After more than 20 seasons, America's Next Top Model has become a hallmark of reality TV shows. The show's creator and fashion icon Tyra Banks has been celebrated for helping build the careers and brands of women of color and other minorities in her career's second act.
In a Tuesday Twitter thread, Twitter user Aisha Oladapo noted a particular scene in which Banks advises season six contestant Danielle Evans to have the gap in her front teeth closed because it wasn't “marketable.”
Why was this allowed to air wtf Tyra banks is going to straight hell pic.twitter.com/xtiWl3srKJ
— Aisha Oladapo (@OladapoAisha) May 5, 2020
The tweet went viral and prompted commentary from other users who, in hindsight, found some of Banks' guidance on the show to be problematic.
Years later, in 2010, the show had cycle 15 contestant Chelsey Hersley get her gap professionally widened.
while danielle was made to feel ugly for her gap, 6/7 cycles laters tyra widened a white contestant’s gap because of how high fashion, unique and captivating it would be.
‘not marketable’ is tyra speak for hating dark skin girls. https://t.co/2ldlJChv7i
— disaster euphoria (@glitterdaiquiri) May 5, 2020
"There was this girl that Tyra [Banks] convinced that her gap was ugly, and she needed to remove it. She didn't give her braces or Invisalign," Woods said. "She f**king removed every single one of her top row of teeth and put them closer together. Imagine being a kid watching that. I was like, modeling is the last thing I ever want to do. I was showing my grandma like, 'Look what they're doing out here to girls!'"
Someone also pointed out the time Banks told season three finalist Yaya DaCosta that her look was "too natural."
“This [photo] is amazing, but what’s not amazing is your appearance," Banks said as she and the judges analyzed one of DaCosta's photos. "Think a little more glamour as opposed to natural."
Remember when Tyra told Yaya to stop being Afrosantric pic.twitter.com/goMSB7ZspO
— Mr_Songo???????? (@LwaziBheka4) May 5, 2020
This was straight up anti-black lol also Yaya was ahead of the curve RE: the yeehaw agenda and if Tyra had an iota of taste or style she would see that the mixture of afrocentricity and cowboy aesthetics was subversive but noo. Tyra has never been high fashion! & that's on Naomi! https://t.co/w8SaXguSrm
— Bolu Babalola (@BeeBabs) May 5, 2020
Another realized just how much clarity hindsight offers and expressed a slight disappointment in her younger self.
As I’m scrolling through my TL w/ all these Tyra clips from her talk show and #ANTM & I wonder how we allow her to be like this lol….Child Protection Services should had been called immediately for ANTM….but yet we sat & watch those poor girls get tortured…good tv though ????
— ⚓ Danté™ (@CG261) May 5, 2020
And who could forget that beard weave on season 21 contestant, Denzel? Less problematic, more odd.
Some of Banks' fans think the show might have lost touch. Relationship and sexuality critic Ella Dawson claimed showrunners reached out to her about an episode centered on STIs but deemed her not "tragic enough."
Here's my weird Tyra story: one of her producers reached out to me about doing an episode on STIs. After talking to me, they decided I wasn't tragic enough.
— ella dawson (@brosandprose) May 5, 2020
Then, there was the tweet that brought down the house.
Growing up is realising that Tyra Banks was the villain and not Naomi
— ella (@EllaDecember) May 5, 2020
But speaking of being out of touch, Banks was criticized in a separate incident earlier this week. In a strange video, delivered in the form of "Tyra Mail" — an ANTM staple in which the show's host would deliver messages to contestants — Banks said the project would have officially launched on May 1 if not for the coronavirus pandemic. As Jezebel noted, the video was a tad tone-deaf given the significantly more pressing occurrences.