Britain’s Missing Top Model is a UK competition between disabled models

Last Tuesday, the BBC debuted Britain’s Missing Top Model, a reality competition that is like Top Model, except it features disabled people. The eight models include a deaf TV interpreter, a deaf make-up artist, a paraplegic art student, an administrator with a prosthetic leg, and others.

Time reports that last Tuesday’s debut “drew half a million viewers in the U.K., driving BBC Three ratings up by 25% for the 9 p.m. time slot.” That popularity may or may not translate to an actual prize. As the magazine notes, “Noticeably missing from the winner’s prize package is a guaranteed contract from a top modeling agency, as offered on the CW’s America’s Next Top Model, the most popular TV modeling competition in the world; instead, London-based Take 2 Model Management has agreed to ‘consider’ representing the winner.”

Judge Marie O’Riordan told the magazine, “Disabled girls are sick of being excluded from society. This show tries to shake the industry up a bit.” But she also said, “I don’t think there’s suddenly going to be a flood of disabled girls modeling.”

The first episode is on YouTube, at least for now; here’s the first segment:

Britain’s Missing Top Model [BBC]
Disabled Models: A UK Reality TV Hit [Time]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.