THIS Is Why I’ll Be Watching America’s Next Top Model This Cycle

Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty
When Rita Ora was named the new host of America’s Next Top Model, I saw it as a bad omen of what was to come. It’s nothing personal against Ora, per se. Hers is just one of those celebrity names that I hear tossed around despite the fact that I can’t easily name any of her work. I’m actually not sure that I’ve ever even heard one of her songs. But I was wholly sold on tuning in to the revamp of ANTM just to get more of Ashley Graham and her general amazingness. That wasn't a misguided calculation at all, because based on the season opener, the panel of judges are already to most interesting people on the show. Graham is joined by stylist and “image architect” (apparently, that’s a thing) Law Roach, and the chief creative officer of Paper magazine, Drew Elliott. With the show on its 23rd cycle, all of the tricks that ANTM tried to use to get me to rally behind certain contestants felt stale. I’ve heard the stories of adversity that young women are trying to overcome in order to break into the fashion world. None of the personalities were so big that I wanted to be friends with any of them. And if I’m keeping it completely real, this cycle may have just produced the least fashionable bunch of would-be models I’ve ever seen. The first batch of headshots that the girls posed for were pretty enough, and just as photoshopped as previous seasons. But there isn’t any body diversity among the contestants, and none of them have served up anything that would help me remember their names. Maybe this is precisely why Ora and the judges are looking for girls who can be more than a pretty face. When I can easily be entertained on Instagram by Kendall Jenner’s sisters and the knowledge that Joan Smalls licked Beyoncé’s boob, how will these 14 girls keep my attention for an entire season? Now that I’ve found myself completely indifferent about who comes out on top of this competition, I can at least rely on Graham to be beautiful and slay a body-con dress, Elliott to undoubtedly bring one of the contestants to tears, and Roach to be the one who gets me and voices how I feel about the models.

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