By Maria Lianos

I truly hate to admit it but sometimes, I watch ANTM. It’s a guilty pleasure, yes.

But there is so much that is wrong about this show.

First of all, it makes many young girls think that they could model. In reality, only a few can reach supermodel status.

Sad that we’ve put celebrity and fame so high on the status pedestal that many young girls share the ultimate dream of becoming a model rather than wanting to win an Olympic gold, cure cancer or run for office.

Secondly, it makes many young girls think they need to be a size 0. I am aware that there are “plus size” models represented on the show but there are only 1, maybe 2 per cycle and the weight topic always seems to be an issue.

This season in particular, I was actually shocked when Alexandra said she was a plus size but wears a size 10. Am I missing something?

A size 10 is considered to be an average, healthy size! When did a size 10 become plus?  Oh in the modelling world, I see.  Makes complete sense – NOT.

I’m sure that first episode put a new wave of girls into a diet frenzy. I know it personally made me question my own size since I wear between a size 8 and sometimes 10.

When ANTM first started, it was fresh and appealing compared to some of the other reality shows out there. Tyra Banks seemed to be genuine in wanting to make a difference in the fashion industry. Giving ordinary girls the opportunity to be thrown into super-stardom was appealing. She embraced young women of every ethnicity. She put the idea of plus-sized into mainstream.

But, as season (oops) “cycle” after cycle has passed and Tyra is already on her 14th “cycle”, it seems to me that the show has become just as discriminating as typical top-notch modeling agencies. The comments from judges are becoming more brutal and insensitive. Editing of the show may twist reality, perhaps showing some girls in a negative light.

“It’s good TV”. Yes, putting a bunch of young, skinny and potentially hungry girls to live in the same house in a competition is bound to cause drama. And drama is great for ratings.

Andre Leon Talley, former editor-at-large for Vogue magazine, is the newest member on the panel. This eccentric new ‘character’ actually seems the most sympathetic of the judges.

I will say that I’m much more of a fan of Jay Manuel, not just because he’s stylish and gorgeous, but also because we went to high school together. His flare for fashion was clearly evident as he choreographed the schools’ fashion shows.

Back to Tyra – it’s coming to a point where Tyra should think about retiring her fierceness. I personally have seen enough about “smizing”.

Does Tyra think she’s making a difference with ANTM and her talk show? To me, it just seems like she can’t get enough of herself.  I wonder if I’m the only one annoyed by her sing-song dialogue and the bad accents.  She seems to be constantly performing, of being “on” all the time rather than keeping it real.

And now with this size 10 comment, the show is helping to feed more into the serious issue of poor body image and the damaging impact of the “thin” ideal on women in society.

When I first saw model Crystal Renn gracing Elle Canada’s glossy pages, I was pleasantly surprised. I give big props to Elle Canada for doing three shoots with this beautiful “plus-sized” model this past year.

I also am grateful for the Dove real beauty campaign, the Ben Barry Agency as well as End of Fat Talk. Hopefully these efforts will help get us closer to celebrating real beauty.


Maria Lianos is mom to The Boss and The Destroyer and is amotherworld.


Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of, a leading lifestyle blog for women.


  1. Personaly I think Tyra is full of herself a classic narcisitic personality. She exploits the young women… She takes these girls humliate, intimidate, and breaks them in order to be called a winner by her standards. Tyra is infuriating, and needs to get her butt into a school of some sort. She wants to play counselor/psychiatrist with no education, skills, experience and is trying to force the public to view her as geniune and sympathetic. What is this obsession with her refering to herself no matter who is on her panel in ANTM and her talk show ? She is desperately trying to be OPRAH and though she may have money, she will never be respected in the ways Oprah is respected.

    • I too have said the same thing about her wanting to be like Oprah – just ain’t happenin!

  2. I also watch this show and have started to question why… especially since my 5yo had a meltdown when her fave didn’t win, the last “cycle”. I thought… maybe this isn’t as harmless as I thought.

  3. Maria @BOREDmommy Reply

    I just want to know what Tyra is smoking and if she will share it with me.

  4. Consuelo Bernardi Reply

    ANTM is my guilty pleasure…I have never missed an episode….and yes I must admit…it’s getting kinda old.
    Tyra’s over the top acting is BAD, her lame ass attempt at accents makes me want to drink…and yet I cannot stop watching.
    My husband watches occasionally with me…and when he heard Alexandra say she was a size 10 and therefore a ‘plus size model’….he could not believe it…for him she was the healthiest and prettiest one because and I quote…’she looks normal…like how a woman should…with curves.’
    If nothing else when this show does end…I’ll miss Miss J the most…with quotes like “My motto is, walk like it’s for sale and the rent is due tonight.” how could you not?

  5. I agree, Alexandra is sooo beautiful – what a hot body she has! Come on, I’m working hard to look like HER! Plus size MY ASS! She is fabulous. Size 10 is NOT PLUS SIZE… ARGH!!!! I watch this show, too. For fun. It is getting boring and I usually FF to the photo shoot and elimination, b/c really, the rest of it is kind of boring!
    AND OMG – you went to H.S. with Jay? SOO COOL! Did you know I didn’t really know he was gay until like a while ago?

    • Loukia, yes I remember reading your tweets about that and laughed about it!

  6. I watch ANTM (and I don’t know why, either — actually, I like the photo shoots and seeing how they develop into good photos). Like you said, there is so much wrong with the show – from standards of size, to expectations of fame, to the black-face shoots (so wrong).

    I think Tyra is an idiot. However, I don’t think she’s the problem as much as a symptom. I think she thinks she is sympathetic to the girls ’cause she’s been there, when really… she’s been conditioned by the industry since she was just a teen. Maybe she thinks she’s making a difference, but I think she makes so many matters worse than better.

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