Whitney Thompson, Cycle 10 winner of America's Next Top Model (the first plus-size one ever!) and a model for Wilhelmina, shares advice for aspiring models who want to audition for ANTM.
There's one thing every model wannabe needs to know about getting on America's Next Top Model — there's no secret formula. Girls have been trying to crack the code for years and if you are planning on auditioning then you need to realize that there is nothing you can do to guarantee you'll get selected to be on the show. But while I can't read Tyra’s mind and figure out exactly what she's looking for in a given cycle, I can offer you advice from the perspective of someone who was once standing in your shoes, terrified and hopeful for a chance to make it.
Every cycle seems to have a cast of characters. There’s the southern bumpkin, the hipster, the crazy bitch, etc. These characters make the show interesting and relatable, but you must realize that they develop naturally during the filming of the show. No girl walks into her first audition, acts like a crazy bitch, and gets called back. Tyra doesn’t cast that way. The show would be fake if she did and I promise you that there is no scripting of fake-ness (other than Mr, Jays silver hair) going on off camera. Everything that you see is real. That being said, the most important part of the audition is to be yourself. Why do you root for girls? Because they are real. You relate to them, understand their struggles, feel their pain. By being yourself, you will attract attention.
Also, you need to have a purpose. What sets you apart from every other girl in the world? Thousands of girls audition every cycle. Why are you any different from them? It isn’t about looks. Being pretty is the easy part, but what makes you special? Only you can answer that.
The Top Model staff will ask you to tell them why you are there and I sincerely hope that your answer is not, “Because I really, really want to be a model and I’m tall and people always told me I was pretty." We know all that, honey. Tell them something that isn’t obvious. Think about it for a long time. Write down supporting facts, have a good story to back up your specialness. You can not be too prepared when it comes to selling yourself. Just make sure whatever you say is genuine.
By now you’ve noticed that lots of girls on the show have “sob stories." We all deal with hardships, some more than others, and you have every right to allow that to motivate you, but don’t let it be more interesting than you are. I probably saw a hundred girls cry at my first audition in Orlando because they had been sexually abused, had a family member die, or were struggling with something else, and that is a powerful thing, but do you want Tyra to remember you for your problems alone? Feel free to share your personal story — you will get support from it — but don’t let it be the only thing you have that makes you stand out. What else is going on in your life? Do your problems motivate you to fight harder or help you better understand other people’s struggles? Try to find a positive side.
Remember, beauty resonates from the inside out and you need to find a way to show your inner beauty as well as your outer. I know that my confidence is the only reason I got cast on ANTM and likely played a big part of why I won. I was the only plus-size girl at the audition who was proud of her hips instead of being ashamed. And if you don’t feel confident then you need to learn how to fake it. Modeling is not easy and you need to keep your chin up through thick and thin. Above all, you must learn to love yourself because others will be able to see it and no one can take that away from you.
Break a leg (or stiletto)!
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