Tyra Banks has apologized for a America’s Next Top Model 15 promo that seems to glorify excessive skinniness, although her apology is filled with both qualifiers and self-congratulations.
In the trailer, an auditioning contestant named Ann has a tiny waist, so small that Miss J puts his hands around it. “You have the smallest waist in the world,” Tyra says to her, and later in the 20-second clip says, “there’s something about her that I like.” Jay jokes that Miss Jay will have to eat Tic-Tacs to get that skinny. Basically, the girl’s extreme skinniness comes off as something that’s desirable, likable, and enviable. (Watch the clip below.)
Tyra said in a statement released to People, Tyra, “As a leader in celebrating and promoting healthy body image, I must admit that I regrettably didn’t see this clip before it was released to the public, (with multiple Top Model departments, it’s just impossible to review everything) but on behalf of the Top Model team, these were not the intentions, and we truly apologize for any confusion, anger or disappointment it may have caused.” In a letter to fans posted on her web site, Tyra wrote, in part,
“On behalf of the entire Top Model team, I am truly sorry for the style in which the Top Model promo clip was presented. Like all of my projects, I am extremely involved in ‘America’s Next Top Model’ from casting the final contestants to conceptualizing the episode challenges, but with all the work and details that go into producing a TV show, I can’t be 100 places at once (although I try), but it’s just impossible for me to see everything that’s created before it’s released to all of you! That being said I can assure you — that cut has been removed from the CW airwaves, and the message conveyed in that video was NOT intentional, and is certainly not Top Model- or Tyra-approved. The Top Model team is extremely talented and truly enjoys creating fun, engaging promos and episodes for you. The team really wants to entertain you, while promoting and embracing multiple forms of beauty. Sometimes in the quest to have fun in a limited amount of time, especially in a 20-second promo, our overarching message can be misconstrued, and in this case it most certainly was. … on Sept 15th, week two of the new episodes of Cycle 15, we do a photo shoot that deals with beauty, body image and bullying. This is an issue that I’m passionate about and am so happy we did. The girls really express what they are insecure about in a big way. Many sensitive issues are discussed at the shoot and in the judging room. I’d like to ask you to do something — it would be great if you could show support for them as well as people you know going through similar circumstances.”
Translation: I am responsible for everything except those things that generate controversy, for which I blame my team–and also you because you “misconstrued” our message. Now shut up and watch my show.
Here’s the controversy-generating promo: