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Tyra Banks Reveals The Mistakes She Believes America’s Next Top Model Made

America's Next Top Model Tyra Banks VH1
(Image credit: VH1)

It has been 17 years since America’s Next Top Model debuted back in 2003. Tyra Banks created the show and acted as the host and head judge for 23 of its 24 and counting seasons. After taking a break from hosting the show, she returned for Season 24. While the competition series has amassed a legacy, Banks has revealed the mistakes she believes America’s Next Top Model made.

America’s Next Top Model gave young women the chance to become a supermodel. Banks was a guest on former Today host Tamron Hall’s new talk show. The new Dancing with the Stars host explained that the modeling world 20 years ago lacked diversity and inclusion, and the show helped make many inroads. At the same, Tyra Banks was still an active supermodel with everything that went with it, including many rules. Banks continued, telling The Tamron Hall Show:

But at the same time, we were still operating in a world, I was still a model at the time. Not a retired model yet. And still operating in this world that had so many rules. I was trying to push boundaries but was also torn to make sure that these girls could work. It was a balance. It was like, ‘Oh, break beauty barriers!’ Yeah, I can break them all I want on the show. They’ll graduate from the show and they won’t work. So it was this awful push and pull that we all had. And there’s different categories of things. Because we messed up and did a whole bunch of things. We did mess up.

Tyra Banks acknowledges there were a lot of missteps during the early days of America’s Next Top Model. However, she intended to make sure that the young women featured on the show would have careers afterward in the industry. One thing that Banks did not mention regretting is the infamous moment she shouted at contestant Tiffany Richardson.

Still, Tyra Banks is not holding back in acknowledging America’s Next Top Model’s other issues. One of those matters was how the show urged participants to alter their appearance. Banks now says that she would not have done that if she could do it all over. Sharing what she believes she should have said instead, Banks continued:

I wouldn’t say that it’s necessarily a regret. I think it was just wrong. So maybe even stronger than regret. There’s many things. A lot of it is telling somebody that they needed to change something, because I had model agents here saying ‘These three girls could really, really work, but this must change.’ So there was a whole behind-the-scenes thing happening. But instead of me saying ‘You must change this!’ on TV, I think what I should have said is ‘You’re beautiful because I personally, me, the person that is championing beauty inclusivity sees the beauty in the difference.’ I talk about it all the time. Agent is doing this to me, I should have just said ‘You handle that’ off-screen. If she needs to fix the teeth, fix the this, fix the hair, fix the whatever it is, you guys can do that after she wins.

America’s Next Top Model has had multiple lives, moving from its original UPN home onto The CW during the networks’ merger. From there, the show ended after 22 seasons, only to later be revived by VH1. Season 23 and Season 24 both aired on the cabler. There were hosting changes with Rita Ora hosting it in Season 23 before Tyra Banks returned for its twenty-fourth and latest season. Banks has remained busy both on and off her signature show.

Now Tyra Banks is busy with Dancing with the Stars. If America’s Next Top Model ever returns for another cycle, Banks could continue to build in the areas she believes the show made mistakes. Until then, you can watch Banks hosting new episodes of Dancing with the Stars when they air Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. In the meantime, check out what other shows are waltzing onto this fall’s schedule.

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.