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HSG
18th February 2007, 15:06
<br>Regular readers of this forum may remember a comment that Tyra Banks made in her recent <i>Larry King</i> interview (discussed <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=893" target="_blank">here</a>), to the effect that the forthcoming cycle of her modelling "reality show," <i>America's Next Top Model,</i> would feature two plus-size contestants.

The network that broadcasts <i>ANTM</i> has now released several promotional videos for Cycle Eight, and a quick screening allows us to preview the more notable of the show's fuller-figured competitors.

The first thing that strikes the viewer about <strong>Diana</strong> is that she definitely exhibits a more appealing look than any other girl who has ever appeared on Tyra's show (although this is a qualified compliment, as <i>ANTM</i> is not always noted for the beauty of its contestants). We might not initially call Diana an embodiment of the timeless ideal, but at least she is likely to show viewers whose definition of "full figured" has been shaped by matronly Hollywood caricatures that plus size equals plus beauty.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/forum/diana05.jpg"></center><p>The second thing that strikes the viewer about Diana is that she isn't even remotely full-figured. Or, to put it another way, she can only be considered "larger" alongside her cadaverous fellow competitors. Diana is plus size the way celebrities like Beyonce are plus size (i.e., not at all). At a towering 6'1, Diana would require the goddesslike proportions of Charlotte Coyle to be genuinely and visibly curvaceous.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/forum/diana03.jpg"></center><p>On the other hand--perhaps paradoxically--we must compliment Diana for stating quite emphatically, in the <i>ANTM</i> "preview" video, that she <i>is</i> a plus size. At least this indicates that she is comfortable with the term--and with the idea. Hopefully, her statements during the program will encourage the general public to associate the concept of "plus size" not with television sitcom characters, but with a voluptuous beauty such as herself.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/forum/diana02.jpg"></center><p>Furthermore, one particular still from <i>ANTM</i>'s exciting jungle-themed preview video gives us at least a measure of hope that Diana's screen time could benefit the cause of size celebration. This is the actually the loveliest bikini image that we have ever seen (mostly because plus-size models seldom shoot in bikinis--and whenever they do, they are invariably photographed in such a way as to eliminate any trace of their curves).

From this lovely still, one notices that Diana, while very thin, does at least possess a soft, feminine figure rather than an androgynously "hard" physique. She even displays a hint of attractive fullness at the waist. To see a natural figure such as this on prime-time television is completely unheard of. Therefore, Diana, slim as she is, might yet challenge perceptions about ideal feminine beauty, among a viewership that has been brainwashed into thinking that protruding ribs and caved-in waists are somehow normal.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/forum/diana01.jpg"></center><p>Interestingly, at 199 lbs, Diana has also been identified as the heaviest competitor ever to participate in <i>ANTM.</i> Regrettably, on someone who is 6'1, 199 lbs. is very little, so her transgressive weight is entirely invisible. Nevertheless, there is something quite subversive and thrilling about the fact that the show's all-time heaviest competitor is also by far its most beautiful one.

In any other time, the association of these two factors--highest weight and greatest beauty--would have been considered a given, but in the present day-and-age, it is a radical idea.

The link below takes you to the official <i>ANTM</i> site, where you can watch both the "preview" and "jungle" videos. Actually, we would characterize the latter more as a "tropical" video, and even though most of the girls besides Diana are terribly gaunt, it is still well worth a view, for its gorgeous styling and set design. A plus-size fashion shoot with an identical look and wardrobe would be utterly stunning.

We wish Diana well in <i>America's Next Top Model,</i> much as we dread the idea of her facing the show's curve-o-phobic judges. We hope that she is appraised not on the basis of how closely she approaches the modern standard, but on the degree to which she exhibits Classical beauty. Diana is certainly the best quasi-plus candidate that the show has had to date, and if this were a better age than our own, she would win the competition easily.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/forum/diana04.jpg"></center><p>We also very much hope that she pursues plus-size modelling as a career--especially if she allows herself to develop a more womanly figure.<p>- <a href="http://www.cwtv.com/shows/americas-next-top-model" target="_blank">Click here to visit the <i>ANTM</i> site</a>

MelanieW
18th February 2007, 18:44
I do wish that Tyra had found a curvier model for the program. On her talk show, for her "Full-Figured Top Model" episodes, she has consistently presented larger models (size 18 or better, most recently).

I am wary of what activities ANTM will set up, and what the tone of the judges will be. But I agree that Diana has a very attractive look, and I can definitely see her winning a lot of public acclaim. She already has a great pout, not exaggerated, and expressive eyes. Its hard to deduce her appeal from two short video appearances, though, so everyone will have to wait and see the show to determine whether she lives up to the potential suggested by these screencaps.