Like her or loathe her, you can’t deny that Tyra Banks has been pretty instrumental in changing our perception of the modern day model. Before Ms Banks unleashed her ANTM franchise across the globe, many of us perceived models as nothing more than vapid clothes horses whose generous supply of good looks was levelled out by lack of intelligence, and a personality deficit. But as dramatic and OTT Tyra has proven to be over the years, she’s also one smart cookie. America’s Next Top Model is the most popular fashion themed reality show, which is currently shown in over 120 countries and has been adapted nationally in numerous countries including Romania, Russia, Peru and France.
As we all know, the shelf life of a model isn’t particularly long. Couple this with the unpredictable nature of the business, and I can fully understand a model’s need to position themselves as a brand with several strings to his or her bow. Enter three Black British models at different stages of their career who are keen to prove that they are MTJM – More Than Just Models.
3. THE NEWBIE: Leomie Anderson!
This post was actually inspired by 19-year-old model, Leomie Anderson. I first became aware of Leomie when she appeared on the cult reality TV show, The Model Agency. She struck me as bubbly, personable and keen to pursue her studies and not allow the allure of the industry to detract her from her path. I follow Leomie on Twitter where she recently announced that she had launched a blog called Cracked China Cup. As someone who has always been intrigued by the fashion and modelling industry – I love it. The model’s virtual space includes a backstage view into her world and consists of vlogs, hair and beauty regimes, celebrity interviews and her fashion inspirations. I particularly liked her post Top Ten Modelling Myths where she dispels some of the previously mentioned pre-conceived ideas that many have of models. Leomie’s brand is beauty, personality and brains, and I fully support that.
2. FASHION’S IT GIRL: Jourdan Dunn
Now this one took me by surprise – who knew Jourdan Dunn could cook? The west-Londoner recently posted a clip from her new cookery show, named Well Dunn With Jourdan Dunn (I’m still trying to figure out whether this title is naff or genius). The web series is part of Jay Z’s Life & Times channel and has rather a different take on the traditional cookery shows, mainly due to Jourdan’s infectious cheeky charm peppered with London lingo . I also like the fact that she makes easy, practical dishes that are perfect for a busy mama like me. Check out the latest episode where the model cooks up baked sea bass with a spicy tomato sauce. Cooking made easy for fashion conscious around the way girls? Me likey.
1. THE ICON: Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell is set to launch a new reality TV show next month on US channel, Oxygen TV. The show, fronted by the supermodel, will follow emerging models through various challenges on photo shoots, commercials and runway shows. Naomi will be joined by Karolina Kurkova and Coco Rocha on the judging panel and the show will be hosted by Nigel Barker. Sound familiar? Um, hell yeah. When I read the blurb for this TV show I really struggled to understand its USP. But after watching the trailer, I kinda get it. Naomi seems to be really playing up to her Cruella De Vil image. From the not so subtle shade thrown at the judges and contestants, the narrowing of the eyes, the dramatic heel spin followed by her trademark walk. I guess she’s now at the stage of her career where she knows she will probably never be able to change the public’s perception of her, so why not embrace it? Judging by the comments on various other blogs and sites (“Yo, that’s my bitch”, “you go gurrrl”) she’ll certainly have plenty of supporters. While I’ll definitely be tuning in for the amateur dramatics, I think Tyra’s reality throne will remain intact.