Monday, 22 August 2011

The Disappointment of Top Model of Colour

I went to the regional heats of the Top Model of Colour at the TigerTiger Club in Piccadilly on Sunday. I can only return from it questioning why I thought it would ever be a productive use of my time. I could think of a million other things that I would do instead, such as, research political topics to blog about, or clean my room in time for my sister's Canadian guest to occupy it this week, or oh, I dunno watch paint dry.

I guess by now you're wondering what was so bad about it that I must open this post so negatively. I just want to clarify that I have nothing against the models, even though it's not a profession I would ever consider, or attempt to save if the power were in my hands (if say we got hit with the Great Depression again, that is). The contestants all deserve a round of applause, they tried really hard.

The problem was the lack of organisation and frankly put, discipline from all those involved. There was no sign of a run through prior to the start of evening. The models were signaled to come down too slowly dragging out the whole catwalk process. The presenter didn't know who or where she was. She introduced former winners but had to ask them who they were on stage and no, not in that sort of introduce yourself to the audience way of asking. It genuinely was more of those, I don't know who you are and you could just be a random person taking the spotlight sort of way. Surely you should introduce people to each other beforehand so that they are familiar on stage. I don't appreciate awkward silences, or even worse the awkward umms and errs that she used to fill the awkward silences.

To add insult to injury the presenter at one moment thought she had somehow become Tyra Banks. She asked a model why she had chosen to apply to America's Next Top Model. really? You are the constant face of TMC this evening and you don't even know the company you represent. Disappointing.

The other thing that got to me was the judging process. The judges asked too many stupid questions that I can only assume they acquired from seasons upon seasons of ANTM (so the presenter isn't alone in that sense). I don't think even they had enough of a grasp of the industry themselves to judge whether the answers given were genuine and educated or pure blagged bull. I - being a master of blagging - could tell that a lot of the answers were blagged. Many of the models got through without answering questions or without providing quality answers when they did and I don't think the judges took this into consideration when deciding. That made the playing field completely uneven and that's definitely not fair.

Worse than that... the creme de la creme of things that really annoyed me... the lack of discipline in the selection process. All but one of the male contestants were chosen to go to the next round. In proportion you could say the same thing happened in the girls category. I believe we started with 20 girls or thereabouts and the end of the night left about 17 standing. I DID NOT JUST TURN UP TO SEE ONLY THREE GIRLS LEAVE THE COMPETITION?! Did I? It was completely dragged out.

Tokenism ran through the contest in a way that I would only be able to take offence to, if I were a member of the token ethnicity. There was a Persian girl who I would not say wasn't pretty, but she wasn't the prettiest Persian girl I've met. I wouldn't choose her to represent Persian or Arabic ladies in a major modelling contract. And same goes for the Oriental girl who flopped in her questions. She seemed so clueless about a lot but managed to get in to the list of those progressing to the next round. Many of the girls with the best sense of style failed to make it. And the 17th girl to make it was actually chosen because she had her entire social circle in the club. The judges had not chosen her initially but clearly the CEO's agenda was to keep the audience happy. After all they'd be the ones to buy out the bar and give him a good relationship with management. (I guess his was solidifying his contact list which is good business initiative). I grew bored and disappointed as the night progressed. Maybe because it didn't feel like a progression at all really. What could possibly be the difference between the previous rounds or the one to follow?

What this shows me is that they have no real understanding of organisation. The organisers haven't planned out the stages or duration of each stage properly. They should know that at Stage 1 there will be 100 people. Stage 2 - 50, Stage 3 - 25 and so on. And you must stick to that. Nothing frustrates me more than indecisive people. The judges weren't pressured to make an educated decision on the contestants in front of them because they were given the leeway to invite everyone back. It is a very important skill to learn - decision. Successful people make decisions. They take risks and they learn and work from the consequences. It is a farce and frankly a money scam that tickets could be £15 and all we see is a very drawn out method to remove 5 contestants out of 30 from a competition.

It's a shame, I could rant for forever about things like this because we always get upset when we don't see people within our community portrayed well, but having witnessed first hand a brand that claims to be a leading agency for ethnic models in Europe operate so unprofessionally, I now know that we cannot expect more than that. We will forever remain mediocre if we all take mediocrity to be the supposed gold standard.

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