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article imageOp/Ed: Bravo's 'Make Me A Supermodel' - And I'll Leave My Morals At The Door

By Pamela Jean     Jan 26, 2008 in Entertainment
Call me old fashioned, but when I think of Super Models, I think of Tyra Banks, Claudia Schiffer and Gisele Bündchen. Bravo has now ushered in it's new reality TV show, with the premise of selecting the next "Supermodel" from a handpicked cast of 14.
Niki Taylor and Tyson Beckford, both apparently considered to be supermodels in their own right, are the hosts of Bravo's latest reality series, airing Thursday evenings.
"Make Me A Supermodel" features 7 men and 7 women, all living together in a loft in New York City. Throughout the series they will compete in photo shoots and runway shows, all vying for the grand prize - $100,000 in cash and a modelling contract with New York Model Management, a professional modeling agency committed to promoting top talent and exciting new faces to the fashion industry with a roster of models that includes Elle Macpherson, Sarah O’Hare, Omahyra, Travis and Mathias.
At the end of each episode 3 of the models will be selected as the low scorers and it will then be up to the viewers to decide who stays and who goes out of the bottom 3.
Being a TIVO addict, I decided to add this program to my record list. I have never watched other modeling shows, such as"America's Next Top Model" with Tyra Banks, so I had nothing to use as a reference point. I have watched "Project Runway" with Heidi Klum and really enjoy it, so I thought what the heck, let's check out this modelling premise.
The first episode is rather tame, with the 14 hopefuls all dressed for their first photo shoot on the streets of New York on a cold and blustery January day. (The show is very close to "real time" with episodes airing within 1 week of being filmed). I enjoyed watching the men and women pose in designer outfits, and then later being critiqued by the judges in regard to their overall ability to look relaxed and hot, despite the freezing temperatures.
Next we moved on to the swimsuit modeling. Two men and two women were randomly selected to wear thong bathing suits, and the viewer is entertained by watching the men selected having their buttocks waxed, their nipples, chests and torsos systematically stripped of any evidence of body hair. OK, I can deal. Not so bad really. Sort of moronic, but let's keep watching.
Next episode the models are dressed up in fashion wear and strung from the ceiling by wires and told to pose while floating midair, fans blowing their hair, exceptional lighting added to make them all look quite alluring. Again, fun to watch and listen to the critiques.
Now is where it gets dicey for me, to say the least. The show brings in a photographer, a woman, who is reportedly extremely sought after and tops in her field. She has shot layouts for Vanity Fair and Maxim to mention just a few. The models are now divided into couples, with two couples selected to be "same sex". They are then dressed in what is called lingerie, but appears to be closer to either next to nothing, or resembling bondage wear with one of the couples using a whip to add the required intimate chemistry to the shoot. The are told to simulate their sexual chemistry while laying on a bed as the photographer takes pictures. What ensues is just this side of pornographic, and I find myself wondering what in the hell this has to do with modeling?
Maybe I am just too "old school", I still remember the Fresh Faces of Maybelline and can't quite understand what this sort of photo session has to do with modelling haute couture designer fashions, which is my understanding of what constitutes a a "supermodel".
A supermodel is a highly-paid elite fashion model who usually has a worldwide reputation and often a background in haute couture and commercial modeling.
How does forcing two heterosexual men to simulate sex while dressed in their bikini underwear correlate with the term "Supermodel"? How does doing the same with two straight young women?
I kept wondering why on earth none of the contestants said "Um, no I don't think so"......why they were so malleable to being put in a situation that was just this side of porn?
Holly, one of the models that has now been placed in the bottom three following the judges ruling that she just didn't seem "comfortable enough" in the sex scene photo shoot comes from a very strict and traditional family. The viewer is informed that she is a Christian and is engaged, and has chosen not to have sexual relations with her fiance until they are married.
What strikes me as even more sad is her blog regarding the episode in which she states "I was sincerely very nervous and it showed in my pictures, I looked very uncomfortable and the chemistry wasn’t there, I wanted it to be there but I guess my nerves got to me. Right before the shot I had a glass of champagne to loosen up. Obviously I didn’t drink enough, or I would have done better."
Oh, I see, a little more alcohol or perhaps some calming drug of some sort would have helped her do a better job? What on earth is happening to our young people? This 21 year old girl, a supposed traditional young woman, is all starry eyed and ready to toss her beliefs and moral code out the window for the chance of $100,000 and a modeling contract? How sad is this......
What did the judges think of Holly's traditional background? Apparently not much. Tyson Beckford chastises her for being religious and indicates that if she wants to be a supermodel - well, "Supermodels don't think - they just do as they are told" according to Beckford. So, essentially, if you want to be a supermodel, leave your morals and ethics at the door, because that just isn't going to cut it on the runways of New York.
I have included the videos of the male on male and girl on girl photo shoots.
You tell me - is this what it takes to become a "Supermodel" in today's society, or do you see this as nothing but further promoting the sexual immorality that is so prevalent in today's society?
I will continue to watch the show. I guess for me it is sort of like watching a train wreck. You hurt inside for what you are seeing, but like all gawkers, you just can't seem to tear yourself away.
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