"America's Next Top Model" is nothing if not an after-school special — just starring particularly glamorous people. So it's no surprise when the show makes examples of certain contestants.
Last week Emily was lectured for writing what was perceived as a racist comment in her diary. (No one mentioned that it's also wrong to read other people's diaries without their permission.) Tyra Banks said she hoped Emily had learned her lesson and Emily did not make the final cut for Cycle 15.
This week, on the Diane von Furstenberg challenge, the models were supposed to combat bullying. The experience was cathartic for Kayla Ferrel, 19, of Rockford, Illinois, a lesbian who was called "queer" in school, and Ann Ward, 19, of Dallas, Texas, who was called "giant" for being 6' 2".
Much was made of Ann's height and tiniest-waist-in-the-world before Cycle 15 even aired and the resulting bad PR for "Top Model" is interesting in light of what happened last night to Anamaria Mirdita, 19, of Queens, New York.
Earlier in the show, while the girls were getting to know each other, Anamaria — who is 5 feet 10 inches — mentioned she used to be 130 pounds. She is on a calorie-restricted diet and is now around 110 pounds.
Anamaria is happy with her body. She loves looking in the mirror. She wants to get leaner. She thinks she is awesome.
If "Top Model" wanted to dump Anamaria because she's just plain annoying they may have had a point.
But, as The Frisky points out in an astute commentary, these models were cast after runway walks in bikinis in front of the judges. This is not the first time the ANTM team has seen Anamaria's ribcage. And this is only the second episode, just after last week's premiere when the girls made the final cut; even in the real time of the show her body couldn't have changed that much. So why dump her now?
As Amelia McDonell-Parry writes for The Frisky, "I, for one, found the whole thing extremely uncomfortable—should Anamaria have been cast in the first place? Did Tyra and the producers have an obligation to intervene? And ... did they do a disservice to her and the viewers by eliminating her from the competition as soon as they 'realized' her thinness was a problem and that it reflected badly on them?"
It does seem a little disingenuous to make a speech to Anamaria that she should eat an avocado and a piece of bread with butter, then send her on her way — knowing full well she won't do anything of the sort because she loves her body. And why shouldn't she when she was cast on "Top Model" for having the same body, probably over thousands of other girls?
Nigel Barker and the other judges tried to explain their decision by saying someone like Ann is tall and extremely thin, but naturally so. They can tell that Anamaria is not built to be as thin.
Is that supposed to convince a model to eat more? That's the kind of thing that probably makes someone like Anamaria cut back on the little she was already eating.
As Anamaria herself said, if she's ever turned down for a modeling job for being too thin, then she'll think about gaining more weight. That's the only way any model is really going to change her habits and this show encourages that, whether it intends to or not.