Monday, March 16, 2009

America's Next Top Model?

My life with fashion models has always been bittersweet. Usually, I love working with women. I have found them nurturing, incredibly forthcoming, hardworking, intelligent, and easy to talk to. But with models I have noticed that the dynamic sometimes transforms into something weird and unfortunate. My experience has varied from the sublime (I can call one model in particular a very dear friend) to the nightmarish (the kind who have given me diva 'tude or not shown up to photo shoots). Anyone who has watched "America's Next Top Model" knows that it takes more than beauty to become the next Kate Moss. You have got to connect both in front of the lens and on the runway. And models are subjected to scrutiny (nose too wide, hips too narrow, lips too thin) that us mere mortals rarely have to suffer through. So it begs the question, "Why do so many young women foster dreams of becoming supermodels of the world?" Does it validate their existence to know that they are considered beautiful? Does the lifestyle seem uber glamorous? Maybe most do not understand that models suffer from low self-esteem because their physical shortcomings are constantly underscored by industry monsters? Or perhaps they have not realized that models are often treated as if they have no brain capacity? And then there is the thing about the level of success - most women do not reach supermodel status so there is a constant struggle to make ends meet.

This weekend past thousands of women lined up for the New York audition of Tyra Banks' next cycle of America's Next Top Model after Ms. Tyra herself announced that the producers would only be accepting applications for hopefuls who are 5'7" and under. Chaos ensued, several were stampeded, and dreams were crushed. Now don't get me wrong, I am the last one who wants to quash anybody's dreams. I'm just sayin'! Beautiful young women should really consider their options before they leap into such a ruthless world populated by sharks. Know that you are fabulously beautiful in your own unique way and work with people who support that truth.

Peace & Fashion!


  1. Very true, Divo. Many women (young women at that)yearn to have that supermodel lifestyle without really knowing what it entails. Unfortunately they are bombarded with images of what beauty and success should look like and strive to achieve the near impossible. We need more role models like First Lady Obama who are not models or actresses, but exemplify fabulousity to help young women realize their full potentials. If that potential is to be the next Beverly Peele, Iman or Cindy (yup i kicked it old school), then so be it!

  2. also the reality is that what appears as "beautiful" on camera may not appear so in real life.

    someone who is GORGEOUS in person may not be photogenic and vice versa.

    and the real truth is - when we love someone, they are beautiful!

    (bisous from Paris!)

  3. Black Fashion Dude - You really are fabulous! I so enjoy reading each installment of your fashion blog. I especially like "Step by Step" and not just because you mention our fantastic friendship, but I believe in your design trek, and the power of words and thoughts to get you where you eventually want to be...and as for those who are not gracious along your climb, well that makes the pinnacle all the more sweet and rewarding. I'll be right there applauding along with all your other fashion fans wearing my fancy red SK Wilbur frock!