Here’s a great video that was recommended to me re Australia’s Next Top Model’s latest “scandal’. Nicely led discussion by Kerri-Anne Kennerley who also recognises ANTM shows a very realistic (and sometimes shocking) view of the fashion industry. It’s a shame Sarah Murdoch – who I think genuinely cares about body image issues – has now come under fire as a presenter of the show.
I know from my own experience that the girl in the show was treated mildly in comparison to what she would have experienced in the “real world” of fashion. When I started modelling as a teenager, I was about the same weight and ten centimetres taller and was told in no uncertain terms to lose weight. The first agency I went into told me to lose ten kilos before even coming back. Everyone thought it was normal to starve yourself to be a size 6, at least we now have plus sizes in the media and a size ten can win Australia’s Next Top Model.
And yet, of course it would be great to see an greater diversity of shapes and sizes and looks in the media. We’re working towards it, in my opinion. Australia’s Next Top Model to me is more like a tongue-in-cheek view of the industry – but I do understand that it might influence young girls in a bad way. Thankfully, it also shows that modeling isn’t all that glamourous, that it can be cut throat, demeaning and just utterly wrong.
Rather than having a go at Sarah over the episode, let’s be thankful she is the presenter now and the girls have a better role model than Jodhi Meares. (No need to elaborate, right?) I’ve only met Sarah on set once and had a rather brief chat about modeling and body image but I do think she genuinely cares. I think positive changes in the industry are afoot. Let’s keep working towards it together. Maybe we don’t have to change ANTM but just offer other, better shows, magazines, covers and ad campaigns to young girls? I’d like to think so. Then, ANTM would just be a harmlessly entertaining show and one of many options on the TV program.