America’s Next Top Model has gotten its fair share of slander over the years as people who were once fans realize the show they watched as a child/teenager wasn’t exactly as great as in some areas as they thought it was. One of the things many have pointed out is just how mean Tyra Banks and other judges were to some contestants, reposting old clips in amazement at how normal a lot of us thought it was over a decade ago.
Now, the creator and new host of Dancing With The Stars is admitting that among other things, the series wasn’t as inclusive as it should have been.
“We were still operating in a world—I was still a model at the time, not a retired model yet, and still operating in this world that had so many rules,” she said on the Tamron Hall Show on Wednesday in response to the criticism she’s faced about the series over the years. “It was this awful push and pull that we all had.”
Banks said there were “different categories of things we messed up” and that Top Model had “a whole bunch of things that we did mess up.” She revealed that she sees the show’s missteps as her attempt to avoid hurting the contestants’ careers.
“I was trying to push boundaries but was also torn to try to make sure that these girls could work, so it was a balance,” She admitted. “It was like, ‘Oh, break beauty barriers,’ but yeah, I can break them all I want on the show, but they’ll graduate from the show, and they won’t work.”
She continued, “I had model agents here saying, ‘These three girls could really, really work, but this must change,’ so there was a whole behind-the-scenes thing happening,” Banks said. “Instead of me saying, ‘You must change this,’ on TV, I think what I should have said is, ‘You’re beautiful.’”
Tyra also said that she had whispering agents in her ear, telling her what the models needed to change about their physical appearances if they wanted to win within the industry. Still, Banks has continued to defended the intentions of the series she created.
“America’s Next Top Model was created—I created it—to introduce diversity and inclusion into a world that was pretty much not representing that or representing it in the most minute ways,” Banks said. “So that was the crux of why I created America’s Next Top Model. It’s why my partner Ken Mok and I, who’s Chinese American, got up every single day, and we made so many inroads.”