The Internet was aghast when a commercial for the next high-fashion season of America's Next Top Model surfaced with Tyra Banks saying she liked a girl who she thought had "the smallest waist in the world." Now that the pro-anorexia allegations have flown, Tyra has issued a statement. And we're all wrong, of course — this isn't about the six-foot-two-inch contestant, Ann. This is about Tyra and her struggles and her fights and her issues.
In an effort to create a fun and entertaining sneak peak of the upcoming cycle, America's Next Top Model released a trailer that was edited in way that misconstrued our overarching message. As a leader in celebrating and promoting healthy body image, I must admit that I regrettably didn't see this clip before it was released to the public, (with multiple Top Model departments, it's just impossible to review everything) but on behalf of the Top Model team, these were not the intentions, and we truly apologize for any confusion, anger or disappointment it may have caused.
The passionate response the trailer has evoked proves that the message to promote and celebrate all different -- healthy and natural -- body types has resonated with our viewers and I'm so proud of every one of you who voiced your opinion and participated in this conversation. I have experienced body image scrutiny from one extreme to the next -- as an awkward, extremely thin pre-teen who couldn't gain weight no matter what I did, to later being slammed by the media for my fuller, curvier frame.
Driven by these personal experiences I am committed to expanding the definition of beauty which includes ALL shapes, sizes and proportions, from skinny to curvy and everything in between. It's about women telling the world to KISS their -- skinny, wide, droopy, flat, cellulite-covered or FAT -- you know what!
Through Top Model and my other platforms, I am able to connect with women directly. During this season of Top Model, you will see that Ann (the woman featured in the trailer) provided another opportunity for me to support a young woman struggling with her own body image issues (she's 6'2''; and is the receiver of countless stares and ridicule). Helping young ladies, like Ann and countless others that have confided in me, furthers and supports my core mission.
Tyra, who herself has lost much of whatever kind of "you know what" she used to have, has a clever five-step method of dealing with backlash here:
2. Deny wrongdoing.
3. Praise the creators of the unrest for embracing the good work of the accused (Tyra).
4. Shift the focus to the struggles and awkwardness of the young woman in question (Ann).
5. Bring the focus back to the accused, where Tyra seems to feel it rightfully belongs, thereby deflecting the focus from the backlash.
At least the world can count on Tyra not to cancel her projects when the Internet makes a negative fuss over them. But she must know in her heart of hearts that there are people out there, like us, who will be watching for André Leon Talley, and for him alone.
Tyra Banks Responds To 'Top Model' Smallest Waist Video, Is Proud Of Those Who Spoke Out [HuffPo]