In case you missed it, the discussion section of yesterday's post about the upcoming episode of Dr. Phil featuring Jael Strauss, the former America's Next Top Model contestant who's hooked on meth, featured a post from CariDee English, winner of the show's 7th cycle. It's an interesting peek into the very specific situation of what it means to be a Tyra Banks-crowned "Top Model" in an actual industry of top models, and what happens when the platform you've been given disappears from under your feet. Highlights are below:
Tyra won't do anything [for Jael]. She provided a wonderful platform for girls to have a chance at their dream, but after there is no "Tyra Mail." I had to guide myself, and even though I won a model competition I still had no idea what the modeling BUSINESS was like. I had no idea what the industry was really like. I was famous, but no one wanted to take my picture. And critics and industry love to give us all shit for not being the next big supermodel. We all have done well, and we all had to do it on our own. I am not complaining, I am simply defending. I love love what I have made for myself since my win, but mentally, it's horrific. And any girl who has been on ANTM can back me up. No one wants to take us serious as models...
...The fashion industry had NO idea how to market us. Our agents, our managers... We became instant celebs, but had the portfolio of a rookie model. Even though we just were named "TOP" our place in line at Fashion World was at the bottom. The industry many times didn't care about our name, but did turn a snobby cheek to the name ANTM.
It's not a curse, not even close. I chose to be on the show, and so did all the girls before me and after me like Jael. I do not regret anything I am so thankful I followed through with my decision to take that track to my dreams.
And on Jael, specifically:
They should have evaluated her a lot more before letting her on the show. All they saw was a personality good for television. Well, this hopefully will save at least her life and someone watching. Everything happens for a reason.
Not to worry, none of us make it out alive.
But here's to making it.