighting to prove to the judges she’d grown up and was no longer the crazy teenager they used to know), and where’s the growth in that?

It’s great for girls like Shannon and Bre and Lisa to get the exposure, but at the end of the day…where are they heading?


  1. I didn't know that about you...I'm a big fan, too (which I think surprises people). In fact, I spent a big chunk of the weekend catching up on episodes from the latest season. :)

    1. I've definitely spent the better part of my weekend watching old cycles hahaha :D

  2. way to draw a connection between ANTM and growing up. You inspire me :)