The first I heard about the upcoming All-Star Cycle of America’s Next Top Model was when I received a phone call from producers, throwing around ideas and asking me if I would participate in a show like that. Although I’d love to make an appearance on Top Model as a guest or judge, the thought of going through all the reality torture that I experienced in 2008 kept me from wanting to participate. Knowing that I’m the only plus-sized winner of the series, I think going on the show could only hurt my career, since my chances of winning would be, statistically, about one in a billion. As it stands now: I have my own jewelry and candle company; I’m a successful model signed with Wilhelmina; and I’m a spokesmodel for the National Eating Disorders Association. If I’m going to quit all of those jobs for several months, there’d better be a big incentive! I told producers that I wouldn’t be able to participate in another competition, but as soon as I hung up the phone, I started to get excited. This All-Stars season, I thought, would be the most entertaining to date — and my hopes were confirmed when I read the official cast announcement!
As I read down the line of cast members, from Cycle 1’s Shannon (how old is she now?) to my personal favorite, Dominique from Cycle 10, my anticipation grew. Honestly, I don’t care if the girls take one picture this season — I just want to watch them interact with each other! The majority of the girls selected for All-Stars are the craziest castmates in ANTM history. Admittedly, there are a handful of sweet girls like Isis (now post-op) that I will be pulling for. But my biggest disappointment is that Toccara isn’t on this season. She’s been my favorite plus-size contestant, and I really think that she had a chance to win if she could just keep her emotions in check. Even without her, I’m shocked that no plus girls are competing. It’s important for fans to see women who are average-sized on the show, so we don’t forget that size 2 is not the norm.
My biggest question right now is about the prizes for this cycle. If Lisa, the diaper-wearing rehab-hopping model from Cycle 5, wins, will she be in the pages of Italian Vogue? It doesn’t seem fair, because we already know that she’s nuts — as do all potential clients. My only hope is that there will be some wrench in the game. We can’t expect all of these girls to be the same as they were on their cycle, as much as 8 years ago. People change, and maybe the party girl will have finally pulled her act together. I worked with one castmate, Bre, on several episodes of The Tyra Show. I was expecting her to be mean and irrational, but she was the sweetest, most down-to-earth girl, and she’s been quite successful. I don’t think she’ll be pouring out anyone’s Red Bull this time around.
The past six cycles have been entertaining, but I do have to admit that they’ve lost the luster of originality. There are only so many fears that can be used in a photo shoot: Cycle 16’s bees just couldn’t compete with Cycle 3’s tarantulas, and you can only dangle models from so many places. I watch ANTM because every shoot is so interesting and fresh. Without the originality, it just doesn’t satisfy. I hope that Tyra uses this diva-filled season to brainstorm some new and exciting shoots that will keep us viewers on the edge of our seats. Knowing the supermodel mogul herself, I have faith that she’s going to pull it together — she always does!
In addition to her thriving modeling career, Whitney also designs and sells candles and jewelry on her website ShopSupermodel.com, where a percentage of the proceeds go to the National Eating Disorder Association. You can also follow her on Twitter @WhitneyANTM.