ANTM judges on how consumerism is changing beauty standards
Long are the days when beauty was solely defined by the measuring tape, height, skin color, body shape or anything that just comes with a simple tag of physicality. As our culture finally decides to move away from the age of bigoted thinking and progresses to the new era of self-proclaimed Instagram models and photographers, our beauty standards are changing immensely -- and we better keep up if we want to stay on top!
Along with the stir of much needed positive self-image, Tyra Banks is now using the contestants of the current season of "America's Next Top Model" as a vessel to communicate to millions of girls around the world that they are in fact beautiful. The show has undeniably impacted beauty standards, but with it so are the millions of viewers who are now normalizing any beauty taboo with the help of social media. This season has made one thing clear -- that capitalizing on looks alone is not enough to make it into the new world of modeling, where branding is now dictating who makes it to the big screen and who doesn't. Tyra Banks, Ashley Graham and Drew Elliot stopped by BUILD Series NYC to chat about all the permutation taking place in season 24.
For the very first time in "ANTM" history, that small insignificant app you may have heard of called Instagram, which you're probably also using every second of your waking life in order to feed our full-blown addiction for instant gratification, has played a huge role on who gets cast in the contest this season. The judges discussed not only how the number of social media followers plays a huge role in their future overall success in the industry, but also how it has proven to be a great source of putting aspiring models on the map without them ever having to reach out to a single agency.
With that, Instagram has also informally granted its users with another influence many may still be unaware of, in which the viewers hold a complete power of creativity. Yes, we are the ones who empower our favorite photogenic online personalities and influence their participation on TV screens, where the creative heads and fashion editors can no longer ignore on who we want to see on the magazine covers and what beauty trends we find appealing.
"People are getting jobs based on their social numbers and feeds, so in the magazine publishing and entertainment business, we are looking to the internet to help tell us what is cool and what is popular and then turn that into very vibrant fantasy," Elliot explained.
Graham has been a driving force behind the recent wave of denormalizing beauty standards and elevating self-image in recent years. She has not only paved the way for plus-size models, but has also redirected the industry away from the era of dehumanization and self-starvation. She has been an incredible example to millions of girls who have questioned their beauty and, as a result, for the first time in the history of "America's Next Top Model," there are now four plus-size models that are a living proof of how one's figure has really nothing to do with the talent they possess.
Graham mentors women and girls, of all ages, about how they need to be comfortable in their own skin. She empowers curvy women to live with confidence and step forward into the fashion industry if they wish to, without the fear of judgment or rejection.
"My misconception about the fashion industry before I entered it was that for curvy girls, there were no clothes made for us," she said. "High end, low end, anything, anything that I wanted to get that was cute! And as the fashion industry grew and as more curvy models got to be known, of course, designers started coming out like oh I go to a size 24 or oh I go up to a size 28, and you are like what? I can get a Prada skirt in size 24?"
In the end, the most obvious change we must address is how social media has penetrated the fashion industry and made it into a branding competition, while normalizing taboo beauty standards, which were long overdue. And, although it may not have a direct impact on the show's outcome, it has most definitely shaken up an industry where the audience tells the creative heads and the fashion editors about who they want to see on the magazine covers, rewarding and celebrating relatable on-screen personalities with realistic body types.
Don't forget to catch "ANTM" on Tuesday's at 8 p.m. on VH1.