Inside the Sad, Sad World of America’s Next Top Model Auditions

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Photo: Getty Images

Good news! No blood was drawn at America's Next Top Model's second New York audition on Saturday. If only we could say the same thing about the fragile emotional state of wannabe contestants. The last time Tyra Banks tried to hold auditions for the thirteenth season of the show, those in line freaked out at the sight of a smoking car and trampled each other. On Saturday, police arranged barricades and the line was peaceful. The New York Times reports that about 1,200 women tried out. And by try out, we mean stood in line for hours only to get rejected within seconds of entering the audition room and go home crying. They included the five seven 27-year-old Jenny Whoa who said she was "shellshocked." And 25-year-old Mecca Aaron, who showed up even though she is six three and the asinine height requirement for the season is five seven and under. This was the fourth time she tried out for the show. Another girl even flew in from California.

Making this all much, much sadder, the Daily News reports that these castings are just for show, and the actual contestants are preselected in secret casting sessions. Upon our stars. Contestants are preselected to fit whatever the producers want for the season? And people who get trampled trying to get on the show after waiting on line for hours have no shot? They don't say. Producers reportedly secretly scout for contestants on My Space and the street. Remember aspiring model Tatiana Stewart, whom The Wall Street Journal profiled a while back? She was scouted on the street by ANTM casting agents and auditioned for the show that day.

So Tyra Banks has somehow sold the dream that you can be anything you want to be — even if you want to be a model, weren't born looking like one, and there's nothing you can do about that. Yet she rejects thousands who believe her — making them feel terrible about themselves — while she plucks girls who actually have a shot at making it from the street like most model scouts. And what's worse, she doesn't even go to the auditions to spout off about girl power. We wish we could suggest that meant she has realized she's a walking contradiction, but she's just too, too dense.

‘Top Model’ Casting Goes Smoothly, but Isn’t Free of Tears [NYT]
New York 'Top Model' tryouts just a pose? [NYDN]
Earlier: Shorties Gone Wild at the ANTM Auditions